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Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga - Dragon Ball


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sainta



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 932

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:09 pm Reply with quote
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"What's that, there's no way to remove the Fusion Earrings, so whoever puts them on will be permanently fused into one being? Also not true, for no apparent reason!"


That's one of the things I wondered when I was a kid. Vegetto just splitted because.... the script required it. Another of those strange twists is Gohan in the Boo saga when he is even stronger than Super Saiyan 3 Goku and Gotenks without transforming, but when is getting horribly beaten up, he just doesn't transform. Nevertheless, I love Dragon Ball and one of the things that I liked about Goku's character was that despite being a dumb adult, he sometimes acted as a good father, wishing his son to surpass him even though his main wish is getting stronger (but then he just stares as Gohan suffers at Cell's hands.... well, but it ended good, right? ....well, it was a satisfying ending Smile )

About the ripoffs comments, I think I'm tired of such statements. It's like people always search a series to compare it with another rather than focus on what is entertainment. Well, that's just the short version of my opinion.


Last edited by sainta on Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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EvilMonkey



Joined: 15 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:16 pm Reply with quote
Very interesting article. Although, I'm surprised DBGT isn't mentioned anywhere.

I always wondered about the reasons behind the making of that show. And why was it so short (compared to its predecessors)...
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Shenl742
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Joined: 11 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:22 pm Reply with quote
I really don't think I can agree with Jason about Dragon Ball being great, or even "good" by any stretch of the imagination. And yet i think it would be very difficult for me to express why in a way that doesn't sound like I'm bashing something popular. Let's just say I have a whole list of reasons.

But if I had to name ONE of them that was near the top of my lists, it would be the whole thing of "characters performing a heroic sacrifice/kamikaze attack on a villain, only for it to FAIL COMPLETELY".

Do it once and it can actually be pretty sad and shocking, do it repeatedly though (sometimes in rapid succession!) though, and it's just trite and stupid. I don't care if there are magic orbs that can bring people back to life, it's just writing of the worst kind in my opinion.
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SaiyanHero16



Joined: 23 Jan 2010
Posts: 265
Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:43 pm Reply with quote
EvilMonkey wrote:
Very interesting article. Although, I'm surprised DBGT isn't mentioned anywhere.

I always wondered about the reasons behind the making of that show. And why was it so short (compared to its predecessors)...


This was just for the manga. GT was anime only. The reason is it was so short was because it was canceled.
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malvarez1



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:43 pm Reply with quote
Yup, I love DBZ. At first I didn't want to read it, but once I did, it became one of my favorite manga.
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here-and-faraway



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 1110
Location: Sunny California

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:10 pm Reply with quote
Dragon Ball is such a popular series that by the time I finally started it I already knew a lot of the spoilers like spoiler[the fact that Goku was an alien, that Bulma and Vegeta would have a son, that Piccolo would become a good guy and father figure to Gohan, etc.] I wish there was some way I could have erased those things from my mind when I watched it for the first time. The story really does have a lot of great twists and turns.

Sometimes if something becomes a smash hit people tend to think that it's formulaic, mundane, water-downed crap. But you know what? Sometimes things are a hit because they are GOOD. Jason Thompson did a great job analyzing what makes Dragon Ball so frickin' fantastic. I appreciate the fact that he doesn't JUST write about obscure series, but also gives credit and thoughtful consideration to the hits.
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ss-hikaru



Joined: 16 Nov 2010
Posts: 265
Location: Western Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:26 pm Reply with quote
I really like Dragonball until about volume 13 spoiler[when Krillen dies] because that's when the series kinda turns more serious, and becomes more battle manga than gag manga. I do own the entire Dragonball (not Z) series though, because at least Yajirobe and the reappearance of Chi Chi bring back some of the humor to the manga.

I absolutely love the Red Ribbon Army arc. And that mahjong manga sounds absolutely crazy! I don't know much about world politics though so I think a lot of the humor would kinda be lost on me.

