Never put Krillin in a corner, baby.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Goku is looking to assemble a team of fighters for the Tournament of Power, and so he looks to recruit his old friend Krillin and his wife Android 18 to the team. Krillin, working as a police officer, is interested in showing the results of all the training he’s done since he last fought with Goku. Android 18 is a little bit tougher to convince, but Goku tells her that she can have the prize money if she decides to fight by their side. With some browbeating, she agrees to join the fray.
Gohan is concerned, however, and is uncertain that Krillin will be strong enough to compete in the tournament. To that end, he and Krillin decide to square off on some rocks in the middle of the ocean. The fight commences, and Krillin makes the first move. He knocks Gohan off his guard with a few swift attacks, allowing him to jump high and unleash his new and improved solar flare on Gohan. With the blinding light of the sun subduing Gohan’s senses, Krillin is able to knock Gohan off his feet and into the water. Since this was practice for a tournament and not a deathmatch, that would result in a ring out, making Krillin the victor.
Krillin impresses everyone with his newfound abilities, so much so that Goku wants a match as well. Moving their location to the top of Satan tower, Goku and Krillin fight as old friends, remembering the past training of their youth. Goku is as strong as ever, but Krillin is clever and uses his destructo discs and agility to dodge Goku’s attacks and throw him off balance. He even almost manages to drop Goku through the floor with a sneak attack.
To finish the battle, the two of them each unleash their Kamehameha waves at each other. At the final moment though, Android 18 jumps in and pushes Krillin away. She announces that she’s coming in to aid Krillin in the fight, but Goku says they should end the fight here. Krillin and 18 are clearly up to the challenge, and officially join the Tournament of Power Universe 7 team. Next up, Android 17.
Now, this was one heck of an episode.
Week by week, Dragon Ball Super inches closer and closer to the Tournament of Power, steadily building up anticipation to the fight to come. This buildup offers a lot of opportunity for the show to tell some great character stories about Goku and his friends, and this episode certainly rises to that opportunity. This is both an episode with intense fighting and great characterization. One that warms the heart with the strength of Goku and Krillin’s friendship, while keeping the pace of the episode strong and intense.
The main draw is, of course, my main man Krillin, who has been absent from this series for far too long and makes quite a splash with his valiant return. Krillin has often been a running joke for the series since his many defeats in “Dragon Ball Z”, a fact that Dragon Ball Super smartly admits wholeheartedly. Gohan’s fears for Krillin’s safety are not unfounded, but its great to see them be completely smashed. Krillin still can’t defeat Goku, of course, but this episode establishes him as a cunning technique fighter, one who compliments Goku’s brute strength approach to fighting. And, of course, seeing Krillin become a competitor is just downright cool. It only helps, as well, that this episode’s fight scenes are much improved on the animation we’ve seen from the last couple fights, bringing in a more visceral, kung-fu styled dynamic to the show.
More so than that, though, is the powerful moment shared between Krillin and Goku during their fight. This fight harkens back to the original series, when the two fought as equals in the World Tournament, summoning a feeling of nostalgic camaraderie between old friends. Their fight is more than just a test of Krillin’s skills, but the confirmation of their standing with each other. Even after all they’ve been through, Goku and Krillin are still buds, pushing each other to better, stronger, fighters.
Dragon Ball Super is starting to bring out the big guns with an episode that superbly blends strong characters and exciting battles, just a shounen is supposed to do. With each passing episode, Dragon Ball Super hypes itself up more and more to the Tournament of Power, which stands to be the most exciting arc of the series yet. I’m eager to see what’s next in store, as I’ve no doubt it will only serve to improve this already satisfying story with each new iteration.