“Now, now, isn’t this form an embarrassment…””The fight isn’t over yet.”
An alternate title that would be just as appropriate for this week’s Dragon Ball Super episode would be, “The Assassination of Super Saiyan Blue Goku by the Coward Sorbet.” This long-standing grudge match culminates in an absolutely bonkers ending that is surely going to drive some viewers crazy, but hey, that’s part of the game when you’re a Dragon Ball fan.
The showdown between Super Saiyan Blue Goku and Golden Frieza really hits its climax this episode. While the end of last week’s offering saw Goku struggling to keep up with Frieza’s new form, now he’s barely breaking a sweat. This episode features a lot of Goku getting hit by big energy blasts from a point blank rage. Admittedly, this looks plenty cool, but after doing this sort of sequence several times over and Goku continuing to be completely unscathed, it begins to wield diminishing returns.
It’s worth pointing out that there’s once more some regrettable animation in this episode, but there’s at least some strong fight choreography to fall back on. If you ever wanted to know how to use a prehensile tail effectively in a fight, this is the piece of television to watch. The animation issue might not be that glaring on a week-to-week basis, but it does stand out more when you’re binging the program. This is almost certainly something that people are going to do as it allows them to just finish these lengthy multi-episode battles rather than having to draw them out.
Viewers might also be a little frustrated to see Goku trading quips with Frieza rather than eliminating the guy when he has the chance. As much as this material may grate, it’ actually turns out to be part of a “plan” of Goku’s to stall time. Frieza might not be aware of the fact that he’s gradually losing strength, but Goku and Vegeta certainly are.
Dragon Ball Super has surprisingly been a show that’s about not just unlocking insane reservoirs of power, but how to control that power. It was a principle that was crucial to Goku’s mastering of his Super Saiyan God form, so it’s only fitting that it becomes a major factor in Frieza’s downfall. Goku’s efforts to run the clock end up working because he understands that once Frieza hit his new echelon of power during his training, he immediately headed to Earth to get his revenge. Frieza reached this new level, but he didn’t put in the necessary time to understand how to control it in a way so that it’s not draining stamina and endurance. If Frieza had just been more patient, this fight might have had a very different outcome.
On that note, Whis also more or less states that if Goku and Vegeta simply fought together then Frieza would easily fall and the planet would be safe. However, the mere task of these two cooperating is so impossible that lives would rather be endangered than these sharing the spotlight. It’s absolutely absurd, but it’s also the crux of Goku and Vegeta’s relationship. Don’t expect this fight to end with these two pulling off some Final Kamehameha and then patting each other on the back. That being said, they do team-up in the verbal bullying department. In what might be the episode’s most enjoyable sequence, the two Saiyans argue over which of them is going to beat Frieza, as if the guy isn’t even there, let alone a threat.
After Frieza has been properly emasculated and the fighting seems to be coming to a close, that insane ending that was alluded to earlier finally rears its vicious head. It’s a conclusion that sees Goku and Frieza being eternally true to their characters, only in Goku’s case, his characteristic kindness nearly results in his death. Once Goku has Frieza on the ropes, he inexplicably gives him another chance and allows him to flee the planet.
It’s a decision that’s so frustrating and yet another prime reason to hate Goku, but it’s also a move that’s pure Dragon Ball, so it’s hard to begrudge the entry too hard. Of course Goku responds this way and of course Frieza uses the opportunity to pull off the master of all sneak attacks. In this case, that involves enlisting Sorbet to fire a laser beam right through Goku’s chest. There’s surely a lot of debate to be had about Goku letting his guard down so much that he wouldn’t notice Sorbet’s blast, let alone if he would even be that vulnerable to it, but that’s not the point. This moment is meant to hit the audience like a ton of bricks and reinforce that Frieza is evil. It’s a moment that totally works as well as making you feel somewhat embarrassed that Goku is this show’s protagonist.
As Goku’s life hangs in the balance, fortunately Vegeta is still around to handle this mess. If one thing’s for sure, it’s that he’s definitely not letting anyone crawl away from a fight.
Get ready. Now that Vegeta has finally stepped into the ring, the real Battle of Gods can begin.
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