This Dragon Ball Super review contains spoilers.
Dragon Ball Super Episode 84
“Why train your body if you won’t actually put it into action?”
It’s exciting to see the latest episodes of Dragon Ball Super open up their perspective to the show’s varied cast and remember that there are more characters in this show than Goku and Gohan. Krillin has always been an entertaining character because of his deep history with Goku. Not only that, his storyline is essentially what Goku’s life would look like if he gave up martial arts and adopted a simpler, more conventional life. Dragon Ball Super has already done a lot of fun things with Krillin’s character, but “Goku the Talent Scout” is another strong example of why the little guy shouldn’t be underestimated.
“Goku the Talent Scout” begins to telegraph what appears to be the structure for the next chunk of episodes. Goku and Gohan will stop in to visit some new powerful fighter and then try to convince them to join the Tournament of Power on their behalf. This is a routine that could become repetitive if not done right, but the fact that the recruitment of Krillin can be so captivating bodes well for what’s to come. The show is smart to start off on the lower end of the power scale here, especially when Krillin had a redemption episode not too long ago.
further reading: Dragon Ball Super Episode 83 Review: Field the All-7th-Universe Team! Who Are the Mighty Ten?!
A peaceful introduction shows off Krillin killing it as a police officer and provides a glimpse into a slice of his home life with Android 18. Goku wastes no time bringing up the Tournament of Power and while it takes a little bit of convincing on Goku’s part, it’s Android 18 that pushes Krillin into participating. It’s this level of enthusiasm and encouragement that inspires Goku to ask 18 to participate, too. Although the show’s opening credits give a pretty good indication of who will be on Universe 7’s team, there’s some suspense here by Android 18’s initial refusal to compete. While it’s also a small component of the episode, it plays really well that Goku has Gohan by his side for tournament recruitment and that this process turns into a sweet father and son exercise.
It’s pretty deplorable to see Goku try to pawn off Marron on Bulma and just ask her to abandon her responsibilities while he continues to lie about the true stakes of the Tournament of Power. Goku’s lie about the prize being 10 million Zeni per person for the winning team is enough to draw in 18, but one of the highlights of the episode is 18’s continual suspicion of Goku. She knows he’s not revealing all of the details of this and he’s not exactly the best liar. If Goku is already facing suspicion from his friends then this will surely be a running theme through the next episodes as Goku and Gohan continue to recruit.
Another strength of “Goku the Talent Scout” is that Gohan gets to be the skeptical one here. He’s suspicious of his dad’s selection and he personally doesn’t think Krillin would stand a chance in this tournament. Krillin himself is even surprised by Goku’s decision and even accuses him of only asking for him to be involved to get to Android 18. Goku’s not clever enough for a plan like that. Gohan is the one that takes this deadly serious Tournament of Power as deadly seriously as it should be taken. It’s nice to see the weight of this looming threat bog down at least some of the characters. Gohan’s fear manifests itself in the form of a match against Krillin to properly determine if he’s strong enough for this battle royale (18 doesn’t need such a veto process because she’s awesome).
The episode has some fun when it comes to Krillin’s strength, but for all intents and purposes this is very much a love letter to the character. His battle with Gohan ends very quickly when he blindsides Gohan with Solar Flare x100, a new super powered version of his old move. It’s during this period of confusion that Gohan gets pushed outside the boundary of their ring and loses the fight. Krillin demonstrates how crucial it is to be aware of the rules and limitations of this tournament.
With Gohan out before the episode even reaches its act break, Goku steps in to further test Krillin. This fight is the one to get excited about and there’s some stunning choreography through the battle. An incredible scene see Goku dodge a flurry of Destructo Discs and the battle appropriately ends with an all-out Kamehameha from both parties. This touching moment even causes Goku and Krillin to think back to their childhood and how they’ve always pushed each other to go farther. This is something that the show explored not that long ago, but it still hits hard here. As satisfying as it is to watch this fight, Krillin also puts together a clever strategy that shows that he’s thinking about the big picture of the battle. It may not work, but it still catches Goku off guard and once again humbles him.
The conclusion of the battle reinforces Krillin and Android 18’s bond as she jumps into his rescue. This display opens Goku’s eyes to how he’s perhaps focused on the wrong elements of the Tournament of Power by looking at strength alone. Krillin and 18 give him a lot to consider about how to carry himself in battle and it’d be interesting if each person that Goku recruits could help him improve in similar ways. The episode concludes with the presumption that Android 17 will be the next on the docket, but even if he’s not, he should make for a very fascinating addition to the team.
“Goku the Talent Scout” marks a strong start to the Tournament of Power recruitment game. It’s definitely a safe episode that ends exactly how you’d expect it to, but it still features plenty of unexpected events along the way. The episode also provides some very enjoyable musical cues, like the instrumental version of the show’s new opening theme that plays during Goku and Krillin’s battle, or the Godly choral chant that kicks in once Goku becomes Super Saiyan Blue. The music really helps elevate these moments. Add to that some gorgeous fights and Goku’s growing stress over his mounting lie and there’s a lot to enjoy in this installment.
Also, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Marron and Bulla became friends from all of this and Vegeta gets stuck at playdates and barbecues with Krillin?
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and he’s always game to discuss Space Dandy. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.