Dragon Ball Super is driven by its characters and their personalities, with character development serving as the heart and soul of the series. Even characters who previously had little development were given moments of emotional depth and courage throughout the course of the series.
Android 17’s Sacrifice
Now that the Tournament of Power is heading into its final episodes, a lot of fan speculation about how far each fighter would make it turned out to be wrong. While Android 17 constantly seemed on the verge of being knocked out, he somehow made to the very end of the tournament. He wasn’t on par with the strength of the other fighters, and every time he attacked Toppo and Jiren he was easily deflected, but he played it smart by taking advantage of his limitless energy and stalling for as long as possible. He sacrificed himself in order to prevent Goku and Vegeta from being knocked off the stage, in a moment fans will undoubtedly remember for years to come. Android 17 received an unexpected and heartbreaking send-off, but one that he absolutely deserved. As he embraced his humanity in his final moments his sacrifice gave the character a new level of emotional depth.
Vegeta’s New Path to Power
At the very beginning of Dragon Ball Super, Vegeta is clearly terrified to be interacting with Beerus and the Realm of the Gods. As he lays defeated, that changes. After Beerus slaps Bulma, he goes berserk in a now-iconic iconic fight scene.
This is a constant throughout Dragon Ball Super. Vegeta is now a doting father and husband. He went with Bulma and Trunks to an amusement park, and refuses to attend the Tournament of Power at first because he refuses to miss the birth of Bulla. He isn’t fighting to get stronger or to surpass Goku; he’s fighting to protect his family. When the Universe 6 Saiyans are introduced, Vegeta’s priorities shift even more. He took on the role of a teacher. He felt like he got his planet back. The Tournament of Power had him fighting for both his people and his family on Earth.
Vegeta went down struggling against unspeakable odds, far beyond his limits, standing up against Jiren while even Goku couldn’t. We heard the voice of Hiromi Tsuru as Bulma, recorded before her passing, for one final time. He fought, well aware of his limits, but refused to let himself fall until he could no longer stand. It was an emotional farewell. Many wanted and hoped for him to fight alongside Goku until the end, possibly through fusing into Vegito. But while Vegito is a fan favorite, they wouldn’t use the fusion again so soon after the Zamasu arc. Vegeta had his moments of triumph, arguably more than Goku. Vegeta won against Golden Frieza and Toppo in Dragon Ball Super, both characters who seemed unstoppable. He achieved his own unique transformation, defeated a full-fledged God of Destruction despite his initial terror, and gave everything to stall Jiren. Even as he was defeated, he passed on the very last scraps of his energy to Goku. He has grown tremendously as a character, but just like during the Buu Saga, Dragon Ball is ultimately Goku’s story, even if he loses frequently.
Now that Android 17 and Vegeta are out, we are left with Goku and possibly-unconscious Frieza against Jiren. There is some speculation about how the tournament is going to end. We have already seen in the previews that Goku is going to awaken to Mastered Ultra Instinct, according to the information on the upcoming Xenoverse 2 DLC, and fight Jiren on his own. It’s possible Frieza will end up helping Goku in the final fight, but with how Frieza has been thrashed repeatedly by every recent opponent, the perfect ending for the tournament would be Goku and Jiren knocking each other off the stage, with everyone watching forgetting about Frieza lying unconscious under some rubble, resulting in Universe 7 winning.
It’s a safe assumption that Android 17 will be revived later on, and it’d be great closure if we get to see him with his family as part of the ending episode. It is already confirmed that Bulma will appear in the final episode, now voiced by Aya Hisakawa. Additionally, seeing the revival of the Universe 6 Saiyans will be the perfect way to give Vegeta an emotional moment to end the series with. Everyone is hoping for the ending to lay the foundation a future series, but we’re unlikely to receive substantial information until after the release of the Dragon Ball movie slated for the end of 2018