Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

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 Monkey King
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Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by The Monkey King » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:37 pm

I've been thinking of this hypothetical scenario for a few days and it's made me realise the effect DBS' writing is having on how I perceive the franchise for the worst:

Let's say it's DBS episode 1XX, the ToP ended, the status quo is restored and everyone is safe and alive on Earth

For whatever reason Raditz its revived with the Dragon Balls (or whatever) and he's still evil and wants revenge on Goku.

He finds Goku at Roshi's house, who then proceeds to turn SSJB to fight off Radditz,

As they're fighting Raditz holds his own for a while before losing.


My question is at this point would you find whats I've just described weird in any way?

Just think about Raditz fighting on par with SSJB Goku in DBS, would you even blink twice?

Let me emphasise, before this fight Raditz didn't train at all, he didn't have a body in hell.

Thinking about this myself I've realised that I have become desensitised to DBS' godawful writing and wouldn't find Raditz fighting evenly with SSJB Goku, even for a second that ridiculous.

Just a couple years ago I would've found the idea of Raditz even being able to touch Buu saga base Goku dumb as all hell.

While in DBS we've had:

Future Trunks get curbstomped by base black, do no training, then proceed to tack on SSJR Black
#17 do God knows what being a park ranger, punching poachers and now he's God tier
Krillin bought some gym weights and so is strong enough to give Gohan trouble
It now turns out Beerus must've used 0.1% of his power when fighting SSJG Goku

Just to name a few examples. I honestly believe writing like this, at this rate will cause irreparable damage to the franchise.

The "whys" we're given as to how a character progressed don't even make any sense at all anymore, Dragon Ball at its worst was "magic water" and is still better than what we consistently get in Super.

Anyone else feel the same way?
Last edited by The Monkey King on Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by Miracles » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:43 pm

Not if Radditz did nothing but train in hell. It would be fine matching Blueberry Goku.
Trunks ascended to a new level due to rage. He also did Train with Vegeta.
17 was stated to have also trained after all these years.
Krillin beat Gohan with strategy/skill. He did not overpower Gohan [holding back] and the context supports this.

Super's writing is fine. It's no different from DBZ. The thing is, people just don't like the fact that the training isn't shown in a technical way.
Last edited by Miracles on Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by The Monkey King » Tue Nov 07, 2017 7:58 pm

Miracles wrote:Not if Radditz did nothing but train in hell it would be fine matching Blueberry Goku.
Edited the OP for clarification, in this instance Raditz didn't train at all
Trunks ascended to a new level due to rage. He also did Train with Vegeta.
I'm talking about before rage, when he was backing up SSJB Goku when they were fighting Black and Zamasu.

And no he didn't train with Vegeta, Vegeta went SSJB and beat the shit out of him. If that's training I guess Trunks' fight with base black prior was some super hardcore training too.

Even talking about Rage DBS didn't explain what the flying fuck it was, guess what? That's bad writing
17 was stated to have also trained after all these years.
Training doing what? The show doesn't say, that's bad writing.

[spoiler]Krillin beat Gohan with startegy/skill. He did not overpower Gohan and the context supports this.[/spoiler]
Rewatching the fight, I'll give you this one since Gohan was stated to be holding back.
Super's writing is fine. It's no different from DBZ.

No it's much worse
The thing is, people just don't like the fact that the training isn't shown in a technical way.
If a show fails to explain itself in a way the audience can understand then it's bad writing, that's what you've just described Super doing.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by TheMikado » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:00 pm

Yes I agree, I’m being turned off from the franchise in general it’s why my consumption of Super is much more sporadic and I always pair it with older or other content to counter the effect. I noticed it shifted my perception of the entire series so I decided that’s what I had to do to stay interested in the franchise.

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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by Miracles » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:10 pm

The Monkey King wrote:
Miracles wrote:Not if Radditz did nothing but train in hell it would be fine matching Blueberry Goku.
Edited the OP for clarification, in this instance Raditz didn't train at all
Trunks ascended to a new level due to rage. He also did Train with Vegeta.
I'm talking about before rage, when he was backing up SSJB Goku when they were fighting Black and Zamasu.

And no he didn't train with Vegeta, Vegeta went SSJB and beat the shit out of him. If that's training I guess Trunks' fight with base black prior was some super hardcore training too.

