I’ve been a Dragonball Z fan ever since I was 9 years old. Somewhere between suffering from extreme virginity and not getting invited to parties, my love for the show only deepened in high school and college. As an English major, I found the lack of alien space warriors in literature quite disappointing. Just imagine how much more epic John Milton’s Paradise Lost would’ve been if Satan had been a roaring, giant ape. Spoiler alert: he isn’t. Just an angsty basement lodger with daddy issues who longingly wonders what girls (Eve) are like. Give him a tiki torch and some angry backsweat, and he may just leave his fiery pit for Charlottesville.
Naturally, I was absolutely thrilled when Dragonball Super was announced. I will be blogging about the DBS episodes here. Please note that everything I write is in good fun. My love for the series is genuine!
Let’s go! Go!
Our heroes (and Yamcha) make a glorious return in the opening credits. The animation looks smooth and colorful, the song is fun and catchy. I’m digging it.
The episode starts with Goku, who has traded the complexities of modern existence for good, honest, simple labor. That’s a fancy way of saying that Goku is now a farmer. Goten stops by to bring his Dad lunch. Since Goku has no qualms with child labor or regard for standard work safety, he asks Goten to drive his tractor as he eats his lunch and does some training.
Goten asks his Dad why he won’t make Chi-Chi happy by entering a tournament and earning some real money (which is actually a heart-breaking question coming from a kid, if you think about it). Winning a major tournament would take Goku a nanosecond and then he’d never have to worry about money or work again. Yet Goku, using his baffling Goku-logic (henceforth called Gogic) says he’d rather be out in the sun. Like a black Republican on a gay cruise, it makes zero sense. I guess Goku takes his vitamin D very, very seriously.
The scene ends with Goku stressing the importance of training. ‘One day, someone stronger may even show up!’ he tells Goten (which is basically the Sparknotes version of the entire Dragonball series).
Then the show introduces us to Beerus, God of Destruction and Giver of Zero Fucks, and his mentor Whis, enjoying a lavish banquet on an unnamed alien planet. Beerus quickly establishes himself as an absolutely wonderful anti-hero. He’s aloof. He’s charming. He’s casually menacing. He’s The Joker, Tom Riddle, Whoopi Goldberg and every cat I know wrapped in actual cat. The mysterious Whis, who’s been gifted with an impeccable fashion sense and a sultry smooth voice made for karaoking slow 90s R&B songs, is possibly even better. Beerus thinks that the food isn’t bad, but not good either, so he blows up exactly half the planet, while the other half remains with the power of Gogic. Take note, Gordon Ramsay. That’s how you punish the culinary inferior.
Next up we visit everyone’s favorite string of human silly, Hercule Satan. Hercule is bragging to interviewers how there haven’t been any alien invaders since he ‘saved’ the world. It’s a funny scene, but there’s something strangely haunting about the fact that people continue to fall for Hercule’s BS. Luckily, in DBS, an incompetent, bumbling, boastful buffoon with a silly haircut serves solely to provide comic relief. In a much, much darker reality, people vote him into the White House.
Buu makes an appearance too. Despite his relatable body-type and his bitchin’ belt, I never found Buu particularly interesting. He’s dumb. He’s strong. He likes to eat. He’s Goku but more eloquent (ME EAT YOU UP! ME EAT YOU UP!). I wonder what DBS will do with him.
Hercule and Buu have a brief quarrel about food. Hercule ends up apologizing to Buu with a massage, promising him food and a bubble bath later (I’m also guessing make-up sex, seeing this dimension to their relationship).
There’s also a quick scene with Videl and Gohan, who are now married. Gohan is wearing glasses and carrying a big book while the couple leave a bookshop called … BOOKS. I’m not sure, but I guess the writers are subtly trying to tell us that Gohan likes books now (I may have to double-check). ‘This is going to make my research a lot easier,’ says Gohan. I’m not sure what Gohan’s research will be about and I doubt the show will ever specify Gohan’s academic interests. Gohan is just going to be a scholar who scholars, much like how Bulma a scientist who sciences, and Yamcha an empty shell of a man who’s going to die alone.
