Episode 100, "Found Out! The New Hero is Son Gohan"
Synopsis: Gohan is enjoying his double life as high school student and superhero Great Saiyaman, but his heroics catch the attention of Mr. Satan's daughter, Videl. After the rescue of a baby dinosaur from a cruel circus trainer has them on opposing sides, Videl figures out who Great Saiyaman really is and blackmails Gohan into joining the Tenkaichi Budoukai, At Capsule Corporatation, Gohan replaces his helmet with a scarf and tells Bulma about his situation. Vegeta wants to compete in the tournament, as well. Surprisingly, so does Son Goku, who talks from the afterlife through Kaio. Goku says that he'll be given a special one-day permission to return to the living world and looks forward to competing in the Budoukai. Gohan is overjoyed by the news.
So, yeah... Dragon Ball Kai doesn't disappoint. I mean, except all the times it does, like with keeping the dinosaur rescue adventure. But hey, they cut it down to convenient size. It just comes off as being a bit lazy, and they could have easily recorded new dialogue or maybe, you know, actually animate a new scene or two to reflect how Videl found out who Great Saiyaman was like in the manga. Which is to say, she figured it out immediately, because she's not a fucking imbecile. But, whatever, I guess this will do, but I'm getting tired of saying, "Yeah, I guess this will do." It sort of becomes the mantra of the person watching this show. Optimistically, I guess it should be. "Hey, beats all that filler."
The benefit of keeping a bit of the dinosaur rescue episode is that we get to see Gohan and Goten interact a little. Gohan wants to make his brother happy by finding the baby dinosaur and returning him to his parents. He's even given Goten Kintoun to play with (Gohan hardly needs it, and frankly, neither did Goku). We can see that Goten is a bit more frisky that Gohan was as a child until he was forced into constant combat. Goten has a bit more of his father in him, though with a touch more sweetness in his voice. It's fun to see scenes with the brothers, as Masako Nozawa plays them both with a slight difference that works really well. They're clearly being played by the same person, but it doesn't feel forced, the way it did when Chris Sabat began playing every character in the English dub of DBZ (he's improved).
It's neat to see Videl in action, the girl's got guts, even if she's not in the league of, say... uh, Yajirobe. Her early, long haired look with the tails is clearly her best look and when she blushes, it's priceless. Videl's clearly much more suited for taking on bad guys than her father, who just sits around watching himself on television. I really like that scene with the two of them, where Mr. Satan gives her the idea bout the Budoukai by talking about the man who won the tournament before him, which is Goku. Clearly Mr. Satan never bothered to do any real research into the matter, but I guess any pictures of Goku from the 23rd Tenkaichi Budoukai wouldn't have looked like the Super Saiyan form he maintained throughout the Cell Games.
I wonder what it is that happened after the tournament Goku won that made people completely forget that there were people capable of firing lasers out of their hands and such. Probably the same thing that got rid of most of the animal-people the Dragon Ball world was full of at one point. Some kind of strange mix of ethnic cleansing and collective amnesia? Even if the matches weren't televised back then, I'm pretty sure that people would remember a green demon (er, alien) obliterating most of the island the tournament takes place on. Maybe Goku should have had some endorsement deals to keep the Son family in the green for a while. Goku-O's are part of a complete breakfast! Mr. Satan has to know that these people exist, right?
I guess Toriyama just forgot about it, like poor Lunch, and Artificial Human 17.
Another thing Toriyama must've forgotten is Vegeta's vow to "never fight again" after Gohan's defeat of Cell. Sure, he was talking to himself, and probably out of frustration in the moment, but come on, at least tell us what made him turn around so much, wanting to fight in this tournament. And you can't say it was just the chance to compete against Goku, because he already wanted to enter before Goku spoke up. Vegeta, a hypocrite? Naaaahhh! Also, DBZ Movie 9 can't be a reason, damn it, because it's not glorious manga canon (though it could very well fit, and is my favorite of the movies)! Eh, I guess I'll just chalk it up to Vegeta wanting to Bulma to shut the hell up about him not doing anything all day. It's not like he'd have to work, anyway, since Bulma is rich and he's so obviously her trophy husband.
I love the callback to the Baba tournament back in the aftermath of the Red Ribbon fracas, with Goku being allowed to come to the world of the living for a day, just like his grandpa, the original Son Gohan, was able to during that. Maybe Toriyama's memory wasn't so faulty after all. It does make me wonder whether or not Goku ever hung out with Grandpa Gohan in the afterlife.
The last thing I want to comment on is the music. As with the previous episode, Sumitomo has failed to impress me, for the most part. I can't tell whether or not the compositions are just too plain or the instrumental performance is just lacking. However, there is one piece that I really enjoyed, the one that played when Goku began to talk and Gohan was getting excited about the Budoukai, which closed out the pre-credits part of the episode. It's a real uplifting piece that combines an orchestral sound with some guitar work. It gives me a little bit of hope that Sumitomo might pick things up in the future.
Next episode has Gohan training with Goten and Videl, which should be fun!
3.5 out of 5