Even talking about Rage DBS didn't explain what the flying fuck it was, guess what? That's bad writing
17 was stated to have also trained after all these years.
Training doing what? The show doesn't say, that's bad writing.

[spoiler]Krillin beat Gohan with startegy/skill. He did not overpower Gohan and the context supports this.[/spoiler]
Rewatching the fight, I'll give you this one since Gohan was stated to be holding back.
Super's writing is fine. It's no different from DBZ.

No it's much worse
The thing is, people just don't like the fact that the training isn't shown in a technical way.
If a show fails to explain itself in a way the audience can understand then it's bad writing, that's what you've just described Super doing.
The show clearly stated and gave a simple reason that training was the result of the characters strengths. That's the fans problem if they can't understand that. Trunks did train with Vegeta before they went to see Black and Zamasu. Whether you like it or not, that session was called "training." Trunks never defeated Black either. He simply got the jump on him and switched to fighting Zamasu. No one complains when a second form Freeza level Piccolo comes in and Jump kicks final form Freeza unexpectedly. 17 trained, That was the reason for his strength. We don't need to see him lifting tons of tree trunks in the forest just to know how. We all know in Dragonball they exert themselves in physical exercise like Goku and Vegeta. It would be redundant to show it with everybody.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by Boo Machine » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:28 pm

Super hasn't done anything nearly as silly as your scenario. Not even close to it.

Yes it would be weird. Because raditz, even way back at the start of Z, was a worse fighter than either Goku or Piccolo. The only reason he dominated then was because his number was bigger and that's it. If Raditz came back NOW and was still no better than he was prior only to fight Blue Goku and hold his own, then THAT would actual break this Precious power scale some of you cling to like some kind of security blanket. That is the over the top situation that people make up to throw against super but hasn't actually happened yet.

Future Trunks get curbstomped by base black, do no training, then proceed to tack on SSJR Black
#17 do God knows what being a park ranger, punching poachers and now he's God tier
Krillin bought some gym weights and so is strong enough to give Gohan trouble
It now turns out Beerus must've used 0.1% of his power when fighting SSJG Goku
In these cases, 17 is probably the only one you have any kind of point with, because they don't say what he did very well. Even then off screen training is still an explanation. A cheap one, but they didn't make 17 the exact same as he was prior only to fight Goku now like with your Raditz scenario. And it's no cheaper than the Hyperbolic time chamber. "Hey remember when the time chamber totally always existed and no one brought it up until now?"

Future Trunks didn't just do no training then tackled Black. He did training with Vegeta (yes it counts) then He got one kick in. Then stopped fighting Black. Rage is dumb, but again, that's the reasonsing for how he does later. But that transformation not being explained is the only slight against it.

Krillin gives Gohan trouble because Gohan didn't take Krillin seriously and he used his skills and wit to, not beat him up, but knock him out of bounds. That was the entire point of that showing. To show how arrogant Gohan was being and how Krillin isn't just some push over like everyone thinks he is. You act like he completely smoked a full power Gohan.

Yeah. Beerus was holding back when he fought Goku. He admits this. Whis admits this. I don't know how much more they can spell it out for you.

They tell you this stuff. It's not concrete numbers and formulas but they do give reasoning. Whether you accept those reasonings is a different matter entirely. Its not the shows fault if you don't though.

Z is better. I agree. But don't pretend that the show didn't weasel it's way out of explaining bullshit to us. Bullshit that if it happened today, you'd be pissed, judging from your points.

Some of my personal favorites.

Why does absorbing 17 and 18 make Cell so much more powerful than any other character to the point that Vegeta, who was toying with his second form, is unable to even damage Cell without his most powerful attack?

- How did a human scientist create multiple beings in a lab that were more powerful than Super Saiyans, despite not having data on what a Super Saiyan even was?

- How do Goku and Vegeta become Super Saiyan 2?

-How does Gotenks become Super Saiyan 3?

- Why does Gohan's potential keep changing to match the needs of the arc?

- Why did Supreme Kai not even know what a Potara earring was?

- How does Majin Buu's absorption work, exactly? Both the mechanics behind it and why Gohan and SSJ3 Gotenks couldn't just blast the goo off themselves

- How did Ultimate Gohan fail to catch a Potara earring thrown by Goku when SSJ1 Gohan was catching point blank machine gun fire earlier in the arc?

