Dragon Ball Super
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 92 of
Dragon Ball Super ?
One of the more frustrating aspects of these past seven or so episodes has been that Goku lied about a ten million zeni prize in an attempt to get the rest of the cast on board for the Tournament of Power, instead of just telling them that their very existence was at stake. This is a group of characters who have fought to save the universe on many occasions, so the lie was not only confusingly unnecessary, it was in service of an eventual clichéd story beat where all the heroes learn they were being lied to and get mad at Goku for not trusting them to fight for what's important. That scene arrives in this episode, hours before the tournament itself, meaning that this subplot will hopefully have no bearing on future events, considering how out of character it felt to begin with. It just feels like a big waste of time at the end of the day.
Thankfully, this episode has enough going for it elsewhere that I don't mind stalling the tournament a little more this time. I tend to like weird detours and lengthy roundabouts in my shonen, but it's gotta feel compelling and like part of the bigger picture to keep me interested. This week, the star of the show is the Universe 6 Saiyans who are figuring out Super Saiyan transformation for themselves. Vegeta taught it to Cabba a few arcs back, and now Cabba is teaching it to Caulifla and Kale, the two Saiyan ladies who are set to be big players in the tournament. Caulifla figures it out quickly, thanks to Cabba's simplified explanation that it has something to do with focusing the energy into your back (the series has hardly ever gotten specific about what it feels like to activate a transformation), and next it will be Kale's turn, who looks to be on her way to activating the movie-exclusive "Legendary" Super Saiyan that makes her the likely Universe 6 equivalent to Broly.
There's also confirmation on the big leak that everybody's been talking about, however brief the character's appearance is at the end of the episode. I wonder what my reaction would have been if Frieza's return was kept a secret until the last moment? The shot of him at the end in his miserable hell cocoon would have left quite the impression. But yes, since Buu has slipped into a two-month slumber, it's up to Universe 7 to scrap together a replacement tenth member: the former most powerful being in the universe and scourge of the Saiyan race, Frieza. I'm not thrilled that Buu is the one being replaced here, but I do like that the ten-member team being marketed months ago can be changed and switched up as the story demands. I actually think Super is at its best when it gets fanfic-y like this, so I'm honestly pretty down with this development. The Resurrection F arc has been one of my least favorite aspects of Dragon Ball's modern revival, but it becomes a lot more appealing if I can pretend it was all just setup for this.
From there, there's still a lot of peeking into the other universes we don't really care about, and I'm especially apathetic now that we've got people like Caulifla to compare them to. I don't have much to comment on beyond the unimpressive way that these extra scenes are woven in and out of the episode. It doesn't really work to cut back and forth between different characters and places without a reason beyond buying time.
Overall, I'm overall grateful for this episode. Between the Super Saiyan girls and the Frieza reveal, it offers a lot more to get your hooks into than most of what we've seen in this recruitment arc. I like flashy, sensationalist developments in a show like this, but I can do without the inconsequential goofing around if it's not going to be all that funny or interesting. That's what sets the good and bad stuff of this mini-arc apart, and this episode is an odd 50/50 divide between the two.
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