Dragon Ball Super Episode 66
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 66 of
Dragon Ball Super ?
Dragon Ball Super has done a lot to impress me over the past few weeks, and I've grown a lot of fondness for it. When last week's preview showed off a ton of Vegeto action (I guess Crunchyroll is using the "Vegito" spelling, which I'm not crazy for, nor do I love "Vegetto" with two Ts), I got as hyped as anybody. It was pretty obvious that this was going to happen sooner or later, with the story floating so many Kais around and the main villains performing their own Potara Fusion, but that's the exact kind of fanservice-y bluntness that forms a big part of this show's appeal.
So Vegeto is happening and his arrival was revealed in all its spoiler-y glory in last week's preview. There's so much fun stuff to think about here. How strong exactly is a Super Saiyan Blue Vegeto at this point in this series? Characters are so strong right now, you'd think solar systems would collapse simply by him standing there! How might Goku and Vegeta separate after a fusion like this? A wish on the Dragon Balls could do it, but it would be even more fun if they had to have Buu eat them again in order to force the de-fusion. Ooh, an even more fun angle would be to keep them stuck for a little while! Let's see a family picnic while Vegeto's still around!
Unfortunately, these hopes of mine got dashed immediately when Goku, entertaining the idea of another Potara fusion with Vegeta, asks Gowasu why they separated from their initial fusion back in the Buu arc of DBZ. Potara Fusion is supposed to be permanent (we've had several Kai characters in this position), which was what made the choice so desperate and dramatic at the time, but they separated once they were absorbed by Buu and the story hand-waved it as "Oh, I guess Buu's body is just too weird to obey the laws of the universe". However, Gowasu's explanation is simply that only Kais who fuse are permanently stuck, and anybody else who uses it will separate after an hour. Basically, Potara Fusion is only a little bit stronger and more useful than a Fusion Dance, and now it's honestly a lot less cool. Very disappointing.
Now free of consequence, Goku and Vegeta borrow some Potara Earings and fuse to create Vegeto (whose name is supposed to be a combination of of "Vegeta" and "Kakarot(to)", thus all the localization weirdness). I don't think I've ever watched the Vegeto stuff from DBZ in Japanese, so I noticed one noteworthy difference from the English version when the voice actors, Nozawa and Horikawa, have their lines doubled up to create the fusion voice effect, they're giving two entirely separate performances with slightly different timing and everything. From what I know of the English dub, the actors usually mimic each other's performance.
Fusion Zamasu's body is going through some changes, as a growing young(?) man is bound to do. The mortal (Goku Black) and immortal (Zamasu) sides of him are in conflict, making for a glaring weakness if our heroes are able to hit him hard enough. This is what prompts Goku and Vegeta to fuse in the first place. What ensues is an incredibly flashy and animation intensive fight (do I see some Naotoshi Shida in there?), and it's a ton of fun and looks as great as you'd expect. Just about everything was shown in that preview last week, so there honestly isn't a ton of new stuff in the action, but that's okay.
There's a lot of debate about Zamasu's credibility as a villain going around right now, and while I think he's a pretty cool antagonist, there are certainly some story concerns worth noting. Fan Stephan Krosecz made a pretty interesting critique of him that I think is worth checking out. Personally, I like that Zamasu's got that spoiled angsty teen thing going for him. He's a pathetic person who clawed his way into a massive amount of power. In this episode, he justifies the weakness that his mortal half gives him as "taking on the sins of mortals and the failures of gods in this body". Zamasu's melodramatic tears and Vegeto's unimpressed expression highlight how full of crap he probably is.
Sadly, the Vegeto fusion ends with this episode. Goku and Vegeta separate before the hour is up due to an exhaustion of power. They've succeeded in doing a lot of damage, but it's beginning to look like the end for our heroes until Trunks decides that he's had enough and returns to the fight himself. It's an incredibly emotional fight, well-animated and accompanied by fantastic music, but it feels just a bit too cheesy for my taste. He receives energy for his broken sword, supplied to him by the hopes of humanity on earth. Everybody raises their hands to give Trunks their strength so that he can land the final blow, like a Spirit Bomb but in a sword. I get the idea here, the poetic justice behind Trunks getting the final attack, but there's a reason why a similar thing didn't happen during the Android and Cell arcs back in DBZ. It's just too obvious, too neat and tidy for a sprawling shonen action show.
This episode has honestly been quite a mixed bag. I like the Vegeto stuff, I like the Zamasu stuff, and I like all the action, but there's so much in the story that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don't like that Potara now has a convenient solution to its main hook. I don't like how the Vegeto fight feels like it was just there for spectacle. I don't like that Trunks just happened to be the one to save the day. Everything that would have served as big picture inconveniences for the writers would have led to significantly more interesting story ideas, and the fact that they hand-waved them all is what pulls Dragon Ball Super back into dangerously filler-esque territory. Super is constantly teetering between interesting ideas (that happen to be nostalgia pandering in the best way) and that forsaken filler quality territory that makes everyone so hesitant to dive in. The Future Trunks/Zamasu arc seems to be wrapping up now, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, I'm a little disappointed if the conclusion is really going to be this unexceptional.
Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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