Poor Tien just can’t catch a break.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Gohan and Piccolo are wandering through the ruins of the arena when they come across a peculiar alien named Dr. Rota. Before Dr. Rota can explain his powers to Gohan and Piccolo, he gets sniped by a precise ki blast that knocks him out cold. Gohan and Piccolo head for cover, and quickly realize that there is some opponent they can’t see that has the ability to shoot them at great distances. They try to make a move, but Piccolo gets his arm shot off and he has to regrow it at great expense to his stamina. Eventually, the two are able to find one of their opponents, Prum, a monstrous creature that can redirect energy blasts and dispenses a swarm of mirrored spheres that can
After getting his arms shot off again, Piccolo explains to Gohan that their opponent is tracking them with their body heat. This is just in time for Goku and Vegeta, along with Tien to enter the fray. Goku and Vegeta charge Prum, but end up getting pinned down by the ki blasts and having their own energy blasts reflected back to them. The sniper is soon revealed to be Hermila, from Universe 2, who uses his ki blasts in conjunction with Prum’s reflective ability to devastating effect.
It’s Tien who picks up the ball. He creates clones of himself that cover him while he charges at Hermila, each of them taking a hit from Hermila’s energy blasts. Tien uses a Tri-Beam to reveal Hermila from his hiding space. However, Hermila is able to incapacitate Tien with an energy blast, but not before Tien’s remaining clones grab Hermila and take him off the edge in the last effort to win the battle. Tien is knocked out, but so is Hermila. Puck is then knocked out along with Dr. Rota by Vegeta’s Galick Gun, making Universe 7 the victor.
The high-concept battles that have comprised the majority of the Dragon Ball Super episodes lately have done well for the show. Every week, you can pretty much expect an interesting, unique fight that has a fighter with some new power that our heroes have to overcome. However, that means that the quality of the episode is largely going to be dependent on the strength of the concept introduced, which means sometimes you get a loser. This is one of those episodes. Though last week’s glorious blast of passionate shounen energy coming from everyone’s favorite old bald bastard is no doubt a hard act to follow, there still isn’t an excuse for just how bland this episode is to me. It’s not bad in the sense that it’s insulting to watch or lazy in its production, it just feels like there isn’t enough for the characters to do because the concept is too simple to make interesting. While there were a couple of moments I liked, I think this is definitely a down note in this series of episodes.
I feel like this is an episode that should have been entirely focused on Tien, because it’s his technique and martial arts prowess that allows him to figure out the enemy’s power and circumvent it. However, Tien doesn’t show up until the last third of the episode, only after Gohan and Piccolo spend a whole bunch of time explaining things about the bad guy that are already made obvious from the visuals. If this was an episode that focused entirely on Tien, then it could have been an exciting battle of technique against special powers, but that opportunity is sorely wasted here. Still, Tien’s victory against this mischievous opponent in a moment of noble sacrifice is still a strong way to end the episode. I just wish it was more developed.
The trouble with this episode is that there just isn’t a whole lot to say about it because not very much happens. There isn’t a strong focusing element that gives the episode direction and meaning. No excellent character moments to make the fight memorable. Too much of the runtime is spent running around dodging energy blasts, time that should have been spent actually having a fight. Still, as always, the production quality of the episode is excellent, same with the acting and animation, so that makes this episode far more watchable than it would be otherwise.