Btw, how did Dragonball Z actually end? Was it like the anime and finished with the Buu saga, where life kinda just goes on? spoiler[and Buu eats lots of icecream?]
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penguintruth



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:47 pm Reply with quote
Dragon Ball really is a fun manga to read, even if it's pretty clear Toriyama was flying by the seat of his pants and juggling around ideas constantly. I'm waiting for a better Viz release than the one out now, since there's still some messing around with the dialogue, but I guess I shouldn't hold my breath.

I'd like to note that while the censorship of the DBZ anime stopped in the sense that they stopped cutting out video material, they did continue to rewrite the scripts fairly heavily in the English version, until recently with Kai's English dub.
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
Posts: 1055

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:27 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, it's no surprise that Slump is Toriyama's favorite creation. I mean, the man has admitted that he's forgotten who Yamcha is for Shenron's sake! Also, I think creators generally like their first creation more than anything since it was, more than likely, the title that they had always wanted to create from the get-go.

But, yeah, Dragon Ball is very enjoyable even with all of its problems. But the sheer fun-factor of the title allows you to accept and even ignore some of those problems. Is the story excellent? Not so much, but it isn't meant to be a deep story that makes you think. Dragon Ball, first and foremost, aims to have a good, exciting time and that's it.

I still personally think that Toriyama might have taken some slight inspiration from Masami Kurumada when he had to start doing the crazy fights in DBZ, though. Dr. Slump started running while Ring ni Kakero was in its last year or so, and Ring ni Kakero obviously introduced a lot of the tropes/cliches you see in shounen battle manga now (I would say that Dragon Ball refined those same things that Ring ni Kakero introduced, the idea of a rescue arc aside since DB never really had any). I wouldn't be surprised if Toriyama took those ideas his "senpai" introduced, and used again in Saint Seiya, and used them in ways that would help him out. For example, in Saint Seiya after the Bronze Saints spoiler[defeat Saga and save the Sanctuary] the main characters are shown to be very strong, so what could make the new villians look even tougher? Have one of the villians defeat someone in only a couple of moves that the main characters had some trouble dealing with themeselves! DBZ, and Ring ni Kakero before both of them, did the same thing when it came to showing off new characters, and I can't believe that something like that is mere coincedence.

Anyway, a surprising entry to this series of articles, Jason, but a very good one nonetheless.
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here-and-faraway



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:32 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Btw, how did Dragonball Z actually end?


The Buu saga is more or less the end of the manga. What happens is after they defeat Buu spoiler[some years pass and there is another tournament. Goku enters it so he can fight the reincarnation of Buu (Boo?). It ends with Goku telling his family and friends that he is going away to train UUb (Oob?) to be a powerful fighter because fighting is what makes Goku truly happy. He flies away and will (presumably) be gone from his family and friends for a long, long time. I love Goku and while I think the ending suits his character - I can't help but feel a little sorry for his loved ones.]

Edit: Whoops. My spoiler tag didn't work! Sorry.
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SaiyanHero16



Joined: 23 Jan 2010
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Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:31 pm Reply with quote
Such sweet nostalgia. I remember each time I bought a volume, I would read through it by the end of the day Smile
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Iritscen



Joined: 25 Apr 2006
Posts: 790

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:09 pm Reply with quote
Enjoyed the article -- concerning Reason #4, when I was a newbie to animé and manga, I bought several volumes (just a fraction) of the manga, and would watch the show while turning pages in the manga. It surprised me to see just how much of the timing and camera angles that I loved in the show were copied directly from the panels of the manga. Whenever the filler came around, the lack of Toriyama's guiding hand showed very clearly in how poorly the fights are staged (with a few small exceptions here and there).

I can also attest to what Jason writes about under Reason #2 -- the most fun I ever had on a forum was playing "what-if" games on a DBZ-centered board where we would change one element of the story just a little and guess how things would work out all the way to the end of the story. The results could be quite surprising at times, and for some reason, this game almost never seems to work as well on other stories as it does with the inter-related four arcs of DBZ. The fact that the story was not all pre-planned, and yet it was very cause-and-effect, makes a very special kind of story that is different from both the strictly-planned shounen manga of today and also the mostly-episodic American comic book style where any overarching movement in the story is inevitably abandoned whenever writers and editors change.