- How does a Zenkai determine how much power someone gets? Why are some minuscule and some gigantic?

-Why was Cell able to regenerate a new head after Goku blew his head off if he needs the cells in his head to regenerate?

And no. I'm not "Shitting on the original to make Super look better". I don't care which looks better. You can like GT best for all I care. It's got merits. I do care when people pretend one or the other is something it isn't and am being honest with how dumb and silly either series can be.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by MaskedRider » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:59 pm

Of course it would be weird. I understand Super is wacky but its not that zany. That scenario is an exaggeration with how people want to pretend Super's writing is THAT bad and become the next Hail Zeon (I don't hate him to clarify). Its no different than comments I see where people say they wouldn't be surprised if Yamcha showed up behind Jiren and knocked him out. It reminds me of when everyone took their assumptions as fact with Caulifla transforming into SSJ3 or Blue and look where we are now, none of that happened. Or heck, even the Tournament of Power supposedly have rules fans are adding in themselves and then cry wolf to bad writing when their head canon "what I believe is the rules." is broken.

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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by FortuneSSJ » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:14 pm

The Monkey King wrote: I honestly believe writing like this, at this rate will cause irreparable damage to the franchise.
This franchise survived GT and DB Evolution... I doubt a successful 100+ episodes show like Super will cause "irreparable damage". If anything will make people open their eyes and make them realize the writing was never perfect, but of course fighting against nostalgia is hard for some people. It's easier to put the old stuff on a pedestal and criticize everything that's new.

Talking about the newest complaint - Kafla being OP. Let's compare it to other fusions.

Gotenks

Neither Goten or kid Trunks can turn SSJ2. Gotenks can turn SSJ3 and overpowered Super Buu.
The kids, even together, wouldn't be able to defeat Dabra...


Vegetto

SSJ3 Goku couldn't keep up with Buutenks. Vegeta is weaker is than Goku.
Base Vegetto is stronger than Buuhan, who is stronger than Buutenks...


Gogeta (canon or not doesn't matter)

SSJ3 Goku couldn't keep up with Janemba. Vegeta is weaker is than Goku.
Janemba couldn't keep up with SSJ Gogeta and got destroyed easily...


Now Kafla

In Champa arc, it's said Base Cabba's power is close to Base Vegeta. Caulifla is introduced as a prodigy.
Caulifla can use SSJ2 and Kale can use her Berserk form, who always wreaks havoc and makes Goku keep his guard up.

I don't see any problem with Base Kafla being able to fight a weakened SSG Goku.


"Ahhh but using Potara is against ToP rules...Cheater!" Only weapons and healing items are against the rules.

"Ahhh but Caulifla and Kale never trained..." Bullcrap. They are new Saiyans of a new Universe where it's confirmed Saiyans evolved different. We don't know what they went through.

"Ahhh but Caulifla and Kale unlock SSJ forms so easily." Besides what I said previously, they are also stronger than any U7 Saiyans were when they unlocked their forms. And Kale is actually the first Saiyan who had a lot of trouble to control her SSJ form. All the other Saiyans got SSJ under control right away.

"Ahhh but Goku has God ki..." Golden Freeza and Hit didn't need it to give SSB Goku a run for his money.


In other words, Fusion being OP is nothing new. The only difference is that this time it's being used against Goku and for some people it's not so fun seeing these change of roles.
The fact Caulifla and Kale are females seems to really bother some male fans too. They get all offended and say it's feminism...

DBZ had a couple of problems with its writing and now that people are older they are realizing the hard truth with Super.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by Kataphrut » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:49 pm

I'd say the way Super presents it's fights compared to Z has the effect of closing up the previously ridiculous gaps, but keeping the rough "order" of power in check. Outside of a few anomalies like 17 being a lot stronger and Tien seemingly being a lot weaker, how strong each character is in relation to each other is the same, they just feel more "in league" with each other. I'm fine with that, because it goes toward addressing the biggest problem with 'Z', which is side characters and non-Saiyans especially being useless.

