Warning: The following review contains spoilers for the episode.
The hunt for allies continues as Goku speeds off to meet Android 17 and recruit him for the upcoming Tournament of Power. Much to my surprise, Episode 86 was able to deliver more than just a simple recruitment trip as interesting dialogue and a huge tease for the future elevated the episode to being my favorite since the Exhibition Matches finished.
Uub is coming! My jaw nearly fell off when he was mentioned in the first few minutes of the episode, particularly while we already have the Tournament of Power arc well underway. Uub has a lot of potential, as he’s the reincarnation of one of Goku’s most powerful villains, Kid Buu. Dende also mentions the idea of Goku becoming a mentor to him, which could mean we will see less of Goku as he’s off teaching, or the focus of Super might shift considerably after the Tournament of Power. I also find myself wondering if Fat Buu’s transformation into Fit Buu will have a part to play when Uub shows up.
The Uub reveal is quickly pushed aside as Android 17 takes center stage. What struck me about him was the presence he has on screen. Much like his Dragon Ball Z incarnation, 17 has a very dominating atmosphere about him, and Super has wisely kept that intact and even amplified it in many ways. The way he stands toe to toe with Goku and how he speaks all convey a sense of power and confidence that even Goku rarely exhibits these days. Of course, the fact he was once a villain also helps. There is some natural tension between the two characters, even though it’s clear there is no ill intent remaining inside Android 17.
Beyond his strong persona, it seems his power levels have risen dramatically since we last saw him. Android 17 isn’t the first character to receive a surprise power increase so he could keep up with Goku and Vegeta, and I’m sure he won’t be the last since there are several more people who still need to be recruited (I’m looking at you Master Roshi). It’s hard to put aside these unaccounted for power increases because it demeans the training and effort Goku and Vegeta put in to obtain their new forms. At the same time, I also appreciate not wasting much time explaining it as it allows us to see old characters reinvigorated and brought back into the fold. It’s a fine line to walk, and for the most part, Super has been doing it well.
Android 17’s power level increase might seem a bit strange, but it made for a great fight. Not only did he land some great hits on Goku, but he even deflected a Kamehameha while Goku was in his Blue form, hinting at a level of power that even Goku didn’t expect. Even so, Android 17 mentioned he was still holding back. This comment has me wondering if there is more going on with Android 17 than he has let on, and I look forward to learning more about him now that he’s returned to the series.
I also greatly appreciated that Android 17 appears to love nature so much. I feel like this must be a direct nod towards Android 16’s love of the outdoors. It’s a nice touch to see that later in life 17 has picked up where his friend left off.