Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

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Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by VegettoEX » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:47 pm

Episode #0411 (download MP3) (rss feed) (subscribe in iTunes) (YouTube version) (SoundCloud version)
51:48; 96 kbps, mono; 35.8 MB

Episode #0411! Mike and Ajay rejoice over Naotoshi Shida's work in "Dragon Ball Super" episode 57 before Mike goes it solo to discuss strength debates. The battle power lists, the multipliers, the scaling... these are all aspects that fans seem to like, but are they actually enjoying themselves? Is a dedicated obsession with this one facet of the series actually harmful and destructive to not just your own fandom, but to the greater community's fandom? We may not have the answer, but we at least have a plea for you.

SEGMENTS:
00:14 - Introduction (what's on deck, etc.)
04:28 - Topic 1 ("Dragon Ball Super" Episode 57 animation)
21:09 - Topic 2 (strength debates and their impact on fandom)
50:09 - Episode wrap-up and website project teases

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by Luso Saiyan » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:58 pm

The way I see the power level debates and mid-frame dissections is like going to watch a magician perform and spend the whole time trying to catch how he does the tricks. It's missing the point on purpose and brings nothing but frustation. Why can't people just sit back and enjoy? Same thing with the equally pointless pratical vs CG SFX in general movie discussions.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by VegettoEX » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:03 pm

There has not been enough time between my posting and now for you to actually listen to the discussion (well, lecture, really). I would please ask everyone to actually listen in before commenting. The thread isn't going anywhere; there's no need to get your two cents in that fast, or just to say that you're going to listen. Thank you!
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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by JulieYBM » Wed Sep 07, 2016 1:16 pm

Shida Naotoshi was the animation supervisor for the animation for Dragon Ball Z: Idainaru Son Gokuu Densetsu, Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Battle 22, and Dragon Ball: Final Bout. His drawings are pretty different now from what they were back then, when he was extremely conservative as an animator. He's done some supervising on a few of the early 2000s Toei Animation films and BoBobo Episode #1, but otherwise he's given up on that path. He does the occasional storyboard for other episode directors, but doesn't do his own directing. His real storyboarding skills come to the forefront only when he is storyboarding a scene he plans on doing the layouts and key animation for himself, like in Episode #57 or Kami to Kami. That's Shida in a nutshell, the samurai animator.

Nakamura Ryouta did a pretty good job with the storyboarding, but I'm hoping our next 'big' episode is storyboarded and directed by Hatano Morio, with Shida, Tate, Ootsuka and Higashide all being able to work at full power.

I definitely agree with Ajay about Episode #56. It doesn't feel like Tate had the chance to do anything good with the fight scenes, certainly not like his scene from Dragon Ball Super Episode #26. It's a real shame, given he can do something up there with Shida.

Shida Naotoshi's scene in Episode #57:


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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by Ajay » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:34 pm

Thanks for having me back on! Was fun to just kick back and ramble about how good that episode was. Glad I got my mic issues sorted for this one; that sounded so much better!

Speaking to you after our segment and listening to what you had to say here, it's pretty clear our opinions align. Not really sure what else to add, really.

I think power matters to an extent, but I don't let it totally bother me. For example, I don't care that Trunks is holding his own this week, just like I didn't care about the Z fighters and Freeza's men in Resurrection 'F'. I do care about a lack of explanation for how Vegeta gained SSJ Blue, however, since I feel like I'm actually missing out on something that furthers the story. It's like there's a piece missing there because it's such a visual change that's never expanded upon. To me, that's a very different beast from two people simply fighting it out that maybe shouldn't realistically be possible going by the show's internal logic.

I guess there's a bit of hypocrisy and disconnect going on there, but I dunno, I just don't really care too much.
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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by Luso Saiyan » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:40 pm

VegettoEX wrote:There has not been enough time between my posting and now for you to actually listen to the discussion (well, lecture, really).
?!

