The word “tragedy” for the episode title of DBS Ep. 118 is fitting. Beerus losing his twin brother, Champa. Universe 2 was destroyed e despite their cheer and support for their team. Piccolo had to defeat warriors of his own race to survive. Valdos was in grief as she saw her hand pick warriors and good friend Champa disappear from existence. And finally, Vegeta’s anger as he saw once again, his proud warrior race destroyed.
This was truly tragic. Hiroshi Yamaguchi’s genius writing of Episode 118 should be celebrated and analyze. He graced Super with such emotions that haven’t been felt since the Future Trunks arc. It must be brought up! Since I love me some good writing, I decided to break down why this episode is so brilliant. Let’s go!
PART 1: The Beautiful Power of Love
‘Without love, it cannot be seen.’
-Ange Ushiromiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni
Episode 118 opens up with the revelation that Team Universe 2 was broadcasting the tournament to their citizens. The people watched in despair as Ribbranne admits she – and the rest of the Kamikaze Fireballs – were defeated. She begs her beloved fans to cheer on the final three warriors with their supportive love. As requested, they start to cheer and send love. The power of their love empowers Zaolin, Zarbuto, and Rabna and pushed them to defeat Universe 7. They mentioned that the weight of Universe 2’s love is a heavy burden, but they must bear it to save their universe. This shows us that Team Universe 2 is loved by this fans. This can be proven not just story-line alone, but visually as well (as many of their fans were wearing t-shirts with members of Team Universe 2 printed on them)
With this power of love, Team Universe 2 takes charge towards Team Universe 7.
Time passes and Universe 2 is struggling. During their last stand, Zaolin, Zabun, and Rabunra summons a black heart of love. I love the symbolism used in this seen. Obviously, the heart is the symbol of love, but one should note the color of the heart: Black. Going by color theory, the color black is used as a symbol of death. If an Universe loses in this tournament, they’re erased.
Being erased means death.
Universe 2 explains how the Black Heart entraps its victims with it crushing, unbearable weight. The weight of the hearts forces itself to sink to the ground. We can take two things from this. One: the weight of this heart is the burden that Team Universe 2 must carry to protect the people they love. It represents the trust, faith, and love of the people has towards them.
Two: The sinking is symbolism of Universe 2’s defeat and death – not the defeat of Team Universe 7. You see, Goku is a simple man. While he (barely) understands the power of love, he prefers guts and spirit over it. He’s not going to let love bring him down. And so, Goku overcomes the burden of Universe 2 with a Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken Kamehameha. The Kamehameha breaks overpowers Team Universe 2, knocking them out of the ring.
Universe 2 is defeated – and destroyed.
‘It’s so beautiful. The moment before imminent destruction.’
–Sailor Saturn, Sailor Moon Infinity
Universe 2 has fallen. Yet, despite destruction approaching, they accept their fate with grace. The Universe 2’s citizen still happy and celebrating their warriors. The Kamikaze Fireballs perform one final formation; thanking their fans for their loving support. Then, we have Kakunsa’s final line:
It’s like the real world: When a love one dies, it is just their body that is dead. The precious memories, love, spirit, support, and bonds, they are still alive in the hearts of the people they touched.
Those feelings will never die.
Universe 2 kept their pride, spirit and love to the bitter end. They refused to wallow in grief. Instead, they chose to show love. They reminded true to themselves, touching the hearts of those they impacted. A sad approaching event turned into short lived happiness and grace.
PART 2: The Emotional Connection of Universes 6 and 7
While the destruction of Universe 2 is depressing, the true tragedy lies in the destruction of Universe 6: Universe 7’s twin universe. Bear in mind that members of Universe 7 have personal connections with Universe 6 (Goku and Hit having respect towards one another, Vegeta as Cabba’s mentor, etc.). In the real world, fans have grown to know and love Universe 6 since their introduction during the Unvierse 6 vs. 7 Tournament arc. Seeing Unvierse 6 being destroyed was a heavy toll for the fans.
After Universe 2 charges at Goku and Andorids 17 and 18, there is a scene where Champa is mocking Universe 7 (as Goku is struggling to fight against Universe 2) Valdos chime in to remind him that Universe 6 is at near defeat and follow up with her usual jests and jabs.But More on that later. Let’s focus on Piccolo first.
Piccolo (along with his son Gohan) are struggling against the Universe 6 Nakemians.
Gohan and Piccolo’s victory over the Nakemians means that Piccolo will, by proxy, wipe out his own people. Nakemians from another universe, but they’re still Nakemians. Back in DBZ, Piccolo had to liberate his people who were suffering under Frieza’s rule. For Piccolo to have to wipe out his own race is a heavy burden – but it’s either his universe or theirs.
