Dragon Ball Super Episode 73
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 73 of
Dragon Ball Super ?
Now this is a fun premise. Unaware that such a thing was in the making, Gohan and Videl learn via a TV commercial that Mr. Satan is making a Great Saiyaman theatrical film! Specifically, it's Great Saiyaman vs. Mr. Satan, since clearly superhero "versus" movies are all the rage these days. Sure, Gohan could get mad that his Original Character Do Not Steal is being used without his permission, but he's too nice of a guy to get angry about something like that.
Gohan has been a fan favorite character for a long time, but his presence in Dragon Ball Super has been minimal. He's a family man now, choosing work and study over a life of training and fighting. The reality of Gohan is that he's a much better at being nerd than he is at being a badass, though not all fans really agree with that. There's even that subset who actively hated the Great Saiyaman stuff from DBZ because it focused on a lamer, jokier side of the character. But lame and jokey is what Dragon Ball Super is here to provide, so Great Saiyaman it is.
In order to highlight just how uninterested DB Super is in being "cool", we've got the A-List actor Barry Kahn putting on the not-so iconic Saiyaman helmet for the movie. Why would a celebrity choose to play a dorky superhero whose legend has already started to slip from public memory? In his words: "Isn't the difference between him and a cool guy like me amusing?" Barry Kahn is depicted as a clichéd spoiled celebrity, talking down to the film crew, never doing his own stunts, and all the usual stuff. If this show had a mind for satire, I would almost think of this as commentary on the expectation that Dragon Ball is supposed to be cool.
The fun comes from Gohan himself donning the Great Saiyaman uniform once again. At first, it's to step in and help a poor stuntman out (obviously Gohan has no trouble with the physical demands that Barry makes of his guys), but then it continues as a nostalgia trip after Videl finds herself hot and bothered from seeing her husband reliving the good old days. Gohan and Videl have always been a cute couple, so it's always nice to see them chatter about like they do in this episode.
Elsewhere, giving the episode an extra spice of variety, we've also got some shenanigans with Jaco, the ever-so-responsible galactic patrolman. He's on his way to lock some kind of parasitic space criminal up, but the perpetrator gets away and sneaks off into Gohan's story. The is parasite seems capable of possessing people and providing them with an immense boost of strength, meaning that a normal human criminal who Gohan/Saiyaman would normally be able to dispose of without a hitch now serves as much more of a threat. The episode ends with all seeming well and good, until Gohan comes face to face with Jaco himself who suspects Gohan of being the parasite's current host. What started out as a fun little "what if" story involving Gohan giving the superhero life another spin, transforms into yet another two-part adventure for the show at the cliffhanger. Human bank robbers and snobby celebrities can't do a whole lot to our planet smashing heroes, but a misguided Jaco and the villainous aliens he wrangles are a different story.
This is an episode that speaks to me on a few levels, mainly that it's a fun, filler-style episode with a hook that I actually like a lot. Heck yeah I wanna see a Dragon Ball episode where they parody big budget filmmaking, while also indulging us in the sweeter side of the characters. I also love any stories where the outside world gets little tiny glimpses of how strong our main characters are. That's always fun.
All that said, Dragon Ball Super can be difficult to review at times, because it's always at least a little bit fun, and always seems to have something on its mind, but it occasionally dawns on me just how unambitious it feels. We don't have to be in the middle of a major story arc or even have the great production values to feel like the show is trying to be more than it has to. I guess what I'm saying is, I do get bored of saying that this show is "fun", without there being much more to add. I liked this episode a decent amount, it was right up my alley in a lot of ways, but I want to see this show be great, even when it's just goofing off. I wish I could ask this show to be exceptionally fun, instead of just regular fun.
Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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