Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

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Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by ABED » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:33 am

I've decided to make this subject it's own thread, so I've pasted a bit of the conversation between me and Ekrolo2 in the "rank the DB arcs" thread about whether the early Cell arc mystery works well. It's certainly not perfect, but I think the mystery works well and if you don't know about the behind the scenes stories, it organically feels like it's leading to something more than the cyborgs. I think far too many know the behind the scenes stories and have allowed that to influence their views. I will give you that Toriyama wrote 19 and 20 then changed them to 17 and 18, but that's a minor error which was fixed in the anime. Whether something was meant to happen or planned and then changed over the course of the writing isn't important if the writer can make it all feel seamless and not apparent in the final product.
Mysteries also tend to pace themselves and not just info dump everything five minutes into their existence which is what Trunks and Cell do.
That's not what happened. Your insistence that those were the only mysteries is just false. The mystery wasn't fully solved until Cell arrived WHICH IS ONE THIRD OF THE WAY THROUGH THE ARC.
Cell also isn't hinted at
He IS hinted at. Not specifically, but the first third of the arc is concerned with these differences between the two timelines and we are constantly wondering why. We don't get the full answer until Cell arrives. What constitutes hinting? You know, besides telegraphing.
Also, half the things you cite as questions the mystery brings up are not answered.
Yes they are. It's the classic butterfly effect.
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by Doctor. » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:56 am

No, it doesn't. I think we have less than 5 chapters between the first hint that Cell exists (Kami's feeling) and Cell actually explaining everything to you.

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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by KBABZ » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:00 am

I think it worked well overall; Trunks looks a bit dim for not describing what 17 and 18 look like (or even mentioning their names), but then every Saiyan goes through that in the writing. Cell showing up does feel a bit out of left-field, but one of my favourite episodes is the one where Trunks and Bulma investigate the second time machine and discover evidence of Cell for the first time. Cell himself is also interesting for basically usurping 17 and 18 as soon as he appears; a similar but more delayed effect is observed with the introduction of Frieza, and to a lesser extent Zarbon, Dodoria and the Ginyu Force; all of a sudden Vegeta isn't the hot s*** anymore. With the introduction of 17 and 18 themselves, I think it worked in the sense that it's Gero's backup plan of desperation; he had very good reason not to use them, and then very good reason to use them once backed into a corner. Again it's similar to how the Ginyu Force showed up in the middle of the Namek arc.

As for Semi-Perfect Cell, I never really questioned his appearance given that he states numerous times that he needs to absorb both 17 and 18. Ergo, it makes sense that absorbing only one of them would take him halfway, and his semi-human design reflect that in his Semi-Perfect form. So for me, that part always fit for me, and given the type of story DBZ is, it makes sense that he'd achieve his Perfect form. After all, Frieza gives away in his second form that he still has two more transformations, and nobody really questions that Frieza is "allowed" by Toriyama to get to his Final form.

As a side-note, Perfect Cell is an incredibly uninteresting character for me because his previous motivation of absorbing 17 and 18 is lost. It wasn't until a second viewing of Kai where he alludes to the fact that his way of expressing his perfection is to destroy stuff, and only then did he feel like a legitimate threat. Up until that point, it really felt like Perfect Cell might have been able to be talked out of destroying things because his motivations were that thinly established to me.

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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by ekrolo2 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:06 am

