Dragon Ball Super: A Villain Redeems Himself While Another Falls

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for "An Extra-Dimensional Ultimate Battle! Hit vs. Jiren!" the 111th episode of Dragon Ball Super, which debuted Saturday on Adult Swim.

The latest episode of Dragon Ball Super focused largely on two former antagonists staging their own noble effort. But while one exhibited an unexpected act of mercy, the other mounted a desperate, and ultimately unsuccessful, last stand against the current main antagonist Jiren during the Tournament of Power. The surprising redemption came for longtime Dragon Ball villain Frieza, while Hit, who had been introduced as an honorable antagonist earlier in Super, was decisively eliminated from the Tournament across the Dragon Ball Multiverse.

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Picking up from the cliffhanger ending of the previous episode, Goku is left at the mercy of Frieza after completely exhausting his body by pushing it above its natural limits while maintaining the newly discover Ultra Instinct form for a prolonged period of time. After the villain's introduction in Dragon Ball Z, Goku had killed Frieza on two separate occasions and had only recruited the interstellar tyrant into the Tournament to fight for Universe 7's survival with the promise that he would be resurrected should they prove successful. The tenuous alliance was tested earlier in during the martial arts competition when Frieza nearly entered a partnership with Frost, his counterpart from Universe 6, to attack Gohan only to betray Frost in the end.

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Instead of finishing off Goku, Frieza shocks everyone by providing his enemy with enough of his own power to restore some of the Saiyan warrior's strength. As Goku recovers, Frieza explains the compassionate gesture was to pay back Goku for a similar action during the two's first fight on the planet Namek during Dragon Ball Z. Frieza had joined the Universe 7 team distrusted by everyone, brought on as a last-minute inclusion following original planned fighter Majin Buu falling into a lengthy sleep. While the villain has certainly proved a valuable addition to the team, his intervention to help Goku is the moment where his teammates realized he may actually be trustworthy... at least for the reminder of the tournament.

Less successful but no less valiant was Hit's last stand against Jiren. The Universe 6 champion first fought against Universe 7 earlier in the series, and was barely defeated by Goku using the Kaio Ken technique while transformed as a Super Saiyan Blue. Taking advantage of Jiren nearly being overcome by Goku while the Saiyan first had reached his Ultra Instinct state, Hit used his time-skipping abilities in a desperate attempt to keep Jiren on the defensive and eliminate him, only to discover that the Universe 11 fighter was able to predict and counter his time-manipulating moves. Urging his teammates to continue the fight without him, Hit's final effort to push Jiren from the ring failed, resulting in his own elimination from the contest of champions.

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Frieza and Hit had both been introduced as formidable antagonists in the Dragon Ball franchise, the former as a cruel despot who killed those he didn't rule with an iron fist, and the latter as an inter-dimensional assassin. Faced with a greater mutual threat to their universes' existence in Jiren, the two have shown surprising amounts of mercy and selflessness as the Tournament of Power continues to rage on.

However, given the ease of Hit's elimination, and Goku still far from being back at full strength, the pair's heroic turns may not be enough to guarantee Universe 7's survival. Jiren continues to appear to be unstoppable, though he has tentatively returned to the sidelines to meditate, unfazed by Goku's revival. With no fighter able to sustainably stand toe-to-toe against Jiren, even the most surprising acts of redemption could ultimately prove futile as the contest continues.

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Newly translated episodes of Dragon Ball Super air on Saturdays at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Adult Swim.

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