I'm not sure how you've jumped to the conclusion that I had already listened to it. I simply read the episode's content that you posted and shared my thoughts on the whole "strength debates and their impact on fandom". I'll listen to it later though, as always.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by Nejishiki » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:50 pm

I found the insight brought about from one of the commentators interesting. I find battle power dissection boring, yet I can spend considerable time analyzing character motivations. I can play with the idea that the two aren't that different. Now, I think if there's any difference between the two, it's that's there a silent encouragement to boast superiority with one's ideals. That's not to say that "Well, I dare you to prove me wrong" attitude doesn't exist on the other side, but applying hard rules of fiction seems easier with tier placements than it does for explaining how events occurred in a story. Oddly, most of these rules are never implied to be as strict as they're being preached from my findings. I actually do think stories can be found within a battle. It's "good writing", arbitrary as that definition is, if you can walk away from the story and effectively describe the difference in how Butta and Reacoom go about attacking their opponents, for one example.

What loses me is when there's a lack of emotion for why characters accomplish actions and there's a push towards "the numbers" being the hard conclusion. I deal with this aspect often in sports discussions. It's weird for me when one will merely look at the stats and never consider the play styles and strategy involved. The stats are just a part of the story and not the entire context. Just as no two performances will be the same, no two fights will be the same. It's a read and react process. I don't think you'll ever find commands for every action accounted for, both in fiction and in reality. At best, you'll mine the habitual traits, which is what you want to exploit in the first place. I share this thought process with Dragon Ball characters in relation in how they fight among each other, with varying skill and IQ applied. It's not your talent, but how you apply that talent. Goku and Vegeta contrast this throughout the original story in their methods of improvement. It's always the same concept, but executed diversely. Raditz both relied too heavily on scouters and didn't trust them enough; Gero took advantage of the Dragon Team's ki sensing, yet failed to account for fluctuation. It's a martial arts story. Of course it's trying to teach you that balance is important, even if you have overwhelming advantages. You should never fall prey to one line of thinking. I'm getting off track, so yeah, I think battle power discussions have the wrong intent from their genesis. It can be worked with if opinions aren't rigid and we're as flexible as our main cast is with discovering various methods to combat others.

EDIT: I nearly forgot! Yes, judging a serialization as it's released is a bit dangerous, especially in an overall review format. That's meant to be thought about well after it's over.
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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by Anime Kitten » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:57 pm

Just like you basically said, the debates could be so much better if these fans didn't blow the power levels out of proportion as they do. I say just enjoy the series for what it is and have fun discussions about it, but don't let it take over your enjoyment.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by batistabus » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:37 pm

Really enjoyed this episode. I liked the change of format and atypical subject matter.

For the sake of argument, I will attempt to defend the stance of people who care a lot about battle powers in Dragon Ball. There might be some self-defense thrown in.

Battle powers are not something I enjoy discussing. I don't like debating them, I have no interest in creating my own strength tier list, and when something seems inconsistent, it doesn't ruin anything for me. Yeah, it may be fun to think of "what would happen if X fought Y", but I know that it is not possible to predict how things would unfold if the author(s) told that story. When it comes to having a discussion with someone about Dragon Ball, comparing strengths is one of the last things I'd bring up. Just because Toriyama made a 6-10-15 comment in some random interview, he isn't beholden to that for what he creates for the series in the future. That being said, I was slightly bothered by how strong Trunks appeared relative to the other characters on screen in DBS Episode 57.

