Spoilers will be talked about below, so please be sure to watch the latest episode before reading on! This review is based off of the dub version of Super that currently airs on Toonami.
After weeks of build up, we’re finally at the Tournament of Power! Well sorta, we’re just mere moments away from the start of it and we spend most of episode 96 focusing on three things. The rest of Universe 7’s reaction to Frieza joining them, the other universes arriving at the tournament and also the tournament stage itself. So lets get right into our recap, shall we?
We start episode 96 off at the Tournament Of Power arena with the universes that aren’t competing in the tournament arriving first. They are instantly greeted by Whis’ father, the Grand Minister as he begins to answer their question about the stage and also the type of material it’s made of. To none of the viewers surprises, it’s made from one of the strongest material known throughout the multiverse — sadly I can’t recall the name. However there of the Gods of Destructions that are there question this and wish to spar against each other themselves to test out the arena. The Grand Minister allows it and the three gods begin to fight each other with all of them equal in strength. Eventually they make a giant crater in the floor of the arena and they are pleased with how well it all held up. But the Grand Minister then orders the three gods to fix the arena before the other universes arrive. They all are shocked by this and ask why the Grand Minister can’t do it and he simply says that he’ll be too busy gathering up the other universes for teleportation.
Back on Earth, we pick up where we left off last episode with Goku, Frieza, Whis and Beerus all back at Bulma’s house. Here, everyone else is instantly on edge with Frieza’s presence with Vegeta especially not liking the idea. The situation gets even worse with no one listening to Gohan and Supreme Kai’s game plan and strategy for the Tournament itself, and this goes doubly so with both Goku and Vegeta’s Saiyan pride getting the best of them. They want to have one on one fights with opponents in the battle royal and are refusing to having a two on one situation in their favor. Beerus surprisingly is the mediator for everyone, even though he’s angry, and orders them all to get along. Eventually though, it’s time to leave and Whis orders everyone to hold hands for teleportation and as luck would have it, Vegeta has to hold Frieza’s hand. He wants none of it and so Beerus steps in-between them and holds each of their hands. They all float up into the air and the Grand Minister whisk them away to the Tournament Of Power that’s residing in the mysterious Null Zone. While all of this was happening, Yamcha was actually seen hiding around the corner and concerned about why Goku never picked him. He instead sees Frieza and hears about everything happen and instantly becomes a chicken. He only finally steps out as everyone is leaving saying that the fate of the universe is in their hands.
Now finally at the arena proper, Universe 7 instantly finds out that they can’t fly and that by getting knocked out of the stage they will begin to fall into the great, dark abyss. Whis says that the only ones who are allowed to fly are those who have natural flying abilities like bird-type fighters and those not participating in the tournament like himself, Beerus and the Universe 7 Kais. Whis also informs everyone that the weight they feel is specific for each fighter, be that it’s supposed to mimic the weight they feel on their natural birth planet. With those words Whis flies off into the stands to watch.
After that, all the other universes start showing up as well with Universe 6 greeting Universe 7. Cabba is the first out of his team to run up to both Goku and Vegeta, introducing them to Kale and Calufia — who doesn’t want to shake hands with someone as “weak” as Goku to her. Also interestingly enough Frieza meets his Universe 6 counter part, Frost and the two instantly connect, even scheming to team up together to outlast everyone else. Aside from this Tien and Krillian comment about Master Roshi and if he’s able to fight with all the female fighters showing up. Roshi however, counters this concern and says that he one hundred precent overcame his weakness.
Eventually one by one all the other universes start showing up and we get introduced to group shots of them. But then suddenly Vegeta and Goku both sense an immense ki burst coming from the next universe. It turns out that Universe 11 shows up with Top leading the way. Goku runs up to great Top but the Pride Trooper wants nothing of him. Goku then notices another mysterious Pride Trooper behind them all, Jiren and before he can even say a word to him, Jiren pops up behind Goku instantly spooking him!
While all of this is going on the Gods of Destructions who were fixing the stage begin to speed up the construction and begin launching all of the bricks at super fast speeds startling everyone, Goku included, except the Pride Troopers. Jiren doesn’t even flinch as the bricks go flying right past him and into their spot. Goku is instantly impressed by Jiren as he heads back to his team.
Here, we get dramatic shots of all the universes with the Grand Minister finally announcing that the Tournament of Power has begun! Then well, as usual, the episode ends and we have to wait until next week to see all the punching and kicking.
To be perfectly honest, this was to be expected out of the episode. It was just 30 minutes of trying to get all the characters in one place and setting up the scene for the next episode. If you skipped this episode you didn’t miss anything important besides the introduction of Jiren, Kale and Calufia meeting the other Saiyans, the interaction between Vegeta and Frieza and perhaps Frieza finally meeting Frost — which I have a feeling may play a key role coming up. The bit with the Gods Of Destructions fighting each other at the top of the episode could have been cut entirely with the Grand Minister’s explanation of the stage saved for later once all the universes showed up. This way we could have gotten more important character beats and even spent more time on the ones we got too. This has always been Super’s major weak point compared to Dragon Ball Z, it spends too much time on characters we don’t care about or characters that are simply filler and we never see again — the only exception being the Universe 6 team, who have had multiple scenes and plot points throughout Super. Thankfully though we don’t have to sit through filler episodes and characters, we can finally get right into the fighting with Episode 97 that’s right around the corner!