It’s finally happening!
Overview (Spoilers Below)
The first stage of the Tournament of Power begins and the strongest warriors in all of the multiverse stand ready to fight for the survival of their very existences. The rules are simple: no killing, no flying, no weapons, no healing, and the only way to remove an opponent is by sending them off the edge of the arena. This means that the fighters will have to think creatively to take out their foes.
Right off the bat, Universe 7 has trouble in the teamwork department, since each of them has different ideas about how to win. Nonetheless, the battle begins and the fighting arena erupts into a flurry of violence. Several of Universe 7’s strongest fighters split off to engage with the chaos.
A couple notable engagements happen on the battlefield, but for the most part, the fight is just complete chaos. Android 18, 17, Goku, Frieza and Vegeta all are devastating the battlefield, but in the process have left the rest of the Universe 7 fighters behind. This puts them in a tough situation, having to deal with superior numbers of powerful fighters that try to surround them. Still, they’re able to use their coordination to launch defensive counterattacks on their opponents.
Goku eventually finds Top, his rival for the tournament, but he gets grabbed from behind by a powerful fighter to tries to drag the both of them off the edge. Things look grim, but Goku enters his Super Saiyan Blue form and shakes off the grappler. However, despite this short term success, Goku finds himself surrounded by another group of powerful fighters, no doubt just the beginning of his opponents.
We’re finally at the bread and butter of the “Tournament of Power” arc. No more waiting, no more buildup, no more fighter recruitment, we’re here to get into the nitty-gritty of what Dragon Ball has always been known for: fighting, and lots of it. Yet, to that end, there are some hiccups to this opening episode that prevent it from being the explosive introduction I was hoping for. Namely, the pacing isn’t quite what it needs to be and the structure of the episode is a bit freeform and unfocused. Furthermore, there isn’t a whole lot of good fighting to grab your attention, making it fall short in the action department. These are all fixable problems, of course, but not a good way to make a first impression on such a crucial point of this arc.
One of the problems that were foreseeable to this arc was the sheer amount of characters that are present here. Considering that we’re getting seven people from all the universes, there was a high likelihood that some of them were going to be uninteresting, and that appears to be the case right now. There’s always room to develop these fighters more in the future, but for now, other than their aesthetic differences, I’m not really attracted to any of the peripheral characters in this arc. I think that’s in large part due to the structure of this tournament, since its a free-for-all survival battle. This means that, at least for right now, things are too chaotic to be focused on any particularly interesting character fight combination. Most of the attention is paid towards Goku’s rivalry with Top, and I worry that that is going to be the focus of this whole arc. After all, the fun of a tournament arc is derived from the quality of its individual fighters and their unique fighting styles.
That being said, this episode necessarily bad, just a bit lacking. In addition to the problem’s stated above, a good amount of the episode is dedicated to shots of stern-people standing around and sequences of people rapidly punching others in the face. Maybe that’s just what “DBZ” is, but it doesn’t make for the most interesting episode. We’ll still have to see if the Tournament of Power can live up to its own hype