Hello everyone and welcome to Part 3 of what was originally the fourth (now lost) episode of the Innominate Anime Podcast where we discussed the entire Dragon Ball series in the form of a series retrospective.
Scott, Shoujo and myself have joined forces to turn the podcast into a huge collaborative post, scattered between our blogs. You can find Part 1 here on Scott’s blog and Part 2 here on Shoujo’s blog. So go read those first before reading this!
I’ve also identified us with colours so you know who’s saying what. Scott (S) is orange, Shoujo (SJ) is pink and me, Leth (L) is normal (because my website hates blue).
Enjoy the post guys!
SJ: I would skip this section entirely if it wasn’t for the beautiful character progression displayed by our boy, Vegeta. Man alive. I don’t think I need to explain what I’m talking about, so I’ll just leave this quote here: “You’re my old son and yet I haven’t held you once since you were a baby, have I?”
AW HECK. I’M LEAVING THE VIDEO TOO. TAKE CARE OF YOUR MOM, TRUNKS. I’M PROUD OF YOU.
This scene is the CULMINATION of Vegeta’s character progression. Compare him here to the person he was in the Saiyan Saga, in the Cell Saga… my boy Vegeta. See? This is why you are a favorite. ❤
Also, I mentioned it a while ago, but this is the place to really fume about it; if GOHAN IS A PRODIGY, HOW DID SS BECOME SOMETHING JUST ANY HYBRID CHILD WAS CAPABLE OF?? AND GOHAN IS! He is a prodigy, but Goten is not, so the whole thing doesn’t make sense. Also, Future Trunks became a SS when his Gohan died, not as a little child without any sort of emotional trauma like present-timeline Trunks. And even if you’re going to stick with this warped new reality in which being a SS doesn’t mean anything, at least stick to the canon means by which the transformation is achieved! TRANSFORMATIONS REQUIRE TRAUMA. It is MADDENING.
Okay. Rant over.
Someone else should totally talk about Mystic Gohan, though~~~
S: Before mystic Gohan is brought up, I want to talk about the Buu saga too. I feel like it’s a lot lesser form of the Android/Cell saga with the enemy always changing, except the enemy was also some form of Buu and the transitions between each situation or character showing up to fight Buu didn’t feel organic at all. I will say that up to Goku turning Super Saiyan 3 for some reason (and the yelling, the yelling, the yelling), it was a good arc. We understood our villain quite a bit, the stakes were there, Vegeta and Goku finally go that fight they’ve always wanted, and you mentioned Vegeta’s growth. I feel like I want to mention it again, because he’s the best. His change is absolutely the reason why he is a favorite. YOu hit that nail as hard as you could, Shoujo and I am just hitting it again because I want to. After that, it became a mess. A mess with some good elements to it that made it watchable, but nothing that stood up to the other arcs..
Buu and Hercule/Mr. Satan was the stuff of legends. I liked see how those too interacted with each other. It showed how strong of a heart Hercule has behind his fake strongest person on Earth facade. I also thought that Vegetto was awesome and a big character thing that I liked. It just was sort of ruined by having one awesome power up after another after another to fight Buu. The fact that it was a Goku and a spirit bomb that defeated Buu. All of that was wasted. I think this might be a good point to talk about Mystic Gohan.
What was the point of Mystic Gohan? It was a thing that was supposed to bring Gohan back in the game, but it was still completely unexplained and utterly pointless in the grand scheme of things. It looked strange with Gohan just having super saiyan hair without being super saiyan and nothing felt special at all. Just all failures all around. UUUUUUGH!!!
L: The Babidi and Buu Sagas are a very mixed bag for me overall. On one hand they provided some of the most entertaining and awesome moments in the entire series and on the other hand they did some things that just don’t sit well with me at all…
I guess I’ll start with the good this time. I really liked that there was a significant timeskip. It was really cool seeing how all the characters had changed and matured over the years since Gohan defeated Cell. Krillin is married, Gohan is a high school student and Vegeta is… A dad! A dad who puts his son through rigorous training, but a dad nonetheless!
I also really loved how the new villains are built up to be the most terrifying threat yet, only for Goku and friends to curb stomp them with little to no effort. Supreme Kai’s reactions were priceless and it was really awesome to see how far our characters had come in terms of strength during the timeskip.
S: OMG, I forgot about this. I loved that part too.
