The latest arc in Dragon Ball Super sets up a lot of promising action. In the Universe Survival saga, the King of all worlds, Zen-Oh, decides to pit universes against each other in a battle royale tournament, which comes after he fought to a stalemate with another version of himself from an alternate timeline. Universes select their ten best fighters to represent them and if they lose, their worlds are destroyed.
Goku searches for Earth’s greatest warriors to create a super team defending the universe, similar to Iron Man’s development of The Avengers. What follows so far is a nostalgic adventure, as Goku retraces the series’ footsteps, reuniting with characters, helping them deal with their own problems while convincing them to join the team.
This arc has a lot of character development potential. Mock-fights between Goku and his recruits - Krillin, Android #17 and Buu in a slimmer form - suggest a lot of stylised action. Krillin’s small character arc demonstrates his improved power, being able to keep up with Goku, as well as illustrating the value this arc has for fans of the classic 90s series.
There’s an interesting exploration of inter-galactic politics and world building in the hierarchy of universes and their rulers; even if Zen-Oh is used as a tool for more action. Even then, some of the series’ best moments are during tournament arcs: Dragon Ball Z’s Kid Gohan vs Cell and Teen Goku vs (Evil) Piccolo in Dragon Ball come to mind.
An episode guide shared on Twitter suggests we might not see the actual tournament until episode 100. Yet, with all the small character moments and nostalgic value in the past - and upcoming - episodes, this actually serves in the show’s favour.
So far in this arc, series creator Toriyama has delivered detailed character development and grounded narratives about these characters living their daily lives. The stories are entertaining and remind us that the characters have lives outside of fighting. It might, at times, feel like pure fanservice but the slow burning lead-up to the tournament, and seeing characters who had been in the background since the original Dragonball, has me excited.
Dragon Ball Super is currently simulcasting on Animelab.
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