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Super Krillin unleashed!

By Shawn Saris

Warning: The following contains spoilers about the episode.

The last few episodes of Dragon Ball Super made great strides in emotional storytelling, and thankfully it’s not showing signs of stopping. Krillin takes center stage again to confront his demons. Seeing him battle with enemies from the past (and grow both physically and emotionally from it) made for a compelling story while also reinvigorating him as a strong, relevant character. His closest friend ends up being the weakest link of the episode however, as Goku’s attitude and treatment of Krillin was poor and at times almost insulting.

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With Krillin’s struggle established in the last episode, this week focuses on his internal battles with fear and self doubt. It’s not something we see often, and it’s particularly compelling when coming from such a long-standing member of the franchise. Krillin has fought and died in battle many times, and the use of flashbacks along with other strange imagery helps convey the fear that Krillin has struggled with since his first brush with death. The images of giant Frieza’s surrounding him are particular unnerving and sinister as his death at Frieza’s hands was particularly brutal. The resolution was also satisfying, as it not only showed Krillin’s character growth, but also enhanced his power in a way that felt earned. Hopefully this new found strength means we will see him more often beside Goku and Vegeta, instead of shelved on the sidelines.

The speed with which he was able to overcome things did turn me off a bit though. It took just a few seconds for Krillin to push aside his fears and conquer the forest. Although this is something I would expect from Goku, Krillin is a more vulnerable human and it seems like a missed opportunity to not focus on his emotional state for a bit longer.

Seeing Goku and Krillin back together again is a good break from the usual team ups, and it’s an especially nice touch that Master Roshi wound up involved as well. Dragon Ball has an unfortunate history of letting characters slip into obscurity when they were no longer useful. It’s good to see that in Super there is an effort to show off these less powerful but still entertaining people.

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The very hero of the franchise plays a part in dampening the mood of Episode 76. Goku’s childish attitude isn’t usually a problem, but his simplistic view of things feels borderline insulting to his and Krillin’s relationship. The “get over it” attitude coming from Goku was very off-putting. I would expect at least a little compassion and understanding, particularly between two friends who have fought together for so long. If this kind of storytelling is to continue, some serious change will have to happen to Goku’s core character, or else he is going to feel more and more out of place.

The Verdict

Episode 76 tells a compelling story about overcoming fear and self doubt. It’s great to see Krillin again, especially in such a meaningful way and the ending of the episode leaves some interesting prospects on the table for his future. Not all is well though, as there are moments where Goku’s character is at odds with the more mature story being told, leaving some interactions between him and Krillin feeling more hostile and off putting, then comforting and friendly like they should be.

Editors’ Choice

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Originally published on Wordpress