The Universe 6 Nakemians go on the offensive against Gohan and Piccolo. The father/son duo is overpowered, with Gohan jumping in to protect his mentor and father figure. . Piccolo asks for Gohan’s forgiveness (as he let the fear of the Nakemians’ overwhelming power get to his head). This mirrors Dragon Ball Z when Piccolo had to risk his life to save Gohan’s. To see Gohan protecting Piccolo can be consider full circle in this sense. The two regain their composure fire back at the enemy.
Gohan, along with his (real) father Goku, both charge up their respective Kamehamehas against their enemies in unison. Both engage in a beam/energy struggle against Universe 2 and 6. Gohan is grabbed by Pirana in a failed attempt to stop and attack Gohan. Piccolo backs Gohan up with a Special Beam Cannon, stopping them. At the climax of the distinct Father-Son Kamehameha, Gohan and Goku overpower their enemies at the same time.
Universes 2 and 6 have dropped out.
The defeat of Universe 6 is a victory for Universe 7, but it’s not something to be celebrated. As I mentioned earlier, Universe 6 and 7 are twin universes. Members of Universe 7 (such as Goku and Vegeta) formed personal relationships and bonds with members of Universe 6. Goku lost Caulifia – a girl he promised he would train and mentor. You can even say that Caulifia looked up to Goku as an older brother. Piccolo defeating Universe 6 means that he – by proxy – helped wiped out members of his own race. Vegeta was promised by Cabba that he’ll give him a tour of Planet Salada to see the Saiyans of that race. Vegeta was longing to visit the King of the Saiyans of that race; since Vegeta himself is of royal blood. Vegeta will never have get that chance (assuming he does not win the chance to use the Super Dragon Balls).
What make this disheartening and tragic for Vegeta is that this man just witnessed the total destruction of his people once again. Vegeta grew up experiencing the Saiyans of Universe 7 suffering and dying under Frieza’s rule. To find out there were full-blooded Saiyans still existing in other universes made him happy. Now, they’re gone.
He isn’t happy.
Then there’s the tragedy of Beerus and Champa. Yes, the twins did fought and get into arguments, but they’re brothers; that’s natural. While they didn’t show it, you can tell they still loved each other. Even if Champa was being goofy towards Beerus at the bitter end, he still loved him. Even if Beerus was stoic about his brother’s death, you can’t say he wasn’t hurting inside. Beerus want to show it, but he has to keep it together for his team’s sake.
And that’s hard.
‘I was always thinking of you.
The reality that squeezes my heart
I was always longing to see you
And I’ll continue to forge ahead with that memory’
–70cm Squared Window by Rottengraffy (DBS ED 10)
The destruction of Universe 6 reminds me of two lines from the full version of Dragon Ball Super ED 7 “An Evil Angel and Righteous Devil”. The first: “Either destroy yourself or destroy everyone else.” Piccolo had to destroy Pirana and Saoneru. Gohan, a man who finds no joy in being maliece and hurting/killing others, had to help Piccolo do it. It was either their universe losing, or defeat Universe 6.
The second line reads “Winning or losing doesn’t benefit anyone – Everyone is simply hurt, crying at the end.” I’m reminded of this line by Valdo’s grief of losing Champa. Yes, she did make jabs and jokes at him. Yes, she did call him out on his bullshit at times. But she did care about him. She did enjoy his presence…even if she made fat jokes towards him from time to time.
It’s safe to say that those two were good friends, maybe even best friends.
This is Dragon Ball and no good popular character stay dead or erased forever. There’s the chance that somebody will use the Super Dragon Ball to bring everyone back to life and everything. I just wish with the emotional driven episode we got with Hiroshi Yamaguchi’s writing that this arc could had been a series finale arc. Perhaps Toei should had introduce this tournament arc after there was an arc were we got to know all the universes in this tournament a little better.
Just to have that stinging pain of losing them in the Tournament of Power/Unvierse Surivivial arc. Even people who hated Universe 2 (myself included) were upset and sadden by their deaths. They went out carefree and happy. They stay true themselves and rather than cry and complain about hteir last moments of life, The Kamikaze Fireballs and Hellios decided to just be graceful and be themselves.
That in itself, is tragic.
That’s the emotional brilliance of Episode 118. This is why many of us are consider this as the best wrirrten episode of the tournament so far. It reminded us how the emotional power of Dragon Ball in general. Dragon Ball is a simple Shouen action battle anime series that’s more logical than emotional. But there are times were the emotions do reveal themselves and they hit hard when they’re showcased. I hope Hiroshi Yamaguchi returns to Super to write yet another emotional episode. His writing surprising works for Dragon Ball Super.
He deserves so much respect for this episode.