In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

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

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In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by UltraInstinctRorikon » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:03 am

This series is a series about fighting and has been for a very long time. Displays of power, overcoming opponents who have greater power, the world will end up having some form of balance designed around who's stronger than who.

Dragon Ball as a series is not one with significant plot at least compared to a lot of seinens. It's a shonen and relatively simple in nature just with a imaginative world, but the character's personalities and traits for the most part are really simple and most of the talking points is regarding the fighting or stopping the big bad.

So I ask you, why is it shunned to discuss power-scaling when the series is heavily focused on this fighting aspect?

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by Matches Malone » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:07 am

It's mostly an issue with Super's fans who don't want to admit what a mess the writers made of things. It's the same thing with the animation and overall production value, calling the franchise out on its shortcomings only became an issue when Super completely dropped the ball.

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by UltraInstinctRorikon » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:10 am

Matches Malone wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:07 am
It's mostly an issue with Super's fans who don't want to admit what a mess the writers made of things. It's the same thing with the animation and overall production value, calling the franchise out on its shortcomings only became an issue when Super completely dropped the ball.
Honestly that seems like an accurate answer.

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by Kataphrut » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:10 am

When is it ever shunned? Like 90 per cent of the discourse around this series boils down to talking about strength/power scaling.

If you think there is a backlash against that kind of talk, it's probably from people annoyed that strength debates are such a prominent topic, and who would rather give other elements the time of day.

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by SupremeKai25 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:11 am

You can discuss whatever you want and power-scaling and power levels debates are not shunned in any way, look at the Strength and Versus threads in this forum which are very big megathreads.

However, when judging a character, I don't give any relevance to power levels. To me, a character's most important aspects are their design, personality, ideology, and abilities. Not where they rank in an arbitrary power-scale.

For example, Moro is pretty strong, he even merges with an Angel's power, but because he has a trash design, a trash personality, and laughable motivations, I hate him.
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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by UltraInstinctRorikon » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:14 am

SupremeKai25 wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:11 am
You can discuss whatever you want and power-scaling and power levels debates are not shunned in any way, look at the Strength and Versus threads in this forum which are very big megathreads.

However, when judging a character, I don't give any relevance to power levels. To me, a character's most important aspects are their design, personality, ideology, and abilities. Not where they rank in an arbitrary power-scale.

For example, Moro is pretty strong, he even merges with an Angel's power, but because he has a trash design, a trash personality, and laughable motivations, I hate him.
It's something I've seen in the fandom for awhile so it's definitely a thing. The key word is generally a disparaging remark "Power levels", etc. It undermines and ignores the fact that the series we are all watching is literally that. Dragon Ball is great for what it is but it's also not a masterpiece of writing either.

And yes I'm not discrediting that, if anything people can discuss what they like about the character's and their personalities. I just never understood "power levels" criticism because Dragon Ball is, once again, not written that well.

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by Kataphrut » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:23 am

I'd just like to point out that when I made my previous post, I didn't notice this topic was in the 'Super' board and assumed it was about the whole franchise. I'd say my point still stands though.

Funnily enough, back in the Super anime days, i was a big defender of the show's, hm...fast and loose approach to power scaling. I still am, really- I think it's refreshing to have fights that are a bit more dynamic, not so much decided before they started. I can't think of an incident in the series where power level discrepancies detracted from my enjoyment (except Roshi vs Jiren, but that wasn't the anime was it). I'd rather just have fun, you know?

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by Matches Malone » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:39 am

Kataphrut wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:23 am
Funnily enough, back in the Super anime days, i was a big defender of the show's, hm...fast and loose approach to power scaling.
I'm not asking for perfection, as I can accept some things being a bit off, but not to the point where Krillin or 17 are holding their own against Blue Goku.

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by FlpShimizu » Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:40 am

The franchise spends more than one arc telling us that measuring power levels is useless and can literally blow up on your face, so I just don't see any reason to partake in this kind of debate.