In Dragon Ball, a character's strength often serves the function of a personality trait, and is often a significant portion of a character's identity. A character's strength shapes how they treat people, how people treat them, and often guides their decisions and motivations. If a character thinks they are stronger than someone else, but finds out that the other person is stronger than they expected, they almost always change the way they interact with that person for no other reason. See the way Mr. Satan acts before and after finding out that he isn't actually the strongest person in the world. A character who is much stronger than another character but much weaker than another will often interact with them in completely different ways. In Revival of F, Freeza treats everyone like garbage but begs to Beerus as if he were a child. While there are certainly other factors that influence these interactions, strength consistently plays a significant role in framing these relationships. Goku's unusual qualities certainly win over many people that come in contact with him, but they wouldn't pay him any attention if he weren't as strong as he is. If a character's personality trait were to change drastically without adequate explanation, nobody would wonder why some readers would feel confused or frustrated. Like a personality, strength can change...but readers are understandably interested in knowing how this change took place. The way that a character's personal journey is often the "meat" of a story, the ways a character becomes a better fighter in Dragon Ball can have a similar payoff.

In this newest arc of Dragon Ball Super, Trunks came to the future because he did not stand a chance of defeating Black. When Trunks arrived in the future in the anime, Trunks found himself to be far outclassed by Super Saiyan 3 Goku. Against Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta, Trunks could not land a single hit. In general, god ki has been explained as a power that brings the Saiyans far beyond what would be otherwise possible. These things are all significant plot points that drive the story and character interactions.

In Episode 57's (amazing) fight, these major plot points seem to have been completely ignored. For the duration of the battle, Trunks is able to successfully exchange blows with a much stronger Zamasu and a much stronger Black. When hit by Black's Kamehameha, he appears to sustain the same amount (or less) damage than Super Saiyan Blue Goku. Based on all of these things, it would appear that Trunks is at least as strong as Super Saiyan Blue Goku without having trained. It's not like in Battle of Gods where Vegeta gains an edge on Beerus for a short moment because of a spike of rage, this is something that happens and is maintained in multiple interactions for the duration of the fight. This isn't merely a discussion about X > Y, Y > Z, therefore X > Z, because Trunks has been recently proven to be much weaker than these other characters. How can this be? If there is a reason that isn't explained (which I very much doubt), that's somewhat frustrating. I don't need much; I was (more) happy (than most) with Freeza's explanation for increased strength in RoF. I didn't see Kame-sennin increased strength in that movie as an inconsistency, because we haven't been following his story for a long time and it's plausible he could've gradually gotten stronger off-screen. Trunk's strength changed drastically in a matter of days, and "the camera" has been following him almost the entire time.

If Trunks was able to make a difference in the battle using some gimmick, tactic, or new technique, I don't think people would have been as bothered. If Trunks fought Zamasu while Goku fought Black and these battles only intersected at the point where Zamasu held the two for Black (and Trunks sustained notably more damage), that would've made for a more logical outcome. But would that have made for a visually more interesting fight? This is where I come around.

Did I love this fight? Absolutely. Am I happy to see Trunks being very useful in battle? Yes. Do the rest of the things going on in Super at the moment far overshadow something like this for me? Definitely. Still, I find this to be a distracting inconsistency that contradicts plot points - the driving motivations and decisions of Trunks - recently established in the show. I still don't care about the vast majority of power discussions, and I think it's okay to have it both ways.

Do I think it's harmful to the fandom? I think it has its place, but it is a shame that so many people put loads of effort into those sorts of discussions, rather than directing it towards what I see as more substantial content. I think this is a selfish thought, but it is an honest one.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by Cipher » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:12 pm

Man, I have an issue with people equating "good/bad writing" only with "consistency." At least when it's applied to consistency of certain rules rather than characterization. You can play fast and loose with that shit all day as long as the story successfully makes the audience feel a certain way.

As far as the larger topic of strength debates, I'll paraphrase my longer response on Reddit:

Relative power would ideally be consistent enough to not be jarring, which Toriyama largely managed, and one of the reasons I've wound up discussing it at all in regards to Super is that it's not. It's interesting to speculate what may have happened behind the scenes, what the main intent is, etc. The discussions become frustrating when participants aren't interested in broaching meta aspects, or being flexible with presentation.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by BlazingFiddlesticks » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:47 pm

So the animation-inclined were looking forward to #57 for a while now, huh? Clearly!

