Deus Ex Machina

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ABED
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Deus Ex Machina

Post by ABED » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:13 pm

What instances are there in the story? Do they bother you? Do you like it in spite of it being deus ex machina? Do you hate any example of this device?

The first one I can think of is Goku losing the 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai because he hits a car. The other is the Namekian Dragon Balls getting a third wish at the end of the Buu arc just so everyone can get wished back.
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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by Nejishiki » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:18 pm

While it is technically possible, I found it rather odd how Goku survived being killed by Piccolo Daimao and getting up as if nothing happened. In any case, the story of the battle was the important detail in the end, which Toriyama will often sacrifice internal logic for solid character building.

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by RedRibbonSoldier#42 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:18 pm

ABED wrote:What instances are there in the story? Do they bother you? Do you like it in spite of it being deus ex machina? Do you hate any example of this device?

The first one I can think of is Goku losing the 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai because he hits a car. The other is the Namekian Dragon Balls getting a third wish at the end of the Buu arc just so everyone can get wished back.
The extra wish may be a convenient Deus Ex, but the car isn't. It didn't save Toriyama after "writing himself into a corner" or establish new rules for the world.

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by ABED » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:19 pm

Nejishiki wrote:While it is technically possible, I found it rather odd how Goku survived being killed by Piccolo Daimao and getting up as if nothing happened. In any case, the story of the battle was the important detail in the end, which Toriyama will often sacrifice internal logic for solid character building.
At the end of their first battle?
The extra wish may be a convenient Deus Ex, but the car isn't. It didn't save Toriyama after "writing himself into a corner" or establish new rules for the world.
The car is very convenient. It's not connected to the theme or plot in any way. You can make the argument that he wrote himself into a corner. It's like he wanted Goku to lose but without Tenshinhan being the better fighter. The car wasn't set up, it's a completely random and lucky event for him. How does this not fit?
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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by Nejishiki » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:24 pm

ABED wrote:
Nejishiki wrote:While it is technically possible, I found it rather odd how Goku survived being killed by Piccolo Daimao and getting up as if nothing happened. In any case, the story of the battle was the important detail in the end, which Toriyama will often sacrifice internal logic for solid character building.
At the end of their first battle?
Yes. There was something admirable about Goku going at Piccolo Daimao with everything he had. He had done so in spite of how brutally he was being beat up. All of that aside, he mustered the strength to snark back despite the foolishness of it and exuded spirit in obvious defeat. It's just really out of place how Toriyama forgot to give him a proper reason to survive for the sake of storytelling.

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by ABED » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:27 pm

RedRibbonSoldier#42 wrote:Would you prefer if Tenshinhan had just fallen slower? That would be the exact same result but less interesting.
Yes, in fact it would be more interesting if say he had counted on his larger body creating more wind resistance or something. How is the random car more interesting than someone winning by skill?
Yes. There was something admirable about Goku going at Piccolo Daimao with everything he had. He had done so in spite of how brutally he was being beat up.
I don't see how that's deus ex machina. He never acted like it was nothing. That's the whole reason he needed Yajirobe's help. Goku manages to survive because he's tough as nails. He was only mostly dead.
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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by RedRibbonSoldier#42 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:31 pm

ABED wrote:
RedRibbonSoldier#42 wrote:Would you prefer if Tenshinhan had just fallen slower? That would be the exact same result but less interesting.
Yes, in fact it would be more interesting if say he had counted on his larger body creating more wind resistance or something. How is the random car more interesting than someone winning by skill?
Because again, luck is a real thing, and it's one of the few times in the series where having bigger Ki doesn't solve all problems.

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by saiyanvegetable » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:38 pm

It all depends on excecution.