That said, people really enjoy arguing about them. I guess it keeps the discussion going and that's a good thing.
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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by Soppa Saia People » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:41 pm

i think it's part people over correcting from fans who are like, "yeah, i hate character for not being strong, and i won't watch the original dragon ball there's no sense of power scaling". not that the people who think like that are wrong, just that when it's the only type of discussion about the series, it can get a little obnoxious, which leads to people just hating any sort of these discussions.
Matches Malone wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:07 am
It's mostly an issue with Super's fans who don't want to admit what a mess the writers made of things. It's the same thing with the animation and overall production value, calling the franchise out on its shortcomings only became an issue when Super completely dropped the ball.

i mean this is pretty silly, on both accounts really, people have been criticizing power scaling/battle power level debates for a long time, especially on here if you look thru old threads. and non dragon ball fans have always dumped on the repeated animation and general look of the show for ages, and within dragon ball circles, i don't think many people have a ton of positive things to say about last house or studio live episodes (even if i think it's really unfair given that last house had the best animated episodes of dragon ball).
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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by Magnificent Ponta » Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:55 pm

My guess is that (at least some of) the people who are dismissive of it are simply 'over it'. I'm sure many fans came into online discussions of Dragon Ball at least partially intent on power-scaling and applying numbers in lists to reflect the balance of the story, but now it just doesn't 'do it' for them anymore. In relegating it to their own past, some may prefer to think of the pursuit as quaint or passé. And others were probably never particularly fond of it, for their own reasons.

But I agree that it's important to keep thinking about power-scaling, simply because it's part of the 'logic' of the series and how its stories are written (albeit a logic that the original series had to contrive ways of not decisively applying until it worked in favour of the heroes - this isn't a criticism, just a description). Super's own problems in this regard, though, are (a) Which version of Super are we using here?, (b) Super isn't finished yet, so discussions over power-scaling are tentative because they are susceptible of invalidation by future revelations, and (c) the increasing sense that Super has been pushing (and is still pushing, in the manga) for a different conception of strength to the one the original series is known for.

That's even without getting into the nitty-gritty and asking whether it's being wholly consistent (for what it's worth, I think the manga is broadly consistent, if subject to the occasional wobble), so I can see why others might be put off giving a view or even looking at it with a view to figuring it out in the first place.

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by UltraInstinctRorikon » Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:13 pm

FlpShimizu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:40 am
The franchise spends more than one arc telling us that measuring power levels is useless and can literally blow up on your face, so I just don't see any reason to partake in this kind of debate.

That said, people really enjoy arguing about them. I guess it keeps the discussion going and that's a good thing.
I'll show you why power-scaling is necessary.

Karate Kid Part I:

Johnny is the main rival to Daniel, and most of the film is building up their final confrontation.

If Johnny isn't more 'powerful' than the rest of the competition, then their final bout at the end means nothing. Daniel's fight at the end means something cause Johnny is literally the best.

In this example it's shown why, and there's many ways this applies and categories and situations, why power-scaling is a natural part of story telling. It's an innate writing design of the world by the author and the character's in it.

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by FlpShimizu » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:40 pm

UltraInstinctRorikon wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:13 pm
FlpShimizu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:40 am
The franchise spends more than one arc telling us that measuring power levels is useless and can literally blow up on your face, so I just don't see any reason to partake in this kind of debate.

That said, people really enjoy arguing about them. I guess it keeps the discussion going and that's a good thing.
I'll show you why power-scaling is necessary.

Karate Kid Part I:

Johnny is the main rival to Daniel, and most of the film is building up their final confrontation.

If Johnny isn't more 'powerful' than the rest of the competition, then their final bout at the end means nothing. Daniel's fight at the end means something cause Johnny is literally the best.

In this example it's shown why, and there's many ways this applies and categories and situations, why power-scaling is a natural part of story telling. It's an innate writing design of the world by the author and the character's in it.
Daniel won cause his power level was higher or did he use a technique? Really don't see why we need to measure an invisible thing such as a power level and check everytime if what's happening in the story matches it. Such a boring way to consume media.
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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by UltraInstinctRorikon » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:43 pm

FlpShimizu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:40 pm
UltraInstinctRorikon wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:13 pm
FlpShimizu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:40 am
The franchise spends more than one arc telling us that measuring power levels is useless and can literally blow up on your face, so I just don't see any reason to partake in this kind of debate.