I don't think you need to know anything about Toriyama's behind the scenes issues to feel that there's something... wrong with the flow of events. I'd read enough comics with editorial mandates by the time I went through the Cell arc to feel like someone was screwing with Toriyama, especially since prior arcs never felt anywhere close as off as this one did.
ABED wrote:That's not what happened. Your insistence that those were the only mysteries is just false. The mystery wasn't fully solved until Cell arrived WHICH IS ONE THIRD OF THE WAY THROUGH THE ARC.
It IS what happens! Trunks shows up, he's mysterious for five minutes and then he basically spouts the entire history of events the second Goku lands. Cell does much the same thing, you wonder what he is for a bit and then he tells Piccolo absolutely everything ever.
ABED wrote:He IS hinted at. Not specifically, but the first third of the arc is concerned with these differences between the two timelines and we are constantly wondering why. We don't get the full answer until Cell arrives. What constitutes hinting? You know, besides telegraphing.
Hinting constitutes that there's a pre-planned end point we're reaching that was always intended by the story. Nothing in the Cell arc feels like that. Trunks suddenly gets retroactive Alzheimers and mistakes 19 and 20 as the Androids who made his life hell, there's three extra Androids just because and Kami knew about Cell always existing but never tells anyone about it just because.
ABED wrote:Yes they are. It's the classic butterfly effect.
This is neither here nor there but the butterfly effect is freaking moronic. There's no way short of putting a gun to the side of my face that you can possibly expect me to believe that Cell burying his ass underground, effecting NOTHING! somehow makes diseases work slower, Gero to create more Androids, make previously weaker Androids stronger,...

This is slightly off topic but even the butterfly effect thing as a theory sounds like something a crazy conspiracy theorist came up with. A butterfly causes small changes in the atmosphere and that means a tornado will happen across the world? Yeah, and if I fart at a 90 degree angle while the planets are aligned, does that mean our martian overlords are gonna invade fucking Estonia 900 years before schedule?
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by Doctor. » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:11 am

ekrolo2 wrote:
This is slightly off topic but even the butterfly effect thing as a theory sounds like something a crazy conspiracy theorist came up with. A butterfly causes small changes in the atmosphere and that means a tornado will happen across the world? Yeah, and if I fart at a 90 degree angle while the planets are aligned, does that mean our martian overlords are gonna invade fucking Estonia 900 years before schedule?
Estonia is actually based, leave it alone; they can have Croatia instead.

Despite how dumb the butterfly effect is usually inplemented, I can excuse it if the story uses it to present interesting contrasts and what-ifs between different timelines. I'm sure there are series that go into detail about what specific small changes causes what, but I haven't found any yet.

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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by Kanassa » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:13 am

ekrolo2 wrote:Yeah, and if I fart at a 90 degree angle while the planets are aligned, does that mean our martian overlords are gonna invade fucking Estonia 900 years before schedule?
Leave it to a uneducated internet dweller to not know that a 90 degree planetary fart is the official Martian Code for an invasion.
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by ekrolo2 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:15 am

Doctor. wrote:
ekrolo2 wrote:
This is slightly off topic but even the butterfly effect thing as a theory sounds like something a crazy conspiracy theorist came up with. A butterfly causes small changes in the atmosphere and that means a tornado will happen across the world? Yeah, and if I fart at a 90 degree angle while the planets are aligned, does that mean our martian overlords are gonna invade fucking Estonia 900 years before schedule?
Estonia is actually based, leave it alone; they can have Croatia instead.

Despite how dumb the butterfly effect is usually inplemented, I can excuse it if the story uses it to present interesting contrasts and what-ifs between different timelines. I'm sure there are series that go into detail about what specific small changes causes what, but I haven't found any yet.
I usually subscribe to the idea that if you're gonna have someone come to the past from the future to change something to explain why events are different, the change has to be meaningful. The early Android arc even does this well: Goku was supposed to kill Freeza and Cold then die from the heart virus but Trunks kills them instead and gives Goku a way to live, thereby splitting the time line. That makes sense, Trunks made significant, tangible differences and things spun off from there.

Cell, apparently, makes big tangible differences by showing up then sleeping for years on end. What?!
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by ABED » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:45 am