My favorite moment involves Goten and Trunks, looking for a marriage gift for Videl. This subplot is simple, fun and sweet, and evokes Dragonball’s charm and lightheartedness. Goten and Trunks decide to get Videl some super special rejuvenating water from some super special lake. There’s also a joke with Goten and Trunks mistakenly calling eau de toilet ‘toilet water,’ which, quite frankly, is a pun as funny as a hungry orphan. Step up your pun game, Funimation. More like, faux de toilet, amirite? Because it’s not really perfu—okay, maybe this is harder than I thought.
Goten and Trunks proudly present their gift to Videl. When grinning prepubescent boys ask you to put something on your face or in your mouth, any weary world-wise adult knows it’s something likely to contain boogers, bugs and/or poop. Yet Videl happily splashes the water on her face and … screw it. I can’t hate on this. It’s too damn sweet! Doctor. I think… I think I’m feeling things again.
There’s a scene in which Hercule visits Goku and tries to give Goku the million zeni he received for ‘saving the world.’ Goku initially refuses the money because Goku’s gonna Goku. He also asks Hercule whether a million is more than a hundred thousand. Really, Son? I would pay actual money to see Goku count to 20. He would probably have to unzip his pants to get to 11. Eventually, it’s not the idea of his family slowly starving to death, but Goten’s remark that Chi-Chi will let him train which persuades Goku into taking the money.
Chi-Chi, who I presume to have several worn-out copies of Fifty Shades of Grey by now, is of course very happy with the money. When Goku asks her whether he can go train now, she says ‘sure, just stop by from time to time,’ which is exactly the kind of stuff you say to annoying, distant relatives with smelly kids you don’t ever want to smell again. Maybe Shenron can revive this dead marriage next time, if Krillin can keep his shit for once.
Between covering all his furniture in leather and adding ‘baby oil’ to his shopping list, Master Roshi finds the time to stop by. Master Roshi, who knows what’s important, rhetorically asks Chi-Chi whether she knows how many dirty movies can be bought with a million zeni. I love Master Roshi. I want to be him when I grow up.
The episode concludes with the Elder and Supreme Kai looking up at an ominously rumbling sky. What could be out there? Someone evil and punchable, no doubt (my money’s on Martin Shrekli).
This episode was fun. I like pizza.
NEXT TIME ON DRAGONBALL SUPER:
Yamcha (drunk): Fill her up, Mr. Bartender. And pour another one for my new friend Jonny Boy over here.
Jon: It’s—it’s just Jon, really.
Jon: I’m not quite sure whether I understand your tale. This man commanded one of his soldiers to murder you.
Yamcha (hiccups): That’s right.
Jon: Then he took your woman.
Yamcha (burps): Yes.
Jon: Then he put a bastard in her.
Yamcha (with watering eyes): Yup.
Jon: And yet you’ve fought alongside him?
Yamcha: Well, he’s sort of always there, y’know. What was I supposed to do?
Jon: What honor demands.
Yamcha: I’ve left troll messages on his Youtube vlogs.
Yamcha: Sometimes I mock him behind his back. (gruff voice) “LOOK AT ME I’M THE PRINCE OF SAIYANS AND I SMELL LIKE POOP.”
Yamcha: Once, I swapped his sugar with salt. Oh man! You should’ve seen his face when he spat out his coffee. It was hilarious! Coffee everywhere!
Yamcha: Like, even on his clothes and stuff…
Yamcha: I guess you had to be there.
Jon: I’m a little worried. Is there someone you can talk to?
Yamcha: My cat.
Yamcha: She’s very supportive.
Jon: Look, if you ever feel the need to talk …
Yamcha: I’m fine. Really.
(Jon walks away)
Yamcha (whispering): Hold me.