Dragon Ball Super
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 87 of
Dragon Ball Super ?
Dragon Ball Super is toeing a fine line as usual, as it juggles that cool, nostalgic sweetspot with time-buying filler. Last week, Goku reached out to the long unheard from Android 17, and the two of them hashed it out in one of the better looking fights of the series. This week, Goku continues his attempt to recruit Android 17 into the Tournament of Power as he tags along 17's journey into space to deal with extraterrestrial animal poachers.
This recruitment mini-arc before the Tournament of Power is asking a lot of its audience. Last week I didn't mind because the episode itself was good, and my expectations for seeing the recruitment arc end anytime soon have lowered in general, but it's still weird to me that the show is doing this at all. If last week's episode ended with 17 saying "Sure, I'll join your team," it would have made just as much sense as dragging it out further as they do here. The Super anime is already ahead of the manga in terms of story, so it's not like we're waiting for more material to adapt.
For the most part this episode is fine. It's cool to see Goku and 17 teaming up, and there's a stupefyingly hilarious moment where the big bad boss alien is threating to blow himself up to kill of 17's animals and Goku's immediate response is to teleport him to King Kai's planet like he did with Cell. That moment had me in stitches. "I'm not a bomb disposal unit!" I don't think that's up to you, King Kai.
There's also a brief moment where we see No. 18, thinking about her brother and worrying about Goku and 17's shared immature side. It's true, 17 seems to have chilled out as he matured over time, so I was wondering if we'd see that side of him this episode, but it doesn't seem to manifest itself fully just yet. Maybe we're foreshadowing the tournament? 17's in one of those grey-area spots where he's doing good things, but not necessarily because he's a good guy at heart, so he's got mutual company in this budding ten man team.
I don't dislike episodes like this, but I don't exactly like them either. I'm of the opinion that filler, stalling for time, weird story detours, and all the stuff commonly associated with this genre can be used effectively, but DB Super is baffling, since I can't think of a good reason why they should be pushing the Tournament of Power back so much. The closest thing I can think of is maybe Super is meant to last exactly 100 episodes and they want this arc to end with that? That's not farfetched, but there's nothing to point to, otherwise. Whenever Super is in these in-between stories, it's always in the habit of following an episode that I really liked with one that's significantly less interesting by comparison.
Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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