The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Discussion specifically regarding the "Dragon Ball Super" TV series premiering July 2015 in Japan, including individual threads for each episode.

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The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by Regarder » Sun Jun 05, 2016 3:59 pm

Let me tell you about progression. It's not just Goku that grows throughout Dragonball, but also the setting.

As a child, Goku sets out from his isolated home in the mountains to go on a journey for the Dragonballs with his new friend Bulma, seeing many new places, meeting many new friends and enemies. He meets the martial arts turtle hermit and eventually begins training under him. The story continuously opens up, and the world grows bigger, until Goku is training by traveling the whole planet, and meets God himself. At the end of what becomes the first part of the TV series, Goku finally wins the Tenkaichi Budokai yearly who's the 'ardest contest and becomes "World's Strongest".

But the story doesn't stop there! Soon aliens come from space, and Goku himself is given an alien origin. The fighting then spreads to other planets, with a galactic tyrant as the main villain. In his battle to defeat the monster, with the loss of a friend, Goku achieves a whole new level of power, a level of power that is special and has clear limitations that limit its use.

You think it's over yet? Not hardly! Next comes time travel... sending our heroes rocketing between the primordial past and the far future to battle against a villain that threatens the space-time continuum itself! Oh wait, no... it's just a plot device. The story is set on Earth again, and now Goku can teleport. They fight some androids and then an insect android that absorbs other androids to become a super-android. Trunks is cool.

Uh... okay, but in the next arc a yet higher level of the Gods appears before Goku, raising the story into whole new realms of possibility... sort of. Well, they do go to the God planet and it looks the same as the other planets, and they are fighting a bubblegum man this time, and he can absorb people like Cell only not like Cell, and some cool stuff happens, Buu is funny, and fusion is funny and cool... Characters arcs are complete, Goku defeats the monster, and goes home with his friends to live happily ever after train.

So that was Dragonball! At some point someone realized that the characters were getting too big for the setting, and they made this thing called "GT" where Goku is depowered (for a while) and turned into a kid again, and they go into space and get into all kinds of wacky adventures (for a while). Unfortunately, like a lot of fans of the series, I don't think it's a very good addition. What I do appreciate though is what they were trying to do. They were trying to give the story back a sense of expanding scope that it had lost since the Cell arc. Unfortunately, the execution was all wrong, and turning Goku into a kid artificially doesn't allow you to relive the same adventures. A weak showing.

Much shenanigans later, and various intermediate features (Yo!), we finally get Battle of Gods, and this movie does two great things: 1: it gives us a new powerful frenemy, and 2: (more to my point here) reveals some very interesting exposition... Having defeated Goku, Beerus informs him that the Universe they exist in is but one (actually seven) of twelve separate Universes, each with their own Gods and powerful fighters, finally at long last opening up the story to a new level of adventure. This was a brilliant and subtle move. Well done!

What does introducing new Universes allow you to do? Well, firstly, it allows you to naturally introduce new powerful foes that it would be implausible to introduce as having been part of the previous Universe, which up to that point supposedly contained just 4 quadrants with 4 galaxies each (I think? It's kind of confusing). Originally, Freeza stood as the strongest "natural" foe in the Universe, which is why after him we had artificial creations, as well as a Demon that had been locked away for eons. You can always just say there's someone stronger, but there are more or less natural ways of doing it. It would stretch credibility even for this series if there were just stacks of SS3 level enemies hanging around waiting for Freeza to die. Having a new Universe brings in the possibility of a soft-reset without having to roll back the clock on existing progression. The other aspect is psychological; it feels more exciting to introduce a higher setting, the same way that early Dragonball had the advantage of limited characters faced with a vast world full of hidden dangers. It gets a bit boring if the characters just hang around on Earth all the time waiting for the next monster in line.

You can imagine the potential for whole new kinds of Dragonball story as well. What if Goku and Vegeta found themselves trapped in a Universe where the general level of strength is way higher than their own, and they actually have to be careful and hide from monsters until they can become strong enough to compete? If the characters get too big, put them in a bigger pool.

So what did happen next? Well, Freeza appeared again. Meh.