I think out of the reasons listed, Reason #5 (playing with readers' expectations) is the best one -- as burnt-out as Toriyama may have been feeling by the end, the sagas never feel similar to each other. Each also feels surprisingly unstructured (even during the rare tournaments) so you can never get too complacent while reading.

I could give countless examples of Toriyama playing with expectations, but one of my favorites is when Trunks and the others are watching Cell become Perfect Cell. As we know, shounen characters are contractually obligated to wait for their opponent's transformations to finish, even when said transformation will result in their own likely demise. So what does Trunks do? He jumps in while everyone else stares slack-jawed, and tries to skewer Cell with his sword! Blasphemy!! This is such a rare occurrence to this very day that I can't think of a single other example from my decade of watching shounen.

But if I may, I'd like to add one more reason for Dragon Ball's greatness. Reason #6: Goku makes friends out of his enemies as he travels, and they come along for the ride. His greatest ability is to sift out the merely misguided from the truly evil, and it's something he does instinctually using his inherent innocence; he has faith in a character's goodness that no one else can see. Enemies-turned-friends include spoiler[Yamcha, Krillin, Tenshinhan and Chaotzu, Piccolo, Vegeta]... anyone else I'm forgetting? Some of them take a long time to come around, making their eventual friendship with Goku a much more rewarding result than any other potential outcome of their previous battles. I don't know if Toriyama invented this concept, but it's definitely become a shounen tradition that I'm quite fond of.
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penguintruth



Joined: 08 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:38 pm Reply with quote
I think one of the big reasons I like Dragon Ball is the main character, Son Goku. He's this very unsophisticated, almost doltish guy, who is ruled by his desire to fight stronger opponents. His heroism isn't self-propelled, or rather, isn't propelled by justice or any real ideal, though he does end up saving the world (or several) quite often. He's not some moralizing superhero, he's just a kid and then a manchild who wants to challenge himself. All the while, he's incredibly charming and likable, even when he's being irresponsible. You just sort of roll your eyes and go, "Oh, that Goku." spoiler[(Hell, the story ends with him essentially abandoning his family to go train some stranger somewhere far away, but you still go, "Oh, that Goku.")]

He's not intended to be some super macho action hero type, even if he is the hero of the story. He's just a fight-crazy hillbilly, but one with a pure heart.
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:42 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Dragon Ball is by far the most influential shonen manga of the last 30 years


No doubt, but what's #2? Saint Seiya?
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HuskofDaimao



Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:46 pm Reply with quote
Dragon Ball has great qualities. It's a shame many people can't recognize that. I'm surprised I didn't pick up the word "convoluted" anywhere in that article.. because honestly, that's that Dragon Ball is.

To be honest, I find Dragon Ball to be a more humor-filled and depthful comic/cartoon than X-Men (or other Super Hero cartoons). The Japanese just did it much better in my opinion. Perhaps I'm comparing the two since I grew up as an avid fan of X-Men when it was aired on FOX in the early '90s, and when I was introduced to Dragon Ball, I thought ...... "This is like a super hero action cartoon?" It was a lot different to most of the American super hero stuff I'd see, and felt it did everything better. It pulled from some great story and character concepts you'd see in many great massive film franchises of the late (70's)'80s and '90s, like Star Wars, Back to the Future, Superman, Terminator, etc., and just covered such a huge universe made up of so many different concepts.

I think people criticize Dragon Ball so much because it's not the "anime" they want to see; truth is it's not like all anime.. which is good, lol. Its genre is the closest thing to American super hero stuff, and is a nice blend of things--has action, great character design and development, and is considered to have the greatest action/fighting-oriented content in any cartoon, ever. For the most part, perhaps it's a "guility pleasure" for many, I don't think it should be considered as a genre it isn't or criticized for things it doesn't need to be criticized for. Most anime that are popular, anime fans always have complaints about.... it's neverending.
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