Episode 131 – “The Miraculous Conclusion! Farewell, Goku! Until We Meet Again!!”
The finale’s opening title exclamations proclaim the “end” of Dragon Ball for the third time in the franchise’s history, but every fan knows that A) Goku’s “farewells” mean nothing and B) he never loses a f–
17–Imperfect Cell’s lunch, the less cute Android twin, the ranger no one thought to locate for years on end, wins the entire tournament and wishes all the universes back with the Biggie Ballz–a victory assisted by Freeza, the frenemy who spent the past three episodes suctioned, Spider-Man-like, onto floating debris only to swoop into the fray and claim his role as King of the Cameos. The two ex-villains push back the Purple Threat and handily secure the–
Despite his initial failure, Freeza’s BFFing of Android 17 bears fruit, setting up a situation fans once thought impossible: Freeza and Goku fighting side-by-side. In fact, the entire episode sends the audience flailing into a whirlwind of revelations:
- The Zenoh-samas, The Muppet-Headed Dictator Duo who enjoy making things go “boom,” understand the nuances of virtue and foresaw the outcome of the fight before it began.
- Freeza wants to go back to Hell.
- Whis can’t think of a reason not to resurrect Freeza despite ensuring the Cold One’s death by disrupting the space-time continuum in the previous movie.
- Goku and Vegeta somehow pinpoint the exact location of the random rock formations from their Saiyan Saga fight.
- Goku forgets how to go Ultra Instinct.
- We have a winner for the “most ingenious technique” award–the Freeza Volleyball Blast:
Yes, Freeza, the Lazarus of the Dragon Ball world, can’t stay dead despite his best efforts. Like the audience, the has-been contorts his face in shock at the notion of anyone wanting him alive. In spite of his self-damnation and against the characters’ craving for logic and consistency, Toriyama and his Traveling Circus of Writers drag the eternal villain, kicking and screaming, back into the land of the living.
The Universe Survival Arc concludes with the same problems it began with: too many characters with too little development, convenient hero-rescues, and dubious stakes–scabs that reopen through each Universe’s respective panned shot–poignant reminders of actors we forgot/never cared about. At least Toriyama shoehorns in a spoiler for the next arc:
The episode title’s faux-finality aside, this reviewer views Episode 131 as a “soft ending.” The unsubtle narrator’s hints of an impending series return foreshadow Goku’s inability to hold back the rivers of his impulsiveness. In fact, Super‘s hiatus merely solidifies the Theory of Historic Recurrence within the Dragon Ball franchise. Prepare to enter a color-swapped alternate Saiyan Saga dimension–Goku and Vegeta re-assume their positions on the Showdown Boulder Perches and Freeza re-assumes control of the ol’ Planet Conquering Crew (who haven’t yet disbanded despite suffering two massacres). Once Saiyan Saga 2 ends, Android 17 and 18 will take the baton and usher in the Super Duper Android Saga.
Super‘s “conclusion” comes replete with undeniably cool moments, nostalgia aplenty, and visual flair–the last two episodes did too, but better. The Universe Survival Arc relies on the audience’s suspension of belief, logic, sanity, and good sense. It hangs its hat on the writers’ refraining from fabricating explanations for the implausible events unfolding on-screen. Nevertheless, the “last” twenty minutes of the saga loiter on each Universe’s predictable denouements. Toriyama untidily sweeps up the arc’s myriad loose-ends under the Rug of Ignorance and bids us adieu with a fan-servicey montage. Farewell, Goku! Until He Milks Again!!
And, please remember: