Deviating more and more from the original movie proves to make Dragonball Super a much better show.
Recap; Tagoma has stepped up to fight the Z fighters and Gohan finally gets some screen time fighting. Unfortunately things don’t end very well for either fighter.
The battle against Tagoma takes up the majority of this episode and yet it wasn’t boring. This can be accredited to a number of things. For one the appearance of Gotenks (Goten and Trunks) arriving at the battle proved to do exactly what fans expected it would. Spice things up. Goten and Trunks always seem to add a dose of humor to every scene they’re in, but their addition to the story line is more than that. Dragonball has always played with the idea of adding children to a “battlefield.” Starting with Goku as a child in Dragonball and Gohan in DragonballZ, one of the reasons I love the show so much is that this always gives the perspective of a fight from a child’s view. I personally believe it adds some personal investment into every fight since death is often times a difficult concept for children to come face-to-face with.
That said, Goten and Trunks don’t do much in the episode except knock Tagoma out with their Gotenks strength. A few seconds later the fusion’s time runs out, splitting them up, but Freiza recognizes them both. Goten as the obvious son of Goku and Trunks who looks suspiciously like the purple haired Saiyan who killed Freiza the last time he came to Earth. Freiza giving them the stink-eye in this episode was everything I thought it would be.
In some respects this episode takes a stroll down memory lane a lot more than anything we’ve seen in the past. Freiza has a brief flashback remembering Future Trunks and we get a second surprise when Ginyu the frog takes over Tagoma’s body. Even Bulma shudders at her memories of the frog, but Ginyu plays up the fact that the past years as a frog haven’t been ideal for him. Either way, he’s happy to be in a body fit for fighting. Gohan even assess’s that he might not be a match for Tagoma because he hasn’t kept up with training.
To which the entire Dragonball Fandom is like…
Don’t get me wrong. I totally think it is Canon for Gohan to quit fighting for school. He’s always been good natured like Goku, but the human half of him lacks the hunger to train. Still, did Gohan learn nothing after the fight with Maijin Buu? Where his years of “taking it easy” nearly cost everyone their lives? The basic message Dragonball sends us is that even in a time of peace no one is ever really safe. As much as it pains me to say this, maybe Goku’s obsessive nature of putting training before his family is for the best. Someone has to do it.
Because of his lack of training Gohan isn’t able to keep up his super Saiyan form for long, but it’s just enough that he can defeat Ginyu. Still, Gohan is his father’s son and offers Ginyu a bit of mercy, almost exactly in the same way Goku offered to spare Freiza on Namek. It’s another flash from the past that serves this episode well, giving a good juxtaposition and pushing Freiza over the edge.
He attacks Gohan in a brutal manner that definitely reminds of older DragonballZ episodes. Intending to drag out a slow and torturous death as he strikes Gohan again and again with ki blasts. Things aren’t looking good for our hero, and when the last shot is fired none other then Piccolo’s puts himself in front fo Gohan to protect him.
Wow, I’m not surprised Piccolo acted in such away and again, we’ve seen this movie before, but it doesn’t make it any less traumatizing. The scene also had some beautiful animation associated with it. With Piccolo and Gohan beaten, this episode really ramped Freiza up as the villain we remember from long ago. His cruelty has really been in the spotlight both in how he “trained” with Tagoma and how he sliced away at Gohan. This episode really reminded us of the kind of villain Freiza can be, striking the same sense of fear we had of him so long ago.
While all of this is going on, Goku and Vegeta have found themselves in a dimensional plain that is strikingly familiar to… the hyperbolic time chamber. A walk down memory lane indeed. Once again this episode captured my undivided attention and I’m excited to see what other changes will be made.