Episode 73, "This is the Power of a Super Namekian! No. 17 vs Piccolo", or "Piccolo Hasn't Kicked This Much Ass Since... Ever"
Synopsis: Bulma is having difficulty figuring out how to make a shut down controller for Artificial Human 17. Meanwhile, Piccolo and 17 continue their fight, which escalates. Cell detects Piccolo's ki and realizes he must be fighting the Artificial Humans, so he speeds off in the direction of the ki. Piccolo and 17 start close quarters combat, with brutal punches and kicks. Bulma calls Kuririn and tells him that she completed a controller that will deactivate either 17 or 18. Kuririn tells her to bring it to them. 17 tells Piccolo that though their power is equal, Piccolo lacks the stamina to beat him, as he has unlimited energy. Then suddenly, Cell appears, frightening Piccolo.
You know what? I keep forgetting how good the battle between Piccolo and #17 is. I don't know if I'd put it in my top five in DB/Z fights, but it's pretty damn entertaining. Besides just being pretty entertaining with its mix of ki-based and punch-and-kick attacks, I also like that it's Piccolo kicking ass. I don't think Piccolo ever kicked so much ass. I think this is a lot better than his fight with Freeza, because it doesn't seem like a time waster. We can see that clearly the two have equal power and we don't expect that 17 is the final boss of this arc, so it's one of those fights that could go either way. With Freeza, you know Piccolo's going to get beat, Goku's going to be the main battle, and Piccolo just doesn't have any real stake in the fight. Here, Piccolo is clearly concerned for eliminating at least one of the Artificial Humans so he can prevent Cell's completion. And some of the hits just look brutal.
There are a few really notable parts. One is an attack Piccolo does where he fires a volley of ki blasts that form little orbs of ki that surround 17. Then he has them close in on 17. I believe the fandom refers to this as the "Hellzone Grenade". Unfortunately, 17 has a previously unforseen forcefield (*cough*bullshit*cough*), that we never seen again. I also like some of the jumping around Piccolo and 17 does and the hits that cause huge imprints in the ground and each other. Yamamoto's score is used really well during the battle, too, especially the track "Heroic Face Off" from the third OST, used towards the end. Nothing feels out of place or stale, even the pieces that usually do.
In fact, this is a really excellent episode of the show overall. The fighting was solid and I enjoyed Bulma working on a way to take care of the Artificial Humans scientifically. Toshio Furukawa and Shigeru Nakahara's performances are strong. You really feel 17's cockiness, especially. Norio Wakamoto's Cell still sounds a little strange, but I'm assuming he's doing it on purpose.
You know, I have little use for Kai in the Cell arc, since I enjoy the Z version just fine, and never felt it was too stretched out, but I'd consider getting whichever Blu-Ray volume this one falls on.
4.5 out of 5