Hello, ladies, gentlemen, and everyone between and beyond, and welcome to week 66 of the first Dragon Ball rewatch of the decade.
We're doing five episodes a week, and we'll be watching every single episode of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT. All 508 episodes. Plus the TV specials and the movies.
I encourage you all to watch in Japanese with subtitles, especially if you have never done so before, but watch along in whichever way brings you the most joy.
This week contains Vegeta saying something pretty transphobic which wasn't in the English dubs. I guess that's a point for Funimation this week.
Previous thread: Week 65 (DBZ 126-130)
Next thread: Week 67 (DBZ 136-138, movie 7)
Anyway, without further ado...
Episode 284 - A Present More Terrifying Than the Future?! Trunks’ Suspicions (DBZ episode 131)
Dub title: More Androids?!
Originally aired 11th of March 1992
Kai equivalent: Episode 62 - Piccolo’s Assault! The Missing No. 20 and the Future Gone Eschew (Middle)
Written by: Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Episode director: Mitsuo Hashimoto
Animation supervisor: Yukio Ebisawa
Vegeta and the others desperately search for No. 20, but since he leaves no trace behind they are unable to discover him. At that time, Piccolo is attacked by No. 20. Gohan saves him as he’s having his energy absorbed and is about to lose consciousness. Then after restoring his stamina, Piccolo knocks No. 20 around all on his own. Even without Goku there, Piccolo and the others have overwhelmed the artificial humans. But then teenage Trunks appears again, and is shocked that No. 19 and No. 20 are different than the artificial humans in his future.
Anime-only/filler content: The scenes at Goku and Chichi's house.
Episode 285 - Give Chase!! The Search for Doctor Gero’s Mysterious Lab (DBZ episode 132)
Dub title: Follow Dr. Gero
Originally aired 18th of March 1992
Kai equivalent: Episode 62 - Piccolo’s Assault! The Missing No. 20 and the Future Gone Eschew (End), Episode 63 - Pursue Doctor Gero… The Search for the Mysterious Laboratory! (First half)
Written by: Katsuyuki Sumisawa
Episode director: Shigeyasu Yamauchi
Animation supervisor: Masayuki Uchiyama
Vegeta and the others are startled when they learn that No. 20 and No. 19 are not the artificial humans that Trunks told them about. At this time, No. 20 announces the existence of No. 17 and No. 18 to Vegeta and the others, and flees for his laboratory. Left behind, Vegeta and the others learn that No. 20 is actually Doctor Gero, that No. 17 is a long-haired boy, and that No. 18 is a girl. Full of confidence from having become a Super Saiyan, Vegeta heads to Doctor Gero’s laboratory to fight No. 17 and No. 18. Piccolo and the others follow after him.
Anime-only/filler content: More scenes of sick Goku.
Episode 286 - And the Terror Becomes a Reality… No. 17 and No. 18 Awaken!! (DBZ episode 133)
Dub title: Nightmare Comes True
Originally aired 25th of March 1992
Kai equivalent: Episode 63 - Pursue Doctor Gero… The Search for the Mysterious Laboratory! (Last half), Episode 64 - No. 17, No. 18, and…! The Artificial Humans Awaken (First half)
Written by: Takao Koyama
Episode director: Yoshihiro Ueda
Animation supervisor: Tadayoshi Yamamuro
As Vegeta searches for the laboratory, Trunks informs him of the terror of No. 17 and 18. But hearing this just makes Vegeta want to fight them even more. Meanwhile, Kuririn has struggled his way to the laboratory, and discovers Doctor Gero. But he is not in time, and No. 17 and 18 are awakened. Piccolo and the others then gather there one by one, and Vegeta also finally arrives. But inside the laboratory, No. 17 is defying Doctor Gero.
Anime-only/filler content: Goku having a nightmare, Gohan taking Bulma, baby Trunks, and Yajirobe home, a hunter shooting Dr. Gero followed by him having a brief encounter with Kuririn.