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by ABED » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:47 pm

saiyanvegetable wrote:It all depends on excecution.
Could you give examples because deus ex machina is the execution.
The biggest truths aren't original. The truth is ketchup. It's Jim Belushi. Its job isn't to blow our minds. It's to be within reach.
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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by ABED » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:50 pm

RedRibbonSoldier#42 wrote:
ABED wrote:
RedRibbonSoldier#42 wrote:Would you prefer if Tenshinhan had just fallen slower? That would be the exact same result but less interesting.
Yes, in fact it would be more interesting if say he had counted on his larger body creating more wind resistance or something. How is the random car more interesting than someone winning by skill?
Because again, luck is a real thing, and it's one of the few times in the series where having bigger Ki doesn't solve all problems.
Luck is a real thing, but that's not how you tell a story, that's haphazard and disintegrated. In the first fight against Muten Roshi, Goku loses by a small margin, not because Roshi was stronger, but because Roshi was wiser and had a better strategy.
The biggest truths aren't original. The truth is ketchup. It's Jim Belushi. Its job isn't to blow our minds. It's to be within reach.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take - Wayne Gretzky" - Michael Scott
Happiness is climate, not weather.

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by RedRibbonSoldier#42 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:15 pm

ABED wrote:Luck is a real thing, but that's not how you tell a story, that's haphazard and disintegrated. In the first fight against Muten Roshi, Goku loses by a small margin, not because Roshi was stronger, but because Roshi was wiser and had a better strategy.
Again, the actual fight was very much a contest of skill and Tenshinhan could've won with or without the car, it just added a little bit of excitement and unpredictability.

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by ABED » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:20 pm

RedRibbonSoldier#42 wrote:
ABED wrote:Luck is a real thing, but that's not how you tell a story, that's haphazard and disintegrated. In the first fight against Muten Roshi, Goku loses by a small margin, not because Roshi was stronger, but because Roshi was wiser and had a better strategy.
Again, the actual fight was very much a contest of skill and Tenshinhan could've won with or without the car, it just added a little bit of excitement and unpredictability.
Yeah, it was unpredictable because there was no setup and it's not connected to anything. Tenshinhan winning is already unpredictable since we've all seen these sorts of stories before, so there was every reason to expect Goku to win because Tenshinhan was such an asshole that losing is just desserts. Him winning wasn't the predictable outcome. It's how he won that's the problem.
The biggest truths aren't original. The truth is ketchup. It's Jim Belushi. Its job isn't to blow our minds. It's to be within reach.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take - Wayne Gretzky" - Michael Scott
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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by Sandubadear » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:27 pm

ABED wrote:The other is the Namekian Dragon Balls getting a third wish at the end of the Buu arc just so everyone can get wished back.
What do you mean by this? The Namekian DBs always had 3 wishes. The third wish was used to restore Goku's energy, not to revive everyone.
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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by Snow_Lilies » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:28 pm

ABED wrote:Luck is a real thing, but that's not how you tell a story, that's haphazard and disintegrated. In the first fight against Muten Roshi, Goku loses by a small margin, not because Roshi was stronger, but because Roshi was wiser and had a better strategy.
I think it's less important whether or not Goku did defeat Tenshinhan and more important whether or not he could defeat him. Ten got a hollow victory that he wasn't happy about (contributing to his character development), Goku acknowledged that it couldn't be helped, and Roshi got to jump in and say "Well, that's life for you." Everyone in-universe and out knew Goku had it. In that light I can see where elements of deus ex machina shine through. On the other hand it was an unusual circumstance to have both combatants flying towards the ground far away from the stadium in the first place. It may have been naive to assume that there was never going to be anything between them and the ground. If things had gone differently, it may have been perceived just as contrived if they'd both missed every single building and proceeded at their velocity.

I think the problem is when it comes to luck elements in general, the outcome of that roll is predetermined by the author. Sure there are ways around it like you suggested (or like Goku slowing his own descent), but really, in the grand scheme of things, hitting an object in the unusual situation they were in was less unexpected than one's tail growing back at just the right moment. Not to say they both can't be considered deus ex, but at that point you might have to consider that this may be measurable in degrees along a spectrum. Perhaps that juxtaposition allows for some luck to enter the story where in one case you could see it happening and in the other you don't really have nor want an explanation trying to justify why it happened.