I have to share your refrain, Mike, "What makes this so fun? Please teach me!"

Obviously the speculation is harmless when kept within the context of trying to see how all these crazy fighters stack up. That's the fun part, where the figures and the story intersect. When people start drawing lines in the sand in which their calculations or conclusions are gold and all who disagree are fools, that is when we get depressing anger (just in case you needed an idea of what Mike was contrasting Kanzenshuu and r/DBZ to) that ruins forums and scares people off. That is hardly singling out strength discussions, people do that for all manner of things, in Dragon Ball's case Super in general has been a hotbed for that hooey.

Zamasu versus Trunks is no different from any other mismatch in the series, the invisible numbers were just happened to be a lot bigger. Since he failed almost utterly, I really don't think the cosmic alignment was disturbed too forcefully.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by Herms » Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:27 am

The big counterpoint to the whole "the series is all about fighting!" argument in that, yeah, the series is all about fighting rather than power scaling in any sense beyond going "wow look at how strong this strong new character is! Zowie!" Exhibit A, look at Mike and Ajay's discussion on DBS ep.57, which was all about how cool the fight was, without once delving into "power scale" territory. Because if the fight's exciting, well-depicted, with good art and choreography, who cares if the scaling is way off base? And on the flipside, if a fight's boring as shit, who cares if the scaling's perfect? Exhibit B, the big "1,000 soldiers" fight scene in Resurrection "F", which the scaling crowd argued should have been three or four seconds long and consisted entirely of the Z Warriors flicking their fingers. Which, OK, maybe that's what the sainted power scale demands, but if it's a toss-up between having a really cool fight scene and keeping the power scale happy, I think opting for "really cool right scene" is probably the right choice, especially if the series is supposed to be "all about fighting". In fact, it's amazing how much of power scaling discussion boils down to arguing that such-and-such a fight couldn't actually happen because the power scale decrees one character would instantly obliterate the other guy by blinking or whatever. There truly seems to be an inverse relationship between the "accuracy" of the power scaling and the amount of actual fighting that occurs.
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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by nato25 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:24 am

batistabus wrote:Really enjoyed this episode. I liked the change of format and atypical subject matter.

For the sake of argument, I will attempt to defend the stance of people who care a lot about battle powers in Dragon Ball. There might be some self-defense thrown in.

Battle powers are not something I enjoy discussing. I don't like debating them, I have no interest in creating my own strength tier list, and when something seems inconsistent, it doesn't ruin anything for me. Yeah, it may be fun to think of "what would happen if X fought Y", but I know that it is not possible to predict how things would unfold if the author(s) told that story. When it comes to having a discussion with someone about Dragon Ball, comparing strengths is one of the last things I'd bring up. Just because Toriyama made a 6-10-15 comment in some random interview, he isn't beholden to that for what he creates for the series in the future. That being said, I was slightly bothered by how strong Trunks appeared relative to the other characters on screen in DBS Episode 57.

In Dragon Ball, a character's strength often serves the function of a personality trait, and is often a significant portion of a character's identity. A character's strength shapes how they treat people, how people treat them, and often guides their decisions and motivations. If a character thinks they are stronger than someone else, but finds out that the other person is stronger than they expected, they almost always change the way they interact with that person for no other reason. See the way Mr. Satan acts before and after finding out that he isn't actually the strongest person in the world. A character who is much stronger than another character but much weaker than another will often interact with them in completely different ways. In Revival of F, Freeza treats everyone like garbage but begs to Beerus as if he were a child. While there are certainly other factors that influence these interactions, strength consistently plays a significant role in framing these relationships. Goku's unusual qualities certainly win over many people that come in contact with him, but they wouldn't pay him any attention if he weren't as strong as he is. If a character's personality trait were to change drastically without adequate explanation, nobody would wonder why some readers would feel confused or frustrated. Like a personality, strength can change...but readers are understandably interested in knowing how this change took place. The way that a character's personal journey is often the "meat" of a story, the ways a character becomes a better fighter in Dragon Ball can have a similar payoff.

