Dragon Ball Super – Episodes 88 – 93 Review

Can you believe it’s been six weeks since my last batch of Dragon Ball Super episodes? Also, can you believe that six weeks later, we’re still no nearer to the Tournament of Power actually starting? Neither can I… Anyway, Dragon Ball Super is now available on both Daisuki.net and Crunchyroll, so there are now even more ways to be baffled by the bizarre world of Dragon Ball! Let’s take a look at Episodes 88 to 93, continuing the Universe Survival Arc…

So for a quick recap, a tournament featuring teams of ten from eight of the twelve universes has been set up (although actually it’s more a team-based 80-man battle royal, complete with thrown-from-the-arena elimination rules…) where the winning universe will be allowed to continue to exist, and the other seven will be erased by the omni-king Zen-Oh. Zen-Oh, who has the mind of a child, which is scary given his power, wants to get rid of the eight weakest universes and just keep the four strongest, so this tournament will actually spare one universe that was going to be erased anyway…

Goku has spent the last few episodes recruiting members for his Universe 7 team, and he only has two more slots to fill. Before we get there, though, Episode 88 focuses on Piccolo training Gohan to reach his previous maximum level (the so-called “Mystic” form he had when he fought Buu), which he does before stating that Gohan can still improve… which is odd, given that the Mystic form came about when all of Gohan’s latent ability was drawn out, but hey-ho… The next episode sees Goku arrive at Tien / Tenshinhan’s dojo (for the rest of this review I’ll go for the classic English dub name of Tien for simplicity’s sake) though he was actually looking for Master Roshi, whom he was told was visiting. For a Tien fan this is just another slap in the face, given that Goku still hasn’t said anything about recruiting Tien, though he at least does offer him a spot early in the episode. The episode actually focuses on a woman from Tien’s time at the Crane school (a reference dating way back to Dragon Ball) who has come to get revenge on the man who betrayed the dojo by using magic to control Tien’s students and make them run amok. What’s great about this episode is that all the scenery, clothing and even the magic are all based on Chinese history and mythology, which is a further nod to the early Dragon Ball series.

Anyway, Master Roshi ends up being turned into a Chinese zombie (or “jiangshi”, complete with tickets on the forehead) and fights off Tien with ease before Goku arrives and comments on how powerful Roshi is… so, once again Tien is shafted… in his own episode. Also there is a funny statistic that at no point in any animated Dragon Ball series have Goku and Chiaotzu ever exchanged sentences with each other, the most was Goku congratulating him on being brought back to life, to which Chiaotzu doesn’t respond. Well, I’m happy to say that the streak is still alive, because despite the two characters being heavily featured in this episode, they don’t actually speak with each other! I love those pointless little facts.

The next episode features Goku and Gohan fighting each other to test themselves out (and an earlier Gohan & Piccolo vs. Goku & Tien match that, of course, features Tien doing nothing of note and getting beat down) before we hit Episode 91 where we see a bunch of other universe fighters train or be recruited, including Hit and Frost from Universe 6, and a weird new fighter from Universe 2 called Brianne de Chateau whose transformation mimics Sailor Moon and other magical girl anime, but she transforms into an overweight woman in weird clothes instead… because… why not? Oh, and Master Roshi goes into training… training to stop his lust for young women that could potentially cost him during the tournament. It leads to some disturbing scenes as floating cat person Puar transforms into a beautiful young lady to have Roshi try and grab him/her over and over until he can restrain himself… just… weird, in that uncomfortable Roshi original Dragon Ball way (if you’ve seen those first few arcs, you know what I mean…)

The last two episodes of this batch are interesting, as first off Majin Buu is asleep and won’t wake up (just like in the Universe 7 vs. Universe 6 tournament from earlier in the series) so they have to find a new tenth member, and Goku comes up with the brilliant plan of… yes, you’ve guessed it: Frieza! As if the whole Resurrection F film and Super arc weren’t enough, here he is. A nice nod to earlier DB and Z stories is that Goku has Fortuneteller Baba resurrect Frieza for 24 hours, much like she did with Grandpa Gohan, Goku and Vegeta in the past. I’ll admit I rolled my eyes at the news, but I will also admit that the conversation between Goku and Frieza did put a big smile on my face… I can’t help it! Hearing Ryusei Nakao’s now legendary voice ask if he’s allowed to kill in the tournament, and upon hearing “of course not!” he simply replies “That’s a bother… Well, I shall endure” with a smirk and Nakao’s silky voice just put a big smile on my face. Frieza will fight in the tournament as Goku promised that if they win he’ll resurrect Frieza with the Dragon Balls, which makes sense… Frieza’s in hell so why does he care if the universe gets erased, unless he thinks he’s fighting for a chance to keep a universe around to be resurrected in.

The other big news from these episodes is over in Universe 6, where Cabba, the Saiyan we saw in the Universe 7 vs. 6 tournament, recruits two female Saiyans named Caulifla and Kale. Caulifla is a rather stern “bad ass punk” type of character, and soon gets the hang of the Super Saiyan form Cabba shows her, though she figures it out by it being described as gathering your energy in the centre of the back and releasing it when you get a “tingly feeling” which… well, let’s face it, Super Saiyan has been pointless since the Buu arc, it’s not the dramatic and emotional transformation it used to be, so whatever. They then try the same method with the super shy and awkward Kale, but it doesn’t work… until they argue between themselves and Kale gets angry about it and turns… into a Legendary Super Saiyan, the form previously exclusive to movie-only character Broly. The problem is that they’ve kept the design so close that it legitimately looks like Broly in drag, rather than a new character. It’s really distracting! She even gives the old “my power is … overflowing” line that became Broly’s catchphrase in the 1,000s of games he’s appeared in since his movies ended. So we finally get a female Super Saiyain in Caulifla, and then get a second, far more powerful one in the following episode (that looks like cross-dressing Broly, but never mind), so that’s good, and adds a lot to Universe 6’s team.

The negatives from this batch of episodes are mostly centred on the fact that the bloody Tournament of Power is still on the horizon rather than actually here. It’s taken far too long, to the point where it feels as if they’re stalling for time, despite the fact that they have no source to catch up to! The manga is still adapting the previous Future Trunks arc and they both run independently off the same bullet point rundown Toriyama gives them, so there is no reason to drag this out so much. Also Buu being screwed over again is a shame, though at least he got to show off a bit in the exhibition matches at the start of the arc, and Tien isn’t getting a new lease on life like Krillin, Gohan and Piccolo, and is instead presented as very much making up the numbers.

So that’s another six episodes down. You’d think the Tournament of Power is up next, but apparently Universe 4’s God of Destruction is planning on sending assassins to stop Frieza from reaching the tournament in the next episode, so… fingers crossed in six weeks time I’ll be finally talking about the tournament starting, even if it’s a few episodes into the batch…

7 / 10

Cold Cobra

Having watched anime since it was airing late night on the Sci-Fi channel in the late 90s, I consider myself... someone who's watched a lot of anime, and then got hired to write reviews about them. Hooray!

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