The idea is simple. By changing something minor in the past, it's effects compound over time in ways you can't always anticipate. For instance, the heart virus. Even in the real world, we don't always know exactly how viruses occur and when. Given that Goku's actions change as a result of knowing about the cyborgs beforehand, it's not hard to believe that he could've contracted it later or something he did caused him to be asymptomatic longer.
No, it doesn't. I think we have less than 5 chapters between the first hint that Cell exists (Kami's feeling) and Cell actually explaining everything to you.
Yes, the whole mystery is the hint.
It IS what happens! Trunks shows up, he's mysterious for five minutes and then he basically spouts the entire history of events the second Goku lands. Cell does much the same thing, you wonder what he is for a bit and then he tells Piccolo absolutely everything ever.
That isn't what happens. You keep saying that like there were no questions that popped up between Trunks' reveal and Cell's reveal.
Hinting constitutes that there's a pre-planned end point we're reaching that was always intended by the story. Nothing in the Cell arc feels like that. Trunks suddenly gets retroactive Alzheimers and mistakes 19 and 20 as the Androids who made his life hell, there's three extra Androids just because and Kami knew about Cell always existing but never tells anyone about it just because.
It is there. Trunks explains his story but as soon as he does, new questions that he can't answer start to pop up. Kami never said he always knew about Cell, just that he had some vague foreboding. You keep getting hung up on the 19&20 issue when it was fixed in the anime.
I'd read enough comics with editorial mandates by the time I went through the Cell arc to feel like someone was screwing with Toriyama, especially since prior arcs never felt anywhere close as off as this one did.
And I've read enough stories to know that there's no way that 19 and 20 weren't the big bads. All of these issues feel the result of time travel and as you can easily see from this and other time travel stories, it's an inherently illogical idea if you actually stop to think about them. The Cell arc as far as I can remember is the first time Toriyama uses time travel in DB at least on this scale. I've read that some think it's apparent that even Cell's transformations feel like the result of editorial tampering.
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by sintzu » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:17 am

I don't know how it went in the manga but the anime did a great job with it. We were used to DB being mostly about action up to that point so it was a nice change of pace to see them doing some detective work up until Piccolo finally met Cell.
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by Cipher » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:36 am

Yes, for the brief period it lasts. It's probably the best part of the arc. Everything surrounding the discovery of the second time machine is fantastic.

The grand total of three times Dragon Ball has ever let an air of mystery hang around (the middle of the Cell arc, the beginning of the tournament in the Boo arc, and the beginning of the Goku Black arc), it's been quite enjoyable. I wish it had done it a little more often, or for longer stretches.

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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by ABED » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:15 am

While Cell's massive info dump was lazy, I don't have a problem with him revealing much of it like who he was and he was created by collecting the cells of the strongest fighters, but telling Piccolo what his goal is was Bond villain level silly. Exposition is fine provided people want to know the answers and I wanted to know the answers.
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by ekrolo2 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:27 am

ABED wrote:The idea is simple. By changing something minor in the past, it's effects compound over time in ways you can't always anticipate. For instance, the heart virus. Even in the real world, we don't always know exactly how viruses occur and when. Given that Goku's actions change as a result of knowing about the cyborgs beforehand, it's not hard to believe that he could've contracted it later or something he did caused him to be asymptomatic longer.
I know what it is, I just think it's a moronic concept that barely makes any sense in a real world application and it's a lazy, cop out answer whenever fiction uses it.
ABED wrote:Yes, the whole mystery is the hint.
It's not a mystery, Kami implies Cell exist, five chapters later, Cell info dumps everything. There is no mystery there and there certainly isn't one in-between Trunks' second return to Cell's introduction, that's when the story uses the cop out of the butter fly effect first.
ABED wrote: It is there. Trunks explains his story but as soon as he does, new questions that he can't answer start to pop up. Kami never said he always knew about Cell, just that he had some vague foreboding. You keep getting hung up on the 19&20 issue when it was fixed in the anime.
Questions that Toriyama first tries to explain away because of some vague tampering from Trunks then he immediately shifts gears into saying Cell, somehow, comes from another timeline and already changed things retroactively before Trunks himself even appeared.
ABED wrote:And I've read enough stories to know that there's no way that 19 and 20 weren't the big bads. All of these issues feel the result of time travel and as you can easily see from this and other time travel stories, it's an inherently illogical idea if you actually stop to think about them. The Cell arc as far as I can remember is the first time Toriyama uses time travel in DB at least on this scale. I've read that some think it's apparent that even Cell's transformations feel like the result of editorial tampering.
Cell's transformations don't feel like editorial tampering to me so much as an odd choice since Cell is setup as gaining power from eating people but he needs to eat these specific people to power up. It does make for a good story situation where you've got one bad guy vs some other bad guys and the good guys, similar to Namek. Expect much shorter and shittier.