In this newest arc of Dragon Ball Super, Trunks came to the future because he did not stand a chance of defeating Black. When Trunks arrived in the future in the anime, Trunks found himself to be far outclassed by Super Saiyan 3 Goku. Against Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta, Trunks could not land a single hit. In general, god ki has been explained as a power that brings the Saiyans far beyond what would be otherwise possible. These things are all significant plot points that drive the story and character interactions.

In Episode 57's (amazing) fight, these major plot points seem to have been completely ignored. For the duration of the battle, Trunks is able to successfully exchange blows with a much stronger Zamasu and a much stronger Black. When hit by Black's Kamehameha, he appears to sustain the same amount (or less) damage than Super Saiyan Blue Goku. Based on all of these things, it would appear that Trunks is at least as strong as Super Saiyan Blue Goku without having trained. It's not like in Battle of Gods where Vegeta gains an edge on Beerus for a short moment because of a spike of rage, this is something that happens and is maintained in multiple interactions for the duration of the fight. This isn't merely a discussion about X > Y, Y > Z, therefore X > Z, because Trunks has been recently proven to be much weaker than these other characters. How can this be? If there is a reason that isn't explained (which I very much doubt), that's somewhat frustrating. I don't need much; I was (more) happy (than most) with Freeza's explanation for increased strength in RoF. I didn't see Kame-sennin increased strength in that movie as an inconsistency, because we haven't been following his story for a long time and it's plausible he could've gradually gotten stronger off-screen. Trunk's strength changed drastically in a matter of days, and "the camera" has been following him almost the entire time.

If Trunks was able to make a difference in the battle using some gimmick, tactic, or new technique, I don't think people would have been as bothered. If Trunks fought Zamasu while Goku fought Black and these battles only intersected at the point where Zamasu held the two for Black (and Trunks sustained notably more damage), that would've made for a more logical outcome. But would that have made for a visually more interesting fight? This is where I come around.

Did I love this fight? Absolutely. Am I happy to see Trunks being very useful in battle? Yes. Do the rest of the things going on in Super at the moment far overshadow something like this for me? Definitely. Still, I find this to be a distracting inconsistency that contradicts plot points - the driving motivations and decisions of Trunks - recently established in the show. I still don't care about the vast majority of power discussions, and I think it's okay to have it both ways.

Do I think it's harmful to the fandom? I think it has its place, but it is a shame that so many people put loads of effort into those sorts of discussions, rather than directing it towards what I see as more substantial content. I think this is a selfish thought, but it is an honest one.
Well said man that's basically my feelings on the whole Trunks thing but honestly as long as Trunks isn't actually defeating them and just getting a few blows in I'm O.K. with that. I kind of get the feeling that Black wasn't going for the kill with his Pink Kamehameha for whatever reason, it seems like he could have killed both Goku and Trunks but he didn't, maybe so Zamasu could finish them off I don't know. All that being said I don't think there would have been many hardcore fans at least questioning how Trunks was doing all this while the fight was going on and that is partially the shows fault as well. I don't want to get into some sort of mini strength debate here but just a couple episodes back it was established Vegeta in SSB far outclasses Trunks and now Trunks is taking on an opponent that down Vegeta with ease (although it's debatable how Vegeta would have fared if not caught off guard but one would say probably not any better than Goku).

Episode 57 did indeed look great, been loving Super lately.

