Dragon Ball Super
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 83 of
Dragon Ball Super ?
With the end of the exhibition match before the Tournament of Power, it's up to Goku and the others to return home and begin recruiting their ten member team. Goku, Gohan and Buu are locked in, and characters like Vegeta and Piccolo are obvious choices. Beyond that, however, things get a little bit tricky. The next strongest guys we know are people like Krillin, who's definitely superhuman in strength compared to your Average Joe on earth, but even then he's miles behind our Saiyan level guys, let alone the strongest fighters from the other universes.
Universe 7 is big, and considering all that's happened in that past few hundred episodes of the franchise, you'd be forgiven for thinking there must be a few Goku level fighters left in the universe (besides Monako, who's indisposed). In reality, there currently only exists 28 planets capable of hosting life, none of which offer the kind of power that our heroes need. It makes sense in retrospect, since once upon a time Frieza was supposed to be the strongest being in the universe, with all subsequent major villains being unique exceptions.
We've known for a few months now that the final roster consists of: Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Piccolo, Buu, Krillin, Roshi, Tenshinhan, and Androids 17 and 18. This episode focuses a good chunk of it's runtime on Goku and company trying to settle on this team. One theory I've held on to for a while is that weaker “trickster” characters like Roshi might have a role to play thanks to the No Killing rule of the tournament. However, even by the stretch there's something ominous about Goku vouching for certain characters without their permission.
From there the biggest question is Vegeta, who's hesitant for the same reason he was not willing to partake in the exhibition match. Bulma's pregnant with their second child and he wants to be there for the birth (though he swears it's because he was told to stick around, and not because he's become a big softie or anything). It's funny to see Vegeta mumbling about coming up with a “name worthy of Saiyan royalty” when we know this baby is inevitably going to be his daughter and that Bulma's going to go ahead and name her Bra (or “Bulla” in the localized subtitles). Say what you will about the vegetable naming scheme for the Saiyans, at least that has an ounce more dignity than being named after underwear like Bulma and Trunks are.
This is a breather episode before the action picks up again for the Tournament of Power, and it makes sense that we'd take this moment to see the blue skies of earth for a little bit before diving back into the void of those inter-dimensional fighting rings. The episode's focus is more on the sentimental family aspect of Dragon Ball, which has never really been the strength of this franchise, but it's harmless nonetheless. It's tricky, because I do think there's a value in seeing the softer side of these characters, and there's certainly a lot of humor to mine from that, but this kind of stuff rarely lines up for me. Something about the writing always feels undercooked.
The strangest aspect of this conflict of getting Vegeta's hands free is when Whis steps in and teleports Bra/Bulla out of Bulma's belly, allowing the world to meet her without all that pesky childbirth. Bulma's pregnancy was always a weird element of these past few episodes, since all of a sudden she was near the end of her nine months without any lead-in or set-up, so I guess they went all in and made it extra bizarre just to end it. Human beings are never really confronted with a situation like this so it makes me wonder… is that even okay? Like, morally is it okay for Whis to, unannounced, just force the birth like that? No harm done, I guess, but there's something alarming all the same.
If family man Vegeta makes your heart flutter (and I know it does for some) than this episode is right in your wheelhouse. This is as comfortable as this character gets with his new peaceful life, and though he still puts on the tough guy act, he clearly likes it. There's not a ton to comment on as far as the plot or production values, but again this is meant as a break between fights, so I welcome it as a momentary change of pace.
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