I already explained what bugs me about DBs time travel vs Terminator. Terminator has a guy come from the future into the past. DB has the same until it's revealed another guy from an identical future killed the first guy who went back into another past stole his machine and made another new past that had another first guy from another future travel to from. It's a total, unnecessary mess. Just have some mini bug Cell hitch a ride with the Future Trunks we already know and start eating people to make himself grow. Same end result, considerably less bullshit to bog the narrative down.
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by ABED » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:45 am

It's not vague tampering. Trunks did in fact tamper with the timeline in very specific ways.
I know what it is, I just think it's a moronic concept that barely makes any sense in a real world application and it's a lazy, cop out answer whenever fiction uses it.
If I can accept time travel, I can accept the idea that going back and making one change would have bigger unexpected and unintended consequences.
It's not a mystery, Kami implies Cell exist, five chapters later, Cell info dumps everything. There is no mystery there and there certainly isn't one in-between Trunks' second return to Cell's introduction, that's when the story uses the cop out of the butter fly effect first.
I'm going to say it one more time - that's not the only mystery. It's through the entire 1/3 of the arc. Whether you think it's a cop out isn't relevant, it's there. It's a mystery, as in, we don't know the answers. So be unsatisfied all you want with the answer, but it is a mystery.
Cell's transformations don't feel like editorial tampering to me so much as an odd choice since Cell is setup as gaining power from eating people but he needs to eat these specific people to power up. It does make for a good story situation where you've got one bad guy vs some other bad guys and the good guys, similar to Namek. Expect much shorter and shittier.
This complaint comes off as VERY arbitrary. He gains power by absorbing people, but he needs the cyborgs to gain FAR more power and reach his final form. It works well because it makes the cyborgs relevant beyond being just another antagonist. It might be an unusual choice, but it's an interesting choice. It makes WAY more sense than Buu's transformations.
It's a total, unnecessary mess. Just have some mini bug Cell hitch a ride with the Future Trunks we already know and start eating people to make himself grow. Same end result, considerably less bullshit to bog the narrative down.
I never had a problem following the logic. Cell's just from further into the future, but I'll give you that yours is a tad simpler, but the way it's done in DB isn't a mess, it's just one more step. The Terminator might be simpler, but the logic of it doesn't hold up. It still leads to a paradox.
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by Lord Beerus » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:15 pm

Not really. All the "mystery" of the Android/Cell arc could have easily resolved if Future Trunks could have just explained what the Androids looked like. I'm sure that could have made life a lot easier. I'll never understand why that detail was left vague. And it doesn't help that Cell's arrival is very much out of left field.

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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by KBABZ » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:29 pm

Kanassa wrote:
ekrolo2 wrote:Yeah, and if I fart at a 90 degree angle while the planets are aligned, does that mean our martian overlords are gonna invade fucking Estonia 900 years before schedule?
Leave it to a uneducated internet dweller to not know that a 90 degree planetary fart is the official Martian Code for an invasion.
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On the things that have changed, the only major thing that changed to me is that 17 and 18 got a lot stronger. I always figured that because the Z Fighters trained in anticipation of the Androids, Dr. Gero made them stronger to keep up. It's similar to the Back to the Future Almanac; even if Biff's betting changed the results of sports matches because it made headline news, because Old Biff took it from after most of those matches, the ripple effect would ensure the Almanac was still accurate. The only problem with my theory on the Androids is that Gero states (in Kai at least) that he stopped gathering data on Goku after his fight with Vegeta. Then again, he also gathered data on Frieza and King Cold, so...

