Dragon Ball Super 39 Thoughts
Kaio-ken returns! I was actually talking about this episode yesterday with a friend and we were remarking about how stupid Kaioken returning was, but surprisingly this was handled quite well. There's a little too much "powering up" for my tastes (I will forever think Dragon Ball Kai is superior because of this), but this was actually a pretty decent episode that continues the trend of Dragon Ball Super slowly transforming into a good anime. Well, good to DBZ fans at least. If they keep this up by episode 50 most fans will have forgotten the show was ever just a garbage retread of movies we'd already watched.
In any case, if you missed it: Universe 6's final fighter Hit, stepped up last episode to defeat Vegeta and give Goku a hard time because of his unique "Time-Leap" ability. Something normally reserved for Whis and his sister, Hit can stop time a maximum of .01 second--not very long, but an eternity when you move as fast as the Z Senshi. (To give an idea of the massive gulf in power between Whis and everyone else, Whis can stop time for *five minutes*.) Goku manages to overcome Hit's ability by predicting his movements, something he managed to learn while watching Vegeta's battle. There's a really neat moment where Goku reveals what he's doing, only for everyone to call him stupid for giving his trick away, while Hit suggests he could simply start doing something *else*. That's when you're reminded that Goku's only an idiot when he's *not* fighting, as responds that you simply can't change your natural movements so easily. Goku's talking about muscle memory, something that becomes ingrained and reflexive--and working against that is a huge mental chore that probably can't be done when you've already only got .01 seconds of time to work within.
At this point, Goku starts to trounce Hit, as Super Saiyan Blue gives him a distinct power and speed advantage over Hit once his Time-Leap ability gets canceled out. But of course, in true DBZ fashion, Hit manages to "power up" mid-battle. Though it's handled in a funny way, this is where the episode kind of loses me. Hit has a moment where he imitates Goku's power-up scream. Everyone assumes he's powered-up (though strangely, no one bothers to actually feel whether his ki has risen), but isn't actually any stronger...he's simply "decided" to get better, and his Time-Leap ability doubles in power, changing from .01 to .02 seconds in length. With this, he manages to start fighting back against Goku, and all seems lost until...
Well, until Goku decides to use his new trump card, something he was hoping to save for a rematch with Beerus. The trump card, obviously, is Kaio-ken. Again, this is handled quite well--with the proper gravitas to an old technique, rather than the Galick Gun and Special Beam Cannon, which seemingly were both used just to make older fans go "I remember that!". Kaio-ken has never been used with Super Saiyan, and the assumption amongst DBZ geeks was because they were two explosive techniques that used in conjunction would probably kill the user. But unlike the original Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan Blue's ki is calming and much less harsh on the body, making Kaio-ken possible. With this massive increase in strength and speed, even Hit's "Time-Leap" stops being useful, as he's far too slow to even stop time long enough to react to Goku.
And then the entire episode ends with a giant Kamehameha wave, just as Goku starts to feel both Blue and Kaio-ken starting to wear off. The fight concludes next episode, and with it--the tournament itself. I've got this feeling that Goku actually loses, because what better way to continue the story than for Earth to be transported to Universe 6, with all the potential enemies they could meet? The episode summaries talk about someone coming back through time though, which could throw a wrench entirely into my theory. Either way, hopefully episode 40 continues this upward trend of Super episodes.