Seventy episodes – this show is getting geriatric. It could definitely use a new wind, but the comedy filler is pretty entertaining in its own right, as long as it is done well.
“Champa’s Challenge! This Time We Fight With Baseball!”
I’ll get this out of the way right off the top. I am a big baseball fan. Although I won’t divulge my allegiance, I can definitely say that they are the best team in the country without a doubt (think about it). So what could be better than my interests colliding in an explosion of anime magic? Not much. But this episode is still definitely enjoyable for the non-baseball fan, as the comedy is handled quite well in regards to subverting baseball rules and traditions while also being informative – and being a giant parody of Dragon Ball in general. But it really comes down to who’s side you’re on, Yamcha’s or everybody else’s.
The sheer amount of accurate baseball parody in this episode is amazing. Whis and Vados act as the umpires, citing actual rules that could be somewhat obscure to the uninitiated. Beerus and Champa fight it out like real big-league managers. Changing pitch speed is taken to its limits. Even the spectrum of boredom and excitement is taken advantage of. The terminology is all there and it progresses almost like a baseball game should. But it’s just not Dragon Ball without super saiyans and extreme displays of power and destruction.
There is a rather new level of self-awareness to this episode that really struck me (ugh). It’s been a running joke for a while that the saiyan transformations are getting a little ridiculous, but here we get straight up parodies of characters and events – namely Yamcha. I really hope he went on to play baseball after becoming obsolete to this series, as he would be really good! But it wasn’t just his death scene re-enacted as a friendly game of baseball, but the whole dynamic of several character arcs that get put on display in such simple terms. Of course Goku and Vegeta battle it out to see who’s the best. Gohan takes advice from his eternal sensei Piccolo. Goten and Trunks continue being silly kids. If I didn’t know any better this all feels like a sort of last gasp in a “this is Dragon Ball as you know it” kind of way. Because we could be about to take a serious turn.
8.5/10 (Home Run)
Summary: Baseball. The American pastime revered by the Japanese. Can the fighters of Universes 6 & 7 have a nice, friendly game to see who is best once and for all? Of course not, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
– Anyone else seen this in Deep Space Nine?
– Vados is a sly devil.
– Baseball onigiri.
– Is Puar Yamcha’s baseball wife?
– I guess that isn’t really cheating.
– The music in this is just too perfect.
– It’s too late for you and Bulma, Yamcha. Her alien god-husband is right there.
– What the heck is that bat made out of!?
– Will Yamcha live to play another day?
– I remember seeing this pose somewhere before.
– Even the title for next week is a parody of Yamcha’s death…