Sometimes, hype can be a good thing. At least, that’s what the recent Dragon Ball Super 2-parter has shown me. If you’re any sort of Dragon Ball fan, or just an anime fan in general, then it’s more than likely you’ve heard of this recent event. Toei animation put forth two Dragon Ball episodes on the same day, in order to build some hype for upcoming fights. Not only did they do this, but they also introduced Goku’s brand new form!
Yes, the alien hillbilly martial artist received yet another overpowered transformation. I mean, it’s to be expected at this point! At this point, Goku’s power-ups are essentially his wardrobe: He has one for every day of the week, as well as one for every season. So, Goku receiving a new form was inevitable. Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty of this episode, please keep in mind that there will be SPOILERS. It’s hard to talk about this episode without getting into the specifics, so please keep that in mind.
First off, let me give a brief summary of this arc, for those aren’t following the subtitled version of Dragon Ball Super. Goku and friends are engaged in a “Tournament of Power”, where the only prize is survival. 8 of the 12 universes are fighting against each other, with only the winning universe surviving.
The two parter begins by having Goku fight Ribrianne, who is this walking parody of magical girls. Goku fights her for a bit, she transforms, Goku knocks her away, then she becomes irrelevant for the rest of the two-parter. She barely does anything and is just kinda there, just like 90% of the cast in this art thus far. So, after Ribrianne becomes irrelevant, Jiren shows up.
Jiren is a character that hasn’t done that much at all yet, aside from look intimidating and punch a few guys. Here, Jiren manages to push Goku to his absolute limit. Goku uses all of his forms (except for Super Saiyan 3) against the interdimensional alien, but is unable to do much to him. Not even the “Super Saiyan God Blue Kaioken X 20” wasn’t able to do any damage.
With his options exhausted, Goku has to rely on the “Spirit Bomb”. The Spirit Bomb is Goku’s ultimate technique, despite it barely working half the time. Much like the fights against Vegeta and Frieza, Goku is unable to kill Jiren with the attack. Jiren pushes the spirit bomb back, and not even Goku’s power can stop it. After a fruitless struggle, Goku is overwhelmed by his attack. This causes a massive explosion with trippy effects that presumably kills Goku.
Goku disappears, leaving a crater behind. Just when everyone thinks he’s dead, Goku returns once more… In a new form. We don’t much about this form other than the fact it’s called “Ultra Instinct”, but what we do know is that it is powerful. It allows Goku to fight on the same level as Jiren, and even overpower him!
Eventually, Goku’s new form wears off and he is knocked out. After escaping, Goku comes across Frieza, who prepares to attack the injured Saiyan. The episode ends with the alien assassin Hit about to face off with overwhelming and overpowering obstacle of an obliteration oracle. In other words, next episode will be “Hit Vs. Jiren”.
Now, that was just a small summary of this episode. If I were to go over all 40 minutes of this special, we’d probably be here for a decade. Regardless, it’s about time I go over my thoughts on this special. It was decent, though nothing truly amazing. The fight against Ribrianne felt really pointless, like it didn’t need to happen at all.
Ribrianne has no emotional weight in the narrative, Goku could’ve easily fought anyone else and it would have the same amount of impact. To be fair, no one came here for the fight with Ribrianne. The audience just wanted to see Goku fight Jiren, which was the big draw of this event. So, was it worth it? It was, but only somewhat.
Now, the reason I say “somewhat” is because we did get that fight, but Jiren didn’t have anything to spectacular going on. He was just overwhelmingly powerful, which is disappointing. He has no special techniques, weird powers, or unique gimmicks. He is just stronger, faster, and more powerful than everyone else.
This makes for a great obstacle for our heroes, but a disappointing combatant for Goku. Why? The reason is because Goku is just climbing yet another mountain, while slowly reaching the same power level as the foe who stands in his way. The build up to Goku’s transformation was tremendous, while the animation, music, and visuals complimented the ascension very well.
The way Goku didn’t talk at all while attacking Jiren like a machine was truly amazing; one of the few times Super has managed to give me chills while watching. The problem is that Goku just gets this new form at random. Goku summons a Spirit Bomb, gets a ton of power when he accidentally absorbs it, and is suddenly uber-powerful. The buildup is there, it’s just the execution that felt rushed.
So, would I say this 2-parter was good? Yes, it was exceptional. Despite the recycled animation, somewhat rushed delivery, and pointless opener fight, the special managed to keep me fully entertained. Could it have been better? I think so, but anything could be better if given enough time and effort.
As much as I enjoyed this special, I’d say to wait until the arc finishes and watching the two-parter along with the rest of the episodes. As good as it was, it feels like most of the episodes that came before it. Due to the humongous length of this arc thus far, I’d say waiting until the arc is finished and watching it over the course of a few weeks.
If you do what I do and watch it on a weekly basis, you’re mostly likely going to burn yourself out on it. Unlike other Dragon Ball specials, this one does not function as a standalone prequel story. You’re only really going to get a kick out of it if you’ve enjoyed the arc thus far. Like I said, it’s best to wait until the arc has finished before going on a binge.