Ultra Ego’s debut in Dragon Ball Super was fantastic, but Vegeta’s and Granolah’s fight is about much more than being the strongest in the Universe.
The battle between Vegeta and Granolah has been Dragon Ball Super’s most compelling fight in recent memory. A rare instance of a battle that’s not a simple fight between good and evil, there’s emotional weight behind the punching for a change. The complex character dynamic between Vegeta and Granolah is remarkably profound, too, considering they’ve only just met. Ultra Ego’s debut was certainly spectacular, but the fight between Vegeta and Granolah is about more than just power.
The confrontation with Granolah was a long time coming for the Prince of all Saiyans. When Vegeta began his training under Lord Beerus, the Saiyan Prince revealed that he still carried the weight his people’s sins on his shoulders. After a long, bloody history of destroying planet after planet, Vegeta feels the Saiyans got what they deserved when they were wiped out by Frieza. However, Beerus informs Vegeta that this burden will prevent Vegeta from ever mastering Destruction, and that he must let go of his guilt to get stronger.
Almost a living test of Vegeta’s new resolve is Granolah, who is the result of the sins of the Saiyan race. His own people, the Cerealians, were wiped out by the Saiyans, and it has become Granolah’s goal to get revenge by eliminating the entire race. Vegeta points out the irony to his foe, that his mission is the exact thing he hates the Saiyans for in the first place. In an unexpectedly thoughtful moment, Vegeta attempts to spare Granolah from the burden that he carries by reminding the Cerealian not to repeat his own people’s mistakes.
Vegeta carries Lord Beerus’ instructions into battle to properly wield the power of Destruction, but displays a critical misunderstanding of Lord Beerus’ advice. Istead of letting go of the past, he attempts to revert to his former self who didn’t care about the sins of the Saiyans. Even after his defeat, Vegeta fails to recognize the difference between apathy about his guilt and actually letting go of it. Vegeta has grown so much that he’s unable to pretend he doesn’t care; and yet, he isn’t able to forgive himself, either.
It’s poetic, in a way, that the sins of the Saiyans come back to haunt Vegeta at the same time he is attempting to move past them. That Vegeta was able to unleash Ultra Ego, despite his failure to heed Lord Beerus’ advice in the face of justifiable Granolah’s fury, is astonishing. Throughout the battle, it’s clear that Vegeta has not forgiven himself or the Saiyans, which may well be the reason Ultra Ego gave out as quickly as it did. After all, Lord Beerus did tell him that Destruction requires a mind clear of all thoughts other than Destruction.
It’s rare for Dragon Ball Super to have a battle that has little to no stakes in terms of death and destruction, but carries immense emotional weight for multiple characters. Vegeta and Granolah are both willing to die in their battle of ideals; meanwhile, Goku, of all people, is the only one with enough sense to know they shouldn’t throw their lives away over this misunderstanding. While it was disappointing to see Ultra Ego come up short in its debut, the dynamic between Vegeta and Granolah more than makes up for it now that there’s another battle-crazed egomaniac for Goku to battle.