If you go by all the multipliers and power levels brought out for characters after they stopped being used in the main story, characters are in the area of hundreds of thousands of times apart from one another. Frankly, the higher those numbers go, the more meaningless it gets. Goku doubling his power with Kaioken in Saiyan saga felt like a big deal. When you get into 50x and 100x for the Super Saiyan forms, or whatever moon arithmetic Freeza goes through with each of his forms, it gets harder to take it seriously. I like that Super doesn't bother with that, and lets things like martial arts ability, experience and the occasional sneak attack actually play important roles in a fight.

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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by Nero<>Akira » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:43 am

In regards to super's writing... people are just gonna have to admit to themselves that the DB manga had flaws too and had many unanswered questions and is culprit to what many give DBS shit for or that DBS's certain flaws aren't really there just like those flaws that don't exist in the original manga lol it doesn't hurt for the fandom to actually have decent critical thinking skills like how a tired af SSG goku is getting beat by a base Kefla which is happening because he isn't even 1/20th of his full strength and that can be deduced by Goku most likely not even being able to go Kaioken x1 when at his max he can go x20.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by sintzu » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:56 am

If Krillin who was nothing to Raditz was able to go up against Blue for a few seconds then Raditz would easily defeat Blue and force Goku to use UI.
I honestly believe writing like this will cause irreparable damage to the franchise.
It's very late to fix things at this point so the damage has been done for awhile and is just getting worse. Thank god the manga has avoided this and is so far consistant with the original.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by Yomi » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:01 am

sintzu wrote:If Krillin who was nothing to Raditz was able to go up against Blue for a few seconds then Raditz would easily defeat Blue and force Goku to use UI.
I'm confused. Krillin was already stronger than Raditz in the Saiyan Saga; and his fight with Blue can't be contextualized the way you're describing it.
You're saying some strange things man.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by sintzu » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:04 am

Yomi wrote:Krillin was already stronger than Raditz in the Saiyan Saga; and his fight with Blue can't be contextualized the way you're describing it.
Good point. Still though, in the original Krillin was nothing compared to Vegeta fight Goku yet now he can hold off his Blue attack ?
FortuneSSJ wrote:I doubt a successful 100+ episodes show like Super will cause "irreparable damage".

DBZ had a couple of problems with its writing and now that people are older they are realizing the hard truth with Super.
He's (or she) is talking from a quality and in-universe logic point of view.

I'm older, have watched both original shows multiple times and they're nothing compared to Super when it comes to bad writing. This whole "you're just older now" excuse makes 0 sense when these same people can still enjoy the original and other shonen.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by Whatever » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:16 am

sintzu wrote:
Yomi wrote:Krillin was already stronger than Raditz in the Saiyan Saga; and his fight with Blue can't be contextualized the way you're describing it.
Good point. Still though, in the original Krillin was nothing compared to Vegeta fight Goku yet now he can hold off his Blue attack ?
FortuneSSJ wrote:I doubt a successful 100+ episodes show like Super will cause "irreparable damage".

DBZ had a couple of problems with its writing and now that people are older they are realizing the hard truth with Super.
He's (or she) is talking from a quality and in-universe logic point of view.

I'm older, have watched both original shows multiple times and they're nothing compared to Super when it comes to bad writing. This whole "you're just older now" excuse makes 0 sense when these same people can still enjoy the original and other shonen.
You know its funny you say that when in the Freeza saga Vegeta got all his powers up by getting his ass kicked and taking a few naps.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by Lord Beerus » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:08 am

I have a feeling that the concept of narrative context has become lost within this fandom.

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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by majinwarman » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:35 am

Lord Beerus wrote:I have a feeling that the concept of narrative context has become lost within this fandom.
I think that people take things to the extreme. Super's writing has never reached the level that people is this topic are saying. I believe that Dragon ball has always had bad writing but every anime had moments that people question. People need to be more aware to the situation and not just hate because everyone else is too. Super may not be the best Dragon Ball show but not don't lie and say that it is the level that Goku would struggle against Raditz in Blue. We all know that that completely false and painting more hate for the show than there is already there
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by Torturephile » Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:50 pm

Honestly, even as a kid, some of Z's writing seemed odd. Some mechanics like absorption, fusion, zenkais, transformatoons, and the power they bring in aren't explicitly explained. We were just told or proven this guy is stronger than the other based on whatever new plot device Toriyama came up with. A few story aspects like much of the cast being put aside and the badass decay of the regular super saiyan form also were questionable.

