Hello, ladies, gentlemen, and everyone between and beyond, and welcome to week 13 of the first Dragon Ball rewatch of the decade.
We're doing five episodes a week, and we'll be watching every single episode of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT. All 508 episodes. Plus the TV specials and the movies.
I encourage you all to watch in Japanese with subtitles, especially if you have never done so before, but watch along in whichever way brings you the most joy.
We've comfortably crossed the point of being a third of the way into OG DB. My my, how the time has flown.
Hope you're all keeping safe and healthy.
I think I actually have the virus, but thankfully the symptoms are very minor for me. One or two people I know aren't quite so lucky, though again, thankfully they seem to be doing okay, despite feeling awful.
Stay inside, friends. Socially distance. And above all, be kind to one another.
On a lighter note, we're about half-way to the next movie. We'll be watching it in early May, just after the Baba storyline, during the
Previous thread: Week 12 (DB 51-55)
Next thread: Week 14 (DB 61-65)
Anyway, without further ado...
Episode 56 - Uhohōi! Arale Boards the Cloud
Dub title: Strange Visitor / There's A Stranger In Town!
Originally aired 25th of March 1987
Episode director: Kazuhisa Takenouchi
Animation supervisor: Yukio Ebisawa
Arale, the girl Goku meets in Penguin Village, is a mysterious young girl who can run at super speed, and even ride the Kinto-Un. The village’s police force, consisting of Taro and the others, attempt to capture Blue of the Red Ribbon Army, but they can’t scratch him! The Dragan Radar is malfunctioning, and Goku cannot pinpoint the position of the Dragon Balls. At a loss, Goku takes Arale’s advice and visits Dr. Senbe, who just might be able to fix the Dragon Radar!!
Anime-only/filler content: The scene where Penguin Village residents try to sit on the Nimbus, the scene with Blue and Obotchaman.
Episode 57 - Showdown! Arale vs Blue
Dub title: Arale vs. Blue / Arale vs. General Blue
Originally aired 8th of April 1987
Episode director: Minoru Okazaki
Animation supervisor: Minoru Maeda
Dr. Senbe’s eldest son Turbo-kun fixes the Dragon Radar. Blue then appears, takes Arale as a hostage, and steals the Dragon Radar, using his physic powers to immobilize Goku!! At this time, Arale uses amazing power to send Blue flying!! However, even though the Dragon Balls are returned, the Dragon Radar was sent flying along with Blue. Goku receives a newly made Dragon Radar from Turbo, and leaves Penguin Village behind.
Anime-only/filler content: Everything involving King Nokichan the alien, the police and the supposed Red Ribbon Army invasion, Goku and Arale searching Noramaki's house.
Episode 58 - The Haunted Karin Holy Land
Dub title: The Land of Korin / The Holy Land Of Korin
Originally aired 15th of April 1987
Episode director: Daisuke Nishio
Animation supervisor: Masayuki Uchiyama
A volcanic eruption sends the Four-Star Ball flying into the Karin Holy Land, a place protected by Bora and his son Upa. Bora uses his tremendous power to drive back Captain Yellow’s Red Ribbon Army troop, who came in pursuit of the Dragon Ball! However, Yellow takes Upa hostage and demands the Dragon Ball. But Goku happens to pass by, defeats Yellow in a single blow, and saves Upa!! Meanwhile at Red Ribbon Army Headquarters, the world’s greatest assassin Tao Pai-pai shows up, having been summoned by Commander Red!!
Anime-only/filler content: Blue on a camel, Commander Red playing pool, everything involving Captain Yellow before Goku arrives at their confrontation.
Episode 59 - He’s Here! The World’s Greatest Hitman, “Tao Pai-pai”
Dub title: The Notorious Mercenary / The Terrifying Tao Pai-Pai!
