Gosh, I think this episode might’ve strummed on some nostalgic feels for me -- and only because it featured a pinball death trap. As I’ve said, I grew up with DBZ, not DRAGON BALL, so when this show provokes these sorts of sensory memories in me, it’s got more to do with what the show resembles than what the show itself is.
I’d hate to do a survey, but I’m willing to be that the whole notion of pinball seems as outdated as - - I don’t know - - an 8-Track player to kids, now. I mean, we’re so many decades away from TOMMY THE PINBALL WIZARD. When I was watching this, I was thinking of DRAGON’S LAIR, Arcade’s Murderworld and, gosh of goshes, the counting song from SESAME STREET (which looked old even when PBS was replaying it when I was a kid).
You might say I’m fixating on a minute detail here (that’s the point of this column, though), but it’s definitely a pointed moment for me here, realizing that this is a bit of fantasia that’s really, really dated, now. It’d be about the same as Goku running into some Soviet agents, and being threatened with the Bomb.
Of course, on the other end of that, it’s amusing to realize that a lot of kids who thought they were being clever with all their “the Balls are inert!” video poops were actually much later to the party than they thought. We aren’t even at the end of the first series’ first arc, and Emperor Pilaf is already grossing everybody out by talking about his ‘precious balls.’
Yes, that’s right. Toriyama was reaching for the low-hanging, testicular wordplay, long before any of you punks thought to. So... those jokes are what's dated. Nyuh!