Episode 287 - Too Late to Do Anything?! The Ultimate Weapons to Kill Goku (DBZ episode 134)
Dub title: Goku's Assassin
Originally aired 1st of April 1992
Kai equivalent: Episode 64 - No. 17, No. 18, and…! The Artificial Humans Awaken (Last half)
Written by: Takao Koyama
Episode director: Jun’ichi Fujise
Animation supervisor: Kazuya Hisada
The awakened No. 17 and 18 are the artificial humans that Trunks had warned them about. But there’s one more artificial human, No. 16, who Trunks did not know of. The rebellious No. 17 finally destroys Doctor Gero. No. 18 awakens No. 16, who was also created to kill Goku. The artificial humans then head for Goku’s house, with the objective to kill him. Angry at being ignored by the artificial humans, Vegeta runs after them. No. 18 serves as Vegeta’s opponent.
Anime-only/filler content: Yajirobe washing his scarf in the river, Chichi cooking for Goku, more of sick Goku.
Episode 288 - A Cute Face, and Super Power?! No. 18 Has No Blind Spot (DBZ episode 135)
Dub title: Deadly Beauty
Originally aired 15th of April 1992
Kai equivalent: Episode 65 - A Cute Face, and Super Power?! No. 18 vs Vegeta (First half)
Written by: Aya Matsui
Episode director: Mitsuo Hashimoto
Animation supervisor: Yukio Ebisawa
As Vegeta and No. 18 fight evenly, Piccolo and the others come running in. Knowing No. 18’s strength, Trunks tries to persuade Vegeta to run away, but Vegeta doesn’t listen. Vegeta’s strength surpasses Trunks’ imagination and even No. 17’s data on him. But Vegeta still ends up in a one-sided, defensive battle against No. 18, who has unlimited energy. Vegeta then has his arm broken by No. 18’s kick.
Anime-only/filler content: 18 and Vegeta's fight was extended, and covers a far greater variety of environments. Yajirobe and Bulma arguing, baby Trunks peeing on Yajirobe, a cutaway to Maron on Kame Island, more of sick Goku.
- At this point in time in the manga, Cell flees from Piccolo as Vegeta plans to go beyond Super Saiyan, Goku awakens and plans to do the same thing in the Room of Spirit and Time, Kuririn delivers the Android blueprints to Capsule Corp, Vegeta enters the Room of Spirit and Time, Piccolo begins to fight 17, and Bulma discovers how to shut down the Androids right as Cell arrives at the fight.
- As Gero spots the Dragon Team in the area, he vocally exclaims that he's solved his energy issue. Piccolo should have been able to hear him say this, considering he eavesdropped Goku and Trunks' conversation three years earlier.
- While Piccolo is able to call Gohan to his aid via telepathy when smothered by Dr. Gero, another option was for him to fire a ki blast like a signal flare.
- It isn't ever explained why Trunks arrives so late to the battle. 19 and 20 don't arrive until a little while after 10am, and Trunks appears sometime after that. It overall feels very out of character for him considering how concerned and invested he is with preventing the coming of the Androids; one would expect that he would show up early just as the Dragon Team did.
- Robo is fairly sure Trunks explains this by saying the time machine is a bit imprecise, but couldn't remember where he said it or when. If anyone reading can help us figure this out, I would appreciate it.
- At this point, Trunks now discovers that 19 and 20 are the Androids the Dragon Team have been fighting. His shock that these aren't his Androids is, as we've pointed out earlier, a plot hole, because he mentions 19 and 20 by name when giving the warning to Goku. The anime corrects this with Trunks not specifying their name in his warning.
- The external reason for this change is thanks to Toriyama's previous editor, Kazuhiko Torishima. Torishima was the man who discovered Toriyama at Shonen Jump, but had stopped being Toriyama's editor after the 23rd Tournament. Nonetheless, as revealed in the Shen Long Times #2 roundtable, Torishima specifically rung up Toriyama and complained that the bad guys turned out to be "a geezer and a fatso". Toriyama hadn't planned on having anyone else, but he still respected his old editor enough to take this feedback into account, and devised 17 and 18. As we'll see, the Android Arc would be plagued with Toriyama's editors telling him to change who the villain was.
