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Dragon Ball Super Crowns a Surprise Winner

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 131 of Dragon Ball Super, "A Miraculous Conclusion! Farewell, Goku! Until We Meet Again!" which debuted Saturday on Adult Swim.

Nearly the entire last half of Dragon Ball Super has seen Goku and the Z Fighters embroiled in the Tournament of Power, involving the 15 realities of the Dragon Ball Multiverse. The stakes are high, with the losers and their respective universes erased from existence, and the winner receiving a wish using the all-powerful Super Dragon Balls. The ensuing battle royale resulted in the familiar fighters from the main Dragon Ball world of Universe 7 facing increasingly more powerful opponents as their team was steadily eliminated.

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In the end, only Universes 7 and 11 remained, with Goku and former enemies Frieza and Android 17 left to represent the Z Fighters against Jiren, the no-nonsense Pride Trooper from Universe 11. Usually preferring to meditate rather than fight, Jiren swiftly rose through the ranks to become the strongest warrior in the competition, with his immense power rivaling that of the gods, leading to Goku unlocking a new transformation in Autonomous Ultra Instinct.

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In the previous episode, Goku collapsed from sustaining Ultra Instinct for a prolonged period. With Goku winded, Frieza and Android 17 rejoined the fight, battling an exhausted Jiren, who had expended most of his energy just to stand toe-to-toe with Goku in his newfound transformation. Still formidable, Jiren nearly overpowered Frieza and Android 17 to be crowned victor and use the Super Dragon Balls to resurrect his long-dead mentor. But then Goku suddenly returned to take the fight to Jiren alongside Frieza, while Android 17 provided covering fire.

With only seconds to spare, and unable to transform into their more powerful forms, Goku and Frieza stunned the audience by not only actively working together for the first time, but also to sacrifice themselves to drag Jiren with them outside the boundaries of the arena, resulting in the elimination of all three fighters. The sudden turn of events leaves Android 17 as the last fighter standing, and he is recognized as the champion by Grand Zeno.

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Android 17 had been a reluctant recruit to represent Universe 7, more interested in remaining in seclusion with his young family and protecting nature as a park ranger than putting his cybernetic abilities to use to ensure his reality's survival. Realizing the immense stakes, 17 reunited with his twin sister Android 18 but quietly planned to use the Super Dragon Balls to wish for vacation for himself and his family, should he win. In turn, 17 surprises everyone -- including his sister -- by choosing to restore the Dragon Ball Multiverse and the competitors who had been erased from existence just moments before.

The Androids were introduced to the Dragon Ball mythos as unrepentant killers, interested in killing Goku and mercilessly defeating anyone in their way as they grew bored. While Android 18 found redemption in love by starting a family with Krillin, 17 isolated himself; his true motives were largely unknown. More powerful than when he was previously seen on Dragon Ball Z, 17 became an invaluable member of the Universe 7 team and, with Goku bringing out the best in those around him, saved the entire Multiverse from its devastating fate.

While Goku may not have won the Tournament of Power, his heroic influence is still felt, as Android 17 saved the day, ending the anime series on a triumphant note as its iconic characters set out for new adventures.

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