Beating death once again.
By Shawn Saris
Warning: Full spoilers for the episode below.
Apologies for the delay of this review due to the holiday!
Fighting is at the core of “Will There Be A Counterattack?! The Invisible Killing Strike!”, as Hit returns to finish what he started with Goku. Good fight scenes help prop up Episode 72, but it’s ultimately weighed down by some strange story decisions and an all too convenient revival of our hero.
The highlight of this episode is once again Hit. The assassin continues to impress as he returns to fight Goku and finish him off once and for all. His minimalist fighting style and cold attitude counter Goku well, and his unique powers force Goku to think outside the box rather than relying on brute force to solve the problem. His animation is also quite different, which helps lend to the air of mystery that surrounds his character. The ending of the episode leaves things open for future appearances, so we hope to see his character built upon as the series progresses.
The death of Goku should’ve also been a highlight, but it ultimately amounts to a minor inconvenience for our hero. Of the many ways people have been revived in the past, Goku managing to resuscitate himself with a Ki blast is certainly one of the most unique, but also one of the cheapest. Death in the Dragon Ball universe already means so little – if Goku can just constantly revive himself with a well placed Ki Blast, then is there ever going to be a meaningful threat on his life? This isn’t a new issue for the Dragon Ball series, but the constant abuse of character death, only to have it rectified the next episode needs to end if we the viewers are ever expected to take it seriously.
The reveal at the end of the episode, that Goku is the one who hired the assassin, should’ve also been a fun moment. Instead, I found it to be very strange and on the edge of believability. Goku has always been reckless with his life, but the idea that he would hire an assassin to try and kill him seems to be a step too far for his character. This issue ties into a long standing problem with Goku as a character, that he never changes or matures. Although that’s part of his charm, at this point it’s starting to wear a little thin. He has a family and even a grandchild, so it seems like now would be a great time to show an evolution in his character instead of more of the same reckless, childish Goku we’re used to.
Hit continues to impress as a great counter to Goku. His silent nature and unique fighting style make for great battle scenes and forces our hero to deal with him using thoughtful combat methods instead of brute force techniques. However Episode 72 is bogged down heavily by long standing issues with the Dragon Ball series, causing it’s emotional impact to be negligible and leaving us wondering if Goku will ever grow up, if even a little.