Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

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Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by nickzambuto » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:29 pm

In hindsight, the fact that Raditz was Goku's biological brother can probably be shrugged off as a symptom of Toriyama's tendency to write off the seam of his pants. The biological brother of the protagonist is obviously a pretty important reveal, but Raditz didn't end up doing anything at all which warranted this status.

I mean, he died within chapters of his introduction and was never mentioned again... maybe you can argue that he was a good foil for Goku, but only in the way that the entire saiyan race was a foil to Goku. The audience knew Goku as kind and selfless and a passionate martial artist. So the idea that his race is a bunch of bloodlusted murderers is a really good way of highlighting his traits. Raditz was a warrior because he relished domination over others. This highlights how Goku is a warrior for all the right reasons, self improvement and protecting others.

So that's all really good stuff, Raditz is a decent character for it, despite his limited depth. But it has nothing to do with his biological relationship to Goku. If Raditz was literally just the epitome of the average saiyan, the way he foils Goku would not change. Imagine, if the series just never said Raditz and Goku were brothers. Instead, Raditz is just a fellow saiyan who came to recruit one of the only surviving saiyans, he treats Goku well enough at first for this reason, just like in the main series, until he becomes convinced that Goku isn't a saiyan at all and they fight. Things can easily play out in the exact same way, even if Raditz being Goku's brother is removed. Him being Goku's brother serves no purpose, which is odd because anybody's brother should be more significant in their lives, whether as a friend or an enemy. It's okay that Raditz died, but the fact that he was forgotten and had no repercussions on Goku is weird.

It isn't long after that Vegeta shows up, and he provides the same foil as Raditz, but in a much deeper and more detailed way. So what's the point in Raditz being Goku's brother?

Now, Raditz did have brief sparks of potential as Goku's older brother. Toriyama very easily could have made Raditz a deeper character if he felt like it. Just make him a little bit more patient and dedicated to getting his brother on his side, make him a little less sadistic towards Goku and instead a little bit genuinely disheartened that his brother has betrayed him and their race (from Raditz's perspective), but Raditz decides that his nephew is young enough that he can be "saved" and still become a true saiyan warrior, so he's going to kill his brother and take his son under his own wing instead. The whole reason Raditz came to Earth was because he needed another saiyan, so now he makes the decision to raise Gohan.

Unfortunately nothing like this happened, Raditz didn't seem to care about Goku at all beyond their relation as saiyans. Brothers didn't factor into it. So why not just make Raditz a fellow saiyan? I think that the story Toriyama created would be better off that way, whereas the brothers thing should be reserved for if Toriyama wanted to do something more with Raditz.

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by Fizzer » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:12 pm

I think you're right that it's a result of Toriyama's writing style. It would make sense for him to be someone so significant if he was being built up as the big bad of the arc, which is probably how Toriyama saw him when writing his introduction - just "the next villain", not a precursor to the actual villain.

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by ABED » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:43 pm

I'm fine with them not making a bigger deal of it. The family you choose is more important than the family you are born into. I don't think it has anything to do with writing by the seat of his pants. For however short the time Raditz spends in the story, he leaves a hell of a lasting impression on the audience. The fact that Raditz also doesn't give a crap about Goku being his brother says a lot about his character and the Saiyan race as a whole. Think about it. For all his bluster about the greatness of the Saiyan race, Vegeta doesn't care for any of the actual Saiyans. He tells Freeza he didn't care that Freeza killed his father. He didn't care to bring back Raditz with the DB's, and he kills Nappa without a second thought the second he proves useless. Far from being a fault of the writing, I thought it was a great choice.
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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by nickzambuto » Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:43 pm

ABED wrote:I'm fine with them not making a bigger deal of it. The family you choose is more important than the family you are born into.
That's definitely true, but in that case I think that the writing should have made a point of that. It isn't a detractor or complaint, I'm not saying that Raditz brings the story down in anyway, it's just a missed opportunity. Toriyama could have done something interesting, like what you are describing, but instead Raditz as a character is completely empty. His personality and motivations are generic, he's only around for 1 day and is completely irrelevant afterwards, and the only thing he has going for him thematically, the way he foils Goku, has nothing to do with them being brothers, and would have been the same if Raditz was just another saiyan. Again it doesn't bring the story down in any way, it's just a little bizarre how Raditz being Goku's brother is like a random piece of trivia and doesn't actually mean anything.
For however short the time Raditz spends in the story, he leaves a hell of a lasting impression on the audience.
He does??? From where I'm sitting, the only relevance he has is as a joke, or people like me who only remember him for being a missed opportunity. If he wasn't Goku's brother, nobody would ever bring him up. He had the same role as any of the non-Dragon Team Tournament fighters, or Freeza's henchmen.
The fact that Raditz also doesn't give a crap about Goku being his brother says a lot about his character and the Saiyan race as a whole. Think about it. For all his bluster about the greatness of the Saiyan race, Vegeta doesn't care for any of the actual Saiyans. He tells Freeza he didn't care that Freeza killed his father. He didn't care to bring back Raditz with the DB's, and he kills Nappa without a second thought the second he proves useless. Far from being a fault of the writing, I thought it was a great choice.
Now that is a very good point and it almost persuades me.