Originally aired 22nd of April 1987
Episode director: Kazuhisa Takenouchi
Animation supervisor: Katsumi Aoshima
After finally managing to return to Red Ribbon Army Headquarters, Blue is killed by a single blow from Tao Pai-pai’s tongue. Tao Pai-pai then sets off for the Karin Holy Land to eliminate Goku! Meanwhile, Goku obtains his heart’s desire, the Four-Star Ball. He also hears the legend of the Super Holy Water, water received from a sage who lives at the top of Karin Tower, and that if drunk will multiply one’s power many times over. Tao Pai-pai then shows up. Bora stands to face him, but before Tao Pai-pai’s fearsome power he is killed in the blink of an eye!! Goku challenges Tao Pai-pai, but?!
Anime-only/filler content: General Blue being sassy to the guarding inside RRA HQ, the expanded visual depiction of the legend of Karin's Tower.
Episode 60 - The Match!! Kamehameha vs Dodonpa
Dub title: Tao Attacks! / Facing The Dodon Wave!
Originally aired 29th of April 1987
Episode director: Daisuke Nishio
Animation supervisor: Mitsuo Shindo
Goku is completely helpless before the might of Tao Pai-pai, who is unaffected by even the Kamehameha. Goku is felled after taking a direct hit from Tao Pai-pai’s sure-to-kill Dodonpa! Tao Pai-pai steals the Dragon Balls, and heads to a town to get new clothes to replace his tattered ones. However, Goku survived!! The Four-Star Ball that he had on his breast protected him!! After resolving to use the Dragon Balls to restore Bora to life, Goku climbs Karin Tower in order to become stronger than Tao Pai-pai. However, no matter how far he climbs, he is still unable to see the top.
Anime-only/filler content: An extended fighting sequence between the two times Goku is kicked into Karin's Tower, everything involving Tao getting new clothes that isn't him at the tailor's.
- Whether Arale was able to sit on the Nimbus because she's a robot or not is never explored, similar to Goku carrying his futon and food on it in Episode 14.
- The logistical implications of including Penguin Village has been quite profound, including Dr. Slump depicting its own version of God (who in Dragon Ball had not been concieved yet).
- Arale wears a T-Shirt in these episodes, while in her manga/anime she wears denim overalls.
- General Blue's appearance may be an allusion to Nazi Germany's belief in the idea of a superior Aryan race, with Blue's homosexuality and supernatural abilities being an intentional contrast.
- Arale and Penguin Village would not be seen on Japanese TV again until November 26th 1997, when the first episode of the second Dr. Slump anime would air one week after GT ended. They wouldn't appear in a Dragon Ball anime again until Episode 69 of Dragon Ball Super on December 4th, 2016, though characters from Dragon Ball would appear again in the 1997 Slump series.
- Because the anime adds an extra scene where some Penguin Village residents try to sit on the Nimbus, the scene where Arale tells Goku about the Doc is in a completely different location. In the manga this scene is on the cliff where Blue crashed.
- Sourman's theme seems to be a deliberate homage to John Williams' Superman theme.
- The English dubs censor Blue's attraction to Obotchaman entirely, changing the scene to appear to refer to Blue having a long-lost brother.
- The European Spanish dub mostly kept this scene intact, but changed Obotchaman to be referred to as female in dialogue.
- Similar to their script for Paozu Village having a one-off "we've waited for a hero to do it" subplot added, the Funimation dub adds this idea to the legend of climbing Karin's Tower.
- Funimation introduces a dub error in episode 58; the narrator claims Goku attained four Dragon Balls, rather than three.
- The mini-arc involving Tao Pai-Pai establishes several tropes that will become incredibly common in the future of Dragon Ball:
- A previously unknown, incredibly strong enemy appears who vastly outshines the previous villain.
- The enemy being able to use ki beam attacks comparable to the Kamehameha.
- Goku being initially trounced by the villain, requiring...
- Goku leaving to train and power up his strength.
- Goku's friends having to nervously wait and/or stall for time until Goku returns.
- Goku's opponent being incredibly arrogant over the roles being reversed, to the point that they engage in tactical suicide.
- Tao's pleas for mercy are also similar to Frieza pleading Goku for help at the end of their fight.