Dragonball Super Episode 23

Bad things always happen when Goku isn’t around.

Recap; Piccolo dies defending Gohan, then Goku shows up late to the fight (surprise surprise). Now the stakes are set and the real fight is about to commence.While Super’s changes continue to keep me interested this episode was on the lower side of the entertainment scale. Yes, Piccolo’s death was shocking, but it is a plot line we’ve seen before.

While Super’s changes continue to keep me interested this episode was on the lower side of the entertainment scale. Yes, Piccolo’s death was shocking, but it is a plot line we’ve seen before. In fact, the scene played out almost exactly like his death in the Saiyan Saga. Still, Piccolo is a fan favorite character so his death works to tug on our heartstrings just a little bit. It could have been a lot more effective is Super knew exactly how to build emotions.

In the past, emotions have always played a key role in moving Dragonball’s plot along. It was Krillin’s death that ultimately pushed Goku into a Super Saiyan and it was Gohan’s anger that helped them win the battle against Cell. Once again, Dragonball relies on feelings to propel the plot forward, but unlike the instances mentioned above, this time things fell a little flat.

Gohan, rightfully is traumatized over his mentor’s death, but he seemed to be the only one. It was a little disconcerting how Super played the death rather low-key, despite the fact that this might be the first time Bulma has been on the field to witness a death and that Piccolo was a mentor to Goten and Trunks as well. The scene could have packed a lot more punch if any of the other characters had looked more than just disappointed.

“It’s okay. I have enough sadness for everyone.”

Gohan’s anger pushes him and his body to its limits, but the animation for the transformation was another underwhelming experience. In the end his emotions don’t even get him anywhere but act as a beacon so Goku can use Instant Transmission back to earth. It’s a(nother) storyline we know well, and because of that I’m a little disappointed that Super couldn’t come up with something a little more original. But hey, whatever gets Goku in the fight. Am I right?

For a show that uses emotions as a catalyst so often, it doesn’t seem to know how to have its characters show emotions. Not only could this episode have benefited from some emotional depth in Piccolo’s death, there was also a missed opportunity in Goku and Vegeta’s arrival. After all, once again Goku is late to help his friends which resulted in the death of a friend. Some remorse would be nice, Piccolo was Goku’s friend as well.

Then again, maybe the lack of emotions reflects a certain amount of jadedness from the characters. Their world is centered on the deus ex machina that is the dragonballs and Sensu beans. Even though Gohan is horribly injured, Krillin just pops a sensu bean in his mouth and it’s all good. Goku also points out, “We can wish Piccolo back with the dragonballs.” News, Gohan practically soaks it in with an “Oh yeah, that’s right. We have those things.” It seems even Dragonball has reached a point where they just can’t build much tension anymore when someone dies because… dragonballs.

Is that an excuse for crappy storytelling? No, not really.

While Super prepares for the upcoming fighting episodes it quickly works to tie up some loose plot lines as Vegeta (anticlimactically) kills of Tagoma-er, Captain Ginyu. Additionally, Goku rushes Piccolo to Dende and tells Goten and Trunks to run off. There, subplots resolved, now the show is fresh and ready to jump into the battle we saw in the movie. Oh goody.

Overall: B-

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One thought on “Dragonball Super Episode 23

  1. Well, it was really a bit dissapointing, that Ginyu Tagoma was blown away so quickly. It´s a bit of a shame, that they rush so fast through the episodes, but i think it´s the fact, that Toei has announced, that the new arc will allready airing at 24st of january.

    They metioned it, at their homepage, where also is a new Key-Visual with the designs of the newcomers at the 3rd arc. 🙂

    Link: http://www.toei-anim.co.jp/tv/dragon_s/news/#n2015121801

    Also, good point that the dragonballs have pulled on their emotions, ´cause death isn´t really a thing in their world, where everyone can be resurrected anytime again.

    Liked by 1 person

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