Episode 47, "Awaken, Legendary Warrior... Son Goku, the Super Saiyan!"
Synopsis: Before Freeza can finish Piccolo off, Gohan and Kuririn fire ki blasts. Fed up, Freeza decides that he'll destroy the entire planet. He forms a black ball of ki and flies up into the sky. Goku finishes collecting ki for his Genki Dama, which eclipses Freeza's ki ball and surprises him. Freeza tries to hold the huge ki ball back, but it overwhelms him, and explodes in a flash of light. Gohan and Kuririn recover from the blast, wondering where Goku and Piccolo are. Piccolo comes out of the water, lifting Goku out. The group reunites, and seemingly victorious, plan to go back to Earth. However, Freeza appears, still very much alive, and angered. He fires a ki blast at Goku that Piccolo takes for him. Then he makes Kuririn explode from within. This enrages Goku, and he transforms, his hair and aura now golden. He faces off with an astonished Freeza.
Well, here it is! The big episode! The episode we've all been waiting for! (And extra big screenshots for this occasion!)
No, not the episode with "Cat loves food!", it's the one where Goku first transforms into a Super Saiyan!
The first part of the episode, roughly the first half of it, is Goku finishing his Genki Dama and Freeza trying to stop it, to no avail. Strange, though, that he didn't even think of trying to simply fly out of its way. I mean, with his speed, he should be able to, right? He just sort of stays there and tries to hold it back, with a panicked look on his face, but is this the same Freeza with all that amazing speed we've seen completely wreck Goku for the past couple of episodes? Just fly out of the path.
And yeah, I know the Genki Dama is supposed to lock onto its target, but Freeza doesn't know that. Is he just so caught up in how big it is that he isn't thinking clearly, or what?
Whatever, the case, it explodes, and it changes the landscape of Namek, much like the battle already has been. Gohan and Kuririn are the first to show up after the explosion, giving us a moment of tension where we're not sure if Goku and Piccolo pulled through, then we get their appearance and a few moments of victory for the group. My favorite bit is Kuririn saying that in some ways, Bulma is scarier than Freeza.
I guess Freeza must've heard that, because a few moments later Kuririn goes boom.
Now for the scene itself. I love this scene. Certainly one of my favorite parts of the manga and of the Dragon Ball Z TV series. In Z, the music track used for the scene of his transformation is "Kaibatsu Freeza vs Densetsu no Super Saiya-jin" ("Monster Freeza vs the Legendary Super Saiyan"), which creates an atmosphere of forboding and this extremely scary, legendary power breaking through, overcoming reason. This mixed with the visuals of lightning, darkening water splashing up against the land, choppy waves, a blackening sky, rocks lifting from the ground as Goku's anger reaches a boiling point, make a great scene. Not to mention Masako Nozawa does a great job here.
Actually, I think for the transformation scream itself they actually got the voice of Ginyu to do it so it would sound deeper, but I think Nozawa would have done just as well. Anyway, it sounded awesome.
In the Funimation version of this scene, with the Bruce Faulconer music, of course it really doesn't come across as intense enough. To be honestly, the piece used when Goku transformed was actually decent, for a Faulconer track, but it just isn't DBZ music, and doesn't have that haunting quality Kikuchi tracks can have. And the less I say about the voice performances, the better.
Here in Dragon Ball Kai, the scene is still fairly good, but the music isn't as atmospheric. They used a piece called "A Moment For Shuddering", which worked well in the context of the scene and had a similar feeling to what it was trying to convey that the piece in Z did, but didn't do it nearly as well. It might've helped if we weren't hearing that piece in nearly every episode. Plus, it's kind of restrained. The animation is touched up in the scene, as well, and they do a pretty decent job, but if they had completely reanimated the scene, that would have been even better. The performances from the VAs weren't as good as in Z, unfortunately.
Some people expected to hear an insert song, like "Chou Super Dragon Soul" in the scene, which would have been pretty cool, but I'm sort of glad we didn't get one, because they've been overusing them lately. It only would have worked if we hadn't already heard three in this arc alone, "Chou Super Dragon Soul" among them.
Still, it was a pretty well handled episode, and probably one of the best Kai episodes yet.
4 out of 5