“…And you, Kakarot!”
Warning: The following review contains spoilers for the episode.
Time is running short for the Tournament of Power, and Toppo has decided that enough is enough. The entire episode is an escalating struggle as our heroes try to topple this new God of Destruction, and while Super does rely heavily on battle montages and huge blasts to satisfy visually, it’s the personal stories behind them that sell the experience.
Episode 126 opens effectively with Android 17 nearly losing his life. He’s been the one character to consistently perform well throughout the tournament, outsmarting his enemies at every corner. He also has years of history with the franchise as an intimidating, ruthless villain. Adding all this together only to see him get crushed by Toppo makes his defeat hit home extra hard.
Frieza makes a reappearance out of nowhere to save 17’s life, and naturally does it in the most Frieza way possible. While short, it’s a great scene that again displays Frieza’s true nature. For a brief moment, he thinks he has the upper hand and immediately begins boasting about the situation. His ever present cocky attitude makes him a joy to watch, but I’m left wondering at what point it will drive him to go too far and turn against our heroes.
At the halfway point Super moves away from 17 and Frieza and instead focuses in on Toppo and Vegeta. This transitional scene was the weakest aspect of the episode. It was heavy-handed and did not organically mix the fighters together. It was thankfully short, but when surrounded by such great scenes otherwise, it made this poor moment stand out like a sore thumb.
Once Vegeta and Toppo start battling, the Ki blasts start flying. As we’ve come to expect from important fights in the Tournament of Power, well-animated energy blasts and attacks make for great viewing. Vegeta comes to realize he can’t beat a God of Destruction, and it’s at this moment exposition transforms this good fight into a truly great moment. Toppo makes the mistake of insulting Vegeta’s pride and his inability to discard his emotions. Spurred on by those very things Toppo insulted, Vegeta goes into a rage that gives him the upper hand and inevitably wins him the fight.
Since the very beginning, Vegeta has prized his Saiyan pride and family above all other things. In one swoop, Toppo manages to insult both, and Vegeta’s response is both great to watch, but perfectly in sync with his character. The fact he then tops it all off by using his Final Explosion attack nails how committed he is to winning, but also how much he truly cares about his pride and family. The Dragon Ball Z footage, along with Piccolo recognizing the attack (since he was the only person to see it during the Majin Buu fight) only served to add more weight to the moment.