Dragonball Super Episode 13

I lied. Well, technically for the past two episodes or so I’ve been lying. Every time I think the battle will wind down and conclude it manages to stretch itself out again. This episode is no exception and as far as the actual fighting goes I can honestly say I’m bored.

Recap; The battle continues putting the Earth (and surrounding planets) is in danger of the being crushed by the shockwaves while Goku’s God abilities appear to have a time limit on them. Neither of these stand in the way of more fighting.

By now each segment of this fight seems to have a pattern. Goku and Beerus are repeating old conversations with Beerus admitting he hasn’t been fighting at full power, Goku shaking his head, and the two going back to fighting this time “for realz.” Even my own recaps are beginning to feel repetitive.  The problem, essentially lies in the formula of fighting anime itself. Fights should be quick, building in tension to keep the viewers engaged and be effective. But Super is stretching out a fight that takes roughly fifteen minutes of movie time into three episodes. The fights drag on and the show relies on a single plot point to  remind us why we care only to discard that small fact a few minutes later.

Last episode we learned that if the gods clash three times the universe will be destroyed, yet early in this episode that is proven to be false as Beerus reveals he can cancel out their strength. This information is treated with the barest shrug of shoulders before moving on, allowing the two to continue to throw powerful punches and move on to the next plot point.

Which reveals there is a time limit to Goku’s god abilities and it has reached its peak. The reddish glow is gone reducing him back to his traditional Super Saiyan form. Beerus seems resigned with the fact that their fight is coming to a close, without the god abilities Goku once again is nothing compared to him. No one told Goku this, as he keeps on fighting and … well, he lands a few solid punches. We’re thrown a nonsensical reason, something about him now having the power inside of him even though he doesn’t look like a god anymore.

Super should have just called it quits while it was ahead because even I can’t defend this turn of events. It was the perfect out. Beerus’ expression as Goku reverts back to Super Saiyan appears as if he was going to call the battle off until a later time. But Goku keeps fighting and the show just. keeps. going. on.

It is no longer a question of Super’s animation quality, which has only improved as the fight continues. Now, It’s a matter of content. Maybe I wouldn’t mind the fight dragging out for so long if Goku and Beerus weren’t so isolated from the rest of the cast, who proved to be the highlight for the rest episode.

It’s only natural that we need something to break up the battle, the collection of personalities hosted on Bulma’s boat are the perfect thing for that. The gang is the real heart of the show after all, they are the reason we feel anything because (unlike Goku) they remind us why they fight. To protect their loved ones. Nothing proves this more than when Hercule begs Whis to stop the fight in an effort to protect his daughter and unborn granddaughter. Say what you will about Hercule, he ranks high on my personal list of anime characters who grind my gears, still he showed a genuine side of himself this week. He was also one of the few with enough common sense to realize Whis may be the only person who can stop the fight and the way to Whis’ heart was through his stomach.

Another moment that stands out is when Goku’s youngest son gets emotional at the idea that his father may not be able to beat Beerus. It’s a very small thing, but Goten’s reaction shows us he is still just a child, one who looks up to his father more than anything. Fans often debate about the fact if Goku is a terrible father or not, but we can’t deny that his children look up to him. This simple fact is something that has humanized Goku throughout most of Dragonballz, and I’m glad its still there in Super. This along with Hercule’s show of heart might be Super trying barely touching on a theme this episode about parental love. Or maybe I’m just scrapping the bottom of the barrel for things to analyze.

The thing is, this episode wasn’t terrible. I enjoyed it enough but my love of the characters is a large factor in that. I had hoped Super would be smart enough to realize that stretched out fight scenes wouldn’t cut it, especially when handled a retold story. We, the audience, need things to change up because essentially the past three episodes have all followed the exact same patterns. Flash to the fight, flash to the characters on the boat, back to the fight and end. It’s lazy storytelling and it needs to end.

Good news is I’m not lying this time. Next Episode should be the conclusion of the battle (it says so in the title!) It appears Super has reached the limits to which they can drag this fight out. The big question now is will it end in a whimper or a bang?

Overall: B-

Freakouts, Giggles, and Notes:

  • We got a new ending this week (so does that mean a new opening is in the future?) Its fun, focusing on the group as a whole again but I do miss the old ending.
  • Do Hercule’s assistants look familiar? That’s because they were seen at the Cell Games all those years ago. Yep, those goofy disciples he brought with him back then are still working for him.
  • Vegeta hasn’t spoken for nearly three episodes. Not a single word. Just thought I’d point that out.
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