So believe it or not, this actually makes for a fun conclusion to the Superhuman Water on Planet Pot-au-feu arc! No, this is not Copy-Daniel and the Komeson has absorbed the real version of me in order to write a positive review of this filler arc. This final installment on Pot-au-feu happens to hit all the right notes and somewhat justify this saga. Just don’t let that mean that the show will ever return to this place.
There’s actually a lot to enjoy in this episode, whether it’s the satisfying fight between Goku and Copy-Vegeta or some of the entry’s beautiful comedic moments (like the circumstances that require Vegeta to suck on a pacifier for the better part of the episode). “Goku vs. The Duplicate Vegeta!” manages to clean up many of the problems that are present in the previous two entries, which results in this one ending on a high note. Or perhaps it’s because the previous two entries lower the bar so much that this installment just seems a lot better by comparison.
I brought up before that these three episodes would be a lot stronger if they were condensed into a solo entry and I still think that’s the case. However, such a decision would also mean that a lot of the highlights of this episode would have to go as a result and that would be a shame. All of this ultimately doesn’t matter though because the only thing in “Goku vs. The Duplicate Vegeta!” that anyone really wants to talk about are its final thirty seconds which bring motherfucking Future Trunks back into the mix!!
There’s not a whole lot to say on the matter besides “Oh my God, Future Trunks is back on Dragon Ball,” but that in itself still holds a strange amount of weight. Future Trunks’ debut marks such a strong, exciting time for Dragon Ball Z and so it’s only appropriate that he can return and rejuvenate Dragon Ball Super. Some fans have been critical over the ways in which this “new” Dragon Ball series has bowed down to nostalgia like so many other recent sequels and reboots. For a show like this that’s mere existence came as such an unnecessary surprise in the first place, this sort of behavior doesn’t seem unusual. Regardless of where you might stand on the issue of how Dragon Ball Super indulges in fan service, it’s hard to imagine anyone taking exception with the return of Future Trunks.
There’s a reason that people freaked out when young Trunks merely played with a sword a few episodes back. It’s because this character is just awesome and now he’s back to mix things up in a very unusual way. This is the start of Dragon Ball Super’s most satisfying storyline…but let’s get back to those pesky water clones. There will be plenty of occasions to freak out over Trunks in the next episode when he’s actually present for more than half a minute.
The previous episode puts the significance of this battle between Goku and Copy-Vegeta on everyone’s minds. Goku excitedly remarks, “A serious fight to the death against Vegeta. Now that’s gonna be fun.” “Goku vs. The Duplicate Vegeta!” thankfully doesn’t drop the ball and it guarantees that yes, it is fun. Arguably, it hasn’t been since the days of Majin Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z that Goku and Vegeta have had a real fight.
Granted, the events of these filler episodes shouldn’t be held to the same standards and weight as that material, but this still carries a lot of power. Furthermore, this is maybe the only occasion where Goku needs to go all-out and kill Vegeta. If Goku doesn’t eradicate Duplicate Vegeta, then real Vegeta will cease to exist. This makes for the perfect circumstance where Goku needs to get aggressive and bend his usual rules.
The initial fight choreography is a little disappointing, but the intensity of the battle improves once Duplicate Vegeta begins to pummel Goku deep into the ground. From that point on Goku begins to pull out defensive tricks, like Instant Transmission, to throw his enemy off guard and make this fight as interesting as possible. It also doesn’t hurt that Goku comments on Vegeta’s increased strength several times. He’s legitimately impressed—even a little worried—over how far his “rival” has come. Both Goku and Duplicate Vegeta even have to power up to Super Saiyan Blue levels of strength in order to deal with one another.
As this epic showdown continues, Goten, Trunks, and Jaco all do their best to avoid the rogue Superhuman Water. It’s appreciated that the episode spends some time with everyone else during this battle, but they could have had a little more to do. Rather than their decision to simply run away, maybe more Superhuman Water clones could generate and Goten, Trunks, and Jaco need to dispose of them while Goku handles the more severe threat. The episode certainly doesn’t struggle to fill time and it’s great to get a lengthy fight between Goku and Vegeta, but that doesn’t mean that there also couldn’t be a little more going on in this one.
This episode also doesn’t waste the opportunity to explore the humor in how Vegeta needs to root for Goku to defeat Copy-Vegeta, who has previously been established to be exactly as strong as the real Vegeta. Vegeta’s life depends on Goku taking down this doppleganger, but at the same time he is desperate to defend his honor, save face, and look for loopholes to explain why Goku’s win here doesn’t actually mean that he’s stronger than him.
It’s a simple touch that goes a long way and in an episode that contains so much fighting (between Goku and Vegeta, no less) it’d be easy to lose this in favor of more action. Jaco’s attempt to snap a picture of Vegeta while he sucks a pacifier is also a serious highlight here.
“Goku vs. The Duplicate Vegeta” makes for a surprisingly strong conclusion to all of the Planet Pot-au-feu antics, while it also effectively teases what’s to come. Plus, Vegeta and Goku have never been more excited for their next rematch. These past few low impact installments might not have surprised anyone, but there’s no question that the episode’s final moments immediately grab everyone’s attention.
The episode is smart to bank on action, exquisite comedy, and it tries to push out most of the previous installments’ more regrettable decisions. Mini filler arcs have a tendency to amplify some of the larger problems within Dragon Ball, but this example ends with confidence.
Now, get ready for greatness. Dragon Ball Super is seriously about to kick things into high gear.