This Dragon Ball Super review contains spoilers.
Dragon Ball Super Episode 3
“Oh peace, such a fleeting thing.”
I kind of love that the premise of this episode is about everything being okay if confrontation with highly temperamental God of Destruction is avoided. This seems like a simplistic scenario, with the episode even addressing the idea of who would be so stupid to stir this pot? Enter Goku. So kind of brilliantly, the episode’s main focus is keeping Goku in the dark about Beerus because if he happens to find out, he of course is going to want to fight him. And then? Well, it very likely could be goodbye Earth and/or universe. It’s sort of genius because this meeting between Goku and Beerus is one that the show’s universe direly does not want to happen, yet it’s something that the series’ audience is practically frothing at the mouth for at this point. The episode’s trajectory operates off the logic that Goku is some sort of fight junkie that is helpless to his need to fight someone stronger. And he is, so while the decision to fight Beerus might be incredibly reckless, the Kais have every right to be worried about Goku’s actions. Beerus is apparently responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs, which is a pretty bad ass retcon of history if you ask me. He’s also the one that imprisoned Old Kai in the Z Sword all those years ago, which is some more gratifying backstory on the character.
There’s a lot in this episode between Goku and King Kai and I was a little grateful to get the reminder of the reverence of this character as well as how shoddily Goku (and Dragon Ball Z) has treated him during the back-end of the anime. Fancier, shinier deities like Supreme Kai and Old Kai have gotten much more of the glory while King Kai has been relegated into more of a punchline character. His request to be brought back to life is more than reasonable and you almost forget that the character didn’t always have a halo above his head. It’s a small detail that would be nice to see reconciled next time Shenron comes along. Or maybe it’s going to take King Kai to get Bubbles and Gregory to get the Dragon Balls themselves in order to get their wish granted.
This episode also features the most of Beerus and Whis yet, which is great. The first half of the episode is basically handed over to the two of them. While Beerus is getting the heavy focus, it’s nice to get some telling lines of dialogue such as how Whis is “The fastest person in this universe.” Getting an example of Whis’ true powers at some point would be satisfying, but it seems like the show wants him to be taking a backseat for now. Beerus and Whis being off in space also leads to the series’ introduction of the Oracle Fish, which basically seems to be some prescient alien friend of theirs that they sometimes use to look into the future? The character doesn’t really get developed much (he seems to like food as much as these guys do) and feels like an excuse to just have fun with more alien visuals (Beerus’ drink looked wonderful, as did that cobra bath setup, for instance). Regardless of the Oracle Fish’s role in the greater scheme of the series, he does help move things along, confirming that this Super Saiyan God is indeed going to be his ultimate adversary. While it’s being nitpicky, I’m a little over people being so overwhelmed of the knowledge that Frieza has been defeated when there are much more powerful adversaries out there. Beerus inquiring about Frieza isn’t out of the ordinary, but throwing in some details about Buu as well wouldn’t hurt.
Back on Earth, everyone is abuzz for Bulma’s birthday party and the episode decidedly takes a much more relaxed feel. None of this material feels essential, but it’s nice to see characters like Krillin, Android 18, and Master Roshi get to be in the spotlight for a minute and share some screen time. There’s a lot of padding with this birthday (and it’s one of the more stretched out moments of this Battles of Gods “adaptation”), but it does at least function well as this opportunity for a lesser tier characters to be featured. Scenes like the one where Gohan and Videl share their wedding photo with Piccolo are sort of beautiful in how to down to Earth they are. They almost make you forget that a God is about to literally come down to Earth and put things in jeopardy.
For those that don’t think the gentle party banter that the episode offers up is entertaining enough, there’s still a scene of Vegeta training while he ignores that his wife’s birthday is going on. Someone’s got to get stronger than Goku, after all. Even the absent-minded Goku manages to remember. But that’s really it for the excitement in this episode. The decision to have Battle of Gods spread across fourteen episodes is certainly a bold one (even ten epsiodes would be plenty) and this is definitely an episode that’s not left with a lot of material to work with accordingly. Getting reacquainted with some smaller characters is the highlight this week as the wheels stay in motion for bigger events to come.
Next week we might actually get to see what those Bingo prizes are…and maybe Beerus and Whis will arrive on Earth, too.
Dragon Ball Super’s dub continues to air on Saturdays at 8pm on Adult Swim, and 11:30pm in their Toonami block