Dragon Ball – episodes 84-101

April 13, 2007 on 5:11 pm | In Dragon Ball | Comments Off on Dragon Ball – episodes 84-101

“Tenshinhan Saga”

Ah, a tournament saga to get Dragon Ball in line. One could accuse a tournament of being repetitive, but it’s an effective way to get characters together into a structured event without making weird diversions into nothingness. On top of that, this arc has a great ending – an ending which would have been a surprise had I not already known of it, and had the colour design and editing not made it clear that something was going down.

Goku goes to the 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai, where he runs into Tenshinhan and Chaozu, who had been bastards to him in his three years on the road. As luck would have it, these two are the students of Crane Hermit, the archrival of Muten Roshi.
That rivalry runs through the tournament, with revenge being sought for the death of Tao Pai Pai and various arrogances caused by considering oneself on the fast track to becoming the world’s greatest assassin. You know how these things go.

I find that the biggest irony of the Tenkaichi storylines is that Muten Roshi gets to do so much more mentoring when he’s being Jackie Chun than when he is not. In his normal guise the script places too much weight on his having to act like the traditional pervert. Here he can actually instruct his students in the martial arts and demonstrates that he cares for their development. This aspect of his character doesn’t translate as well to Yamucha as it does to Kuririn and Goku, but it’s there nonetheless.

The fights generally last long enough to be interesting, and there’s good animation involved in some of the outcomes. Unlike its successor, Dragon Ball manages to run several storylines within one storyline and effectively carry them throughout these episodes. Even if a fight is going on, there are constructive reactions from the other characters (constructive meaning they go beyond close ups of dilating pupils and someone saying “baka na!”). The general character development through fighting that means nothing beyond a celebration of fighting is a nice break from people kicking other people who want to make wishes that would come true in ways that are much to obscure to divine.

Kuririn Flavoured Spoilers here on out

What works the best here is Kuririn’s death. I knew it was coming at the end of this segment, and most people who watched Dragon Ball Z would probably recall that Kuririn mentions having been resurrected before and that the rules are eaten and thrown up on Namek after he dies a second time for reasons beyond my memory.
Yet, despite knowing that it was coming, it worked. Sometime ago I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter if you personally know that a dude can or will come back to life, but rather the emotional response of the other characters. Goku got a bad feeling, and he found Kuririn mysteriously dead moments later.
Goku, who managed to reconcile the death of his Grandfather, is not going to be able to stand for this. I, for one, look forward to him beating things up: it’s always better when he has a legitimate reason to kick someone in the face. It makes this all so much more rewarding.

Piccolo ho!

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