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by Dbzfan94 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:34 pm

Sandubadear wrote:
ABED wrote:The other is the Namekian Dragon Balls getting a third wish at the end of the Buu arc just so everyone can get wished back.
What do you mean by this? The Namekian DBs always had 3 wishes. The third wish was used to restore Goku's energy, not to revive everyone.
I think he meant that Porunga originally had the 1 person per wish rule. But in the Buu Saga Porunga essentially had free reign to revive as many people as he wanted.

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by ABED » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:36 pm

Dbzfan94 wrote:
Sandubadear wrote:
ABED wrote:The other is the Namekian Dragon Balls getting a third wish at the end of the Buu arc just so everyone can get wished back.
What do you mean by this? The Namekian DBs always had 3 wishes. The third wish was used to restore Goku's energy, not to revive everyone.
I think he meant that Porunga originally had the 1 person per wish rule. But in the Buu Saga Porunga essentially had free reign to revive as many people as he wanted.
Yep, that is indeed what I meant.

Snow Lilies, that's great stuff to ponder and I hadn't thought of that. If we take all the buildings and cars into account, then I think Toriyama should've made that part of either Goku's or Tenshinhan's strategy. As it reads in the story, the car is completely random and haphazard as though he couldn't think of a logical way to keep Goku looking strong but still give Tenshinhan the victory.

Regarding Tenshinhan's development, I don't think him feeling the victory was hollow was a necessary step in his development, it was a result of his development, although one could argue that even if he remained an asshole that he still might feel like it was a hollow victory.
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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by Lord Beerus » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:52 pm

This may not count, but this is something that has always made no sense to me: In the Majin Boo arc, when Goku, Vegeta, Majin Boo are fighting Kid Boo and Kibito Kai teleport Dende and Old Kai to New Namek to wish for Earth to be restored after Kid Boo completely obliterated it and then to resurrect everyone who had died since the World Martial Arts Tournament when Babidi and his forces first attacked, except the evil ones, Moori and the other Namekians know of the situation that is going on, and have already gathered the Dragon Balls for the situation. How the hell did they know what was going on on Supreme Kai's planet with the Z-Fighters talking on Kid Boo or what was going on with Majin Boo and the rest of the bullshit that happened on Earth when Babidi and his cronies arrived?

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by ABED » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:57 pm

Lord Beerus wrote:This may not count, but this is something that has always made no sense to me: In the Majin Boo arc, when Goku, Vegeta, Majin Boo are fighting Kid Boo and Kibito Kai teleport Dende and Old Kai to New Namek to wish for Earth to be restored after Kid Boo completely obliterated it and then to resurrect everyone who had died since the World Martial Arts Tournament when Babidi and his forces first attacked, except the evil ones, Moori and the other Namekians know of the situation that is going on, and have already gathered the Dragon Balls for the situation. How the hell did they know what was going on on Supreme Kai's planet with the Z-Fighters talking on Kid Boo or what was going on with Majin Boo and the rest of the bullshit that happened on Earth when Babidi and his cronies arrived?
I can buy they might always have the Dragon Balls at the ready, but I wouldn't consider the Namekians knowing what was going on to be Deus Ex Machina, just illogical.
The biggest truths aren't original. The truth is ketchup. It's Jim Belushi. Its job isn't to blow our minds. It's to be within reach.
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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by Lunatic Fringe » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:07 pm

I wouldn't call the car hitting Goku a feud ex machina because the story naturally heads towards that conclusions when they're both freefalling from the air, especially if they're flying towards a crowded city. One should expect some level of traffic to pop up, no?

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Re: Deus Ex Machina

Post by Faustus » Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:07 pm

My take on this whole car business:

It's all characterization. I'll first follow Snow_Lilies in saying that the point was precisely to give Ten an illegitimate -- one might even say pyrrhic -- victory, thoroughly humbling him. At the same time, while I'll agree that the haphazard nature of it is quite rightly a cause for frustration for many readers, myself included, I don't doubt for a second that this was the intended effect. By design, the reader's frustrated expectations over having their hero's success teased then unfairly yanked away in this last-moment reversal of sheer luck serve by an effect of pointed contrast to throw Goku's own carefree response afterwards into character-defining relief. We first feel cheated on his behalf, but Goku of course remains as cheerful as ever, reassuring us.

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