It was only fitting that Dominique "SonicFox" McLean and Goichi "Go1" Kishida meet again in this weekend's Dragon Ball FighterZ tournament. Avoiding each other all the way until the grand finals, it was the anime legend Goichi who managed to edge out the young prodigy and cement his status at the top of the FighterZ scene.
Last Friday's exhibition between the two, built up over the course of a few weeks through call-outs and social media, ended 10-4 in Goichi's favour. McLean showed prowess, especially on the offensive, but his defence was lacking. Goichi's team, with Adult Gohan on point, is especially good at punishing opponents who can't deal with the flurry of Gohan's hits once he's unleashed his potential.
McLean had grown as a player over the course of a couple days, taking down some high-profile players on his way through the winner's side of the bracket. He even 3-0 swept Dogura, the player who sent Goichi to the loser's side in the first place. It seemed that when Goichi climbed back up for the rematch, McLean would be more prepared.
The first set was decidedly in Goichi's favour though, as SonicFox struggled to find openings and was dashed against the rocks of Goichi's defensive play. McLean had his moments however, including one that already seems iconic. Goichi goes for Gohan's super, a massive kamehameha, only to miss and leave his back wide open to McLean's Android 16. McLean gave him the James Harden stare and launched into 16's self-destruct attack, wiping his Gohan from the game in one big boom.
Despite several signs of life, Goichi took the first set in a clean 3-0.
This was the grand finals though, and since Goichi came from the loser's side, he had to beat McLean twice to take the trophy. The second time around, McLean was looking more confident. Maybe it was enough sets played against Goichi, or maybe it was the crowd getting behind him, but McLean was starting to look confident. The score line inched up and up, until in one fell kick, McLean tied the set and sent it to a final game 5.
It's hard to fully encapsulate the emotions at play in the moment when McLean tied it up. The set and finals looked finished. But here, suddenly, it seemed like McLean was back in it, and there was one game left to determine the winner. The crowd was roaring. Commentators Tasty Steve and Kitana Prime were yelling into the mic. Social media, Twitch chat, any live forum with text input couldn't believe it. People in the crowd started to raise their hands, mimicking the way Earth's inhabitants gave Goku the energy for his Spirit Bomb in the Dragon Ball Z series. It was frankly anime as fuck.
The last round came down to McLean's Android 16, who had been the source of so many of his clutch victories to this point. But he couldn't hold the line against the power play of two fighters Goichi had on him, and in one big Final Flash, the tournament was over.
Goichi had asserted his claim to the Dragon Ball FighterZ throne, winning 3-2 over McLean. As Steve mentioned throughout the day, this weekend - and certainly this top 8 - felt like one saga of a series. A lot of lessons were learned, and there are some takeaways that every player has from it. But despite the loss, even near the end of the series, McLean was showing his ability to adapt and adjust, figuring out Goichi's game plan. There's a good chance that the next time these two meet, the gap will have closed even more and McLean might be the one hoisting the trophy over his head.