In regards to battle powers as a whole, strength is such an integral part of the series that they are here to stay like them or not. Nearly the entire journey of Dragon Ball is made up of arcs of Goku doing something to get stronger, particularly in Dragon Ball and the first half of Z. Power talks in this series and basically the more powerful you are the more popular you are. Look at Super Gogeta, he's around for just over a minute and he constantly get's called to be I'm video games and be brought back somehow in new material. The way people discuss versus matches could be better but I feel the discussions are typically getting better not worse, or maybe I'm just not paying them much mind. Maybe part of the problem is I have my own strength chart in my head and I'm too stubborn to change that haha.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by DragonBoxZTheMovies » Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:58 am

Well, this podcast has absolutely done it's job, because I spent the whole day at work pondering this topic, to the point where I've had to make a post on here for the first time in ages. Old man Mike was definitely out in force here, but hey, that's kinda the perspective we're actively seeking out when we listen to this show.

Anyway, the bottom line with strength debates is that if your enjoyment of a given entry in the franchise is solely dictated by how much it adheres to your predetermined "laws", then you're inevitably going to end up frustrated. I myself was into strength debate bandwagon for the longest time, however, it got to the point where I was nitpicking every single detail of each fight, down to the facial expression someone would make after taking an attack. This would prevent me from enjoying a lot of really good content, such as the SSJ2 Goku vs Buu filler. At that stage, it was important for me to take a step back and reassess what I was putting so much analysis into.

Having said all of this, I must confess that I was slightly irked by Trunks's involvement in the most recent DB Super episode. Here me out; to me, at this current point in time, the importance of a character's strength is dependent on how much it affects the presentation of the story. Suspension of disbelief is a phrase that I think applies here. Using the Resurrection 'F' arc as an example, Freeza reaching the level of a Super Saiyan God through four months of training is something that I can buy. Conversely, Ginyu in Tagoma's body is a threat that I absolutely can not believe in and it does hamper the way I view that scenario, even though I don't care about Battle Powers. At that stage in the series, we are just so far removed from Ginyu's initial appearance and given everything we've seen the heroes go through since those events, it just doesn't feel like a natural next step in the story and it feels like a significant leap backwards in terms of magnitude. As a viewer, I don't buy it. Granted, that arc is utter garbage, so maybe it's not the best example when discussing viewer investment, but I think it does communicate my point somewhat. There has to be a line drawn somewhere.

Pulling things back to Super Episode 57, I found Trunks's competitiveness in the fight to be slightly distracting as I felt it both diminished the characters' accomplishments of the last few arcs and partially took the sting out of episode 56's ending. While I acknowledge that the former is something of a running trend throughout the franchise, Super has made such a song and dance about challenging the gods, that it feels slightly cheapened to have regular Super Saiyan Trunks amongst things. In terms of episode 56's ending, I felt they'd done an extremely good job of establishing an air of invincibility surrounding Goku Black, but this felt reduced somewhat during the subsequent episode's fight scenes. It felt too soon to be showing vulnerabilities in Goku Black, considering he'd only been upgraded in the final minutes of the previous episode. Things didn't feel quite as dire in 57 as they did at the end of 56, even though everyone ends up defeated. One-sided massacres are overdone in this franchise, but I think I needed to see just a little bit more dominance from Super Saiyan Rosé, especially since it was only established in the last 5 or so minutes in the previous episode. I guess Zamasu's presence also plays it down a bit, as well.

I wanna stress that this is all minor, but I would be lying if I said I didn't notice it. I suppose it's a result of me being so invested in the current story arc.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by BlazingFiddlesticks » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:03 am

Herms wrote:In fact, it's amazing how much of power scaling discussion boils down to arguing that such-and-such a fight couldn't actually happen because the power scale decrees one character would instantly obliterate the other guy by blinking or whatever. There truly seems to be an inverse relationship between the "accuracy" of the power scaling and the amount of actual fighting that occurs.
Which blows my mind, because if you actually look at the series, there are very few such fights. On a strictly numerical level, the series is mostly mismatches that take places as fights anyway, we have only have a handful of occasions in which some power boost genuinely invalidates the opposition.
DragonBoxZTheMovies wrote:In terms of episode 56's ending, I felt they'd done an extremely good job of establishing an air of invincibility surrounding Goku Black, but this felt reduced somewhat during the subsequent episode's fight scenes. It felt too soon to be showing vulnerabilities in Goku Black, considering he'd only been upgraded in the final minutes of the previous episode.
I agree, but that image was going to crack the moment they actually started fighting. I don't really think Black was "discredited" this week anymore than Cell was at the Cell Games.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by sailorspazz » Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:59 pm