As for Trunks not knowing who 19 and 20 were, to me the explanation is very simple. In the original timeline, Trunks was 1 at that age. In my head, the events go like this: 19 and 20 blow up the island city, and the Z Fighters investigate while Bulma stays at West City. They defeat 19, forcing Dr. Gero to activate 17 and 18, who kills Gero. 17 and 18 then kill all of the Z Fighters except Gohan, who stayed behind at Chi-Chi's Mount Paoz residence. Because Piccolo died, Kami does too, meaning that nobody is even able to tell anybody about 19 and 20, which leaves Future Trunks in the dark about what even happened later. Ego he isn't able to tell Alternate Goku about them when he goes back in time.

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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by precita » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:56 pm

The Cell arc was a great mystery when it first aired. Especially when the second time machine showed up, when Trunks realized they weren't the same Androids, etc.

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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by ABED » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:01 pm

And it doesn't help that Cell's arrival is very much out of left field.
I don't think it's out of left field. There's constant feeling of uneasiness and that something is going on that they can't explain. Cell is ultimately that explanation.
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by Baggie_Saiyan » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:56 pm

Lord Beerus wrote:Not really. All the "mystery" of the Android/Cell arc could have easily resolved if Future Trunks could have just explained what the Androids looked like. I'm sure that could have made life a lot easier. I'll never understand why that detail was left vague. And it doesn't help that Cell's arrival is very much out of left field.
You really have to turn your brave off to enjoy that arc I swear new issues just pop up all the time, Goku must have defeated Freeza on Earth on his timeline so why did Trunks "risk" like he said intervening, is another thing I never got. I hate to use this word but honestly feels like Toriyama was "phoning" it in.
ABED wrote:
And it doesn't help that Cell's arrival is very much out of left field.
I don't think it's out of left field. There's constant feeling of uneasiness and that something is going on that they can't explain. Cell is ultimately that explanation.
That only really came from Kami and it feel kind of forced tbh how coincidental that when Piccolo goes to Kami all of a sudden he is like "omg something bad is gonna happen I can feel it"? Androids are doing their thing then this Cell thing just randomly happens vague ramblings from an old man is not enough for it to not feel out of left field.

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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by ABED » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:11 pm

Actually, it came before Kami. There were more cyborgs than Trunks knew about and they were stronger. Then there's the issue of Goku's heart virus affecting him later. There were other signs that something weird was going on well before Kami's foreboding. Not to mention, 17 & 18 weren't as violent as the one's in Trunks' timeline. I felt that was a great twist. It makes sense when you think about it. The Z Team started the fight. 17 & 18 wouldn't have done anything had no one started anything with them.
Androids are doing their thing then this Cell thing just randomly happens vague ramblings from an old man is not enough for it to not feel out of left field.
People are abusing the term "random". It only feels out of left field if you aren't paying attention.
You really have to turn your brave off to enjoy that arc I swear new issues just pop up all the time, Goku must have defeated Freeza on Earth on his timeline so why did Trunks "risk" like he said intervening, is another thing I never got. I hate to use this word but honestly feels like Toriyama was "phoning" it in.
If I recall, didn't Freeza show up a tad earlier and Trunks felt he had to intervene?
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Re: Cell arc - Does the mystery work well?

Post by KBABZ » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:17 pm

Baggie_Saiyan wrote:
Lord Beerus wrote:Not really. All the "mystery" of the Android/Cell arc could have easily resolved if Future Trunks could have just explained what the Androids looked like. I'm sure that could have made life a lot easier. I'll never understand why that detail was left vague. And it doesn't help that Cell's arrival is very much out of left field.
You really have to turn your brave off to enjoy that arc I swear new issues just pop up all the time, Goku must have defeated Freeza on Earth on his timeline so why did Trunks "risk" like he said intervening, is another thing I never got. I hate to use this word but honestly feels like Toriyama was "phoning" it in.
Trunks was a first-time time traveler and wasn't even there for Frieza's defeat in his Timeline, not to mention he had no idea Goku had Instant Transmission. From what he could tell, Goku was still three hours away and Frieza had already touched down, so from his perspective there was no way Goku would have been able to make it in time.

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