Is Gohan cool again? Almost.
“Awaken Your Sleeping Battle Spirit! Son Gohan’s Fight!!”
This episode puts a lot of pressure on Gohan to be relevent again, and for the most part he accomplishes that goal. Handicapped early, he puts up an impressive fight that keeps ratcheting the tension. It’s a classic display of overcoming hurdles in a battle on the fly, and that really is the essence of classic Dragon Ball series.
The fight does end in a tie, in which it kind of has to for the exhibition tournament to continue to the next fight and for Gohan not to look completely pathetic, but it is a rather exciting fight nonetheless. Gohan and Goku both say no holding back from the beginning despite the fact that Gohan remains non-super for a good portion of the fight. Fortunately that plays in to great timing for the use and impact of turning super saiyan because it makes a difference in this case for more than just being a power-up. Of considerable greatness is how the music is used leading in to the climax of the fight. It’s one of the best cues in the series (listen to it here) taken from Dragon Ball Kai and is also used during the Vegito fusion. It is just so satisfying when you hear that track building in the background and you instantly know an epic conclusion is coming.
The final moments of this episode are an insane change of mood. After witnessing Gohan be a bad-ass once more and an exciting fight all-around we get crushed with some quite heavy news from the high priest. Sure we already knew that the losing universe would be erased, but the consequences just got a lot higher after disclosure of each universe’s relative power level. Our home team, Universe 7, is the second lowest powered universe out there! And these kind of close matches have been against the worst universe which is less than half as powerful! Of other important interest is that several universes are exempt from the tournament because they are too strong. Taking an average power level of all mortal inhabited systems seems like a bit of a problematic metric as well. What if Goku and company are way stronger than anyone else in the tournament, but the rest of their universe is so incredibly low that it evens them out like a bunch of D’s in your GPA? Something better come up, because it looks like Champa’s universe is going to get erased. What? We all know the heroes never lose (completely).
Summary: Gohan gives it his all against great odds, and although clearly the winner the match is still declared a tie.
– Screw holding back to start, going against everything that is Dragon Ball Z.
– And then he doesn’t go super saiyan…
– This furry is a lot shorter than expected.
– He’s got pretty bad breath.
– Who do you think you are, Yamcha?
– There are some great looking single-frames in this episode.
– Actual best music in this series? Beerus’ Tea Time