I've long been in the "Toriyama didn't care about battle powers" and "characters will be as strong as the plot requires" camp, so thank you for facilitating a discussion that goes deeper than that while still justifying my own views. Really, everything you were saying hit the nail on the fucking head for me :clap:

Toward the end is where you brought up the point that most turns me off from strength debates: the lack of joy. I never seek out these debates on my own, I only see them when they inevitably sneak into--and take over, in many cases--threads about more general subjects. So the small portion I see may not represent the majority, but no one involved in those debates ever seems happy; it just looks like a bunch of hyperbolic and vitriolic statements with equations attached, putting down both the series itself for not following these "obviously correct" rules, and other fans who disagree with them. These debates seem to breed nothing but anger as fans get bogged down in the need to one-up each other, to be unquestionably "right" about a subject that, actually, does not have a clear-cut set of rules that the author/creative team always follow. Trying to define the series by a bunch of equations is just not possible, and, as Mike said, missing the point entirely.

The statements I see about power are often framed as "can't"s, as in, X can't fight Y, because Y is way too strong for X. But the series itself is much more about what characters can do. They may start out weaker than other characters, unable to hold their own against a much stronger opponent, but they're always finding ways to surpass their limits. Maybe there are times when power-ups could be better explained, but in my opinion how a power-up is achieved is not the most interesting part, but rather how its used, and I'm personally much more invested in how the plot plays out. I understand the need for some consistency, but I don't see it as a reason to dismiss certain aspects of the series because they don't follow someone's logic of what "should" happen. Until I read the episode 57 thread, I honestly had no idea people had a problem with the "scaling", because it's so far off my radar that it literally didn't occur to me while I was watching the episode. I enjoyed the choreography, the team tactics, and the increasingly dire sensation of "oh, shit, how will the heroes survive this battle?" as I watched the fight, with absolutely no thought that Trunks shouldn't participate because he's not as strong as the others. Yes, the series is ostensibly about fighting, but even Toriyama said that introducing battle powers was a bad idea, since it introduced math that he later realized he wouldn't be able to keep consistent as the fans demanded. But even decades past the last time anyone's specific battle power was defined, there's still the unfortunate need of certain fans to try to define characters' limits by a set of numbers. If the characters themselves don't believe they have limits, don't limit them to arbitrary equations.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by ParkerAL » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:11 pm

If anything, seeing other fans discuss battle powers just makes me wish Dragon Ball was a little more like Hunter x Hunter, where the ability for one character to triumph over another is far more fluid and debatable:

Image

In that franchise, it's possible to formulate meaningful discussions about how one character can defeat another, because factors other than raw power -- things like strategy, special abilities, tools, and environmental conditions -- are given meaningful weight.

Of course, I can't exactly picture Toriyama putting as much minuscule detail into his fights as Togashi does, and I wouldn't want him to. Often, what makes Dragon Ball so charming is that it isn't very complicated. But I do wish the gaps between various fighters were't so ridiculously enormous, which is something power level debates are always quick to point out.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by TKA » Sun Sep 11, 2016 4:35 pm

Honestly, my thought is "does it even matter?" Power level debates and discussion are exactly that. It's a fandom exchanging thoughts and different perspectives. However volatile some of these discussions may become, they're still thought exchange, which is a very good thing. It brings the fandom closer together as consensuses get formed, and as those consensuses are challenged and defended.

