A knockout extravaganza.
Warning: The following review contains spoilers for the episode.
It’s a Universe 7 roulette this week as its champions fight for their survival in the Tournament of Power. Episode 106 had some good moments, particularly when Gohan and Piccolo were on screen, but came up short with its depiction of Tien and his unexpectedly quick ejection from the tournament.
Since the early days of Dragon Ball, Gohan and Piccolo have had a great familial bond that few others have shown, even though Piccolo is not his real dad. We saw a lot of that this week as Piccolo once again took on a fatherly role, protecting Gohan at the cost of his own well-being.
It’s great to see that, after all these years, Piccolo still treats Gohan as his own son and is willing to risk his own safety to ensure Gohan’s future in the tournament. In a show where the two leads are both fathers, you’d think this would be more common place, but it’s quite rare to see Goku or Vegeta expressing themselves around their family.
It often falls to the secondary characters to fulfill that role, and they do it well.
Although brief, Vegeta’s presence this week was exactly what this episode needed.
Playing up on his core character, we saw him nearly get knocked out for being too cocky, then quickly spin that around to trash talking an opponent for his cowardly attack. The scenes were quick and worked well within the episode, adding a bit of humor while staying within the confines of what makes Vegeta fun to watch.
Tien is where things fell short this week. Up until this point, each character from Universe 7 has had great representation within the tournament. This includes the weaker fighters as well, with both Krillin and Roshi having great episodes dedicated to them and their strengths.
Tien was not so lucky. From the get go, his inclusion felt forced as he was randomly dropped into an already character-packed episode. He then goes on to use a costly attack and gets knocked out of the tournament.
Was it all bad? No, certainly not.
He did ultimately save Gohan and Piccolo, and got to use a new, if rather unimpressive version of his classic Tri-Beam Cannon. However, this can’t make up for the fact Episode 106 didn’t come close to showcasing him in the same way as other heroes.
Android 17 and Master Roshi are excellent examples of Super taking a character and highlighting what makes them great, giving them a small, self-contained arc within a single episode. Tien didn’t get any of that and instead he was used as a sacrificial fodder, appearing only for the sole purpose of tossing himself and an enemy out of the ring with virtually no interesting story or build up prior to it happening.
Even his final act of sacrifice, which I believe Tien would be more than willing to do, is undercut by the fact he let his guard down just moments before, an act I would never expect from the always serious Tien.