Dragon Ball Super is slowly chugging on, but there are some warning signs flashing in regards to its main plot, especially in the first initial arc. Dragon Ball Super is essentially a rehash of the latest two Dragon Ball films, albeit in a very protracted and filler-rich fashion. For many fans, including myself, this is disappointing. I have not yet seen the film, and we are only four episodes in, but there are definite signs for concern. Of course, this is going to be a long-running show (probably over 100 episodes), and once the Beerus and Frieza storylines are over, we will get a story that is actually specifically made for the new series. However, it’s not all doom and gloom: Away from an evil purple cat who uses his stomach to decide who to kill, the series is actually a ton of fun.
Episode 4 featured a huge throwback to the original Dragon Ball show. We had Pilaf and his crew up to their usual business of trying to find treasure, except they are stuck on a little island with a broken boat, and the treasure is not real. Poor Pilaf never could catch a break, even back in the Dragon Ball days. It was nice to see him back in the show, even if it is only for one really filler-ish episode. The angry and desperate back-and-forth segments between Pilaf and his gang highlights what makes anime so popular: Voice actors. There is so much expression in the voices, and even in a moment where the lives of the characters are in danger, there is still a really strong comedic undercurrent that completely dissolves any negative vibes.
Continuing with the nostalgia angle, Trunks and Goten need way more screen time. They are the heart and soul of this show, and even this early on, an episode is not complete without some goofiness from them. Their antics remind me so much of when Goku was a kid during Dragon Ball. When it came to normal everyday situations outside the field of battle, he was the goofiest and kindest person to have graced our televisions, but when shit got real, he was a totally different person. In many ways, actually, Goku has not grown up at all. For example, the tractor in Episode 1: Who lets their child drive a tractor around on a cliff? Trunks and Goten (just like a young Goku) are also capable of acts of very sincere kindness. When Pilaf eventually gets on Bulma’s party boat with his crew, hungry and exhausted, T&G do not hesitate to feed them, even though they are enemies. Like I said, heart and soul.
Vegeta, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. If there was an award for father and husband of the year, he would need to offer some pretty hefty bribes to even be nominated; completely ignoring your wife’s birthday to train in a gravity chamber is bad. At this point, it feels like Vegeta’s training is only there to waste time until he eventually teams up with Goku to fight Beerus and Whis, who conveniently arrive on King Kai’s planet to continue their investigations into the Super Saiyan God just as the episode is coming to an end. Nothing screams Dragon Ball nostalgia like the good part happening five seconds before the end of an episode, apart from maybe a 20-minute journey through space taking almost 40 minutes of episode time for Beerus; if that isn’t a Dragon Ball cliché, then I don’t know what is.
It has taken four episodes for Dragon Ball Super to fall back into what were the frustrating clichés that we simply looked past as kids. The show is, by all accounts, still great and a lot of fun to watch, but there are a number of worrying things that could make for disgruntled fans in 1-2 months time.
- You’re really telling me you can get past that ridiculously excessive security system by pulling the plug out of the socket?
- Bulma’s actually angry that Vegeta didn’t attend her birthday. Did she really expect anything different?
- You would think King Kai, a master of fighting and tactics, would be able to keep a secret from Goku. King Kai not really living up to his title there.
- It really was nice to see the Pilaf gang again, even if they have been reduced to simple comic relief.