Dragon Ball Super – Part 9 contains Episodes 105 to 117 of the anime, all of which feature near non-stop fighting as eight universes continue to clash in an 80-person battle royal. Well, I say that, but by now we’re a few universes short, and it’s only going to get less as more competitors are thrown from the massive fighting arena.
As the tournament winds down (though trust me, there is a lot more to come in Part 10) we start to see Jiren of Universe 11 come into his own as the unstoppable “big bad” of the story arc, even if he’s only fighting our heroes to spare his own universe from destruction, so… not really a villain as such (especially when “our” universe team has Frieza on it!) During Episodes 109 and 110 we see Goku go head-to-head with him, ending in the rather unsurprising form of a loss for Goku, but not a ring-out (given the arc doesn’t end until the last episode of the series…), but there is a hint of a brand new, more powerful transformation for our lead protagonist on the horizon… all very cliché in terms of Dragon Ball storytelling, but what the hell, that’s why most of us are here at this point…
Only a few episodes later Goku ends up in a fight with the powerful Saiyan girls from Universe 6, Caulifla and Kale, who soon show us that their Universe’s God of Destruction and Supreme Kai had a rather clever plan, one that pushes Goku to his limit and… causes him to re-attain the “Ultra Instinct” form he showed during his battle with Jiren again, already… Very odd to see that trope reused so soon, but whatever. These fights with Goku are the kind of well animated fights that make this story arc great eye candy, especially the fight with Jiren, which is backed with an energetic vocal song called “Ultimate Battle” sung by Akira Kushida that gives the whole thing a more “epic” feel.
There are also some really good moments during this set for some of the lesser featured characters in the series, like Tien (who gets to shine in his own episode… that features a lot of Goku and Vegeta, but still!) and Master Roshi, who not only gets a whole episode to himself, including using lots of techniques he hasn’t used since the original Dragon Ball series, but he also gets a moment of recognition from Vegeta of all people. No idea where this love for Roshi has come from, or why it was absent from both Dragon Ball Z and GT, but it’s fun. Vegeta and Frieza also get some moments to shine themselves, even against each other as the Saiyan Prince tries to help out the Saiyans from Universe 6, whereas Frieza takes great pleasure in having new Saiyans to grind under his feet.
“Limit-Break x Survivor” by Kiyoshi Hikawa is still your opening, and it will continue to be up to the final episode. “Haruka” by Lacco Tower is your ending up to Episode 108, with “By a 70cm Square Window” by RottenGraffty taking over from #109 onwards. As for extras there is the usual clean opening and closing, and a “Twitter Q & A” with Sarah Wiedenheft (Zeno) and Dawn Bennett (Kale). Also, I’d like to point out that the original UK cover for this part had Master Roshi on it, and while he did get to shine, having the actual big antagonist Jiren on the cover makes far… far more sense (especially as it’s not hard to guess what Part 10’s cover will be… hint: it will look similar to what’s beneath this paragraph…) so congrats to whoever made that decision!
Dragon Ball Super Part 9 is literally non-stop, wall-to-wall fighting, with most of it being really well animated. It is quite exhausting; back when I was watching it once a week it didn’t seem so bad, but marathoning it over a couple of days does feel like possibly overkill with Dragon Ball action. Still, if you’re a fan of the show this chunk of episodes is full of great fights and lots of nostalgic callbacks, so you’ll love it!