This article contains spoilers for the series.
Leave it to a Dragon Ball series to stretch a 48-minute tournament over 30+ episodes.
Right off the bat, the first improvement would be to cut the arc down by at least 10 episodes. I started jumping ahead after 120 (the one where all the robots combine), then I just watched the episode recaps, and finally I quit and just skipped to the end.
So, if I truly missed out on something special in between those moments, let me know. But here is how I would have improved the tournament’s story telling and overall ending.
Don’t waste Hit
It was pure fan service to see Hit match up against Jiren, but it made no strategic sense to for Hit engage him, and even more egregiously so after he told his teammates to back off at their best opportunity to eliminate Jiren.
It was out of character for Hit and functioned more like a plot device to prematurely thin out the playing field, for reasons unknown!
After Universe 6 was gone, there were no more likable opponents for U7 left.
Let Goku Rest (for Kefla fight)
I honestly had to come up with my own head canon to why Goku was able to demonstrate such a high degree of active recovery. I don’t see why he had to be overused when there were plenty of other strong U7 fighters left.
Although it was one of my favorite fights in the arc, Kale/Kefla could have easily fought with another character, or the story could have pivoted to another high-level fight in the interim, for instance, Vegeta vs. Topp
Kefla vs Frieza?
Not only did Frieza already intervene when Kale and Califla approached Goku, but he had a personal interest in the fight to exercise his hatred for all the “monkeys”.
Kefla could have probably beaten Frieza though, but either way, this would have been a great opportunity to see Frieza at full power.
Gohan’s True Potential?/ vs. Kefla?
A scenario I considered was for Kale to approach Gohan as a replacement to Goku, thinking he would be just as strong. Maybe Gohan’s pride could finally be activated as they mock him for being a disappointment to his father.
I’m not asking for him to win the whole tournament, but he should’ve at least given us something to keep the debate going.
Unfortunately, the Tournament of Power did not resolve the myth and question of the full extent of Gohan’s power. They at least respected Gohan’s intelligence by making him the team leader, but in retrospect, Piccolo and Roshi demonstrated more mid-fight strategy.
Sadly, it’s time for us to close the book on this question.
I understand the reasoning for not using them, as the Tournament was a numbers game, and losing a fused ally would mean two spots knocked out at once, but for a show basically running on the fumes of fan service, there was no reason not to have the earrings in play, especially in daring new ways.
The Supreme Kai wanted Android 17 + 18, after all, so I’m going to throw out some of my own wild suggestions.
- Have Frieza almost eliminated by Kefla, with Android 17 backing him up, prompting the Kai to allow them to fuse. This is cool because they were both former villains, and villains working together with the heroes is of course the supposed refreshing theme that is set out at the end when Goku, 17, and Frieza are all teaming up against Jiren.
- Gohan and Piccolo fought two Namekians, whom I believed were going to fuse themselves through Namekian Assimilation, and this would have been a good opportunity for Gohan and Piccolo to fuse as they have so much synergy as student and master for many years.
Before watching the finale, I had assumed the tournament would end with everyone knocked out except Goku, who beats Jiren with Ultra Instinct. However, it turns out Goku still needed help and it was a 3v1 anyway, so, why not have Goku and Vegeta fuse to beat Jiren?
Vegito was already deployed to defeat Goku Black, so if the Potara earrings were spent earlier in the tournament like I suggested, then Goku and Vegeta would have to resort to the Fusion dance, which Vegeta hates doing, to join forces.
The only thing that prevents their fusion is Vegeta’s pride. Heck, letting that go would probably allow Gogeta/Vegito to use Ultra Instinct too, and that would have been the strongest thing in the entire multiverse and DBZ history at that point if they pulled it off.
In retrospect, this might have spoiled the fun for DB Super: Broly, as Gogeta is in that film, but only half of DBZ is the form, the rest of it is in the fight!
Let Goku/Universe 7 Lose
What excited and frightened me the most about the Tournament of Power was this new theme that Goku is the real villain, since all the other universes were at risk because of his mindless quest for competition. In fact, Goku didn’t really need a wish from the Super Dragon Balls, as just fighting the strongest person in the universe is enough satisfaction.
Also considering that Universe 11 fights for justice, it’s not likely they would have allowed so many universes to have been erased, and most likely would have wished to have them restored as well if they won.
Essentially, there were no stakes at all, and the tournament ended up feeling more like a filler arc.
I suppose I could praise the writers for developing a new character in Jiren, trying to teach him about the power of teamwork, but they also missed a great opportunity to develop our actual main character Goku.
There were no consequences for Goku’s universe-erasing actions, and he learned nothing new after defeating Jiren. Goku has a family, something that he takes for granted, unlike Jiren, who lost his family.
Losing the Tournament of Power could have been a wake-up call for Goku to not end up destroying the things that he loves along the way to becoming “stronger than stronger than strong.”
I am glad the series is over.
Considering how two of Super’s arcs were adapted from movies (Battle of the Gods and Resurrection F) I think I will only return to the Dragon Ball franchise if they release more films. It seems that’s where all the talent is, which is a shame, because I did enjoy the Goku Black arc, but I won’t argue against its mixed reviews.
After the Tournament of Power, it is now undeniable to conclude that the series was a clear cash grab banking off the success of its previous films.
DB Super: Broly was great though.
And perhaps I may only read Manga, in general, from now on, as anime adaptations hardly ever improve on the story, and in fact cheapen it by adding filler episodes.
But for now, those are all my thoughts about Dragon Ball Super and The Tournament of Power.
See You On The Far Side… – Monk Moon Base
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