Dragon Ball Super Episode 30 Review: A Run-Through For the Competition! Who Are the Last Two Members?!

While Universe 7 tries to assemble the strongest team possible, to frustrating effect, the show needlessly strolls down memory lane.

This Dragon Ball Super review contains spoilers.

Dragon Ball Super Episode 30

“There’s a guy even stronger than Goku?”

Really, Dragon Ball Super? That’s how you’re going to do us? You’re going to get us all pumped up and excited over a new story arc and then you dare throw a clip show at us? What is this, one of the stages of Frieza’s Hell or something?

An episode like this is a whole lot easier to forgive when Dragon Ball Super was originally airing in Japan. The production schedules of anime are often deeply difficult to maintain. That’s why the animation sometimes takes such a heavy dive on this show. In the case of this episode, it was either airing no episode at all that week, or airing one that’s largely comprised of old footage. Now, after the fact, an episode like this seems like the wrong way to have gone, but it’s one of the unique problems that can arise when anime is being dubbed in such a lengthy window after the series originally premiered. As a result, “Who Are the Last Two Members?!” feels like a bit of a cheat and that it might have just been better if this was aired alongside last week’s episode, or if they tacked on another episode at the end here. On the bright side, this installment isn’t entirely old footage and at least Universe 7 gets their team finalized (or so they think) for the big tournament.

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The cover story (aka, the lie) that everyone apparently decides to run with is that Beerus is having a “space picnic” with Goku and Vegeta. While it’s a laughably bad lie, it’s appreciated to see that Chi-Chi is still an obstacle that needs to be negotiated around when it comes to Goku getting in time for training. What’s even worse is that Goku doesn’t even have the courage to personally deliver this lie to wife, instead saving the honor for Vegeta. Hell, it’d almost be tempting to see Earth get handed over to Universe 6 just so Chi-Chi’s awful characterization could get rubbed in her own face, for once.

Goku and Vegeta meet up with Krillin to begin the recruiting process. It’s nice to see Krillin helping out here, yet not becoming a member of the team, as such a decision would be pretty foolish. There are many warriors out there that are stronger than Krillin and with Beerus already claiming a spot for Monaka, Goku and Vegeta only have two positions left to fill on Universe 7’s team. A lot of Vegeta and Goku’s time with Krillin is spent playing narrator as they fill him in on the basics of this new tournament. This isn’t the most thrilling use of time, but seeing Goku attempting (and failing) to paraphrase Whis’ explanation of the 12 universes is still pretty damn entertaining. Meanwhile, Android 18 goes off on an actual picnic (an idea inspired by the lie that’s started circulating amongst the group).

There’s some welcome fan service here in regard to how Buu is still holding a massive grudge against Beerus that charts back to when the God of Destruction first landed on the planet. Buu bites the bullet and decides to participate when Goku teases him with the prospect of a wish from the Super Dragon Balls, which Buu plans to give to Mr. Satan (seriously, their friendship is the greatest romance in all of Dragon Ball, with Gohan and Piccolo being a close second). Vegeta also raises a valid question over the idea of whether Buu is still a worthy fighter after losing his “Evil Buu” side of things. Vegeta’s quick to remember that Beerus was able to handle Buu in essentially one hit.

This discussion more importantly ends up leading into Dragon Ball Super’s first mention of Uub! You know, the reincarnated soul of Evil Buu that got reborn as a child. There’s been much debate if the content of the final episodes of Dragon Ball Z (the ones that technically take place after Dragon Ball Super) are actually canon or not. So getting a mention of Uub here is a big deal, as well as the fact that it sheds a little more light towards when exactly this is taking place. Goku considers the idea of enlisting Uub’s help, however the fact that he’s a newborn pretty much rules him out…

The episode then logically moves to Goten and Trunks and if they’re viable contenders for this tournament. Unfortunately, but not without good reason, Vegeta almost immediately shoots down their inclusion due to fusion being illegal in this thing. It does act as a healthy motivator for the boys though and at least the episode doesn’t just gloss over them. Besides, would it really be that interesting if the team was entirely Saiyans?

“Who Are the Last Two Members?!” understandably tries to create some suspense over who these two remaining members are going to be, but the choices that are made are really the only conclusions to be reached. As cute as it might be to see someone like Tien, Master Roshi, or Krillin taking part in this thing, it’s pretty clear that humans aren’t going to make much of a dent in the competition.

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The only other smart choice for the team is Piccolo, who ends up being the fighter that Goku and Vegeta eventually decide on. Many wonderful feelings of nostalgia are brought forward upon seeing that Piccolo is spending his time training with Gohan. Fortunately, Gohan seems to have stuck to the promise that he made after Piccolo’s death about upping his game. Gohan still has a long way to go (which is also highlighted by the fact that Goku and Vegeta select Piccolo to battle and not Gohan), but it’s great to see the guy heading in the right direction. It might still be a long ways until Gohan is completely de-wussified (he’s apparently lost his martial arts uniform, that’s how out of practice he is), but these are the right strides to be taking. For instance, Gohan could have totally forgotten about his promise to continue training.

In spite of all of this, Gohan does still give a “business meeting” more value than this World Tournament. Maybe it’s a good thing that Gohan was double-booked on that day. He’s at least excited at the prospect of fighting new, strong warriors, which feels like something that might have given the Gohan from ten episodes ago a panic attack. Also, how cool is it to see Vegeta throwing some praise Gohan’s way? The stubborn Saiyan admits that Gohan has the most unlocked, latent potential out of all of them and how much of an asset he would be if properly trained. That’s maybe nicer than anything even Goku has said about the guy.

The reveal that Goku and Vegeta are also going to spend their four days leading up to the tournament training in the Room of Spirit and Time is incredibly encouraging. This is the smart approach for battle and what they should be doing, so it’s great to see the show actually making the right choices here. Besides, how else is Goku going to get stronger than this Monaka guy?

By the end of all of this, Universe 7 finally has its team in place, but then it’s basically time for more clip show garbage. Beerus thinks back to everything that’s happened and all that he’s witnessed since landing on Earth—as if this will give him some sort of fresh perspective on the tournament. It’s a frustrating way to lose momentum when the episode finally has its toys in order and is ready to start playing.

This clip show behavior is particularly frustrating since the first chunk of it is spent entirely on what happens in just the past two episodes. A clip show to begin with is still pretty unnecessary this early into the show’s run, but to see it be such a lopsided one that focuses on events from mere weeks ago, rather than the very start of the series, is even more insulting. Beerus and Whis end up covering the earlier portions of the series with their flashbacks, but the ratio still feels unbalanced.

All of this might have been a little more interesting if the episode tried to do something creative with its flashbacks, like having them lean especially hard into the perspective of whoever is telling them. This way, even though it’s old footage, it could at least be covered with some fresh vantage point or mine some humor from the old material. The episode flirts with this idea when Goku covers Whis’ multi-verse speech, but it’s not enough to make the Kamehameha wave of re-used scenes feel fresh. It’s a definite bummer to see this episode slow down so hard, but at least next week gets things rolling again. No, the tournament’s not starting yet, but there’s a crazy space adventure where Bulma’s in the spotlight. That’s certainly more exciting than some super-powered Gods picking the members of their kickball team.

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2 out of 5