This Dragon Ball Super review contains spoilers.
Dragon Ball Super Episode 32
“It’s Frieza! They have him in their universe, too?”
After a fun side-story last episode that saw Bulma and Jaco traversing the edge of the universe, it’s time to get back to that giant multi-universal fighting competition that’s been slowly brewing over the past few episodes. Goku and Vegeta have wisely been using their remaining training time in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber together, fitting in a quick three years of self-improvement under the wire. It’s a small detail, but that background track that kicks off the episode as Goku and Vegeta are training (and Dende and Mr. Popo are playing badminton?) is pretty damn great.
It’s also quite satisfying to get some golden moments between Goku and Vegeta while they’re alone together. Goku’s excitement over having new strong opponents to face is hardly new territory, but it doesn’t get much better than Vegeta shooting the guy down and telling Goku to start acting his age and to take this a little more seriously. This also leads to a curious tidbit about Saiyan genealogy where apparently Saiyans continue to look “young’ until they turn 80? You learn something new every day. Based on the brief glimpse that this episode offers towards their training, I’m fully in support of getting some standalone OVA series that simply looks at the three years that Goku and Vegeta spent together in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. There are stories to tell there.
“Matches Begin!” also introduces Monaka, Beerus’ alleged trump card for Universe 7 and the one member of the team who’s apparently stronger than Goku. Let’s just say that Monaka’s appearance leaves a lot to be desired. He certainly doesn’t look like a super strong fighter, unless all of his power is actually stemming from those long nipples that he’s rocking. Fun fact, “Monaka” actually means “great nipples,” so that’s just been his cross to bear. Did I say fun fact? I meant gross fact.
Whis’ travel cube—which is most definitely not a spaceship—sets everyone off on this journey to the “Planet With No Name” and the show can finally sink its teeth into this story arc. It’s also nice that the extended Dragon Ball gang gets to come along for the ride so these extra characters are able to provide commentary throughout the approaching battles. It’s also super cute to see Goten and Trunks commenting on how cool all of this space travel is, too. As they reach their destination, the group gets a good look at the Super Dragon Balls and they learn that the rumors that these things were “planet-sized” weren’t exaggerations. These are some pretty bonkers wish orbs.
It might not be entirely necessary, but it’s also nice to see the Kais checking in regarding this tournament. There’s a rather big reveal here in the sense that Supreme Kai and Kibito are no longer fused together and that the Namekian Dragon Balls can apparently undo a “permanent” fusion. This is likely information that won’t ever come into play again and it’s more a character thing here, but good to know that Potara earing fusions can be reversed for Kais when under the right extreme circumstances. Seeing what the Kais and supreme deities from Universe 6 look like is a nice bonus. It appears that they don’t have as casual a relationship with their universe’s inhabitants as the Kais from this universe do. It’s also just a throwaway line, but when Goku asks Beerus if Champa is responsible for creating their impressive battlegrounds, Beerus tersely explains, “Gods of Destruction do not create things.” I love how much of a stickler these guys are to the job description.
A good chunk of time in “Matches Begin!” deals with meeting the fellow opponents from Universe 6, which includes another Saiyan named Cabba, whose race didn’t suffer the same tragedy that Universe 7’s Saiyans did. Plus, there’s a fighter named Frost who pretty much appears to be the Universe 6 equivalent of Frieza. That’s why this whole multiverse concept is so exciting. It allows for things like new, modified versions of “old” villains or What If? takes on existing characters, like tail-less Saiyans who are actually heroic mercenaries in their universe. Watching Vegeta bond with the young Saiyan and the two of them actually discussing future plans together is really sweet, too. There’s also a bad-ass robot in the mix, so there’s a lot to like here.
In spite of it being Vegeta’s grand idea to involve a written portion in the test, it ends up backfiring on Universe 7. As strong and determined as Majin Buu may be, he’s never been the most intelligent character on the series. This characterization is pushed to the limit this week as Buu falls asleep during the written test. This is pretty frustrating as I’m sure a lot of viewers—myself included—were anxious to see some solid Buu fights. There have been more than enough occasions where Goku, Vegeta, and even Piccolo, get to show off their strength. A few more weird, eccentric Buu battles would definitely be a lot of fun and tap into a different tempo for the series’ fighting style. Accordingly, Universe 7 is down a member and already at a disadvantage to Universe 6. Maybe the team should have tagged in Yamcha…
Finally, the episode goes about determining the order of these fighters and who will kick things off. Secret weapon Monaka is obviously reserved to fight last, much to Goku’s chagrin. Later, some rock-paper-scissors determines that Goku is going to fight first (big surprise there), followed by Piccolo, Vegeta, and then Monaka. While the first battle, Goku’s fight with the large bear-like Botamo, won’t really let loose until the next episode, at least everything gets set up nicely here.
-Some may be frustrated that this installment is essentially all tournament set up and bureaucracy. Surely the episode could have found a way to balance this material so rules and a fight could still happen, but the pacing of this series shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at this point. This is still all a lot of fun (even if Buu’s disqualification is maddening) and a strong way to head into the next few episodes of heavy fighting.
Oh, and that anthem of the universe gag is sheer brilliance. Let’s get an official iTunes release of that ASAP, guys.
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