- Torishima's objection to Dr. Gero specifically is a bit odd, considering Piccolo Daimao was equally decrepit when he was first introduced.
- In the Shen Long Times #2 roundtable, Toriyama mentions that this feedback came when he felt the story was more fun to think up than actually drawing it, which was around when 19 and 20 showed up. This can be seen in the manga itself: Vegeta's defeat of 19 leaves just his head so that Trunks can find it later, which means Torishima complained about 19 and 20 sometime before that point.
- It's also worth highlighting Toriyama's comment, that he felt it was more fun to think up the story at this point than it was to actually draw it. While it doesn't say anything about his intent to end the manga, it possibly explains why the Buu Arc is the way it is, and that he ended the manga entirely out of the blue. Robo also notes a significant decline in the art quality noticeable as early as the Androids arc, which comes to a head in the Boo arc.
- Toriyama would eventually include a fat villain again in Majin Buu, which Torishima is not known to have complained about.
- There's a lengthy scene at this point where Trunks wonders if all these differences are subtle changes thanks to him going into the past, a sort of Butterfly Effect. Certainly, his warning has changed the battle powers of the Dragon Team compared to the original timeline, where they were all caught unprepared not knowing the Androids would even show up.
- This point in the story is where we learn about North City, the final of the "cardinal direction" cities. West City was revealed in the Red Ribbon Arc, while East City was the place Vegeta and Nappa first arrived in the Saiyan Arc. The Android Arc doesn't reveal South City itself, however it was mentioned in the anime to be where the Tenkaichi Budokai was held at the start of the Red Ribbon Arc (before the manga contradicts it with Papaya Island for the 22nd TB). To date, South City is the only one of the Cardinal Cities to not be depicted.
- The reason why they even have these names is due to a joke in the Muscle Tower saga; Goku asks which direction West City is, and Suno answers with "Um... West?".
- In the DS game Attack of the Saiyans, Orin Temple is placed in the vicinity of East City.
- When Trunks and Vegeta argue about if Super Saiyans can defeat 17 and 18, Trunks' side of the argument assumes that Super Saiyans have a set amount of power. How they actually affect one's ki isn't very clear at this point beyond "it makes you stronger", however by the Buu Arc (where Gohan goes Super Saiyan 2 again) it's a bit clearer that the form multiplies your existing ki level, rather than jumping it to a specific number. This ultimately means that Vegeta's reasoning here is correct, although Trunks still turns out to be correct in the end.
- This is also the earliest point in time where Bulma finds her future son hot (she says it as soon as she finds out), which has some... awkward implications, to say the least. Yamucha must be fuming.
- Chapter 348 is the earliest point in time we see Future Bulma. The time Trunks went back from is concurrent to the Tournament of Power and Dragon Ball Super: Broly, and Future Bulma is notably more aged than Buu Arc Bulma and DBSuper Bulma. This can be explained by a combination of the stress of the global crisis (which would also limit the availability of cosmetics) and the fact she explains in Super Broly that she regularly wishes to appear younger, to retain a youthful appearance. This doesn't explain why she looks younger in Super than she did in the Boo arc, though.
- Piccolo has to ask if they're getting close to North City yet, which is interesting because his previous self, Daimao, wanted to take over the world, had a previous reign of terror, and saw a map of the Earth while on Pilaf's airship.
- In the manga, 18 specifically calls out that Dr. Gero has "mechanized [him]self as well". This suggests that Dr. Gero was fully human the last time 17 and 18 were active (and also before 19 was captured and converted), but it's also the earliest suggestion that 17 and 18 (as well as 19 and everyone before 16) are converted humans.
- As revealed by Toriyama in the Q&A section of Dragon Ball Full Colour's 6th Android Arc volume, 17 and 18's human names are Lapis and Lazuli. This pun was likely chosen because of the stone's blue colour, being the opposite of Red, as in the Red Ribbon Army. This pairs nicely with their indifference towards Gero and his intentions for them.
