This Dragon Ball Super review contains spoilers.
Dragon Ball Super Episode 5
“Goku, come say hello to Beerus…”
Now that’s the Dragon Ball Super that we’ve been waiting for! This week’s episode is almost entirely dominated with some good old fashioned brawling and a nice little primer on Goku’s various abilities and transformations if you’ve been living under an anime rock for the past two decades, or you know, never googled the words “Goku” and “fanart” before. There’s a lot of long-haired pictures of Earth’s favorite Saiyan out there.
Last episode had Beerus touching down on King Kai’s turf—which is considerably a big deal—but before they can get down to business there’s a lot of King Kai groveling at Beerus’ feet. His attempts to distract Beerus from the fact that Goku is nearby are pretty fruitless and it’s not long before the cat is out of the bag. In a bewildering moment, Beerus is simply ready to leave before Goku jumps in with the request to fight him, failing to see how this cat person can be as terrifying as everyone is making him out to be. Beerus is so amused by this unusual request that he grants Goku his wish.
In a rather humbling experience Goku isn’t able to land a finger on the God, with the stage nicely being set for the sort of threat that Earth’s Greatest are up against. If Goku can’t even make a dent on this guy, some serious work is going to need to be done. Beerus tells Goku that “the power of destruction is scary” and the guy means it. He thoroughly kicks Goku’s ass by barely flicking his wrist. Maybe all that training that Vegeta’s been up to hasn’t been a bad idea after all.
Take a second and imagine that this was the first episode of Dragon Ball Super. A quick summation is given on Beerus and his premonition, Goku’s well into training on King Kai’s planet, Bulma’s birthday is already in progress, and the show just jumps into the action. Granted, that’s obviously not what Dragon Ball Super is interested in being. As someone who has seen 75 episodes of the show, this is a show that indulges in filler almost like no other Dragon Ball series. It wants to hit the lighter tones that Dragon Ball could do so well while also tapping into that relentless action that fueled Dragon Ball Z. So while it might have been nice to start with this action-packed episode, there’s something to be said for easing us back into these characters so there’s a little more weight behind these battles. I couldn’t help but think that this felt like the first “real” episode of the series, though.
In spite of this episode largely being dominated with a tremendous demonstration of power, the entry still feels like it takes its time and could manage to get through such events in a more effective manner to some degree (plus, the animation also takes another unfortunate dive at a number of spots). “Showdown on King Kai’s Planet” also attempts to break down the distinction between a Super Saiyan and a Super Saiyan God, with this also acting as a welcome opportunity for a showcase of Goku’s strengths. Whether this sort of scene is ultimately necessary or not, it is nice to see these extravagant transformations once again in a show that’s largely been pacifistic so far.
This installment ends with the stage properly being set for Vegeta to try picking up the slack and taking charge of things as Beerus beelines towards Earth. Meanwhile, this new level of Super Saiyan-dom even something that Goku is capable of unlocking? And if so, can he do it in time? Next episode takes a break from Goku and heads back to the birthday bash, but don’t expect the focus to be on Pilaf this time.
Oh, and poor King Kai’s planet takes a considerable beating. That guy’s getting left with less and less with each passing episode. Who knew that he’d gradually become the Dragon Ball universe’s George Costanza (Jason Alexander would make for a fine live-action King Kai, by the way).
Dragon Ball Super airs on Saturdays at 8pm on Adult Swim, and 11:30pm in their Toonami block.