Beerus May Be The Greatest Antagonist in Dragon Ball So Far
Episode #6 of Dragon Ball Super doesn’t really bring anything new to the table if you have already seen the Battle of Gods movie. In fact, most people would consider it as nothing but filler because there’s no big fight scene, unless you consider smacking Buu around as a fight scene. The episode just expounds on the part in the film where Beerus and Whis crash the party up to the point where he got into a fight with Buu over a plate full of pudding.
However, what separates episode #6 from filler material, besides being canon, is the fact that it has bearing on the main story arc. You can remove the episode where Goku and Piccolo get their driver’s license without losing anything of value from the narrative, but take out Super’s 6th episode and you lose key background details (such as the connection between King Vegeta and Beerus) and a few examples of why Beerus may be one of the best new characters to appear in the franchise.
Beerus is Neither Good nor Evil
There’s no denying that Beerus is a big bad, for this story arc at least. But note my use of the word ‘antagonist’ instead of ‘villain.’ Beerus isn’t motivated by malice and he isn’t motivated by a gross misinterpretation of justice (as many antiheroes are wont to do) either. Beerus is a force of nature, and like the concept of destruction that he represents – he’s very unpredictable. He is unstoppable when he decides on something, except when he changes his mind on a whim.
The God of Destruction Isn’t One-Dimensional
It’s easy to assume that there is no rhyme or reason in the character’s actions. Like destruction itself, there are ways of coaxing or pacifying the god of destruction. Food being one of them, but the methods employed do not guarantee success to the point where they turn into the character’s kryptonite. Bribing him with delicious food could prevent him from killing everyone in the boat, but it may also convince him to blow up the planet.
He’s More Fun as a Character
It’s his tendency for grey areas that makes Beerus a little more fun as a character compared to some of the big bads that have graced the series so far. Most of the villains have decent but overplayed reasons for landing in the series’ coveted villains’ seat; Vegeta? Ego, lust for power. Frieza? Ego, lust for power. Cell? Ego, lust for power. Dabura? Ego, lust for power. Buu? He’s just plain evil. Broly? He’s just insane. Beerus, on the other hand, is on a wild goose chase based on a prophecy made by a fish (the veracity of which is up for debate, actually.)
His Actions Are a Reflection of the People He Interacts With.
We’re pretty much past the point where one should warn about reading too much into the Dragon Ball franchise, but it helps to point out that the God of Destruction’s temper tantrums aren’t that random and their severity differs based on the person on the receiving end: he was lenient on Goku (who went so far as to challenge him to a fight) and on Yamcha (who had the gall to slap him on the back). On the other hand, he destroyed an entire planet full of primitive warrior creatures, he humiliated King Vegeta, and indirectly throws wrenches at Frieza’s plans (despite boasts of being neutral.) In a way, this is in line with what an anthropomorphic representation of destruction should be – people who abuse the concept of destruction for their own selfish needs are treated as playthings while those who respect what it can do are able to scoot by unharmed.
Beerus Broke Goku’s Streak
It’s common knowledge that Goku eventually becomes stronger than any villain that he comes across in the series. Cell isn’t even an exception. Sure, Goku stepped back and groomed Gohan to be his successor, but if he wanted he could have soldiered on and maintained the status quo – he was strong enough to defeat Perfect Cell at that point, but didn’t push through his limits. The Buu arc showed that Goku still had a few miles in his odometer. But Beerus? Even in the Return of Frieza movie he and Vegeta are still below Beerus’ level, despite attaining Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan (that’s not a typo) form. The series isn’t over yet but for now, Beerus is Goku’s limit. 2 full-length Movies and Goku still hasn’t surpassed the God of Destruction. Contrast this with Frieza, who was leapfrogged within a few minutes after Krillin’s death, or Cooler – who went from being a threat to Goku’s submissive waifu in less than 60 minutes.
Finally, Beerus and Whis Brought Something Back to the Series
It’s hard to pin-point the specific episode but somewhere in the middle of the Frieza arc, the Dragon Ball franchise started taking itself way too seriously. There’s bits and pieces of comedy thrown in, but they’re so small that they get swept up in all the scenes of glowing people shouting really hard or they’re present only in filler episodes, which nobody cares about.
With Beerus and Whis’ appearance, the series started to bring back a lot of the humor that made the original Dragon Ball series such a fun show to watch. The God of Destruction and Whis play the Straight Man and Banana Man double act effectively, but reverse the roles from time to time. They also work great as catalysts for skits involving other characters. In fact, one has to thank Beerus and Whis for finally giving fans some of the silliest yet canon portrayals of Vegeta. If anything, Beerus heralds Dragon Ball’s return to its roots, where comedy and action complement each other without stepping on each other’s toes.
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