So what about Super (excluding move retelling)? So far, I think the tournament was the best bit. We introduced new characters with actual back stories, as well as a cool new frenemy Hit, who has his own special powers and, if the series has any sense, will play a part inbetween tournament arcs as well. That was great. We also have the Multiverse tournament in the future, though that's a very assembly line way of introducing powerful new characters; the importance of the tournaments in the original DB depended a lot on the context they were taking place in, which is what helped it feel part of a larger adventure. Before that, we've had a minor villain (not from another Universe, but another locked away Buu type thing) who can... *drumroll* ...absorb people's power and copy people. Okay, it's a little different since he doesn't just absorb their power and body, or take them over, but transforms into a copy, but same kinda thing as before. In effect, the whole new villain is... Evil Vegeta, but that doesn't matter because it's just filler (it's actually not because the concept of filler makes no sense here). The very next thing to come up looks promising though, because we have future Trunks back, and a whole new villain who has his own special powers and doesn't rely on... Oh. What's that? Rumor has it he joins with Goku so the whole new villain is actually... Evil Goku. Hopefully that's not at all true!

Has Super dropped the ball in terms of the potential of its premise, or am I being premature?

tl;dr: Super's setting established in BoG is really cool, and has the potential to bring back the sense of adventurous progression, but has it done so, and is it likely to?

Questions for you:
Does Super feel like an adventure yet?
Is it living up to the scope of its setting so far?
Do you think that it is likely to in the future?
Do they understand why the Multiverse move in BoG was so brilliant in the first place?
Last edited by Regarder on Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by ekrolo2 » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:11 pm

Does Super feel like an adventure yet?

Feels like watching everyone screw around a lot. Even the U6 arc doesn't hold up much since a) the ending is basically the writers rubbing a middle finger in our faces with the tournament we REALLY should've gotten already and b) it doesn't feel important. No one has any real desire to do it besides Beerus and Champa and they don't even participate. At least the old tournaments from DB gave you a sense that the people involved gave a damn what was happening.

Is it living up to the scope of its setting so far?

Nope, the Universe 12 tournament is something we should've gotten to already, instead, the people in-charge keep fucking with us by creating pointless filler (F the movie, the movie re-tellings and the self-defeating U6 tournament) instead.

Do you think that it is likely to in the future?

If the Trunks arc is bad, there is no hope for this thing anymore. None at all. This is the do or die arc.

Do they understand why the Multiverse in BoG was so brillaint in the first place?

These guys don't have a clue why BoG why brilliant when they cut out the conversation that makes the whole movie, nor do they get why F was awful so no, I don't think anyone in the writing room knows anything.
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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by Regarder » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:23 pm

ekrolo2 wrote: These guys don't have a clue why BoG why brilliant when they cut out the conversation that makes the whole movie
I wasn't aware of this. I read some of the manga, and then joined the anime after the retelling of the movies was done.

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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by ekrolo2 » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:39 pm

Regarder wrote:
ekrolo2 wrote: These guys don't have a clue why BoG why brilliant when they cut out the conversation that makes the whole movie
I wasn't aware of this. I read some of the manga, and then joined the anime after the retelling of the movies was done.
Oh man, you missed out! Goku's has this whole arc where he's gotten cockier after his victory against Beerus, becoming more like Vegeta and the fight between Goku & Beerus is all about Goku coming to realize he's let victory give him an ego and he ends up showing genuine respect for Beerus by the end. An opponent he underestimates a lot in the movie.

None of that's in the re-telling. They cut out what MADE the fight interesting and replaced it with nothing.
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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by FTW395 » Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:15 pm

Regarder wrote: You can imagine the potential for whole new kinds of Dragonball story as well. What if Goku and Vegeta found themselves trapped in a Universe where the general level of strength is way higher than their own, and they actually have to be careful and hide from monsters until they can become strong enough to compete? If the characters get too big, put them in a bigger pool.
I'd love this so goddamn much

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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by Chuquita » Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:41 pm

FTW395 wrote:
Regarder wrote: You can imagine the potential for whole new kinds of Dragonball story as well. What if Goku and Vegeta found themselves trapped in a Universe where the general level of strength is way higher than their own, and they actually have to be careful and hide from monsters until they can become strong enough to compete? If the characters get too big, put them in a bigger pool.
I'd love this so goddamn much
That would've been so cool...
This was what I was hoping for back before the Universe 6 arc turned into "Champa Tournament Arc". :cry:
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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by LightBing » Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:13 pm

I think it's a bit premature to claim any lost potential.
We have to take some things into account, BoG wasn't really supposed to have a sequel, in the sense that Mr.Toriyama didn't had a natural progression in his mind, he was just leaving the door with a crack introducing the multiple Universes idea. The movie was successful and they asked for another so Mr.Toriyama came up with Freeza after listening to Maximum the hormone, so yeah the movie was just dumb fun. There's nothing there for progression, that's why people compare it with Toei movies: villain appears, villains loses, the end.

Which makes me believe the anime wasn't an idea when FnF was being made. So the short tournament arc is like the Raditz bit, a very small confrontation which leads to bigger things. It's pretty much guaranteed we'll have that huge tournament, Vegeta visiting Salad in the future is heavily implied, let's wait and see if the potential is fulfilled.

