“Which do you think is stronger: the Kamehameha, or the Dodonpa?”
This is my oldest memory of having a conversation about Dragon Ball. At the time, I was still in elementary school. On the way home from school, I was having a heated debate with my friends on this topic.
My opinion at the time was, “The Dodonpa is definitely stronger!” The brevity between setup and firing, and the forcefulness of the yell when firing, to say nothing of the fact that, in contrast to the Kamehameha, which is fired with both hands, it has that much power with just one finger. Really, I could only think that, no matter how you looked at it, the Dodonpa was stronger. And, the fact that he possessed chilling fearsomeness and presence enough to convince you — to make you think that he might actually kill Goku with the Dodonpa. The world’s greatest assassin, Tao Pai-pai.
To me, Dragon Ball is “a manga where the villains are incredibly cool”.
I don’t mean that I disliked the heroes’ side. I just liked the villains. Starting with the aforementioned Tao Pai-pai, Chiaotzu, Piccolo, Raditz, Vegeta, Nappa, Zarbon, Dodoria, Ginyu, Recoom, and of course, Freeza… Once you start writing the names, there’s no end. It’d be harder to find a villain that I dislike.
Pretty much all of them had a screwy aspect to their personalities, but that just made their strength and their fearsomeness stand out all the more (the biggest collection of such was probably Majin Boo). They were truly so cool that you’d get chills. And, precisely because the villains were so cool, when they were defeated, they would carry out their greatest role, which was to emphasize the heroes’ coolness. To this day, I’ve never experienced a shock from any battle comic surpassing the scene where Trunks first appears, and I surely never will.
A villain must be strong, fearsome, and cool. No exceptions. What drilled that into me was, without a doubt, Dragon Ball. Even now, whenever I open up Dragon Ball, I renew those feelings. And, whenever I turn the page, I get chills, just as much as I did back then.