That said, people really enjoy arguing about them. I guess it keeps the discussion going and that's a good thing.
I'll show you why power-scaling is necessary.

Karate Kid Part I:

Johnny is the main rival to Daniel, and most of the film is building up their final confrontation.

If Johnny isn't more 'powerful' than the rest of the competition, then their final bout at the end means nothing. Daniel's fight at the end means something cause Johnny is literally the best.

In this example it's shown why, and there's many ways this applies and categories and situations, why power-scaling is a natural part of story telling. It's an innate writing design of the world by the author and the character's in it.
Daniel won cause his power level was higher or did he use a technique? Really don't see why we need to measure an invisible thing such as a power level and check everytime if what's happening in the story matches it. Such a boring way to consume media.
No?

He won by a fluke gambling on the Crane Kick when the odds weren't in his favor. To an opponent who was a champion.

If anyone can just beat anyone for no apparent reason at all then how would the fights mean anything? There is always a winner and a loser in a battle. That is innately power scale of that world.

When Goku beats Frieza it's cause he's more powerful. When Frieza thrashes Vegeta it's cause he's more powerful.

It's literally part of the basic balance of the world.

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by FlpShimizu » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:53 pm

UltraInstinctRorikon wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:43 pm
FlpShimizu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:40 pm
UltraInstinctRorikon wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:13 pm


I'll show you why power-scaling is necessary.

Karate Kid Part I:

Johnny is the main rival to Daniel, and most of the film is building up their final confrontation.

If Johnny isn't more 'powerful' than the rest of the competition, then their final bout at the end means nothing. Daniel's fight at the end means something cause Johnny is literally the best.

In this example it's shown why, and there's many ways this applies and categories and situations, why power-scaling is a natural part of story telling. It's an innate writing design of the world by the author and the character's in it.
Daniel won cause his power level was higher or did he use a technique? Really don't see why we need to measure an invisible thing such as a power level and check everytime if what's happening in the story matches it. Such a boring way to consume media.
No?

He won by a fluke gambling on the Crane Kick when the odds weren't in his favor. To an opponent who was a champion.

If anyone can just beat anyone for no apparent reason at all then how would the fights mean anything? There is always a winner and a loser in a battle. That is innately power scale of that world.

When Goku beats Frieza it's cause he's more powerful. When Frieza thrashes Vegeta it's cause he's more powerful.

It's literally part of the basic balance of the world.
Fittest isn't always the strongest.

If the strongest can lose to a fluke, then you're telling me power levels aren't everything. The champion lost.

For example, this kind of thinking just stops people from enjoying Goku Blue vs Krillin as the homage it is. They are hung up on power levels and how Goku should blow Krillin to pieces with a wink. How fun were the times where holding back was a known skill.

I don't mean to say you're wrong for enjoying power levels. I just see it as detrimental to the way I watch stuff.
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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by UltraInstinctRorikon » Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:18 pm

FlpShimizu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:53 pm
UltraInstinctRorikon wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:43 pm
FlpShimizu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:40 pm


Daniel won cause his power level was higher or did he use a technique? Really don't see why we need to measure an invisible thing such as a power level and check everytime if what's happening in the story matches it. Such a boring way to consume media.
No?

He won by a fluke gambling on the Crane Kick when the odds weren't in his favor. To an opponent who was a champion.

If anyone can just beat anyone for no apparent reason at all then how would the fights mean anything? There is always a winner and a loser in a battle. That is innately power scale of that world.

When Goku beats Frieza it's cause he's more powerful. When Frieza thrashes Vegeta it's cause he's more powerful.

It's literally part of the basic balance of the world.
Fittest isn't always the strongest.

If the strongest can lose to a fluke, then you're telling me power levels aren't everything. The champion lost.

