Dragon Ball Super
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 99 of
Dragon Ball Super ?
Last week the entire Universe 9 team got knocked out of the ring and we learned that the powers that be meant it when they said the losing universes would get deleted from existence. Now, every knock out matters as nobody wants to be the next universe to lose all ten of their members. Goku and Vegeta discuss reserving their strength for when they really need it, while the sibling androids in No. 17 and 18 remind each other that they have no such limitation, since they are cyborgs designed specifically to never run out of energy. The moment between them where 17 recognizes how much nicer of a person 18's become with age is kinda sweet in its awkward, deadpan sort of way.
The main focus this week is on the husband and wife duo of Krillin and 18, one of the more curious corners of the Universe 7 team. 18 is unquestionably the stronger fighter of the two, since Krillin's the character who's gotten left in the dust the most over the years. As Goku's closest human friend, it feels like he should still be important to the story, but being human offers a pretty damning ceiling and Dragon Ball Super seemed determined a few months ago to give him new legs in this arc.
I'm genuinely surprised that Krillin ends up being the first of the Universe 7 cast to get knocked out at the end of the episode, since I figured the show would want to overcompensate and give his smarts more of a fighting chance. Trying to balance out the weaker characters of the series so they could fight alongside the tough guys was always something I had trouble buying, as much as I sympathized with the effort. So yeah, after about twenty minutes of some decent Krillin/18 action, Krillin is out of the fight.
This is the point in the arc where my enthusiasm for the new story is going to wane bit by bit every episode that something amazing doesn't happen. Krillin getting knocked out is fairly significant, but it's another reminder that every tiny beat within this fighting ring is going to get an entire episode devoted to it, a fact I'm going to have less patience for in a show that's free to dictate its own pacing. I honestly think this part would have been great in the first half of another episode. The stuff with Krillin and 18 is cute, but mild, and the enemies they succeed in taking out are nobody we were familiar with before, so it all feels like filler.
Super is in an awkward position where it has to choose between momentary excitement and scale. Slow pacing can work, but usually not in super action-heavy arcs and I'm sure Toei has a massive list of episodes planned and that looks positively epic from a distance. Once someone has to flesh out and write those episodes, however, I can't imagine how tough of a job that is. This episode is fine, but I'm starting to ache for something flashier out of the Tournament of Power already.
Dragon Ball Super is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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