Summary: The God of Everything, Zeno, has decreed that several of the universes do battle with one another in one grand battle royale. The prize? Survival itself, as any team that loses sees their entire universe erased! Eight universes were there at the start, now only six remain. Who will be the final universe to earn their survival?
1. Like many kids growing up, I watched a lot of Dragon Ball Z. One might even say I obsessed over it. As I got older, I started to wonder: what kind of creator would allow a universe to exist where its planetary and galactic protector would be weaker than Nappa? Who would let the Supreme Kais be so much weaker than a being like Majin Buu? Well, the same creator that can’t count past eight, apparently.
Yep, you read that correctly. Both Zenos were trying to count how many members were left on a specific team, and they couldn’t get past the number seven. As much as I appreciate Super for continuing the story of DBZ, I have to say that Zeno might be the most terrifying concept Toriyama’s ever introduced into his opus. A being with complete, utter omnipotence that doesn’t understand on any level the consequences of his actions, and is wiping out entire universes based on whether or not their ten best fighters could win in a fight. When you think about it, it’s quite the nihilistic stance on the role of divinity in the lives of humans, at least.
2. *Sigh* So. As badly as I would love to congratulate Master Roshi for his performance this episode, we have to talk about what happened here. As the tournament winds down (there’s less than half the original combatants left), Master Roshi decides to get involved. But before he can pick out an opponent, one comes to him–a woman from Universe 4 with the ability to manipulate energy and use it for weapons. Pretty cool technique, and if we’d stuck with that, I’m sure it could have been an entertaining battle.
But instead Roshi became a sexist, dismissive jerk and wrote her off because he didn’t deem her strong enough for him. So she switched tactics and decided to distract him with seduction, because Dragon Ball Z is the first anime nerds think of when they want fanservice. So instead of Roshi just ignoring that and smacking her in the face with the Kamehameha Wave…he buffed up and pointed out that since she’s tried to seduce him, he can’t be blamed for “what happens”. Promptly, she runs away crying and eliminates herself because she’s afraid “he’ll make her undesirable as a wife”.
So in the Year of our Lord 2017, Dragon Ball Super decided they needed a sexual harassment joke. And it’s not even funny! I know people just let anime off the hook because it’s “weird” and “it’s anime”. And ultimately I’m not really “mad”, but that whole scene was needless.
3. From the moment Zeno popped up at the end of the Universe 6 vs. Universe 7 tournament and said they should do a tournament for all the universes, I knew that was going to be my favorite arc. And I was right. In my eyes, this arc has single-handedly elevated Super to the level of Dragon Ball Z. Screw the first 20+ episodes that are just adaptations of the films, screw the first tournament, screw the “Black Goku” arc…this arc is the truth.
Just think about it for a second–after years of Goku being the only relevant fighter (aside from the brief periods they’ll let Vegeta and Gohan look cool), this Universal Tournament seems set on giving every fighter their just due. Android 17 got to actually do stuff instead of just getting absorbed by Cell. Gohan’s looking like a bad-ass once more. Master Roshi eliminates three people in this episode alone. Even Krillin got some love! Krillin hasn’t been relevant since he killed all the Saibamen back in the Saiyan Saga. This arc has elevated people we thought would forever be left in the dust, so it’s already my favorite arc of Dragon Ball, full stop.
And that’s not even the only cool thing! Aside from Gotenks’ weird suicide ghost clones, Dragon Ball Z ran out of cool techniques…again, in the Saiyan Saga. You saw the Solar Flare, the Multi-Form, and most of the energy attacks by the end. After that, everyone just did the same stuff: hyper-fast attacks, energy barrages, stealing other fighters techniques, and flight. Super has tossed all of that out in order to introduce a vast array of warriors that each possess their own fighting styles. This episode alone Roshi faces Dakori, mistress of illusions, and Ganos–a guy who grows stronger the more he fights. Isn’t that better than having a third villain steal the Kamehameha wave?
4. Speaking of, for a second there I honestly thought Roshi was going to buy it in this episode. After easily blowing through two opponents and finally getting challenged with the third, Roshi decides to refuse to accept his “limits” and push past them, firing off a Kamehameha wave that made both of his students proud, and eliminating his last challenger. It was a great way to go out–the old warrior, giving his all before leaving the rest to his students. He even kinda deserved it for getting cocky and not taking the last guy seriously enough. I nearly shed a tear watching it.
…But then Goku developed the ability to revive people using ki energy. Like this series doesn’t have enough ways to make dying meaningless, now the main character is a walking defibrillator? Mark this down as yet another technique that Goku’s going to have and never, ever use again. Like telepathy.
5. Next Episode: Our heroes in Universe 7 take on an invisible sniper from Universe 2! Goku, Vegeta, and Tien are teaming up to take him out! Can they pull it off? Find out on the next episode of Dragon Ball Super!
No, but seriously though? As a huge Tien geek, I sincerely hope he can manage to eliminate this guy without getting taken out as well. I don’t care if he has help, I just need him to stay in the tournament as long as possible.
Dragon Ball Super is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.