This Dragon Ball Super review contains spoilers.
Dragon Ball Super Episode 85
“Erasure of the universe doesn’t sound very comforting.”
Dragon Ball Super can get so bogged down with the many aspects of a tournament—whether it’s the prep that comes before it, the battles during it, or the fallout from afterwards—that as exciting as the material may technically be, it all washes together. It’s difficult to escape this routine malaise, especially when Dragon Ball Super’s final arc revolves around the tournament to end all tournaments, yet “The Universes Go Into Action” finds a pretty novel concept to make this episode stand out.
The show has already shown plenty of Universe 7’s efforts to prepare for the Tournament of Power, so why not check in and see how the other universes are getting into shape, too? It’s not only a strong idea creatively to break up the flow of this current recruitment arc, but it just makes sense from a storytelling perspective. The opponents in the Tournament of Power will mean a whole lot more if we get to spend a little bit of time with some of them and know who they are before battle. Think how much more Universe 6’s fighters resonate and they didn’t even get that much of a focus.
Khai, the Supreme Kai from Universe 11, decides to hold a summit between all of the Supreme Kai (minus Shin from Universe 7, as the grudge against Goku and his universe continues to fester) on the topic of the Tournament of Power. Khai has honorable intentions as he tries to get all of the Supreme Kai to come to a consensus to approach Zeno and ask him to reconsider the whole erasure thing. These efforts are pretty much hopeless and only further fan the flames of competition between these universes (especially between the brainy Universe 3 and the brawny Universe 2). No one wants to take the risk of approaching the volatile Zeno, but 11’s Khai at least tries to do something.
It’s also pretty telling that the Gods of Destruction and their Angels are having an identical meeting that also keeps Universe 7 out of the picture. In spite of this, Universe 6’s Vados curiously speaks up for Goku and tries to remind everyone that a lot of them would already be erased if it wasn’t for what he did. It doesn’t get them anywhere.
The decision to have Universe 11’s Supreme Kai act as the level headed one is no coincidence. A large chunk of the episode follows Top’s exploits in Universe 11 through all of this turmoil. It’s super compelling to see the tone of the other universes considering Universe 7’s population has been kept in the dark. The episode essentially presents a mini version of “A Day in the Life of Top.” It’s certainly not an easy day, but it’s easily the most interesting part of the episode. “The Universes Go Into Action” also offers an impressive glimpse into Top’s work as a Pride Trooper and just how much ass they kick. They’re basically like if the Ginyu Force were good guys. They nonchalantly destroy a giant space alien (Happy Halloween!) and it’s all in a day’s work. We learn that the Pride Troopers will be representing part of Universe 11’s team (which is great, because Beerus needs to react to his bunny dopppleganger) and Champa is also fairly explicit that he wants his team to contain as many Saiyans as possible.
Back in Universe 7, Goku is hot off his recruitment of Krillin and Android 18 and heads off to enlist the help of Android 17, but he quickly gets distracted from his mission. This would normally be insanely frustrating because who doesn’t want to get to Android 17 as soon as possible, but the fact that “Fit Buu” is the reason for Goku’s delay is completely understandable. Who cares about Android 17 because Fit freaking Buu, you guys! What is this madness? Apparently Buu’s larger physique wasn’t just his body shape, but something that he can actively refine and form. Buu’s actually applied himself and taken training seriously and the results—at least on a physical level—are astonishing. It’s not surprising that Goku wants to immediately fight against this new and improved Buu and see how much he’s upped his game.
Goku’s fight with Fit Buu is incredibly satisfying. Buu maintains the upper hand through the entire, brief fight and he makes full use of his skills. It’s hard not to smirk when Buu beats Goku in this skirmish, but Goku’s perhaps the most excited over Buu’s reinvigorated fighting spirit since the Zen Exhibition Match. The fight features beautiful animation and creative choreography, but also has some really fitting music, too. In fact, music is on point across the board in this episode, whether it’s the more solemn, mysterious score of the Supreme Kai summit, the more folksy music that compliments Mr. Satan, or even the few bars of Jiren’s ominous theme at the end of the episode.
As Goku tests Buu’s powers, Gohan goes off to recruit and train with Piccolo. Gohan adopts a really weird attitude where he talks to Goku about Piccolo as if he doesn’t even know the guy. It’s very stilted and unusual and even Gohan’s reasoning for why Piccolo will want to compete in the Tournament of Power because he’s a “martial artist” is a gross oversimplification. Wouldn’t he want to fight to just help out his friends? Regardless of the strangeness of this, it doesn’t take up too much time or steal away any real focus from the episode, it’s just unusual, all the same. We only get a glimpse of Gohan’s reunion with Piccolo, but the Namek calls him out on his shit right away, which bodes well for what’s to come.
At face value “The Universes Go Into Action” may not get a ton accomplished, but it’s a very fun episode because of the risks that it takes. What other episode features some dog alien having drinks in a bar and it’s not even the focus of what’s going on (more on Universe 11 Bar Dog immediately, please)!?! There are also enough different topics in play here that none of them get a chance to linger for too long and grow stale, which is a luxury with this show. Honestly, you could easily fuel a whole OVA miniseries or a companion manga that just follows the different universes’ tournament prep and it’d make for a fascinating spin-off experiment.
Whether we get more detours to other universes like this or not, this episode is a particular standout.
Next week Android 17 is coming. For real. Seriously.
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