Last time, on Dragon Ball Super: Vegeta prepared to face the greatest warrior of Universe 6, Hit!, whose name just has to be written with an exclamation mark, even if it’s not the end of the sentence! But, even with the full power of Super Saiyan Blue, Vegeta could not keep up with the mysterious time-leaping assassin. Goku stepped into the ring, and, having learned from watching Vegeta’s fight, came up with a counter to Hit’s time traveling abilities.
The Return of Kaio-Ken (part 1):
So this series is intend for fellow fans who already watched the episode. With that in mind, I probably don’t have to explain just how fucking blown my mind is right now! Ladies and gentlemen, Dragon Ball Super has finally arrived.
But, as eager as I am to talk about this… we need some chronology here, so we’ll get back to this in a minute.
So it turns out, Hit1 pulled a Golden Freeza. Just like Freeza, Hit! has apparently barely ever bothered to improve himself, because it wasn’t necessary. But when Goku was able to overcome his time leap, Hit! had to do something.
The exact way Hit! got stronger is kinda shaky. He never transformed, and the episode seemed to really try to distinguish what he did from “powering up”. It kept being referred to as “improvement” (in the subs I watched, at least), and the basic premise seemed to be that he was pursuing real, organic growth, rather than just a new form. The only issue is, all he did was scream and flex, exactly like the standard powering up. It might be a poor translation thing, but it all seemed very confused.
Anyway, the result was a massive increase in his time leap from 0.1 seconds to 0.5 seconds, and it was hinted that he could keep improving it. Also, there was some suggestion of him being stronger and/or faster, but again this could be translation error.
I’m not really sure what the theme at play here really is. Is the show suggesting that, because Goku, Vegeta, and basically everyone else have relied on new forms and abilities to get stronger, they’ve neglected the kind of natural improvement Hit! just underwent? A part of me wouldn’t be surprised if Hit! actually manages to improve enough next episode to win this fight and make that point; prove to Goku that just stacking his different power-ups is an unreliable way to get stronger and he has to focus more on his base form. That’s the kind of thing we’ll have to wait until next episode to find out.
Overcome the Gods:
Throughout this arc, we’ve seen more and more hints of the gods, Beerus and Champa, being challenged by other characters’ power. This episode, while definitely not the climax, has added a lot to that. In three ways.
First, when Hit first improved his time leap to 0.2 seconds, Beerus cheers at Goku’s big attack, without realizing that Hit actually countered it. Who didn’t cheer? Piccolo. While the big green slug-man is always kinda tough to read, the shot we get of him does lean towards concern and surprise. Maybe he was just impressed by how strong Goku was, but this happened before the big new power-up, so Goku’s strength wasn’t anything Piccolo didn’t already know about. It seems more likely that Piccolo noticed Hit’s counter, even when Beerus didn’t.
This wouldn’t be all that unusual. Piccolo is, by his nature, careful and observant. Beerus, on the other hand, is a little excitable and sloppy. So this is partially just a difference in character. But, typically when Dragon Ball presents a massive power-gap between characters, it has the stronger character outdo the weaker in every way, without even trying. So at least in some respects, the difference between Piccolo and Beerus’ abilities is not all that big.
Then there’s Goku’s big power-up in this episode. There’s not even anything that has to be said about it. Beerus was scared shitless! And it was nice for Vegeta to come in and point out that Beerus hadn’t even seen the full capabilities of Goku’s new power. Once the Universe 6 Tournament is over, I’m willing to bet that Beerus is going to be doing a lot more training.
But even that pales in comparison to the biggest show of power. Hit. While Goku might be stronger than him right now, we have no idea what the limits to Hit’s improving might be. And when he was talking about it, not only did Champa look a little pale, so did Vados. Right now, the idea of beating Vados or Whis is supposed to be an absurd notion. They are the strongest. If Hit was able to make even them worry, that’s a big deal.
The Return of Kaio-Ken (part 2):
Now we can talk about this. Goku combined Kaio-Ken with Super Saiyan Blue, and it was awesome.
The highest level in the episode was Kaio-Ken x 10, but we’ve seen it as high as x100 before. It multiplied all of Goku’s abilities, and lead to the best Kamehameha we’ve seen in a long time. But why has it been so long?
Well, the Kaio-Ken is one of Goku’s most physically strenuous techniques, and each level amplifies that. It hasn’t been made any easier over time, because it’s not a standard power-up, it’s a multiplier. When Goku gets stronger, the strain of the Kaio-Ken just gets harsher. He’s never combined it with another transformation before because all his transformations are too hard to control, and maintaining the focus and ki needed for Kaio-Ken in them was impossible.
But Super Saiyan Blue is a very different transformation. We still don’t know a lot about it, but it seems to be linked to two other transformations, Super Saiyan God, and Super Saiyan. Prior to the reveal of Super Saiyan Blue, Toriyama said in an interview that during his fight with Beerus, Goku realized that he could surpass ssj2 and ssj3 just by mastering Super Saiyan. It’s not confirmed at this point, but Super Saiyan Blue seems to be that mastery.
In this episode, Goku clearly explains that Super Saiyan Blue, unlike all his other transformations, specializes in increasing power while maintaining ki control, and that’s why it’s the only form capable of handling Kaio-Ken. So Goku’s best form happens to also be the one he can buff the most.
There’s just too much to say on the possibilities here. How high can he go in Kaio-Ken like this? How much strain does it put on his body? Can he make this combination into a form of its own? Will he buff other forms with the Blue mastery transformation, and/or Kaio-Ken? Or will he learn from Hit, and stop relying so much on transformations for a while? Asking these questions is making me love Dragon Ball Super the way I loved Dragon Ball Z! But it may take entire sagas to answer any of them.
Finally, one note on the poor Saiyan prince, once again caught with his power-level down by his rival’s secret training. It’s almost sad that Vegeta is taking a back-seat again, but after reaching Super Saiyan Blue, I hope he steps up and keeps catching up to Goku, rather than just sorta giving up like in GT.
But how will he catch up? I’m thinking of two possibilities here. One, he goes to King Kai and tries to learn the Kaio-Ken too, but then he would just be sulking in Goku’s shadow. Two, he starts pursing his own new technique. Maybe fifty episodes from now, Goku will have acclimatizing to SSJ Blue and Kaio-Ken, and Vegeta will have independently reached SSJ2 Blue!
Man, it’s nice that in the span of a single episode, the prospect of beating Beerus has gone from a lofty goal, to a silly side-story that I just want to get past so we can see what’s next. And by next episode I’m sure Beerus will have me hyped for his fight again!
Next Time, on Dragon Ball Super: Hit is blown away by Goku’s new power. But, the fight isn’t over yet! Having withstood Goku’s Kamehameha, Hit improves himself further, and a battle even the Gods are scared to interfere with ensues!
Don’t Lose Your Way