Dragon Ball Super is a little on the unusual side this week, and while some might be quick to scream that ugly little word of “filler” at this installment, there is plot progression here. Things are certainly further along by the end of the episode than they were last week… only barely.
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“Off to See Master Zuno” puts two side characters in the spotlight. This isn’t a first for the Dragon Ball property, but it definitely amounts to a fun, out of character entry of this series with Bulma and Jaco being thrust into focus. I’ve brought up Akira Toriyama’s “spinoff” manga, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, in previous reviews, but this episode gives a solid glimpse of what an anime series take on that material would look like. It might not be for everyone, but I’d totally be into an anime that saw Jaco and Bulma having adventures in space that harkens back a lot more to the original Dragon Ball’s comedic nature. And there’s plenty of ribbing on how many women have dumped Jaco while they travel from planet to planet.
Things kick off hot on the heels of last week’s developments. Bulma is keen on acquiring the Super Dragon Balls by herself to keep Beerus from using them for something nefarious if the mood happens to strike him. With Bulma’s Super Dragon Radar still having limited capabilities in terms of the vastness of the universe, Jaco is her trump card to lend a helping hand. What are intergalactic friends for, after all?
Jaco puts Master Zuno on everyone’s radar, who seems to be some sort of omniscient being who knows everything there is to know (this even stems into the realm of underwear patterns, which Jaco makes clear). He’s on a small planet that’s not too far away from Earth that looks like a level from out of Super Mario Galaxy.
Once he’s pointed out, the episode wastes no time sending Bulma and Jaco off to meet this all-powerful Zuno to determine where the remaining Super Dragon Balls are. Road trip! Also, both Vegeta’s warning to Jaco about not trying anything funny with Bulma, and Jaco’s reaction to said warning, are pretty perfect. That guy is just a bundle of nerves around the Saiyan Prince. Piccolo losing his composure over finally realizing what Goku and Vegeta have in common is another great character moment this week too.
Before Bulma and Jaco get too deep into their journey, there’s a really endearing segment where Jaco rags on her for having changed and losing some of the freewheeling personality that she used to have. There’s a sweet little flashback here to material that aligns with the Jaco manga that shows Bulma as a child interacting with Jaco—back when he knew her sister,Tights. Bulma explains that she might not be as loose and free as she used to be, but she’s a wife and mother now, which is its own adventure and plenty of her to be happy with. “Off to See Master Zuno!” doesn’t dwell on this for too long, but its message gets across and makes Bulma’s decision to be the one flying off here have all the more weight to it.
Once reaching Zuno’s planet, they run into the criminal Geppuman, someone who’s built a reputation by repeatedly skipping out on paying his bills at restaurants (“eat-and-run incidents”). Bulma and Jaco are about to cut their losses and head home, but some panicking on Geppuman’s part leads to him making a big scene on the planet. How adorable is it that Geppuman asks Master Zuno, “How do you do eat-and-runs without getting caught?” As if it’s just some simple math question that he doesn’t have the answer to.
Jaco also gets to kick a little bit of ass here, and it begs this question: With the wealth of Dragon Ball fighters that are currently on the market, how come Jaco isn’t in more of them?! Due to the duo ultimately apprehending the scofflaw, they’re allowed to forego the lengthy waiting process to get time with Master Zuno and are allowed to see him right away (although I wouldn’t have put it past Dragon Ball Super to have them waiting in line for four episodes before getting anywhere).
Not too much of Master Zuno’s ways are seen here, but apparently the de facto offering that he accepts are kisses on the cheek. One from a male gets you one question. One from a woman, albeit a middle-aged one who’s not Zuno’s type, gets you three wishes. It’s bonkers, but who are we from Earth to judge this foreign planet’s ways?
Bulma wastes two of her three questions rather flippantly, but they do eventually get some details about the Super Dragon Balls, as well as learning that these super wish orbs are scattered collectively across both Universe 7 and Universe 6. Super Dragon Balls are connected and shared between each set of complimentary universes, which also explains why Champa and Vados have had a difficult time acquiring all of them—a bunch of them are in Universe 7. Zuno’s infinite knowledge also reveals Bulma’s bust size… so there’s that too.
“Off to See Master Zuno!” might not be the most memorable episode of Dragon Ball Super, but it’s just fun to get some original intergalactic material that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Plus, there are some sparse examples of Jaco’s stress relief exercises that involve the crystallization and destruction of asteroids, which makes for some super cool scenes. It’s nice to know that that spaceship actually has some tricks up its sleeve for when it’s caught in a pinch. This episode’s style was personally right up my alley and a welcome detour for the show, but it’s also simultaneously the kind of episode that others will hate due to its lack of fighting. But hey, at least it wasn’t a clip show, right?
Next episode finally gets to the tournament and begins the multiverse combat action, unfortunately we’ll have to wait an extra week for it as next week is a rerun for Labor Day weekend (there’s a Dragon Ball Kai marathon going on, for those interested). More time to train in that Hyperbolic Time Chamber!
And see guys, I told you that the diameter of the Super Dragon Balls was 37,196,220 km. Actually pretty obvious when you think about it…