"A good martial artist does not become tense, but ready. Not thinking, yet not dreaming. Ready for whatever may come." But some fighters are dumb enough to ignore the legendary Bruce Lee's words.
In season two's twenty-eighth episode, a pair of martial artists, underwhelming by the standards of many, square off. The hosts witness and compare a man with no methods of ki in a world rife with it against a man whose knowledge of ki is pitiful, a showboat with unearned respect against a braggart who is respected only by himself, for Hercule Satan and Dan Hibiki will chase after glory, but to earn it, they must triumph in a death battle.
The beginning of the episode sees the Wizard and Boomstick cover the lore behind Hercule Satan, the man whom the world depended on to defend it from the monster known as Cell, but, to the world's surprise, Hercule failed to accomplish this task. However, the hosts note that this is not as astonishing once the history of the man is explored; before he took on his stage name, the man who would become known as Hercule went by Mark, but a humble man seeking to learn the ways of martial arts at the Satan Castle dojo. It helps that, in addition to being naturally gifted in the ways of martial arts, Mark was seemingly born lucky, able to avoid disaster and danger; between his luck and his actual combat prowess, Mark would go on to become a champion in his field, being welcome to a life of wealth and opulence, taking on the stage name of Hercule Satan to honor the dojo where he trained. This fortune would not last, however, as after mocking the hairstyle of the mercenary Tao, the man murdered Hercule's master and gravely injured Hercule himself; this would be what would cause Hercule to vow never to fight anybody whose identity he did not know or anybody who seemed to be too much for him to handle. Time would later see Hercule recover from his master's death and, with the help of his eventual daughter Videl, Mr. Satan would continue to take his place as the world's strongest martial artist.
Though Hercule was unable to defeat Cell, this does not mean he's entirely incompetent. Through his training, he has once legitimately earned his title of World Martial Arts champion, albeit with moves more overwhelming than they sound. Such techniques as the Dynamite Kick and Megaton Punch are no more powerful than average strikes, only named such to make him sound more intimidating when saying his attacks aloud. If anything, his true abilities lie in his more underhanded capabilities, such as the collection of capsules he carries, that, when activated, become objects like jetpacks and missile launchers; but even then, his trump card lies in his talent of playing to a crowd. This skill has saved both Hercule himself and his reputation countless times over, be it by making excuses that play off his mistakes as exactly what he aimed to do or otherwise appealing to their interests.
Hercule is far from the ultimate warrior that he may make himself out to be, and several reasons exist as to why this is so; he lacks the ability to use ki and, as many other figures within the Dragon Ball universe can harness its power, he is severely outmatched as a result. In addition, most of his time spent as the World Martial Arts champion was as a fraud, part of a ploy carried out by himself and Majin Buu. However, Hercule has shown that he has actually trained in martial arts, being strong enough to rip phone books in half, pull multiple tour buses at once, and even move fast enough to evade an assailant's sight, along with his aforementioned act of once winning his title as champion fairly. When paired with his unrivaled charisma, Hercule can come off as a foe most would struggle against; the truth, of course, is far different.
- Hercule Satan: (performs warm-up grunts before leaping off a cliff and promptly crashing) Oh, the pain! (groans)
Having finished looking at Hercule, Wiz and Boomstick move on to his competition, the street fighter known as Dan Hibiki, who possesses interesting origins both in and out of his home series. Initially conceptualized as a parody of Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia, who were in turn inspired by Street Fighter's Ryu and Ken, Dan Hibiki is both a descendant of and not quite the greatest successor to the legacy of his father, Go Hibiki. Dan's path down the road of martial arts would begin when Go's dojo was visited by the king of muay thai and Shadaloo enforcer, Sagat. Go would not let the crime lord do as he pleased and soon engaged in battle with him; though it would be this fight that the Thai fighter would lose his eye in, ultimately, it would be Sagat who claimed victory, murdering Go in front of his son. Distraught, Dan swore to exact revenge on his father's killer and spread his old fighting style across the world, finding hidden deep in Japan a dojo helmed by the martial arts master Gouken. Though eager to learn, it would only take a short while for Gouken to shoo his new protége off, sensing that Dan would use the Ansatsuken martial art style Dan was learning only for revenge against Sagat. But his journey would not end here. Using the little he learned from Gouken, Dan combined it, ironically enough, with his sworn enemy's signature fighting style to create the Saikyo-ryu fighting style.
Despite the name, Dan's martial art style is as strong as its founder. Its array of techniques include inferior variants of special moves learned in the Ansatsuken proper, such as its own take on the Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku and Shoryuken. However, the most important (and arguably most pathetic) technique used in Saikyo-ryu is taunting, thanks in no small part to Dan's arrogance, to the extent that the technique's ultimate attack is just Dan taunting several times consecutively.
But sometimes, even fate takes pity on a man like Dan and gives him a good day; and Dan has had no better day than the time he finally found Sagat and, after an exchange of insults, the duo did battle, in a match that would see Dan triumph and avenge his father's death... but only because Sagat also took pity on Dan and threw the match for his sake. With Sagat's loss, Dan became filled with an abundance of confidence, seemingly certain he was now one of the strongest men in the world, and as such, he opened up a dojo where people from all walks of life could learn what Saikyo-ryu had to offer; what little people could find the dojo, anyway. However, despite the fact that his desire for revenge is the crux of allowing Dan to tap into the Satsui no Hado and thus use the soul-destroying Raging Demon, even this is not enough to keep Dan from his noble, albeit misguided path as a warrior from looking like a joke.
