Things kick into gear here, now that the Saiyans have arrived. Nine episodes in, and we're already at the Saibamen! Next few DBZ episodes are some of the best in the series, in my opinion. They start getting into the feel of how DBZ will be, but without overdoing it like later battles, so they still have a hint of the old Dragon Ball battle feel. It's good to see Yamcha be somewhat relevant again, at least.
Er, but then dead.
Speaking of which, isn't it weird? Because Yamcha, Tenshinhan, and Chouzu were such small parts of the story so far, doesn't it sort of come off as being inconsequential that Yamcha dies? I mean, as kids, I didn't even know who the hell Yamcha was or his relevance when I first saw DBZ, because I'd never seen the original series. He was just this guy that was somehow connected to Goku from the past, who came in, fought, and got 'sploded. Same with the others. Toriyama really threw them to the wind. At least Kuririn remained relevant until the Cell Games. Even slamming Cell into the ground with his Kikouhou attack was enough to make us give a shit about Tenshinhan again.
Well, this still was a pretty good episode. The tragedy of Yamcha's demise may have been somewhat lessened by the fact the Dragon Balls can be used to bring him back, but it was still a pretty brutal death, and it shows that even when the Saiyans are just having fun they kill named characters. I love how desperate things get in this battle, especially later on.
I felt like the production values remained pretty high from the last episode to this, too. There were some musical pieces I still disliked,but the voice acting and effects sounded good. Tohru Furuya is still great as Yamcha. Mayumi Tanaka has gotten back into the groove as Kururin. The new Tenshinhan is pretty good, too, though no Hirotaka Suzuoki (R.I.P., Eternal Captain). One thing I didn't notice at first was the new VA for Nappa. He seems a little "generic tough guy".
Every time I watch the show, though, I keep thinking about DBZ Abridged now. "Look, Vegeta, it's a Pokemon!"