Dragon Ball Super
Episode 97

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 97 of
Dragon Ball Super ?

Okay, now it's finally happening. After months of impatience, I'm finally getting what I asked for as the Tournament of Power gets started. Energy blasts are exploding, punches are flying, and we're getting a sense of what kind of ride we were prepped for when the "Universal Survival Arc" was announced way back when.

This is an all-action episode if ever there was one, and we're reminded up front that this battle is only meant to last about 48 minutes, only to conclude with the narrator telling us that we're now down to 47. Yes, this twenty minute episode covers a single minute within the story's time. I feel like they're making fun of themselves there. What ensues is a free-for-all of expected Dragon Ball action, with everybody looking out for themselves aside from the half of Universe 7's team who managed to stick to Gohan's teamwork plan. Several fighters from other universe get knocked out, but the most interesting match-ups are being sat on for the time being.

The black void that the tournament stadium floats within continues to be an interesting sight, with the primary backdrop being pure blackness. There is an atmosphere to it, but it really hammers in that weird blurry filter that recent episodes have been using, and even colors that don't belong to the background get crushed against each other, making some of the visual information headache-inducing. Most people probably won't have a problem with this, but as a person who likes to take nice screenshots, the pickings get a little slim.

Going back to the different kinds of "match-ups" that are possible here, I'm surprised at how much it's got my imagination going. Most of them so far are between the fighters that Goku has a semi-rapport with, like Toppo, Jiren, or the wolf people from Universe 9, but there's also the Universe 6 folk (which is a surprisingly dense cast of memorable characters to be held on the sidelines) and whoever in this crowd could make for good fights for the rest of the U7 team. Vegeta especially has been in the background of the story for a long time, so I'm excited to see his next meaningful fight.

Ultimately there isn't a ton of substance since the episode is mostly action, and I'm sure Toei is saving their best animation for later, but this episode does its job fine. It makes it clear that there's still a buffer before the more interesting fights can take center stage, and I'm fine with that. There are a lot of different ways this tournament can go, since the cast of good guys and bad guys and in-between is so colorful and full of possibilities, and if that's not the point of a show like this, then I don't know what is.

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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