Subliminal messages in Dragonball Z!

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Dominator
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Subliminal messages in Dragonball Z!

Post by Dominator » Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:08 am

Aside from Roshi's porn magazines, what about Mr. Popo?

He's a fat, literally black guy with big red lips and round staring eyes. These features are similar on gollywog toys (which I think are considered racist now) and a gollywog is meant to have been a black child.

But why the hell does he look like that? And why the name Mr. Popo? And where did he even come from?!

Also, the pendulum room; did that have a pentagram featured in the symbols on the floor?

And Mr. Satan's name is never really explained, though I'd love to see the expressions of angry Christian parents if FUNi kept his name like this. But that's an old idea, so we won't get into that.
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Post by Ero-Sennin » Tue Sep 06, 2005 8:08 am

Personally I think your looking into it to much, Roshi's porn mags for a start are just there as a stereotypical tool of a perverted old man.

Mr Popo's looks most likely mirrored the japanese stereotype of coloured people at the time, or which is more than likely is Toriyama poking a little fun at it.

Now for the pentagram, that's the one that I find funny, most people assume it to be linked to Satanism (thankyou early Christians <.< >.>) but it's original meaning was to do with Paganism, but if there was one there it was most likely there as a generic mystical symbol, we do tend to see it used in nearly every show that involves magic don't we...

But Mr. Satan's name, I have no idea about.
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Post by SaiyaJedi » Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:17 am

Ero-Sennin wrote:Now for the pentagram, that's the one that I find funny, most people assume it to be linked to Satanism (thankyou early Christians <.< >.>) but it's original meaning was to do with Paganism, but if there was one there it was most likely there as a generic mystical symbol, we do tend to see it used in nearly every show that involves magic don't we...
Personally, I would assume that the oft-used hexagram (a.k.a. Star of David) would generate a lot more controversy than a pentagram, when used in some of the contexts I've seen it in... and I think it has.

I mean, I'm willing to accept that Japanese people are culturally tone-deaf to an extent, but sometimes I wonder. :?
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Post by Ero-Sennin » Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:28 am

Personally, I would assume that the oft-used hexagram (a.k.a. Star of David) would generate a lot more controversy than a pentagram, when used in some of the contexts I've seen it in... and I think it has.

I mean, I'm willing to accept that Japanese people are culturally tone-deaf to an extent, but sometimes I wonder. Confused
True but i somehow doubted whether they expected the US to pick it up in the first place, or many of their shows for that matter, as IIRC there are probably less Jewish people in Japan, than there are Fish and Chip shops. So I expect the impact would be a lot less.
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Post by Dominator » Tue Sep 06, 2005 11:20 am

The inverted pentagram (the one with the goat's head) is associated with Satan, a normal pentagram can be used to be protective.
Ero-Sennin wrote:Personally I think your looking into it to much, Roshi's porn mags for a start are just there as a stereotypical tool of a perverted old man.
Yeah, otherwise he'd be an ultimately boring character. I did get the joke you know.
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Post by 'lo Legends » Tue Sep 06, 2005 3:15 pm

Ultimately, I think the reason Toriyama drew Mr. Popo the way he did was because nobody in Japan cares (obviously) and he wanted to make a weird looking character. I mean, it's obviously not what he thinks black people look like, considering how Adjutant Black appears earlier than him and looks, besides the fact that his lips are a little bigger than normal, pretty harmless.
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Re: Subliminal messages in Dragonball Z!

Post by Domon » Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:16 pm

Dominator wrote:Subliminal messages in Dragonball Z!
(List of racism and religious elements in DBZ)
Those things you listed are not "subliminal messages". "Subliminal" refers to a hidden message that is embedded into a piece of work (a manga/anime, in this case) that one cannot consciously pick up on (since they supposedly manipulate us subconsciously).

Since all of the items on the above list can be seen as plain as day, they are, by definition, not subliminal. An example of subliminal would be if you get the urge to drink beer after watching Dragonball because there's a embedded message that you're not aware of (i.e.; a message flash by for a split-second saying "drink beer!"), but your mind is picking up on it subconsciously (does that all makes sense now?).

Just to note: while such "embedded messages" do exist (in movies, advertisments, etc), they are most often not as effective or as lasting as often believed or portrayed in the media.

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Post by Magnaboss » Tue Sep 06, 2005 5:41 pm

Gollywogs aren't racist, atleast, to people who actually just realise they're an entirely fictional thing with somewhat disturbing coincidences to a racial stereotype. They're more along the lines of being politically incorrect.