L: …Which brings me to Gohan. Oh, Gohan. You were the chosen one. The awesome kid who defeated Cell and inherited your fathers legacy. And now you’re a silly high school student who pretends to be a superhero and has been nerfed into the ground for no real reason. I was never a fan of Gohan taking a backseat in this arc. It made his ascension in the previous arc feel less significant and almost null and void and it just wasn’t fair. And they tried to bring it back with Mystic Gohan, but that ultimately became pointless because he was beaten. Badly. And ended up helping the villain!
While we’re on the Gohan rant, I guess I’ll bring up Goten too. I like Goten as a character, but I never liked that he was a Super Saiyan. He achieved it with seemingly no effort which only served to undermine the already undermined “legendary” status of the transformation. I could get over the previous characters getting it, but this kid? And kid Trunks? Get outta here!
And Goku coming back, while a great and very happy moment, felt a little unfair too. He passed the torch to Gohan, only to snatch it right back? It never sat well with me unfortunately, although I am glad he was brought back because he’s Goku!
Back to the positives for a bit though: I liked Buu for the most part and his chemistry with Hercule, as Scott said above, was the stuff of legends and so very wholesome. It provided a unique solution to the problem. A solution without fists and instead one involving friendship and kindness. It was beautiful.
I also really liked Vegeta’s return to the dark side and his fight with Goku. It was the rematch of the century and was filled with tons of raw emotion and hard-hitting lines of dialogue between the two eternal rivals. And Vegeta’s sacrifice and tear-jerking farewell was a really amazing turning point for his character.
Super Saiyan 3, while a little silly due to the lack of eyebrows and near-episode of screaming, was also pretty awesome, as was fusion. Vegito vs. Super Buu really was a clash of titans and is one of my favourite fights in the series because the scale is off the damn charts!
But… I wasn’t a fan of how unfocused this arc felt too. While the Android and Cell Saga’s were also unfocused, they never felt “messy”. This arc is messy, with a constantly changing Majin Buu, who is even less interesting than his predecessors, and the spotlight constantly shifting from character to character, with the Z Fighters having “a new hope” every 20 episodes or so. First Goku, Vegeta and Gohan are the solution. Then, fusing Goten and Trunks into “Gotenks” is the answer. Then the “Z-Sword” is the weapon that will defeat Majin Buu once and for all. Then Mystic Gohan is here to save the day. Then there’s these magical earrings that will help Goku and Vegeta fuse into “Vegito” that will surely put a stop to everything. Then it’s Hercule! IT’S TOO MUCH. HELP.
Despite my complaints though, it’s not like I hate the Buu Saga. It’s still good fun, it has some cool ideas and new additions and it’s a perfectly serviceable finale to the Dragon Ball Z series. It’s nothing spectacular and it’s my least favourite arc in the series and is a mess, but it’s still pretty good. Sometimes. I can’t hate it too much.
At least it’s better than GT.
Dragon Ball Super Talk –SPOILER WARNING!
SJ: What I’m enjoying about Super is the displayed relationship development. For any flaws it may possess, it’s delivering on interpersonal depiction and growth! There are so many moments that display character’s motivations and bare their feelings for the world to see. Super is doing this more directly, I feel, than Z ever did, and I appreciate that. Vegeta has progressed so beautifully from remorseless villain to loving family man, we actually get to SEE Goku’s care during quiet and dramatic moments for his family, and the series brought back Future Trunks in the midst of turmoil!!
I’ll be the first to admit I’m way behind in Super. I’m watching on Funimation Now, so I’m limited to what’s on the streaming service (though I’m even behind in this regard!) and what I can find clip-wise on YouTube (which, admittedly, has recently enabled me to find some of the parts I was most looking forward to in dub). In addition to the emotionality, can we just talk about how fantastic the voice acting is in some portions of Super? I looked forward to Goku’s emotional reaction to Goku Black’s killing his family for months, and to finally see it? Better than I imagined! More emotional than I predicted the dub would get! I’m a little bit broken over it, even! Sean Schemmel knocked it out of the park.
I always felt like the sub of DBS made Goku seem more like an idiot than a child, and even if it was the creator’s original intent, I much prefer the incarnation created by the Funimation team all those years ago. It is what has stuck with me. For me, a lot of what lacks in Super is the sub’s incomprable silliness when the Japanese CVs are acting. The dub’s voice acting and scripting is proving to rectify this issue in many ways where it counts, so I’m excited to see how everything unfolds!
