“Sorry Vegeta, you’re just a warm up.”
I remember watching the Terminator films and thinking how interesting it would be if one of the films took Sarah or John Connor to the post apocalyptic future that they were fighting against rather than taking the T-800 back in time.
Then Terminator Salvation came along and proved that this approach can sometimes be a huge misfire and just totally suck. Thankfully Dragon Ball’s current riff on The Terminator doesn’t fall into the same pitfalls that Terminator Salvation does. Goku, Vegeta, and Future Trunks’ journey to the bleak alternate future marks a step in the right direction for the series and the storyline.
It should come as no surprise that the “welcome party” that ambushed Goku at the end of the last episode doesn’t turn into a major threat in this installment. Future Trunks resolves this cliffhanger quite quickly and is rewarded with some incredible news.
It turns out that this timeline’s version of Mai isn’t dead after all and it looks like he finally has someone to fight for again. Future Mai explains that these resistance fighters took her in (which also includes Yajirobe, Dragon Ball’s persistent human cockroach) and they’ve collectively done what they can to stay alive.
The gang takes refuge in Future Mai’s hideout where she explains that she and the resistance fighters have a plan of attack. In spite of that and Yajirobe’s Senzu beans courtesy of Korin, Goku and Vegeta are much more interested in resolving this with their own special skills. Vegeta and Goku bicker over who should get the opportunity to go up against Goku Black first (even though Vegeta’s yet to fight him) and in order to settle this argument they of course turn to the ultimate equalizer: rock, paper, scissors.
It’s kind of beautiful to see this silly kid’s game come up so often during pivotal moments of Dragon Ball Super. It’s hilarious that these characters that fight for the safety of the universe and are as powerful as Gods still use something like rock, paper, scissors to settle their most important decisions. In the end, Vegeta gets his wish and wins the “duel.” Always go with rock.
About half of the episode loses itself in Future Mai’s flashbacks and explanation of what she and the resistance have done since Future Trunks last left their timeline. Mai’s persistent battle against this threat is deeply inspiring (there’s even a manipulative scene between two children survivors that should bring forward all the feels) and it’s truly enjoyable to see her back together with Trunks.
“This is the smile that you protected,” should melt most of the hearts in the audience. Even Vegeta gets sentimental over all of this goodwill. However, after the much-needed homecoming and strategy session, all of the niceties get blasted away and it’s time bring on the danger.
Vegeta’s fight with Goku Black is pretty wonderful and it’s everything that Goku Black’s first fight with Goku isn’t. Vegeta goes all out here with something to prove rather than Goku’s curious, reserved fighting style. Even though Vegeta poses a challenge, Goku Black seems bored and just uninterested with Vegeta’s efforts. He wants Goku. Whether it’s to get Vegeta out of his face or to get Goku’s attention, Goku Black goes a little crazy here.
The villain powers up and his hair turns pink, which apparently is a new form of Goku Black-specific Super Saiyan called Super Saiyan Rosé. It’s interesting to note that Sean Schemmel plays this powered up form of Goku Black as practically a whole new character. His voice takes on a whole new sound once he enters this wine-esque form of Super Saiyan.
Goku Black explains that the naming style is a result of Goku’s Super Saiyan Blue, but he didn’t just copy the name, he’s also grown drastically in strength now, too. Goku Black continues to reveal that his preliminary battle with Goku only made him stronger. Vegeta does his best to take down Goku Black in his Rosé form, but the tide quickly turns.
Vegeta attempts to power up a mammoth attack to beat Goku Black, but during this time Goku Black Rosé turns his ki into a bad-ass energy blade, which he then uses to impale Vegeta. This stabbing is pretty brutal and it’s the sort of move that would typically signal the death of a character. Fortunately things aren’t that bleak for Vegeta, but it does effectively take him out of the battle.
It would be nice to finally see Vegeta get a win for once, rather than the show’s tendency to make him a mid-level obstacle and a way to run the clock until Goku joins the fight. Let’s not forget that this is the guy that truly should have defeated Golden Frieza. This fight is still far from over though.
He’ll likely have many impressive moments in the episodes to come. Goku also gets humbled in this episode, but in an entirely different way. Goku Black’s threats completely go over Goku’s head and he’s just left confused by the villain’s foreboding battle talk. It’s a moment that’s played for laughs, but it does help illustrate that Goku and company may be in over their heads here. He can’t even understand Goku Black, let alone defeat him.
After Vegeta’s defeat, Goku jumps into the fray to try to stop Goku Black Rosé before anyone else gets hurt. It looks like the two are fairly evenly matched, which Future Trunks even vocalizes to Vegeta in excitement. However, the fight isn’t as balanced as he thinks and Goku Black actually has the advantage. Goku Black begins to really give it to Goku and starts to power up a tremendous Kamehameha when all of a sudden Zamasu drops in and interrupts their battle. That’s right, they’re not the same person after all. For real (so how are those Evil Goten theories coming along?).
These two mysterious figures address one another and it’s clear that this isn’t their first meeting. Zamasu insists that Goku Black allow him to kill Goku, which they have apparently previously agreed upon. Just like that, this weird relationship between Zamasu and Goku Black takes on another fascinating wrinkle. Even if Goku and company can figure out what exactly is going on here, will anyone be strong enough to defeat the new Super Saiyan Rosé and his Supreme Kai bodyguard?
“Rematch With Goku Black!” excels with its accomplished fight scenes. Even the missile-slicing theatrics that Future Trunks pulls out at the start of the episode are gorgeous to watch. It ultimately is unimportant, but it’s also just cool to see some more colors added to these unbelievable battles.
The juxtaposition between Goku Black’s pink hair and Goku and Vegeta’s blue hair is a whole lot more aesthetically pleasing than if everyone were just blondes. That cyclone maneuver that Goku Black continually uses to make a flashy appearance is also aces. Plus, the character’s theme music carries an eerie reverence that easily makes it the best music to come out of Dragon Ball Super in a long time. The sequence where Goku Black originally shows off his Rosé form is great stuff and the episode treats it like Frankenstein’s Monster has finally come to life.
This episode is satisfying in the sense that it provides some answers and it delivers some great fight scenes that also up the game in terms of new transformations. Then on top of all of that, there is also some really sweet emotional moments in this episode surrounding Future Trunks and Future Mai’s reunion, too.
It’s a little unfortunate that the fight against Goku Black just flies by, but it’s also a testament to just how exciting this battle is and how hungry the audience is for it. Thankfully, it looks like we’re getting part two of this fight next episode with Zamasu now in the ring as well. After so many episodes of trying to get the time machine working again, it’s more than okay to get lost in a showdown for a few episodes.
Oh, and it looks like the Dragon Ball crew has a pretty sustainable subway system in West City. I wonder if Gohan ever takes that to college when he’s trying to act more “normal.” Most importantly, why has there never been a kick-ass showdown set in there before? Let’s see some close quarter high-powered combat where fighters have to swerve around oncoming trains!