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Post by The S » Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:12 pm

It's funny how we can't have other religious symbols in stuff anymore because the Christians will be offended. As a non-Christian, I find it more offensive that they're cut out.
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Post by Super Sonic » Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:15 pm

The S wrote:It's funny how we can't have other religious symbols in stuff anymore because the Christians will be offended. As a non-Christian, I find it more offensive that they're cut out.
Sometimes with things like that, the blame is to not offend the atheists.

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Post by Tenka-Ichi » Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:41 pm

Really, you think Mr. Popo is black? He always looked more like a geanie to me. I mean, with the Aladdin type clothing, flying carpet and magic lamp. The big lips were just there because the manga was black and white, and with the pitch black skin, it would be as if there was no mouth if you didn't emphasize the lips. Of coure... I could be wrong.

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Post by *PINHEAD* » Tue Sep 06, 2005 11:25 pm

It's pretty well known that Viz "censored" Popo's lips because people would've found it racist. It looks a lot like "blackface," a device used in theatre and such to portray black people in a usually racist manner. I wouldn't say Toriyama is necessarily a racist; Japan's culture is very much different than America's. But I've always seen Popo as black or at least dark-skinned. He reminds me of those soldiers or guards you see in the Middle East or Africa.

As for Mr. Satan, it's not so much an anti-Christian statement as just a pun. As Viz puts it, "it's supposed to be a scary wrestler name." :lol:

So...basically, cultural differences are what makes things like that not so controversial in Japan as it appears over here.
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Post by 707 » Tue Sep 06, 2005 11:33 pm

Satan isn't culturally understood in Japan. Over the years, it has come to mean someone of great power or strength, but in a sarcastic and mocking tone. For someone to call themself Satan, or as it was commonly used "the satan of..." would imply that they were pretty full of themselves. Toriyama just used it for world play, and since he's a pretty sharp tack, went with the devil theme for some of the jokes surrounding Mr. Satan.

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Post by Leotaku » Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:48 am

People are mentioning Mr. Satan, yet no one mentions King Yemma, who LOOKS like Satan. :P

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Post by JDrozen » Wed Sep 07, 2005 3:17 pm

'lo Legends wrote:Ultimately, I think the reason Toriyama drew Mr. Popo the way he did was because nobody in Japan cares (obviously) and he wanted to make a weird looking character. I mean, it's obviously not what he thinks black people look like, considering how Adjutant Black appears earlier than him and looks, besides the fact that his lips are a little bigger than normal, pretty harmless.
To me he looks more like a Genie. Probably a reference from Toriyama. And in my country we have a endemic piece of jewelry called "Little Moor". It's a little Mr.Popo lookalike, his head and chest that is.
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Post by Son Goku » Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:18 pm

I saw in an editorial done by the owner of a Pokemon website (also mentioning Jinx) that Mr. Popo was based on an old buddist thingy.
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Post by Tenka-Ichi » Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:31 pm

Leotaku wrote:People are mentioning Mr. Satan, yet no one mentions King Yemma, who LOOKS like Satan. :P
Well actually king Yemma is suposed to represent Enma Daiou (which is actually the characters name in the japanese version) who is a god-like figure in buddism, the most common religion in Japan and probably the one in which Akira Toriyama's a part of, who judges whether the souls proceed to heaven or hell. You can even see him doing exactly this in movie 12, as well as other parts of the show. So there is no reference to anything christian, such as satan, with Enma Daiou. Although, Dabura looks an awful lot like satan, and I'm sure that if anyone's a parody of satan, it's him.

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Post by Jerseymilk » Wed Sep 07, 2005 8:09 pm

I love the fact that in Toriyama's other work, "Sandland", Beezlebub's father, Lucifer looks exactly like Dabura. :lol:
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Post by Leotaku » Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:43 am

Tenka-Ichi wrote:
Leotaku wrote:People are mentioning Mr. Satan, yet no one mentions King Yemma, who LOOKS like Satan. :P
Well actually king Yemma is suposed to represent Enma Daiou (which is actually the characters name in the japanese version) who is a god-like figure in buddism, the most common religion in Japan and probably the one in which Akira Toriyama's a part of, who judges whether the souls proceed to heaven or hell. You can even see him doing exactly this in movie 12, as well as other parts of the show. So there is no reference to anything christian, such as satan, with Enma Daiou. Although, Dabura looks an awful lot like satan, and I'm sure that if anyone's a parody of satan, it's him.
Is that so? Cause I don't know a thing about Japan. :P
And here I am mentioning no one noticed King Yemma, when I didn't notice Dabura. :lol:

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Post by *PINHEAD* » Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:45 pm

Dabura is certainly the most Satanic character in Dragon Ball, which won't necessarily be offensive since he's a bad character.


And yeah, Enma, Oni, Kami...cultural differences, of course.
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