S: I think you covered a lot of my points on Dragon Ball Super, shoujo. I can’t watch the sub of this show due to nostalgic reasons that I am extremely petty about. Seriously, how am I supposed to watch the sub when the dub cast and voice acting is so good. Even with the more accurate to the Japanese version dub in which Goku is not as much of a warrior of justice, seeing Sean Schemmel and the rest of the cast emote so well is just fantastic. No complaints here. Well continue watching the dub of this show when I can.
That part out of the way, I am impressed with how solid Super is so far. It isn’t flawless, because the Dragon Ball franchise has some cliches that it’s known for, but the way the show has been kept fresh and and updated in some ways is pretty good. We still get our good, original core cast, but new powers from a new cast of characters keep the show interesting and unique. Also, I notice that DBS is also referencing shows that every other show is referencing, because there is an obvious Neon Genesis Evangelion reference at the end of the Goku Black arc. I mean come on. Timeline stupidity aside, as of Goku Black arc, the show is good.
SJ: Haha! If we’re gonna talk about the trouble with timelines, we’re gonna be here all night, and we might as well throw in a Steins;Gate discussion for good measure, but I digress. Yes, the idea of timelines creating infinite realities is complicated (especially in conjunction with parallel universes), but I’ve long since divided that a bit of disbelief suspension is necessary. You can’t take everything to its logical conclusion, because that is far more literal than the plot intended, ya know? (BUT OH, DO I WANT TO.) ƪ(˘⌣˘)ʃ Oh! And I’m watching it now so I might as well throw out there… *clears throat*
S: Shoujo, I think I did talk about a lot of my troubles with Steins;Gate at some point during our group chat. That’s not why we are here though, so maybe that will be a podcast or blog post for another time?
SJ: You know it! Also, Goku Black Arc is best arc! Okay, bye… (〃ω〃)
L: I’ve actually watched a good amount of the sub for Dragon Ball Super, and while it feels incredibly wrong because nostalgia and Goku being an old woman is scary and weird, I’ve had a good time with what I’ve seen of it.
The Goku Black Saga has some really ambitious storytelling by Dragon Ball standards, even if the timeline stuff is a bit convoluted and silly, and the Tournament of Power is just so damn hype and amazing on so many levels that I can’t even begin to explain it without going into major spoiler territory (which I don’t want to do for Scott and Shoujo’s sake).
As for the earlier arcs, the Battle of the Gods and Revival of F Sagas, if the movies are anything to go by, are some of the best arcs in the franchise. Beerus has become a worthy rival to Goku and friends, and is a perfect blend of a Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z villain and bringing back Frieza with a whole new form is the best move they could have ever made for a sequel to Z. The tyrant is back and he’s a threat again!
I feel that Super gets a lot of unnecessary hate in today’s Anime circle, but honestly, I think it’s really great. Sure, it has its fair share of problems and sure, the animation isn’t always the greatest, but the show is far from terrible and it’s a worthy successor that maintains the legacy established by Dragon Ball Z.
The ending to the last arc of Super was one of the best things to come out of Anime this year. ‘Nuff said.
S: You know, there was something I”ve been wondering about. GT actually follows Dragon Ball Z’s ending with Goku flying off with UUB while Super just happens after Buu was defeated. Which one is the real canon here? I think this is up for debate because it’s clear that the two series didn’t happen in the same continuity. Maybe this one because it was created by Toriyama? It’s kind of hard.
SJ: In my mind, GT is fanfic and therefore not canon. If Toriyama writes the ending of Super, I’d call that true canon. Leth?
L: Super is most definitely canon as confirmed by Toriyama. GT was never considered canon, since Toriyama never had any involvement in the series at all aside from designing Super Saiyan 4 (which is why it’s one of the few good things about that series).
Dragon Ball GT (lol)
SJ: Dragon Ball GT is, again, basically a high quality FanFiction along the same lines of (and with the same production reasoning as) Black Butler Season 2. It’s fun sometimes, and it has some good moments to it, but it’s more infuriating than not. At least we get to see Vegeta with a mustache. Thank goodness this has been retconned. Toriyama didn’t really have anything to do with it, anyway.
