Let’s Keep Going Lord Beerus! The Battle of Gods!
This episode of Dragon Ball Super is what I’ve been waiting for since the beginning of the very first episode. It is a battle that sees series’ star Goku struggle to keep up with his opponent throughout the entire episode. A battle that goes back and forth between the God of Destruction, Beerus, and the newly formed Super Saiyan God at a breakneck pace that barely let’s go over the course of the episode’s 22-minute runtime. You see Goku kick a little ass, get defeated, revived, and then see him ready to do it all over again by the end. It’s the usual Dragon Ball formula, but the creators have pulled it off flawlessly with this episode.
The episode opens with Bulma and the gang trying to catch up to Beerus and Goku so that they can resume watching how things play out between the two fighters. We also finally get to see Goku land some decent punches on Beerus with him going into full assault mode as soon as the story brings us back to the pair. After so much build-up to this battle, it’s nice to see Goku get in some licks, however short-lived they may be. It’s perfectly clear that Beerus is allowing himself to be attacked as a means to train Goku to use his Super Saiyan God powers to the fullest. Beerus pretty much toys with Goku this entire episode to motivate him and force him to tap into his new-found strength. These story beats lead to the best action sequences seen thus far in the series. There is one scene, where Beerus just keeps headbutting Goku until he knocks him out of the atmosphere, that made me tense up in ways I haven’t since the end of Dragon Ball Z. Something about seeing Goku so helpless at that moment hurt my heart a bit, but it made for some damn good anime. This episode truly hyped me up to ‘super’ levels.
The episode’s back and forth nature is a bit repetitive and it doesn’t really move the plot along as we are left right back where we started by the end of the episode, only with a more powered up form of Goku, but it was still extremely exciting and a nice change of pace. Some fans have already seen how this battle turns out in the Battle of the Gods feature film. While they have, of course, expanded it for the television run, Dragon Ball Super seems to be hitting on all the same beats without any extreme alterations. This is the safe course and probably the least interesting to those who have seen the film, but if it isn’t broken then why fix it? Right? I prefer the television version so far even if it offers a lower quality of animation. I’m not saying that the animation is bad this episode, it’s far from it. We get a prime display of how far the animation has come for Dragon Ball during this episode and we are given some truly spectacular looking sequences. Both Beerus and Goku launch several energy blasts that will light up your TV or monitor in dazzling ways that made my jaw drop at times. Yes, the movie looks better, but it most likely had a bigger budget to work with as well. Toriyama and company didn’t drop the ball on this one in my eyes. I was very pleased with every facet of this episode.
The writers don’t completely leave out the rest of the cast this episode. They do bring in the Z fighters to break up the pacing just a bit. Piccolo resumes his duties as the episode’s commentator often reflecting on the dire state of things. We also see that Vegeta is still standing firmly alone on the Princess Bulma watching the fight play out. We even see the stoic Saiyan crack another smile as Goku starts to hold his own against Beerus. Who is this man and what has he done with the Prince of Saiyans? The writers also made sure that no other characters would interfere with the battle by explaining that the Saiyans of Earth are too drained after performing the Super Saiyan God ritual to even fly must less fight. This was a smart move as I know that some of these characters had to have wanted to step in when Goku was getting pummelled, but now they are very smartly reduced to mere spectators. There are only three episodes left in the Battle of the Gods saga and now that the training wheels are off the fight can only get better from here on out. Dragon Ball has now reached Super levels and it’s going to be at least a few episodes before we see it powering down.