As an adult, watching Super, it just seems easier to pick apart the story, its good aspects, and its negative aspects. Things get explained, others don't. Some interesting choices with characters, others aren't. Same old story, just more flawed in my opinion.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by Avenant » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:25 pm

Let's not forget that DragonBall, at it's heart, started as a parody of other fighting manga of its time and has continuously shown that foundation throughout the series' run. But even with that in mind, I often feel that many people arguing about who's stronger than who seem to forget that skill and technique can beat out strength. Case in point, Krillin defeating Gohan in DBS. Roshi also used this to his advantage during his shining moments of the ToP. Even so, the time spent away from characters during the series shouldn't be discounted as time they could have trained, especially when the characters stated so themselves. Just because it's a cop-out explanation doesn't make it any less legitimate. Logically Android 17 wasn't just "punching poachers" for 7+ years. So to assume the show needs to give fans every inch of unnecessary information that is irrelevant to the intended plot is the fandom at some of it's worst, in my opinion.

Some characters just put up a good fight, regardless of their power level.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by MajinMan » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:32 am

I like how "good writing" boils down to power scaling. Nothing else matters. It's ALL about power scaling. Screw the overall narrative. Screw the world building. Screw the character motivations and development. If these characters don't gain their power the way I want them to, then it's shit writing. Fuck everything else. Nevermind the fact that DB has never been consistent on how characters gained their power.

You want to talk power scaling? Explain how the humans got stronger than Raditz by training with God for less than a year, but Goku, who trained there for THREE YEARS was basically half of Raditz. And that doesn't included the 5 year skip where Muten Roshi himself stated that Goku hasn't been slacking all this time. Please enlighten me on how wonderful and great this power scaling is. And for the record, the Saiyan arc is my third favorite arc in the series.

Also can explain to me the wonderful concept of "Zenkai Boosts" and how they work? Why did Goku go from 90,000, which is over THIRTY times stronger than his starting level in Z, to fucking THREE MILLION. Or how Vegeta needed like two Zenkai's to surpass Zarbon, who's like 25,000, but then somehow got stronger than Ginyu and fucking Freeza, who stated he was 530,000, after his THIRD Zenkai. And then he got another one, which raised him well over a million.

And before I get bashed, no, I don't even particularly think these points are faults. I really do not give a shit about how broken the scaling was in Z or is in Super. It does not matter to me that much. I'm just using the same nitpicking that people do with Super and it's "bad writing" and applying it to Z. Look, I think Z is better. OG DB is better than both. I personally don't see Super ever matching or surpassing the originals. But the amount of absurd claims I've seen against it has been astonishing.

If you want to criticize the writing in Super, talk about how piss poor the pacing of the tournament has been, or how some of the Universes have not gotten any development other than being stereotypes of a specific genre. Those are legitimate criticisms of writing. Power scaling can also be criticized, yes, but it isn't and will never be the be-all and end-all of writing. There is so much more that people seem to ACTIVELY ignore. I peek into a forum discussion about a certain topic, and I never fail to see how bad the writing is for Super, and then that post proceeds to ONLY talk about power scaling.

Do I think Super is better written than DB or Z? Hell no. Do I think it's complete garbage? No. It's a middle of the road series with good moments and sometimes some bad moments. Most of the things I criticize about Super have to do with the awkward story telling, pacing, and the uninteresting/butchered characters. Vegeta, for example, has been completely "ruined" in the Universe Survival arc, specifically after the Bra episode. He's had ONE good moment since, which is in the Cabba episode. He's reverted into his Cell arc self, except this time he cares for his family. That's the only difference. That's a legitimate writing criticism to me, and does far more damage to the show than inconsistent or "bad" power scaling will ever do.

That is my assessment on the whole mentality that power scaling is somehow the most important thing of all time, when in fact the previous shows have had shaky scaling as well. At least according to the standards these people seem to follow. There's a lot more you can focus on than just power and muscles, you know.
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Re: Dragon Ball Super's writing - a thought experiment

Post by PsionicWarrior » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:36 am

FortuneSSJ wrote: This franchise survived GT and DB Evolution...
Yep... Super is lightyears better than these two and that's not only my opinion but overall reception as well lol

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