This Dragon Ball Super review contains spoilers
Dragon Ball Super Episode 72
“This is between Hit and me. This is our fight.”
It’s no surprise that the Dragon Ball series idolizes Goku, almost to an unhealthy degree. There are plenty of episodes that highlight his exceptional fighting skills, but it’s not that often that Goku’s other abilities get to help save the day. “Will He Strike Back?!” is such a fun installment of the series because it showcases the whole spectrum of Goku’s many skills and underscores why he is worthy of being Dragon Ball’s centerpiece. The episode is also such a treat because it basically just lets two powerful, entertaining characters go at it for the entire offering. There are no doubt deeper episodes of Dragon Ball Super that are out there, but as far as entertainment goes, it’s hard to have many problems with this installment.
First of all, there’s that whole pesky death problem from the previous episode. Well, Goku comes back to life almost immediately, so screw you for ever being so naïve to think that this death might have been permanent. There are some nice touches that are present here, such as Piccolo’s (unsuccessful) Namekian Defibrillator and Goku’s admission that he got deep enough in the afterlife to strike up a conversation with King Yemma.
Dragon Ball is also the sort of series where it wouldn’t be surprising if half of the episode revolved around Goku’s revival, so it’s a relief to see the installment not waste the audience’s time. Additionally, the plus side of Goku’s quick resurrection is that it allows the majority of the episode to boil down to a fantastic fight between Goku and Hit. Hey, if the two couldn’t face off together in baseball, then at least they finally have this chance to determine who’s the best in combat.
While it’s appreciated to see the episode cut away from the death fake-out right away, it’s always risky when an entire episode is devoted to a big fight. If the showdown doesn’t deliver then it can turn out to be a huge misfire and the fans will rebel. Granted, this is filler, so any time there’s a thrilling fight as the focus, people should be happy and relieved that the show didn’t decide to re-visit Fake Namek or something worse. Additionally, Goku and Hit’s fight is a satisfying re-match between the two titans. It’s a particularly well-choreographed battle and while Goku doesn’t necessarily show off any new abilities here, it’s an instance where his brain and fighter’s intuition are indispensible.
In fact, this episode is actually one of most articulate examples of Goku at his smartest. His entire revival isn’t based around some unfair trick, but rather his brilliant idea to fire off an energy attack into the air pre-death that would later revive him (this tactic is even seen at the end of the prior installment, but it looks like Goku misses). Some of even the best strategists out there couldn’t think up such a brilliant plan of attack as this. It’s nice to see Dragon Ball Super pivot back to that version of Goku, even if it is just for an episode.
Goku does well by relying on established powers, but Hit is full of all sorts of surprises and it makes the fight feel continually fresh and unpredictable. In that sense, the audience is in the same position that Goku is and Hit’s multiple attack and invisible strike come as complete shocks. On that note, Hit’s impressive new assassination technique basically makes him once again untouchable and even involves an invisibleenergy blast. How do you possibly defend against that?
The whole debacle also just looks beautiful and the end stretch of the fight is particularly stunning (that sunset at the climax is perfection). It’s been a while since Dragon Ball Super has delivered a particularly substandard episode when it comes to animation, but this entry is a perfect example of how low quality animation would really hold back this episode and dampen its full effect.
Goku and Hit’s fisticuffs take care of the action component of the episode, but there’s still room for humor courtesy of the never-ending rivalry between Beerus and Champa. Hit’s assassination attempt on Goku inadvertently puts the two Gods of Destruction’s universes in conflict with each other, so of course Beerus and Champa are going to make this personal.
The fate of their universes may not be at stake, but they certainly turn this into a pissing contest between who has the better universe. Vegeta’s ridiculous Granny’s Secret Sauce lie is a serious highlight and Chi-Chi also swoops in during the episode’s conclusion and also provides some rage-induced laughs. Honestly, if Chi-Chi ever gets pushed too far she could probably beat both Gokuand Hit.
The resolution that Goku and Hit’s fight turns out in a tie may make some viewers groan, but it keeps the debate between who is stronger alive and that’s ultimately more important than throwing one of these characters under the bus. Furthermore, the fact that this is technically “filler” means that the results would endlessly be under scrutiny so this tie resolution is seriously the smartest play. Not only that, but an open-ended ongoing assassination hit being out there on Goku is a wonderful idea, even if the series never returns to that prospect. Goku better never really piss off Hit or the assassin might suddenly decide to up his game.
“Will He Strike Back?!” concludes on what’s actually an amazing reveal where Goku explains that he was the one that hired the assassination hit on himself. He put his life on the line with the best assassin in all twelve universes as a new, intense way to push himself in battle and take his skills to nearly inconceivable levels. It’s an insane plan, but it’s absolutely believable and it feels like pure Goku.
Whis and Vados are also a part of Goku’s strategyand play key roles, but Vegeta, Beerus, and Champa are left hopelessly in the dark so the installment isn’t entirely void of suspense. It’s actually one of the stronger twists that Dragon Ball has pulled off and it works all the better due to how this episode doesn’t really advertise that it’s building to that kind of reveal. “Will He Strike Back?!” is a great example of the show playing into its basest impulses, but still finding time to get creative with it all.
Now let’s just get that Kill Bill style revenge vehicle where a grown-up Goten strikes his vengeance on Hit, please.