Super Recaps: Dragon Ball Super Episode 4 (Bid for the Dragon Balls! Pilaf and Crew’s Impossible Mission!)

Dragon Ball Super and all the images you see in this recap are owned by Toei Animation and licensed by Funimation

We’re back with another episode of Bulma’s Birthday Blowout, and… yeah, I’m not gonna beat around the bush on this one.  We’re in straight up filler mode and not the fun kind like watching Vegeta eat a giant octopus.  Sure we get little snippets of Goku training on King Kai’s planet and Vegeta being awesome, but for the majority of the episode we’re dealing with Goten, Kid Trunks, and The Pilaf Gang doing pointless shenanigans while we wait for Beerus to make it to King Kai’s planet.  Ugh… even Yamcha would be more interesting to follow, but I guess we have to  follow what happened in Battle of the Gods… even the uninteresting parts.  Oh well.  Let’s get started…

The episode begins with Beerus and Whis who remind us that they’re on their way to King Kai’s planet and that it’s going to take some time to get there, but at least they manage to have some funny banter back and forth before they leave the episode completely.  Come to think of it, one of the best aspects of this show so far has been the dub which manages to stay pretty sharp and even somewhat self-aware for those who’ve been following the series since the beginning.  Now not all of the dialogue hits as is the case with pretty much any dub (except Yu Yu Hakusho and I will FIGHT YOU on that!), but for something that has all the hallmarks of a cheap cash grab to milk the fans of the franchise (the weak animation, the fact that we’re picking up RIGHT after DBZ ends, the constant fan service) I think they’re managing to at least get the character interactions right.  Speaking of which, we get even more of the Sean Schemmel Comedy Hour as King Kai has notices Beerus’s B-line straight for his planet and is bemoaning his lot in life while Goku stays as oblivious as ever.

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“Boy, King Kai!  It’s not often that I see you shitting bricks like this.  Did YOU forget it was Bulma’s birthday too?”

From there we go to Bulma’s Birthday cruise where we learn that money really CAN’T buy happiness as she’s on a ridiculously gargantuan boat (if they got one a tenth of the size, no one would have noticed and they could have used the money saved to solve world hunger or something) yet is quelling her seething rage with glass after glass of “Punch”.  Yeah… I’m SURE she’s drinking “Punch”.  To be fair, she has every right to be pissed as Vegeta and Goku have both bailed on her birthday and are off training their brains out in their never-ending pissing match with each other.  Trunks, probably as a means of lashing out against his alcoholic mother and dead beat dad, is taking Goten to the prize room for the upcoming Bingo competition; running through the halls and knocking over hapless waiters with abandon.  Don’t you just LOVE IT when we have to follow these brats around!?

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HOLY SHIT!  That guy probably has third degree burns all over his face now!  Haven’t you seen those Canadian Safety PSAs!?

Things only get more ridiculous from there as it turns out this cruise ship has a freaking TARDIS in it as the prize room is large enough to hold the dragon balls, a sports car, a plane, and oh yeah A FUCKING CASTLE!!  Again, this is all stuff that was in Battle of the Gods, but it was pretty obnoxious in that movie and it isn’t improved upon in the least here.  All of this just feels excessive and incongruent with what we saw in Dragon Ball Z.  Sure, Bulma was CLEARLY one rich lady, but in Dragon Ball Z it always manifested in USEFUL ways like advanced robotics facilities or Vegeta’s state of the art training room.  Sure, indulgence is nice every once in a while (hence why the vacation episode is still my favorite so far), but all of this just feels entirely meaningless and doesn’t really have any bearing on the plot.  Speaking of things that are meaningless and don’t have any bearing on the plot…

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WHY ARE ANY OF YOU HERE!?

Grr… the freaking Pilaf Gang.  I don’t know if it’s Toriyama who’s keeping these losers around or what (they WERE in GT which he had nothing to do with) but they simply don’t work here; especially now that they’ve been de-aged.  MAYBE if they were grown ass adults like everyone else from Dragon Ball they could have done something interesting with them, but the way they are now they come off as bratty, argumentative, and really unfunny.  Again, just like in the movie.  At least in Resurrection F, they had the decency to only show up for five minutes!  Alright, so the reason they’re here in THIS version of the story is that they JUST SO HAPPEN to be stuck on an island (looking for treasure obviously) that’s right along the Party Yacht’s route, and when Trunks showed Goten that the Dragon Balls were the grand prize in the Bingo tournament (turning off the security system while doing so), it gave Pilaf a brief indication on his Dragon Radar (wait, how did he get that in the first place?) that they were close by.  The trio rows their hole-ridden boat as close to the passing yacht as possible and just barely manage to clamber aboard where they basically forget about the dragon balls to instead indulge in the fantastic food at the buffet.  That was eight solid minutes of Pilaf Gang chicanery (over a third of the episode), and it basically amounted to nothing.  Fantastic.

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Meh.  It was funnier when Vegeta did it.

At the very least, they’re part in the episode has come to an end and we cut to something SO much more interesting.  Vegeta is back at home going through his INTENSE TRAINING REGIMENT when… I guess Bulma’s secretary, comes in with a phone call for The King of All Saiyans.  Naturally it’s not a HAPPY phone call as Bulma’s on the other end screaming her head off at the insensitive prick, but the dialogue in this scene is so perfect for the both of them that I wish the damn show would be about them and no one else.  Once again, we have a fantastic example of how well the character to character banter works as Vegeta is his usual gruff self but you can see him start to visibly sweat (and audibly quaver) when she lays in on him.  Honestly, it’s only about thirty seconds in the ENTIRE episode, yet is the most memorable thing we’ve gotten so far.

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“THE KING OF ALL SAIYANS DOES NOT MAKE SMALL TALK!!”     “Well if the King of all Saiyans wants his Sugar-Mama to continue letting him sleep inside HER house, HE’LL GET HIS NON-APPRECIATIVE ASS OVER HERE NOW!!”

The rest of the episode is perfectly fine, but not quite as good as Vegeta getting mercilessly chewed out.  We’re back on King Kai’s planet where Goku is still training (and causing mass amounts of property damage) when King Kai finally slips up and mentions Lord Beerus to the dummy.  Now that the cat is out of the bag, King Kai gives a brief rundown of what we already know about the guy (he’s a god of destruction, he’s way stronger than anyone, etc) and tries to dumb it down enough for Goku to understand why he CANNOT FIGHT HIM NO MATTER WHAT!   While he doesn’t really seem to grasp the magnitude of Beerus’s power, he at least can pick up on how terrified King Kai is and that’s enough for him to listen to him for the time being, by which I mean he hides in the remnants of King Kai’s home mere moments fore Lord Beerus and Whis finally arrive on his planet.  And so the episode ends with the promise of getting the plot back on track after a completely pointless and all around ANNOYING interlude!

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“Kept you waiting, huh?”

In a story arc that already feels completely unnecessary, stuffing it with completely unnecessary filler is probably not the best idea.  It’s one thing to have GOOD filler where the point is to flesh out certain characters or to let some of the characters we already like do something different, but reintroducing the Pilaf gang does neither of those things so we’re left with something that wastes our time as while the Beerus arc is artificially put on hold.  Fortunately, there are a few moments with Goku, Bulma, and Vegeta that provide a few laughs, but even those aren’t enough to carry this episode which is really just a waste of everyone’s time.

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