Dragon Ball Super
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 65 of
Dragon Ball Super ?
Last week ended with the Potara Fusion of Zamasu and Goku Black, combining Zamasu's immortality and Black's immense strength to create the most god-like god seen in the Dragon Ball universe yet (aside from Zen-Oh, who can still blink out existence at his will). Their appearance as one entity pretty much just looks like regular Zamasu with Super Saiyan hair, which I guess makes sense, but for some reason I was expecting something a bit flashier.
Zamasu honestly does feel like an authentic successor to the previous villains from the Dragon Ball manga. The series' sense of power creep has always left the "god" characters in the dust, making them out to be fairly limited in their power compared to the ever growing Saiyans. It makes sense to the themes of the series, where there's always a stronger foe on the horizon and obviously Goku would need to keep up, but Zamasu is such an interesting twist on the status quo, being a god who's insecure over the fact that he's not omnipotent in this universe. With the immortal Zamasu and the Goku-bodied Zamasu fusing, they've succeeded in creating a "how are they going to overcome this?" scenario for our heroes, which is one of the most important staples of a good shonen action series in my opinion. I hope it doesn't end up being as simple as Zen-Oh stepping in and solving everybody's problems for them.
The episode on its own doesn't have a ton going on plot-wise. It's mostly Goku, Vegeta, and eventually Trunks continuously getting beat down by Fusion Zamasu, with little to no prospects of victory. Other than that, it's Zamasu floating around talking about how important and immortal he is. The actual selling point of this episode, the thing that's got everybody talking, is the next episode preview, where they casually show a bunch of insanely fluid animation blatantly featuring Vegeto, Goku and Vegeta's famous Potara Fusion from the Buu arc. It was already obvious that Vegeto would be making his big fanservice-y reappearance soon enough, but that preview is total spoiler country. There's no build up or tease in the actual episode, so to see the preview jump into the deep end is a little weird, though I guess it's not too much weirder than last week's episode spoiling the Zamasu fusion, and I thought that was fun so who am I to judge?
Vegeto is going to give our heroes a huge power boost, but that still doesn't account for Zamasu's immortality, so while it's going to lead to a lot of exciting action, it still leaves us in the dark as to how Zamasu could possibly get taken down. I'm honestly hoping that this arc can get dragged out more, because I can't get enough of making a good rollercoaster out of a climactic shonen fight. I'll truly believe that Dragon Ball Super is the real deal if it can nail the ups and downs, the false climaxes and the delayed gratification that only a good shonen can. I don't care if it has to get indulgent, I don't care if the individual episodes don't give me a ton to talk about in every review, because that's what I want. Shonen is at its best when it's about the experience as a whole, at the expense of "efficient" storytelling.
My experience with Super is still primarily coming from this Future Trunks/Zamasu arc (as well as the movie versions of the earlier arcs), and so far I've grown a lot of fondness for it. My concerns about the animation and writing have been calmed pretty significantly. It honestly looks pretty good, with none of the episodes I've reviewed so far having any notable problems, and even the weaker episodes of the arc still look acceptable. I don't think Toriyama's original manga would have pandered to nostalgia quite as much as Super does if it had continued past the Buu arc, but that's not a slight against the show and ultimately, it's the only thing that I would say keeps this arc from feeling like the "real deal," because in every other respect it absolutely does.
Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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