This Dragon Ball Super review contains spoilers.
Dragon Ball Super Episode 57
“We are not allies. I suppose you could call us ‘kindred spirits.'”
Losing is important.
A series like Dragon Ball fails to be exciting if the good guys win every episode and never struggle against their new foes. There’s a reason after all that Goku’s only ever won one World Martial Arts Tournament. Just as important as understanding when someone should win or lose in battle is also understanding the moment when the tide should turn in battle.
A good conclusion to a fight is paramount, but knowing how to properly pace one out and get to that ending is sometimes even more important. Dragon Ball Super understands that and “The God With The Invulnerable Body ” is not only a great, suspenseful episode of the series, but it also moves the larger battle against Goku Black along impressively.
The heroes take a pounding this week, but in the process it feels like the first phase of this fight is over and the gang is ready to learn some new tricks and knock everything up a notch; something that wouldn’t be possible if the good guys mopped the floor with Zamasu and Black here.
Vegeta fans don’t have a lot to get excited about this week as the Prince of Saiyans is still on the mend from that nasty impaling courtesy of Goku Black’s ki sword. He’s unconscious and sits the first half of the episode out while Goku is pushed into the battlefield to avenge his friend and get the job done now that Zamasu has joined the party.
Zamasu does the whole evil tyrant thing and waxes on about how his new world that’s void of mortals will be so much better than the currently flawed universe. Goku has no patience for such megalomaniacal pipe dreams and he wants to cut to the chase here.
There’s a brief altercation between Goku and Goku Black where it feels like Black is the one that leads the battle and is in control. Goku doesn’t seem to be overwhelmed, but he’s certainly on the defensive. That being said, Black still shows enough of an advantage that when a bitter Zamasu (“my body has the desire to fight him and I don’t know if I can stop it”) teams up with him, Goku is officially in over his head. In a rather thrilling moment, Future Trunks jumps in, sword in tow, to support Goku and suddenly this turns into a very interesting two-on-two assault.
“The God With The Invulnerable Body” doesn’t waste this opportunity and makes sure that this fight is just as exciting as it should be. Bodies fly all over the place as Future Trunks and Goku try to defend themselves and one another as they cross paths in battle. There’s a real rawness to the relentless nature at which they fire energy at one another and how they fly through hundreds of miles of territory, as they make sure that their battle never stops moving.
The animation is top quality, the choreography doesn’t disappoint, and even though this was already pointed out, the whole color scheme for Black’s aura versus Super Saiyan Blue Goku’s is gorgeous to watch in motion. It’s also kind of a cool detail that both Goku Black and Zamasu wield ki blades as their weapon. It’s the official bad guy tool at this point.
For a while it seems like the combined efforts of Zamasu and Black are too much for Goku and Future Trunks. Trunks learns pretty quickly how useless his sword is here, too. Additionally, Zamasu’s immortal God body appears to be invulnerable to damage (what!!) so even if Trunks’ sword were one hundred times stronger, it still would be useless in this fight.
Black attempts to finish the two off with Goku’s own trademark attack (and nearly gets the job done) until Vegeta pulls himself onto his feet in one grand gesture. It’s an awesome, benevolent moment that accomplishes exactly what it needs to, but it worsens Vegeta’s condition and he’s now officially down for the count.
While Vegeta acts as the perfect distraction, Yajirobe of all people helps save the day and pulls Goku and Future Trunks out of danger. Mai and the resistance fighters perform a similar service on Vegeta to make sure that Black doesn’t turn him into ash like so many of their other friends. With Earth’s strongest warriors beaten and out of ideas, the team is forced to retreat back to their own timeline. That’s right, this is an episode of Dragon Ball where the background characters are the ones that save the day.
Goku, Future Trunks, and Vegeta use the time machine to abandon the battle and leave the people that saved them, Mai and Yajirobe, to fend for themselves in armageddon (although Future Trunks is devastated over this in what makes for a simple, but effective goodbye). It’s absolutely a depressing bummer of an ending, but it’s a little humbling after Vegeta and Goku have acted unstoppable ever since their Super Saiyan Blue upgrades.
It might be tough to watch the good guys run with their former tails between their legs, but it’s preferable to them kicking Black and Zamasu’s ass and the bad guys decide to run away for some clumsy reason. Dragon Ball Super wants the audience to understand that this is the series’ biggest fight yet and it’s going to take a number of battle plans before they figure this one out.
This is an episode that’s still interested in answering the question of just who Goku Black is now that it’s clear that it can’t be Zamasu (although his new obsession with the Super Dragon Balls seems like a pretty big clue). Nobody gets much closer on the front, but it hangs heavy on Future Trunks and it feels like it’s the key detail that will give these guys their first break against these villains.
At the moment the combined threat of Zamasu and Goku Black seems impossible to defeat, but that’s the point of this whole storyline. Zamasu wants to rub in how powerless mortals are to Gods and his point is definitely getting through loud and clear right now.
“The Advent of Zamasu” is a satisfying companion piece to the first half of the battle that started last episode in “Rematch With Goku Black!” Not only does it offer a more complex battle and the addition of Zamasu, but it’s also great to have Future Trunks and Goku fighting side by side. Plus, that moment where Zamasu holds down Future Trunks and Goku and they all collectively take the hit from Black is the coolest thing that’s happened in a few episodes.
It’s debatable that these two episodes could have maybe been squeezed into one action-packed installment that’s much economical. It doesn’t feel like either of these episodes drag their feet though and on the scale of how negligent Dragon Ball can be with needlessly drawing out battles, this doesn’t even register.
After a few episodes of heavy battles, it looks like Dragon Ball Super is ready to return to the tactical stages of their operation. If Goku Black can get stronger after his encounters with Goku, then hopefully the good guys can at least get smarter after each of their showdowns.
And be sure to stay tuned for Gowasu’s GodTube channel. I bet the guy would do great unboxing videos.