I had to underline the word short, because I see a lot of people complain how Super added nothing, characters don't develop, etc... Give it time, the tournament arc was 18 episodes, that's nothing. The rest are retellings and likely anime only material(not created by Mr.Toriyama).

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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by Alruneia » Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:14 pm

Regarder wrote:You can imagine the potential for whole new kinds of Dragonball story as well. What if Goku and Vegeta found themselves trapped in a Universe where the general level of strength is way higher than their own, and they actually have to be careful and hide from monsters until they can become strong enough to compete? If the characters get too big, put them in a bigger pool.
This is the first thing I thought of when I heard that there would be six different twin universes. I expected that each twin universe had its own general strength level. Twin universe 6 (named after the lowest numbered universe, so twin universe 1 consists of 1 and 12 and so on) didn't even have to be the weakest twin universe, there should just be at least a couple of twin universes with higher levels.
All of this is still a possibility, of course, but my expectations were pretty much killed when Zen'ou showed up and announced the Otherverse Tournament (sorry for using terms from my fanfic so much, it's just that I got there before Super did). Now I expect that all twelve universes have similar strength levels, even though I have no concrete proof, because of how Zen'ou declared that there would be a tournament and neither Champa nor Beerus told their fighters to train extremely hard so that they could be ready for the tournament, whenever that is.
It's such an easy thing to do to bring out some of the potential of having twelve universes, but to me it seems like they won't do it. It's too bad, and it's a point for lost potential for sure.
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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by Regarder » Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:12 pm

FTW395 wrote: I'd love this so goddamn much
Can you imagine how much fun the character dynamics between Goku and Vegeta would be in such a situation? Since they are making it a Goku and Vegeta show anyway.

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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by Chuquita » Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:20 pm

Regarder wrote:
FTW395 wrote: I'd love this so goddamn much
Can you imagine how much fun the character dynamics between Goku and Vegeta would be in such a situation? Since they are making it a Goku and Vegeta show anyway.
It would've been amazing! Vegeta would've finally gotten to put his stealth skills from the Namek arc back into play only this time he'd have to be dealing with keeping both himself and an anxious Gokû from getting killed.
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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by ChronoTwigger » Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:49 pm

Yes, everything in DB evolved quite geometrically, and the result of each arc was having old enemies become allies for greater journeys.

Now, let's do some fanfictional hypo.

Goku beat Freeza.
Goku SAVE some cells of Freeza, go back on Earth and Bulma clone it. After a while Freeza get a little more reasonable.

Trunks come from the future. Androids go thru time to create havoc! Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, Frieza, Gohan and Trunks go thru time to save the day.
They defeat Androids and the future get RETCONNED (so any timeline issue solved).
As a result, they got Android 18 as a new "team member".

But now a godly creature, BUU, menace the Kaioshins!
The team now fight amongst heaven and hell, past and future and they defeat Buu (and guess what? Now you got Buu in the team).

It's all over? No.
One day the God of Destruction Beerus come to Earth. After a fight, Beerus tell about 12 different Universes.
One menace treath those whole universes and the full team (Goku, Vegeta, Frieza, Gohan, A-18 and Buu) go to the rescue.
Guess what? Collect the 12 OmniSphere to defeat that menace. And power level safe_ if they are so strong, other heroes/evil ones could have been stronger by living similar adventures.

Yeah, chances are this will be MORE good.
The drama is that you need to retcon almost everything that followed Frieza arc.
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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by sintzu » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:42 pm

ekrolo2 wrote:
Oh man, you missed out! Goku's has this whole arc where he's gotten cockier after his victory against Buu, becoming more like Vegeta and the fight between Goku & Beerus is all about Goku coming to realize he's let victory give him an ego and he ends up showing genuine respect for Beerus by the end. An opponent he underestimates a lot in the movie.

None of that's in the re-telling. They cut out what MADE the fight interesting and replaced it with nothing.
They also left out the part about Goku & Vegeta's pride and how they've grown enough to put it aside when needed.
ekrolo2 wrote:The Trunks arc is the do or die arc.
Wasn't the Champa arc supposed to be that ?

I do agree though, if the Trunks arc doesn't save it then nothing will.
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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by MozillaVulpix » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:30 am

I don't think the multiverse idea has been dropped just yet. But Super has a very different way of telling its story compared to Dragon Ball. So far, the only obvious linear increase in power was between Battle of Gods and Resurrection 'F'. Ever since then, we've had a lot of side-stories, and the power scale hasn't increased that much. At least, not in a visible way.

