Dragon Ball Super
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 82 of
Dragon Ball Super ?
The exhibition match before the Tournament of Power may be over, but the story isn't ready to call it quits just yet. Last week unveiled the true appearance of Toppo, the cloaked bodyguard of Universe 11's God of Destruction (the clown one, for what it's worth). Toppo is a top-heavy, mustachioed old man not unlike Dr. Eggman from the Sonic universe, and he serves as the leader of something called the "Pride Troopers." Toppo is a man of justice and a conquerer of evil. He's portrayed as a wholly heroic figure, and thus he obviously has a beef with Goku who currently stands as Universal Enemy Number One.
Not wanting to back down from a fight, Goku gladly accepts Toppo's impromptu challenge, and Zen-Oh is more than happy to let things play out. Being such a big deal in his home universe (especially when we remember that Goku's Universe 7 is already considered one of the weaker ones), Toppo is clearly going to be a powerhouse. He was played up as super cool and mysterious when he was hiding under a cloak, but now that's he's in the limelight we see the dorkiness of his sinerity as he fights, strikes poses, and announces the names of his attacks like "Justice Tornado" and "Justice Crusher". He's kind of like the Great Saiyaman of Universe 11.
Dragon Ball Super has been doing a really good job lately of keeping the action fun and energetic. When you've got a studio like Toei producing the show, there is that worry that they might skimp or cut corners, but so far every fight since the arc began has been strong. It's not without its wonky moments, but the overall excitement remains. The story backing up the action also taps into a few interesting things, like how Zen-Oh's childlike cheering and amusement is designed to reflect the audience at home, or possibly even the writers themselves. Zen-Oh's primary goal is carnal entertainment, and between himself and his Grand Priest, who organizes these events, there's a distinct fascination with the "construction" of these fights from a dramatic viewpoint. Zen-Oh is there to excitably comment on all the trappings of a Dragon Ball fight: the ups and downs, the "this isn't even my final form" moments, and so on.
Ultimately the Grand Priest has to stop the fight, and Zen-Oh, as id-driven as he may be, concedes that the match will be even more fun if they save the rest of it for the proper Tournament of Power. Delay of gratification is one of my favorite qualities of the shonen genre, so I feel Zen-Oh there. I also like how Toppo, as nice of a guy as he is, doesn't lend a sportsmanly handshake to Goku after the fight. He sees Goku as evil in need of being vanquished, and not an opponent to respect. Seeing our Universe 7 heroes from another point of view is exciting. It reminds me of those times when we used to see these characters in settings with normal-strength humans who have never even considered people like them existing.
Once the action cools down the animation does get a little sloppier than usual (I've seen several people comment on Beerus' face looking weird) and there's not a ton of meaty story content to follow up with other than "time to gather our ten fighters" (and we already know who those ten are based on the promotional material) but this arc is continuing to impress me. This is exactly the kind of refreshing scenario that I had been hoping for during the filler leading up to it, and it's tapping into some old Dragon Ball feelings that I assumed were in the past. Right now they've got a really strong scenario going for them and I have a lot of good-will for whatever comes next.
Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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