This Dragon Ball Super review contains spoilers.
Dragon Ball Super Episode 20
“My vengeance will not be satisfied until those two Super Saiyans who put me through that hell are vanquished!”
So we totally need an episode that’s just Beerus and Champa sneezing at one another now, right? That’s the sort of madness I want from this show.
“A Warning from Jaco” makes the return of Frieza its focus, with this episode getting into the idea of Frieza training and becoming even stronger before he reaches Earth. Four months happen over the span of this placeholder episode, during which we’re to assume that Frieza is training non-stop in order to deliver the sweetest revenge imaginable. Frieza lets it slip this episode that his power is inborn and that he’s never actually had the need to train before due to how powerful his base level has been. Now that Goku’s strength has increased so exponentially since his initial battle with Frieza, it suddenly becomes time for Frieza to put his nose to the grindstone and see how deep the reservoirs of his power truly run. This detail about Frieza is an interesting concept, although it really just comes across as an excuse to give Frieza a shiny new form to go along with Goku’s next tier of Super Saiyan God-ness (surely you’ve noticed the appearance of Frieza’s new digs during the brief new footage contained in the opening theme).
It’s nice to get to hear Frieza actually reminiscing about how awful his version of Hell was and the weirdly specific, cute displays of affection that he had to endure while imprisoned there. Personally, this works a lot better than leaving that brief glimpse of Frieza in Hell as a one-off gag. Fleshing out his damnation makes it all the more interesting. There’s also some welcome continuity present in this episode where the freshly revived tyrant has an ax to grind against Goku and Future Trunks, the people responsible for destroying him. Similarly, it makes sense that Frieza would bring up his father, King Cold, and inquire as to why he wasn’t also resurrected, with Sorbet and company having an appropriate answer for him.
Frieza certainly wastes no time reminding everyone why he had such a revered reputation in the first place. Just minutes after he’s been brought back to life he’s already ousting Sorbet as leader and rubbing salt in the wound over the deplorable job that he’s been doing in his absence. It’s also a nice little blast from the past to hear Zarbon and Dodoria get name-dropped in reference to how all of the higher-ups on the Frieza Force are all at least as strong as Frieza’s former henchmen. The sparks of a growing rift between Frieza and Tagoma are also first witnessed here in some effective foreshadowing. Now that the titular leader of the Frieza Force is back, the members of his team might not be as impervious as they initially thought.
I also didn’t mind that Frieza was left to play a little catch-up regarding how the universe has changed in his absence. It’s a welcome touch to see Frieza being aware of other heavy-hitters in the universe such as Majin Buu and Beerus. It also makes for an endearing detail that these warriors were mentioned as cautionary tales to a young, impressionable Frieza. For characters like those two who were exceedingly strong, but happened to come post-Frieza, it’s nice that Frieza’s at least got the proper reaction to those diabolical forces rather than him simply ignoring them and pretending that he’s always been the strongest being in the universe.
Another crucial component from this episode involves a different visitor from outer space, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman. Jaco kind of immediately steals the show, and it’s not surprising to hear that the character is one of Toriyama’s all-time favorite creations (viewers of Resurrection ‘F’ might also remember his appearance there). Some background information on Jaco: Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is an 11-chapter manga series that Akira Toriyama serialized back in 2013 (2015 for North America). The series follows the misadventures of Jaco, an intergalactic police officer for the universe, who’s set to protect all that is good from menacing alien attacks (usually with comedic misunderstandings getting wrapped in along the way).
The eleventh, final chapter even curiously ties in to the beginning of the original Dragon Ball while also bringing over a few characters from that world (namely Bulma, as well as introducing the fact that she has an older sister named Tights, who will eventually also show up in Super). Jaco actually pulls off a rather brilliant storytelling move by making the “evil alien” that Jaco is attempting to prevent from invading Earth, the baby Saiyan, Goku. If Jaco had been successful in his mission, Goku would have never arrived on Earth and the events of these series would all be drastically different.
I’m all for creators’ worlds getting bridged together and for every show to be self contained, so it’s interesting to see Toriyama trying to turn this filler character of his into a supporting presence in Dragon Ball Super. The character receives plenty of focus moving forward (even receiving his own solo episode down the road), as well as becoming an enjoyable foil for Goten and Trunks, as well as yet another weird extraterrestrial confidante for Bulma to add to her list of friends. He makes a strong first impression here and all of the comedy in his heightened scene lands well. It’s a beautiful moment of comedy when Jaco buries the lede regarding the fact that Frieza and his army will be on Earth in one hour’s time.
As the episode scrambles after the news that comes in its final act, this ends up becoming a decent episode for Krillin. Not to mention, another reminder of how sweet his marriage with No. 18 is (her “So cool” when Krillin flies away is so damn cute). There are many pangs of nostalgia when he shaves his head and dons his traditional battle gi. His comment about it being highly unlikely that someone would be killed twice in one lifetime by the same person holds a strange poignancy to it as well.
Throughout all of this Goku and Vegeta still find themselves training on Beerus’ planet. There’s a brief but worthwhile moment where Goku and Vegeta connect punches in a way that seems to imply they’ve reached the degree of strength that Goku and Beerus were at when their hits were causing the fabric of the universe to get all wonky. Beerus has also finally woken up, implying that their training might get cranked up a notch. Is there maybe something else that they should be getting around to dealing with though?
This doesn’t lead to much substance, but it does add to the fact that Goku and Vegeta being out of commission makes Jaco’s disaster message all the more pressing. Bulma is left corralling the rest of the world’s strongest together since the two go-to warriors can’t currently be relied on. This is a great little hiccup in the story that keeps things interesting and is a believable way to prolong this battle with Frieza. That being said, it’s not as if this hasn’t been a plot point that hasn’t already happened numerous times before (see: Vegeta and company waiting for Goku to arrive on Namek, Goku recovering from his heart virus during the attack of the Androids and arrival of Cell, the Z Warriors waiting for Mystic Gohan to join in during the battle against Kid Buu…). This at least elicits some welcome fear and suspense as everyone else seems to be woefully underclassed (even still, it’s five versus 1000). It evokes a bit of the same tension that was present during the initial battle of Nappa and Vegeta during Dragon Ball Z’s Saiyan Saga.
In the end, “A Warning from Jaco” is not really an entry that feels like it needs to spread out across an entire episode. The contents of this easily could have been incorporated into the end of the last episode, or combined with next week’s entry to make a single episode. This is literally an episode just about people getting warned and preparing accordingly for things, but at least next episode promises lots of action and a colossal battle royale. The silver lining here is that the four months it takes Frieza to reach Earth easily could have been spread over two, or daresay three episodes as Bulma gathers the troops and they prepare for battle. Maybe Dragon Ball Super is learning some lessons from its predecessor after all.