Dragon Ball Super
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 101 of
Dragon Ball Super ?
Last week's episode of Dragon Ball Super was like watching a piece of candy I was really looking forward to eating melt in my hand. It was a shame too, because I thought it did such a disservice to the characters of Caulifla and Kale, who I really want to like. Thankfully, this episode rises to my expectations as we get some great interactions between the two. I love seeing Caulifla glowing with pride over her Berserker protege, and it's funny to see her use Kale like a shield even though the poor girl's returned to her small form without a clue of how to bring her power back. There's a lot of genuine charm here that's been missing for the past few episodes.
Since Super isn't adapting any source material, there isn't one primary author you can attribute this story to, and it really shows in the whiplash between good and bad episodes. This week is immediately full of the fun character interactions that everybody expects from this show, and it feels real this time instead of manufactured. I'm always looking for the cool strong guys to butt heads, but this episode recognizes that it's also fun to see an unusual combination of good guys. I loved seeing Goku and 18 get a full scene where they fight together. Those are two characters who haven't spoken to each other much in the series, even though 18 was designed specifically to kill him all those years ago. That's probably the furthest thing from either of their minds at the moment, which just makes it all the more endearing.
This episode goes on to put a lot of emphasis on Universe 11's Pride Troopers, the team that Jiren and Toppo belong to, and I'm sure that people are going to love the Ginyu/Super Sentai-esque poses and costumes, but despite the show's best efforts, my eyes remain entirely on Universes 6 and 7. Right now the Troopers are still fodder for the characters we're more familiar with to take out, but we know that Jiren guy has to be a big deal by the end of this tournament.
As for Universe 6, I probably would have been satisfied with just the cute Caulifla and Kale scene that kicked off this episode, but they really are in it for the long haul of this tournament as Kale finds it in herself to unlock the vanilla Super Saiyan transformation, one that she can control this time. Kale is by far the trickiest character in this arc, because the story needs to come up with ways to push her into bouts of anger and sadness, and they're not always satisfying. This time, it's "I'm nothing but a burden to sis. I hate who I am!", which isn't amazing, but at least the moment is given some dramatic flair and a chance to breath.
You can feel how dedicated the show is right now to thinning out the background schmucks as it slowly crawls its way to the really interesting guys. I like that Caulifla and Kale get to feel like momentary main characters, with the story giving them some focus outside of fighting Goku, the character we'll ultimately have to side with then we get more Saiyan vs. Saiyan action. Also, wasn't it great when Goku, Caulifla and Kale got to just stand around and chat for a moment without fighting? Why is that so cool to me?
Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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