For example, this kind of thinking just stops people from enjoying Goku Blue vs Krillin as the homage it is. They are hung up on power levels and how Goku should blow Krillin to pieces with a wink. How fun were the times where holding back was a known skill.

I don't mean to say you're wrong for enjoying power levels. I just see it as detrimental to the way I watch stuff.
Well I never said they were everything. It's just one attribute to the overall world and it explains even moments like that with Daniel and Johnny. Cause he's injured but it makes sense he won cause he put all his effort into one last ditch move. That is power balance to me it makes sense.

Like if Daniel was just whooping him despite being hit in his injured leg it would've been real odd!

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by EGonzo » Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:19 pm

In my experience, people usually roll their eyes when people discuss power levels "numerically, like claiming Goku is 3745 times stronger than Piccolo because Goku's power level is 16 billion and a half. Discussing it that way is very silly.

When people talk about Tiers, like claiming Piccolo is weaker than Goku because he's only SS3-tier, I haven't seen any real complaint

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by pepd » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:02 pm

I think the important and actual power-scaling of the series is always clear and doesn't require much thought or "deduction". This is why I'm not interested in stretched interpretations or third-party's Guides.

Other reason I can think of, is that power discussion gets tiresome. It gets repetitive and you'll find a lot of fallacies and sometimes -lets say- passionate discussions. Of course, it can also be just fun speculation, but I got bored of it quickly.

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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by jjgp1112 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:04 pm

Because a lot of American Dragon Ball fans basically treat the series like some mix of pro wrestling and card games, and are so obsessed with their stupid power level flow charts and formulas that they lack any creative imagination and are more interested in the fights than what progresses the story.

Especially since, in real time, the original series was rife with the same type of logic "problems" that they whine about now. Like from the moment we find out Frieza's power level is 530,000, and is second form is 1 million, everything gets pretty out of whack. Characters are always gonna be as strong as the story needs them to be at a given moment; that's how it's always been.

Dragon Ball's not a "fighting series," it's a series about people who fight.
Yamcha: Do you remember the spell to release him - do you know all the words?
Bulma: Of course! I'm not gonna pull a Frieza and screw it up!
Master Roshi: Bulma, I think Frieza failed because he wore too many clothes!
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Re: In a fighting series, why is it problematic to discuss the power-scaling of the characters?

Post by jjgp1112 » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:15 pm

FlpShimizu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:40 pm
UltraInstinctRorikon wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:13 pm
FlpShimizu wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:40 am
The franchise spends more than one arc telling us that measuring power levels is useless and can literally blow up on your face, so I just don't see any reason to partake in this kind of debate.

That said, people really enjoy arguing about them. I guess it keeps the discussion going and that's a good thing.
I'll show you why power-scaling is necessary.

Karate Kid Part I:

Johnny is the main rival to Daniel, and most of the film is building up their final confrontation.

If Johnny isn't more 'powerful' than the rest of the competition, then their final bout at the end means nothing. Daniel's fight at the end means something cause Johnny is literally the best.

In this example it's shown why, and there's many ways this applies and categories and situations, why power-scaling is a natural part of story telling. It's an innate writing design of the world by the author and the character's in it.
Daniel won cause his power level was higher or did he use a technique? Really don't see why we need to measure an invisible thing such as a power level and check everytime if what's happening in the story matches it. Such a boring way to consume media.
Thank you! The mentality against this is exactly what my "card game" comment is really directed at.

In real life, a fight between two men of equal skill and strength is just as likely to end in five seconds as it is to go the distance. And even a significantly less capable fighter can one-shot someone if they catch them off-guard (ie the vast majority of upsets).

And that's because well...a punch to the face is a punch to the face! But power level debates tend to operate on the card game logic of "Character X is this much stronger than character Y, therefore they always win and if they don't it makes no sense."
Yamcha: Do you remember the spell to release him - do you know all the words?
Bulma: Of course! I'm not gonna pull a Frieza and screw it up!
Master Roshi: Bulma, I think Frieza failed because he wore too many clothes!
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