Y’know, I was thinking this fight could go in any number of different ways. I’ll admit that an introspective teaching moment from Vegeta wasn’t one of them. When I’m around the time of reading the chapter and writing this review afterwards, I try to avoid as many opinions as I can. Especially considering how paper thin the average nuance of a Dragon Ball fan tends to be.
They generally tend to miss the entire point of the chapter when it’s actually trying to say something. Given that is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to Dragon Ball.
This chapter seems to be the conclusion to the fight between the Saiyans and Granolah. After unlocking the power of his second eye, it seems like Granolah finally has the upper hand on Vegeta and his Ultra Ego transformation. And the rest of the fight would seem to be both Vegeta and Goku just trying to stave off their inevitable destruction by the revenge driven Cerealian.
That is how it would appear on the surface at least. After spending some time thinking about this chapter though, I feel like Vegeta had a different agenda in mind right from the beginning of their fight.
One he seems willing to make himself a martyr for.
Throughout Super, Vegeta has been on a constant redemptive arc. It wasn’t until the Moro arc that we really saw the extent the Saiyan Prince was willing to go for the sake of his penance. Vegeta has done some terrible things in his past, things that very obviously weight on him now he has turned over a new leaf.
In Granolah, he has come face to face with the very personification of the Saiyan’s collective sins. And he’s a person hell bent on extracting revenge for every bit of destruction the Saiyan people inflicted upon the galaxy in their past. Under the rule of Freeza or not. And in a move that feels very unlike the Vegeta of yore, the Siyan seems determined to save the Cerealian from himself.
It’s funny. During his destruction training with Beerus, the cat man implored into Vegeta that if he wanted to fully master this new power, he would need to throw away all of his regrets and doubts of his own past and simply embrace destruction. Something I feel like the Vegeta of the early Z would have no problem doing.
Today, Vegeta is a different man. One who can’t cast aside the sins of his past when they come knocking at his door. Throughout this chapter, Vegeta asks Goku to butt out on several occasions. He wants, no needs, to try and break through the Granolah and make him realise that his path is one the Cerealian needs to stop walking down.
Except he goes about doing it in a typical Tsundepride style befitting Vegeta. Dragging the fight into a population zone to make Granolah realise that he has something to protect and care about still in his life. That living for revenge is an empty kind of life to live.
Culminating in his willingness to die at the hands of Granolah’s final desperate attack. Which is when he apologises to Beerus. Admitting that he isn’t able to fully master the power of destruction, not when he has so many regrets and sins weighing him down.
Honestly, the nuance and layers to what Vegeta is doing in this chapter really works for me. It’s a fight where the real action isn’t just taking place within the trading of blows. There’s something a little deeper going on, which is incredibly refreshing for Dragon Ball of all things. As much as the dudebro fanbase is angry and Vegeta “losing another fight”, it just goes to show that they don’t want to think about this story on anything but a surface level.
The battle is ended with the timely intervention of Monaito and Oatmeel showing up. Distracting Granolah long enough for Goku to at least knock him on his ass and save both his and Vegeta’s life.
In the end, the sudden appearance of the Namekian comes with the revelation that not all of the Saiyans were worthy of Granolah’s wrath. That one Saiyan at least was the one that saved the life of Granolah at the very least and allowed him to continue living. Given, it was a mostly empty life fueled by a desire for revenge. But he was still alive.
It was Bardock by the way. Which seems like a crazy coincidence, but hey. At least it’s interesting. I guess we’re going to see a little more of Toriyama’s new version of Bardock in flashback’ the more altruistic Saiyan who cared enough about his family to send his son offworld and save him from the destruction of the Planet Vegeta.
I think this might be the first canon story in which Goku actually learns anything about his father. Not that it’s ever been anything he’s cared about before. It’ll probably be little more than an idle curiosity to him.
I’m more interested in how Granolah will react to this new information. Given his current emotional state, I feel like he might need more than a conveniently timed plot revelation to forgive all the sins he has been aching for revenge against for the past 40 years. And don’t forget, the Heeters are prowling around the planet collecting those Dragon Balls.
I liked this chapter a whole lot. It went in a much more nuanced and interesting direction than I would have ever expected. If I can give Super anything, it’s that it’s done a good job of making not just making their antagonists out and out villains. They’re more complex characters who arn’t just evil. (Jiren nonwithstanding).
I’m excited to see where the story goes from here now that this fight is seemingly over.