Dragon Ball Super
Episode 77

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 77 of
Dragon Ball Super ?

There's a lot of new things to cover in this new episode of Dragon Ball Super, all signaling the beginning of a new arc. First of all, there's a new opening theme song. Up until now, the show had pretty much stuck to '"Chōzetsu☆Dynamic!' as its opening, only changing key pieces of the animation depending on what was going on in the story. The new song is cool, though only time will tell how memorable it will end up being. The second noticeable change with the start of this Universe Survival arc is the weird visual filter that you see over the whole episode. It's got a soft blur effect that I imagine is meant to make the show look older and more nostalgic, like it was coming from a film reel or something. I have to wonder what the idea behind this was, because if the goal was to make it look like it was from the 90s, they probably could have gone a lot further than a basic filter you can find in any commercial editing program. Computer based animation and cel animation just look fundamentally different.

Story-wise, we learn that Bulma is pregnant with her and Vegeta's second child (who we will eventually know as their daughter Bra/Bulla). She's already past due by the time we meet her in this episode, which is easy to be surprised by since it felt like we saw her just a few episodes ago, but it's not crazy to think that recent events were more spread out chronologically than we assumed. The sweetness comes with everything involving Vegeta, who nervously awaits his child being born. Goku's begging him to come train with him and Whis, but Vegeta insists on staying behind. Somewhere along the way, he figured out how to be a good husband and father, and it's pretty adorable.

So, Vegeta-less Goku and Whis go to meet up with Beerus, which leads to a conversation about Zen-Oh's "All-Universe Tournament," and eventually to Goku reminding Zen-Oh to officially announce and schedule the darn thing, much to Beerus's chagrin. The idea is that ten fighters from each of the existing universes will be chosen to partake in this tournament, and considering the name of the arc, losing will likely include dire consequences. The promotion for these arcs, as well as the new intro, features many of Goku's friends including a few surprises like No. 17 and 18. Based on these line-ups, we can assume that for one reason or another, the fighters from our universe will exclusively include characters who live on earth.

I'm cautiously optimistic for this arc. Sometimes I worry that I expect too much out of this show, but the last few dramatic arcs have been entertaining enough to keep me interested at the very least, and the (so far implied) stakes at hand are impressive. The visuals also imply that the show is trying to capture old feelings of what the series was a decade or two ago, and I'm interested to find out if it's going to dig deeper than it already has on that front, or if it's going to remain about the same (and to be fair, it has already been pretty good at the sensationalist nostalgia stuff if that's your thing).

This particular episode isn't fantastic-looking (Goku's face model seems to change in every shot), but everything about this episode is a matter of promise. With the new opening and attempt at a new (well, old) look, there's a clear desire to make something cool that will speak to Dragon Ball fans. I'm of the opinion that the sky is the limit with how bizarre and surprising this show should be willing to get with its story, and I think we've got a solid stage set for something really fun to get rolling.

Rating: B

Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Sam Leach records about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @LuckyChainsaw

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