- In this same interview, Toriyama also points out that the Time Machine has no ladder, meaning only those who can fly can easily get into it!
- The detail of giving 17 and 18 hoop earrings is an interesting one, as 19 and 20 also wear them. This detail would be carried over to 13, 14 and 15 in DBZ Movie 7, and Android 21 in Dragon Ball FighterZ.
- Torishima once again influences the direction of the story: after seeing 17 and 18, he called Toriyama up a second time to complain that the enemies were now "just some brats". Toriyama again acknowledged this feedback and would introduce Cell, this time in about 1/3rd of the time it took him to introduce 17 and 18 into the manga. This double change of focus is likely why a lot of loose ends are left hanging in this arc; why did Dr. Gero want revenge? What's up with the change between energy absorption, infinite energy, and whatever Cell is?
- It isn't ever explained why #16 isn't present in Future Trunks' timeline. Here's KBABZ's postulation: 18 discovers 16's pod after she stops feigning obedience to Gero thanks to 17 destroying it, which happens because Gero is distracted by the Dragon Team knocking on the door. Thus it's entirely feasible that she and 17 never even noticed him when they were initially activated. Alternatively, Gero's entire plot is to enact revenge on Goku: in the original timeline Goku dies of the heart virus under three years before this, which may have impacted his Android projects enough that he doesn't bother finishing his first, failed pass on 16 and skips straight to 17.
- Upon learning about 16, 18 mentions that Dr. Gero disposed of Androids 1-15. This causes a plot hole the future 7th DBZ movie, Super Android 13, where 13, 14 and 15 are being worked on by Gero's computer in the second, deeper laboratory (both the entrance to the laboratory and the computer share the same design as the manga, confirming that it's the "Cell Lab"). It's possible she was just ill-informed and Gero didn't bother to explain that 13-15's remains were in his sub-lab with Cell.
- 16-20 being created to kill Goku is rather intriguing: in the future timeline, Goku dies of a heart virus less than three years before they first attack, while Gero is still working on the Androids. This does explain somewhat why 17 and 18 are rather aimless in the original timeline, and after freeing 16 in the altered timeline, 17 mentions that killing Goku at least gives them a sense of purpose now that they're machines. This also potentially explains why 17 and 18 are so much stronger in the familiar timeline; Gero may have put less work into making them strong in the original timeline.
- It's revealed here that Trunks never learned Goku's original Saiyan name, as he has to piece it together when Vegeta says it to him while Trunks tries to stop him chasing after the Androids.
- In the panel where Vegeta punches Trunks in the gut, Vegeta's eyebrows are mistakenly inked in black while he's in Super Saiyan form.
- As implied by 17's dialogue, #16 is the only one of Dr. Gero's Androids to be entirely mechanical. This is partially why using either "Androids" or "Cyborgs" to refer to them is problematic. Only #16 fits the definition of Android while the rest are partially organic, making them Cyborgs. In Japanese, they use a single term for all of them, which is correct in that language, as we have noted previously.
- Before fighting 18, Vegeta talks trash at her by saying that, as a machine, she technically isn't biologically female. In addition to him being an utter bastard for saying something like this, he's wrong anyway; as we learn in the Buu arc, 18's reproductive organs are still there. Not that this should matter or otherwise be anyone's business aside from her own!
- It's worth noting that, at this stage, Vegeta is basically still a villain. He still wants to kill Goku (not just defeat him), he punches his son Trunks in the gut to get him out of his way, in a moment he kills an innocent civilian, and now we can add bigotry to the pile. He really does deserve the humiliating beating 18 is about to give him at this point.
- In Funimation's dub of Dragon Ball Z Kai, in the Blu-ray audio mix they accidentally left in the Truck Driver's "Dude, my truck!!" line after Vegeta blows it up attacking 18, which presumably was only intended for the censored Nicktoons broadcast of the episode.