(Transferred over from my Tumblr…minor spoilers and stuff)
I got a tad ranty last time I talked about Dragon Ball Super, but this time they actually did something well! In episode 99, they managed to produce a kind of awesome example of how you can write a healthy power dynamic between men and women.
So Krillin and 18 are married at this point, with an adorable daughter, but Super has been generous enough to actually let 18 do stuff in this current tournament arc (unlike pretty much every other female that has gotten married–I’m looking at you, Videl). She’s not only been supportive of her husband, she’s gotten an acceptable amount of development herself, and one of the highlights of this arc for me has been getting to see their dynamic at play. Well, they got to shine for a part of this episode, and for a few glorious moments, everything was right in the world.
While fighting baddies and generally kicking ass and taking names in the battle royale, 18 nearly got kicked out of the ring. Krillin rescued her and blasted them back to safety, carrying her in his arms in full Superman/damsel-in-distress mode…but it actually wasn’t terrible. Why? Here was, basically, their exchange:
Him: Whoa, honey, you normally don’t get distracted so easily
Her: (with a smirk instead of dewy eyes) Oh, shut up, you.
It was adorable. Neither was weakened by the exchange, and neither came out “on top.” Krillin may have saved the day (for the time being), but it wasn’t because 18 needed saving as a weak female–it was just one fighter helping out their teammate, with some added warm-fuzzies from their relationship. It’s a small moment, but its actually a great example of how to write characters helping each other while keeping them on even footing (power-dynamic-wise), and subverting some tropes while you’re at at.
Of course, the other characters instantly grumbled about how she ruined the moment, I guess by not being a submissive dewy-eyed damsel, and the episode kind of took a turn for the worst (and it could be argued that Krillin got punished for not being manly enough in this moment), but I don’t care. I’m taking this as a win. For now.