I don’t know if they always succeed at it, but I’ve got to admire the show’s indefatigable efforts to keep some measure of tension throughout an arc that’s about as straightforward as you can get in respect to episode-to-episode plotting. The regular recitation of facts and stats is such an endearing trope of shonen - - something immediately translatable to boys memorizing all the figures of card games and RPGs - - and this show damn well uses it to not only pump up every new enemy, but to also add extra angles of danger to events that have already past.
You know, like the big switcheroo about how the blonde guy wasn’t actually the leader of this opposing team. Or how Hiei’s swarthy Black Dragon Hyper Combo was really more of a desperation move he performed while wearing a poker face. It really calls to mind the nigh-filibuster of a dungeon master who’s hurriedly trying to come up with some on-the-go explanations for how every single facet of a campaign is as interesting as it could possibly be.
That really shouldn’t come off as a criticism of the show, per se. Whether I’m laughing with the show or at the show, I’m still smiling while I watch this - - which is more than a lot of supposedly sound entertainment can boast. This show’s made by some dudes with a sense of humor the perfectly aligns with my own, because I’m just cracking up with each display of escalating, absurd power. Especially the aforementioned unleashing of the Black Dragon Hyper Combo. There’s all this fear and tension, and then… ZAP! The opponent’s just smoked right out of existence. Guess we don't need to worry about him anymore, huh?
Look up this episode, "Dragon of the Darkness Flame" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.