S: I don’t know if this is fanfiction or not, but I do have one thing I like about it aside from Vegeta’s Mustache (Moustache, moustache, moustahce). I like the concept of the Dragon Balls being overused. Over the course of the series, the dragon balls have been the deus ex machina that have solved problems or brought people back to life whenever they needed it. Seeing those wishes, including Oolong’s wish for underwear, come to bite them was great. I just wish it was executed better.
L: I definitely agree with the idea of Dragon Ball GT being fanfiction and, for the most part, completely terrible. It’s poorly animated, treats a ton of iconic characters terribly and with no care at all and story arcs are all just so convoluted and full of stupid ideas that just don’t work that well.
Goku being a kid again is an annoying novelty that gets old immediately. There’s no real sense of power levels or how strong or weak someone is. Even the fights themselves are fairly boring and uninteresting, especially by Dragon Ball standards.
Even the ending is terrible, with Goku deciding to remain a kid and abandoning his entire family forever. I know Goku’s always been kind of an idiot who’s always been kind of selfish, but that was just unbelievably dumb.
The only things I actually like from this atrocity are that there’s a consequence for the Dragon Balls being overused, Super Saiyan 4’s design and Baby and his whole backstory with the Tuffles. That was all pretty cool. And Vegeta’s moustache. For the memes.
But aside from that, this series just isn’t all that great. In the words of my MyAnimeList page:
“Dragon Ball GT takes the entire legacy established by the previous series and casts it into Garlic Jr’s Dead Zone. The Baby Saga is the only decent story arc in this atrocity. #NotMyDragonBall.”
S: This is weird to say, but I haven’t watched a lot of the movies. I may have watched what TFS did with a lot of dragon ball movies but I think that hardly counts. That being said, I have watched The Future Trunks and Bardock: Father of Goku film and I liked both of them quite a bit. They each filled in a little more of this anime’s already large backstory and I am glad about that. Such good things.
SJ: Scott, Scott, me too! Like, I think I remember watching Broly: The Legendary Saiyan (which, believe it or not, I just found out is coming back to my hometown theatre for whatever reason in a few months time??) and I think I watched the one with Bardock, but other than that (oh! and the one where ChiChi is injured and Gohan swiped!)…
L: I’ve seen every single one of the Dragon Ball movies, and I’m actually lucky enough to own them all on DVD too!
They’re quite the mixed bag and I have varying opinions about them. Some of them, like Cooler’s Revenge, Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan and The Tree of Might are amazing films, while the likes of Bio Broly and Bojack Unbound are pretty bland and forgettable.
It’s also questionable how most of these fit into the canon, although I personally really like the theory that they’re elaborate “what if” scenarios and are part of multiple timelines that occurred if certain events in the main series went down a certain way. It adds to the novelty of the movies a lot more.
Battle of the Gods is a movie I’ll single out too, as it’s my favourite Dragon Ball Z movie and is one of my all-time favourite Anime movies. 10/10. Saw it in theatres with the wife. Loved it. Adored it. Best movie.
SJ: Wait! I watched Battle of the Gods (BoG) and Resurrection: F if anyone wants to talk about those. How in the world could I forget Battle of the Gods!? In fact, maybe I’ll talk about it right now.
So, the big thing I want to hit on is how different the iconic “MY BULMA!!!” scene is between both BoG and Super and to wax on which did it better.
(It doesn’t matter, because both were completely adorable)
L: The “MY BULMA!!!” scene was amazing. In both. Loved it.
S: I forgot about it too and I’m not sure why. I first watched it during my stupid anime elitist stage and I was like “meh, whatever”. Right now? I own the movie on dvd because I like it quite a bit. I’m not a fan of some of the cg, but there is something about that just reinvigorated my desire to watch Dragon Ball. Also, Weiss and Beerus are a lot of fun. How could someone who used to watch this before not like it now? It’s Dragon Ball Z at it’s best.
S: Hi everyone. I hope you enjoyed the three of us reminiscing on the whole Dragon Ball franchise. I certainly enjoyed it. It’s like a little trip down memory lane and it’s one of the best sort of walks possible. Thank you both, Shoujo and Leth, for indulging me on this little collab. Man, this turned out longer than I thought. I guess this is what happens when we all fanboy/girl about something we love. It’s bound to be long.
L: It was a long road, mostly thanks to me taking forever to write some of my parts, but it’s finally done! I hope you all enjoyed hearing our thoughts on the series as much as we all enjoyed writing them down!