Basically, new arcs in Super aren't always trying to raise the stakes and the power scale. They're just often having fun doing it's own thing. And as you said, the Cell Arc doesn't do much in increasing the scale besides sort of adding time travel, and the new arc might operate in the same way.
I could have gotten into anything...and yet I chose the story aimed at young Japanese boys about martial arts, and later about super-powerful aliens punching each other really hard.

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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by DragonHermit » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:06 am

FTW395 wrote:
Regarder wrote: You can imagine the potential for whole new kinds of Dragonball story as well. What if Goku and Vegeta found themselves trapped in a Universe where the general level of strength is way higher than their own, and they actually have to be careful and hide from monsters until they can become strong enough to compete? If the characters get too big, put them in a bigger pool.
I'd love this so goddamn much
This was what I was expecting with the whole 12 universe thing...But it looks like we'll never explore the other universes, but rather just meet their fighters :(

Toriyama always brings up an amazing premise with endless possibilities but opts for the most boring option. Happened with Cabba, Frost, now the tournament :(

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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by fexus » Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:34 am

FTW395 wrote:
Regarder wrote: You can imagine the potential for whole new kinds of Dragonball story as well. What if Goku and Vegeta found themselves trapped in a Universe where the general level of strength is way higher than their own, and they actually have to be careful and hide from monsters until they can become strong enough to compete? If the characters get too big, put them in a bigger pool.
I'd love this so goddamn much
You really can't do much with this idea. Unless there's a whole universe filled with monsters that is on the same level as Beerus. There's nothing that can stop them. That's the problem actually. Goku and Vegeta is just too strong. You need a different cast to make sure that they don't just blast everything away. Unlike GT, Super likely doesn't want to depower two of their most powerful fighter yet.
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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by Hit!! » Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:51 am

That was what I thought was gonna happen when I first heard about the "universe 6 arc", I had a theory, that an extremely powerful enemy had appeared in Uni 6 and Champa was in Uni 7 looking for Beerus to ask him for help and that maybe Goku and Vegeta would be dragged to that conflict and they would have to enter Uni 6 and be forced to fight against all kind of ridiculously powerful foe's (I had no idea about the personality of Champa back then, neither did i know about the rivalry he had with Beerus). But when I knew about the tournament, I god really hyped because I thought the tournament would get interrupted a la 25th World Martial Arts Tournament in the Buu Arc and I was already imagining Hit being a bad guy that worked for a powerful enemy that would threaten all 12 universes and the start of a really really long story. But no, it wasn't!! I now have some hopes for the Goku Black Arc, because finally Toriyama himself said that this would be different, and that this would be a conflict that would threated space and time and that even Omni King would be dragged into the conflict. Now that sounds huge, but I hope they don't fuck up again with the execution.

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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by Cursemark505 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 3:54 am

Why did you make it seem as if Dragon ball was some adventurous series with magnificent world-building in your opening post?
It wasn't.

Dragon ball was never creative with the settings or characters and yes. the characters did travel from one place to the next at the very beginning, but that's hardly adventurous.
Moving from one location to another isn"t an adventure.
The settings were plain, dry, and basic.
The characters were usually one note or lacked much depth.

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Re: The (lost?) potential of multiple Universes

Post by sintzu » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:07 am

Regarder wrote:
So what did happen next? Well, Freeza appeared again. Meh.

So what about Super (excluding move retelling)? So far, I think the tournament was the best bit. We introduced new characters with actual back stories, as well as a cool new frenemy Hit, who has his own special powers and, if the series has any sense, will play a part inbetween tournament arcs as well.

Has Super dropped the ball in terms of the potential of its premise, or am I being premature?

Does Super feel like an adventure yet?

Is it living up to the scope of its setting so far?

Do you think that it is likely to in the future?

Do they understand why the Multiverse move in BoG was so brilliant in the first place?
Bringing back Freeza could've brought with it so much character and world development but all we got was fan service.

The problem with the tournament is it only introduced one strong, memorable character while the other 4 were forgettable nobodys and he only used Goku & Vegeta instead of spreading the fights evenly with everyone else.

The majority of fans thought the reason we were getting a series was to explore the universes and get away from a movie's time limit but we're 4 arcs in and we haven't went to any new universe and the new arc we got could've been produced as a movie so yes, it has dropped the ball.

Not really cause the arcs are short and selfcontained.

No, not at all.

I think we'll have a better idea once we know more about the Trunks arc.

When Toriyama wrote the movie he wrote it as a standalone cause he didn't know if they were going to make anymore so he wrote that in to let the viewer know the adventure would always continue and so Goku would know there's always someone stronger, it wasn't meant to be taken as a plot point that would develop later which is why they're not doing much with it.
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