I strongly disagree with "leaving well enough alone." That isn't conducive to rational thought. It's essentially creating a safe space for yourself, or asking for one to be created for you. If you post something in a community forum, it only makes sense that you should be willing to accept criticisms of it. If you can't, then you have no business posting on a forum. And to be honest, if you post something that gets you "corrected" by power level-enthusiasts, and power levels don't matter to you, then it shouldn't matter that they "corrected" you. Just shrug and say thank you, or shrug and move on.

Though you made it clear multiples times that you don't mean to come off or sound too abrasive, it still came off as you trying to dictate how people should enjoy a work. If people derive pleasure from throwing manga quotes about strength at each other and discussing who hits the hardest, more power to them. I'm just glad they're enjoying the same franchise I am, even if we like different aspects of it.

Let me put it this way: I like Batman. I like Batman because he's a crazed psychopath that channels his deficiencies into fighting crime, but only plunges himself deeper into his psychosis. Some people like Batman because he's a badass with gadgets. I'm not going to tell those people they're wrong for liking Batman for those reasons just because the aspect they like doesn't match the aspect I like.

A more dragonball-specific example is I don't at all care for the Japanese score of ANY Dragonball-related product (anime, movies, video games etc), but I'm glad that you and those on the podcast do. I'll sit there for the entire duration of the podcast listening to you talk about a topic I have no interest in (the music), and I don't let it get to me. Sometimes I skip ahead until the discussion about music is over as well. These are the different ways one can approach power level discussions: pay attention to them and be glad that people are THIS into Dragonball, or just ignore them because it's not that difficult to do so.

Another thing is, for a lot of people, just sitting back and enjoying the story isn't enough, or is impossible. For a lot of people, the story has to have a level of internal consistency. Power levels represent that internal consistency. For a show like dragonball, which is an action drama built on the fights, you can't get invested if you know strength level does not matter. How can I be on the edge of my seat when Goku is getting pummeled by Buu if I know that at any point Krillin or Gohan or Goku himself can just get miraculously stronger in the middle of the fight, without plot reasons, and just destroy Buu? Power levels heightened the drama by letting you know how the heroes match up against the villains. If they don't matter, then there is no drama.

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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by VegettoEX » Sun Sep 11, 2016 4:44 pm

TKA wrote:If people derive pleasure from throwing manga quotes about strength at each other and discussing who hits the hardest, more power to them.
My point/question/theory is that: I don't think they do derive pleasure from it.

I think they get off (which they misconstrue as "enjoyment") on being belligerent and repulsive toward other fans in the name of numbers. I don't see the joy. I don't see the pleasure. I'm not convinced it's actually there for some of these people.

For some? Of course. Sure it is. They're not making the most noise, though. I'm doing my part in having a platform and a voice to say what I think that louder group needs to hear.

So again, difference between "genuine thought exchange, challenging each others' points, and maybe even trying to reach a consensus" and "fuck you your numbers are wrong". The latter is all I see elsewhere.
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Re: Episode #0411 (04 September 2016)

Post by Herms » Sun Sep 11, 2016 6:25 pm

TKA wrote: If people derive pleasure from throwing manga quotes about strength at each other and discussing who hits the hardest, more power to them.
Oh believe me, they have power out the wazoo. They are in no need of further power. Their supply on that score is amply sufficient. And if there were an unlimited supply of power to go around, it probably wouldn't matter. But I worry that, to a certain extent, it's a zero sum game here: the fact that the strength debate crowd are swimming in such great big gobs of power probably means that there's not quite as much power to go around for the rest of the fans. The whole problem is that they currently seem to have the ability to steer any conversation straight towards what they want to talk about, effectively drowning out any other type of discussion. This doesn't always happen, but it seems to happen an awful lot, and the reverse phenomenon seems rare to nonexistent: threads on animation get derailed into strength debates, but when was the last time you saw a strength debate get derailed into an animation discussion? There's an imbalance here that seems to be skewing fan discussion as a whole in a certain direction.
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