Episode 101, "Gohan’s the Teacher! Videl’s Introduction to Flight"
Synopsis: After informing Kuririn, Artificial Human 18, and Piccolo about the Budoukai, Gohan tells his mother about his father returning to the living world for a day. Gohan begins training with Goten, discovering that he can also become a Super Saiyan, but asks him to keep it under wraps when Videl arrives to learn how to fly. Both Videl and Goten need to be taught to use Bukujutsu, but first Videl has to be taught how to use her ki. Eventually she manages to levitate, while Goten masters flying handily. Vegeta is aghast that Trunks can also become a Super Saiyan at his age. Videl arrives for training one day with shorter hair, as suggested by Gohan for safety during the tournament.
What I enjoy about this episode, this part of the manga, and about the same animated, is something that was frankly kind of overdue in the story, but probably very difficult to place. That is, the explanation of implementing "ki" (chi, or simply "energy" in Funimation's dubs). DBZ's fighters have been using all kinds of ki techniques since the beginning, and even in the beginning of Dragon Ball, it's never really given a proper introduction. Goku learns to use the Kamehameha immediately after seeing Kamesennin use it to put out the flames of Mt. Frypan (destroying most of the mountain with it) and it's some destructive beam of light that doesn't really get a lot of explanation, and we go from there to other wild techniques that just sort of pop up and exist.
That approach, I will admit, has its merits. If you over explain something, if you time out from the narrative and try to give technical details of something adventerous and nebulous like ki techniques, it may come off as being needless, forced exposition that takes you out of the story. When we're first introduced to Son Goku, he's already shrugging off bullets like they were bug bites, so him firing a laser out of his hands and destroying a car with it isn't that big of a stretch when you go from there. And from there, those kinds of things are simply built upon to the point where, eventually, giant beams fired out of characters' hands and balls of fire capable of obliterating entire planets just seem like a natural escalation based on the increasing powers of the characters in the story.
However, it wouldn't have hurt if at some point, maybe when Kamesennin was giving Goku and Kuririn his personal training, or when Goku was training at Kami's, to get some more eleborate discussion on the use of "ki", detecting it, tracking it, using it, flying with it. Goku isn't revealed to have known Bukujutsu, the flying technique, until the end of the 23rd Tenkaichi Budoukai, and doesn't start using it regularly until after training with Kaio. The revelation during his fight with Piccolo is a great one, but it wouldn't have lessened it if we saw at least some theoretical speculation about it some time around when Tenshinhan and Chaozu introduced it (come to think of it, isn't Puar using it all the time?).
As it is, the reader, or in this case, viewer, has to wait until Gohan trains Videl in the art of flying before we get, if a bit abstractly, a lesson in what it means to be a ki manipulator (for lack of better term). Videl grew up thinking that sort of thing was just "tricks", according to her father, but clearly that sort of thing ocurred frequently not that long ago in the Dragon Ball world, and it's doubtful that Cell used tricks to blow up a good portion that that city when he appeared on television. Maybe there was just this collective denial going on in the Dragon Ball Earth at some point. For some reason, a world full of monsters, dinosaurs, animal people, giant dragons, and invading aliens also produces people incapable of believing in guys that throw fire balls and fly. How very consistent, Mr. Toriyama.
Gohan is such a dork, hahahaha. He ruined a perfectly good hairstyle Videl had going for her, and for what? So it won't get pulled in a fight. Hey, fuck you, guy. You and your family have ridiculous hair sticking out at all angles and you think Videl's going to have the problem with her hair? Videl loses at least forty percent of her cachet now that she's rocking the boycut. You do have to admire her fiestiness, at least, but Gohan missed quite the opportunity with her by misreading her signals (though she misread him first).
I guess it's pretty futile at this point to complain about more Super Saiyans existing. Every living Saiyan character, and at least one dead, is now able to become a Super Saiyan, so it shouldn't be too shocking even to the people who've never seen this before that Goten and Trunks can both become Super Saiyans, because why not? Never mind years of intense training or a huge rage trigger being necessary, apparently it's baked right into Goku and Vegeta's Super Sperm. Well, there's an interesting idea. Maybe Goten and Trunks were conceived when Goku and Vegeta had sex with their respective mates in their Super Saiyan forms, thus the reason Goten and Trunks are natural Super Saiyans at such a tender age. But as I can't consider the sex lives of our funny haired alien heroes without gagging a little, it's probably best left unexamined. Ugh.
However, there is a more pressing, questionable element to this episode. Is it the music? Well, yeah, that's pretty questionable (so bland), but not really what I had in mind. The wiggy editing with the obviously sped up footage? Sure, that's pretty questionable as well. The overall cheap ass...ness of this entire production? Certainly. But all those matters are the past-its-expiration-date icing on the cake that is Dragon Ball (Z) Kai.
No, what I'm talking about is, what the fuck is Kuririn doing still living with Muten Roshi? He's got a wife and a child! Get your own fucking place, douchebag! Roshi's already living with a talking turtle as it is. It was one thing when it was just Kuririn living there, and probably didn't mind 18, since she's a beautiful woman, and Lunch is off in Forgotten-By-Toriyama-Land (also there: the ruthlessness of Saiyans and the ability to draw characters that aren't anorexic). But, as cute as little Maron is, I think it's about time you sprung for your own domicile, Nutman. Kamesennin has been sleeping in the oven.
3.5 out of 5