- Dan Hibiki: (is kicked in the chin by Blanka, knocking him out) note Fatherrrrrrr!
With what little these two men have to offer being completely gone under study, all the bases have been cleared. One advertisement for the Dollar Shave Club later, and it's time for a death battle!
The time has come for another entry in the World Martial Arts tournament, and to the field comes its reigning champion, Hercule Satan. The roars from the fans seeing their beloved hero take center stage are cut short when his challenger, Dan Hibiki, arrives, stumbling over himself, much to Hercule's amusement. The pair trade verbal blows, ready to prove their worth.
The fight is at a slow start in the beginning, both fighters pacing their strikes, but the reigning champion takes the lead early on, catching Dan off-guard and laying into him with a set of knee strikes and punches that leave his foe on the ground. Despite his taunting, Videl's father is unable to land his Dynamite Kick, and his attempts to save face fare little better in the face of Gouken's sorriest student, who returns Mark's attacks with a set of his own. But Dan is just as quick to show off the Saikyo-ryu style's ultimate technique, which he demonstrates by somersaulting around and striking various poses, taunting his adversary.
With Hercule dumbstruck at what he was just witnessed, Dan takes advantage of the opportunity to unleash a ki blast; Hercule, seeing much of Goku in the way his opponent readies his attack, is left panicking, ready to plan another quick escape and an excuse to match. Luckily for him, the ensuing Gadoken, barely bigger than his head, sputters out just a few feet away from him, giving the champ a chance to play to the crowd by taking the credit for the move's failure as his own, but in doing so, gives Dan the opportunity to hurl Hercule to the floor, littering it with capsules.
Faced with the risk of being caught cheating, the World Martial Arts champion passes the buck once more onto Dan, who is too busy trying on one of the resulting jetpacks the capsules released to pay Hercule any attention. In the ensuing panic caused by Dan's flight, Hercule picks up a capsule and ponders using it on his foe, the only problem being the identity of what the capsule holds is a mystery, but it soon becomes his only option as Dan takes the pair soaring across the arena, opening up the remainder of the capsules, the jetpack soon dying out afterward.
In the climax of the battle, Dan soon worries that his loss is imminent, but his misery turns to rage as the Satsui no Hado is triggered within him. Hercule has every right to take cover as Dan lunges towards him with the Raging Demon, but his murderous intent is short-lived when he trips on the jetpack, knocking him out of his state and the capsule into the air. Hercule takes hold of Dan and pummels him with several strikes, ready to end the fight, but the capsule is all too ready to do the job for him; flying into Dan's opened mouth, the capsule releases a jukebox that expands and bursts Dan open. Hercule accepts the announcer's convenient excuse of the actions that have just transpired being his new technique, soaking up the crowd's adoration, though he mentions to himself that he'll need to change his pants when he gets home.
While Go now has to deal with reuniting with his failure of a son, Hercule rejoices his victory by flaunting himself atop the jukebox. Both men are pitiful by their own standards, but the hosts are quick to note that between them, Hercule was indeed one of the strongest men in his world, compared to Dan, whose single victory was handed to him out of pity by his far-superior opponent. In addition, Hercule is actually capable of proving his physicality exists; even factoring in the bus feat, which they calculate at being equivalent to sixty tons, he was also able to punch straight through one of the buses, far more impressive than Dan, who has trouble lifting a grown man over his shoulder. Hercule has also once broke through well over a dozen tiles with a single chop, and, while this may be attributed to his luck than anything else, Hercule is the only character in the Dragon Ball franchise to fight both Cell and Majin Buu and not die. Compare these feats to Dan's, whose ki attacks are just as pitiful as his traditional moves, and has been cancelled out of performing the Raging Demon just by tripping over the backpack of Sakura Kasugano, a Japanese highschooler. Simply put, both men are jokes, but Dan has nothing that has shown he should be taken seriously.
- Boomstick: The "ki" to Dan's failure can from within.
Wiz: The winner is Hercule Satan!
Hercule Satan vs. Dan Hibiki contains examples of:
- Call-Back: Boomstick loses his hype for Hercule's dojo (Satan's Castle) after it became apparent that he wasn't trained by the devil, after mistaking Raiden's Army of the Devil as an actual army of devils in the previous episode.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The big reason Hercule wins: Dan is actually incompetent, Hercule just appears incompetent due to being ridiculously outclassed by the planet busting main characters of his world, when he's actually extremely competent when he's not against extremely unfair odds.
- Foreshadowing: When covering Dan's abilities, Boomstick tries to use the the Satsui no Hado, but it's cut short when he trips (over his keys). When Dan tries to use the Satsui no Hado in the battle, it's cut short when he trips (over a jetpack).
- Ludicrous Gibs: The jukebox bursts out of the capsule Dan swallowed, reducing him to flesh giblets.
- Oh, Crap!: Plenty in this fight:
- On Hercule's side, we have reactions when his capsules are activating, Dan uses the jetpack, another when he prepares the Gadoken, and one more when he faces down the Raging Demon.
- For Dan, we have his reaction when the jetpack dies out and when the capsule he swallowed is about to open the jukebox.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Being this is ultimately the reason that Hercule wins in the end: Dan is a joke because he's a bad martial artist period, Hercule is a joke because he's a good martial artist in a world against guys who can causally blow up planets.
- Shout-Out: One of the weapons released by Hercule's capsules is the Scissor Blade. Other capsules release the Hammer-Yang, Rush, and a Bob-Omb.