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by ABED » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:14 pm

The fight against Raditz is considered by many as one of the best fights in the entire series. I don't know where you get the idea that being Goku's older brother is the only reason anyone brings him up.

You make fair points, but for me, I choose not to dwell on what could have beens. I like what we got. Piccolo and Goku vs. Raditz was VERY memorable.
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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by sangofe » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:18 pm

ABED wrote:The fight against Raditz is considered by many as one of the best fights in the entire series. I don't know where you get the idea that being Goku's older brother is the only reason anyone brings him up.

You make fair points, but for me, I choose not to dwell on what could have beens. I like what we got. Piccolo and Goku vs. Raditz was VERY memorable.
Why do you think it was memorable?

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by ABED » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:28 pm

sangofe wrote:
ABED wrote:The fight against Raditz is considered by many as one of the best fights in the entire series. I don't know where you get the idea that being Goku's older brother is the only reason anyone brings him up.

You make fair points, but for me, I choose not to dwell on what could have beens. I like what we got. Piccolo and Goku vs. Raditz was VERY memorable.
Why do you think it was memorable?
First, by virtue of being the first of DBZ, it sticks out.
Second, it's quick, brutal, bloody, and well paced.
Third, memorable events happened. Piccolo and Goku team up. Gohan's powers are brought out for the first time. Goku gets killed.

Do you think it's not memorable?
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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by sangofe » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:45 pm

ABED wrote:
sangofe wrote:
ABED wrote:The fight against Raditz is considered by many as one of the best fights in the entire series. I don't know where you get the idea that being Goku's older brother is the only reason anyone brings him up.

You make fair points, but for me, I choose not to dwell on what could have beens. I like what we got. Piccolo and Goku vs. Raditz was VERY memorable.
Why do you think it was memorable?
First, by virtue of being the first of DBZ, it sticks out.
Second, it's quick, brutal, bloody, and well paced.
Third, memorable events happened. Piccolo and Goku team up. Gohan's powers are brought out for the first time. Goku gets killed.

Do you think it's not memorable?
For me it's only memorable because it was short and intense. Not because it was particularly great.

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by nickzambuto » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:23 pm

ABED wrote:The fight against Raditz is considered by many as one of the best fights in the entire series. I don't know where you get the idea that being Goku's older brother is the only reason anyone brings him up.

You make fair points, but for me, I choose not to dwell on what could have beens. I like what we got. Piccolo and Goku vs. Raditz was VERY memorable.
Does being involved in a good fight make Raditz a good character? You listed three reasons why it is a good fight, and none of them have anything to do with Raditz. It could have been anybody they were fighting, it could have been Appule, and the quality of the fight wouldn't change. Nothing would have changed, besides the line "You wouldn't kill your own brother would you?" Instead the line would have been something like "You wouldn't kill an enemy who has surrendered would you?" And that's kinda my whole point here, take away their biological relationship and nothing changes about Raditz.

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by mAcChaos » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:28 pm

Raditz is one of the best DBZ characters. He only appears for like five chapters but everyone still remembers him. He introduced the key change to the show's direction, just like Beerus did for Super. I don't think he was wasted at all.
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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by ABED » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:28 pm

So the other things I listed don't factor into it?

And isn't intensity an important quality in a fight?
Does being involved in a good fight make Raditz a good character?
I said memorable. A big thing I'm asking for in any story is to not be bored. Raditz is a big factor. The fact that he is Goku's brother and doesn't care one iota about him or his nephew lends a lot to the story. If it was Appule, it would not have been the same at all.
take away their biological relationship and nothing changes about Raditz.
Of course it does. The shocking nature of his brother not caring at all. What exactly are you looking for out of this? Maybe he could've been brought up a few times, but are you asking for some big relationship between them or something?

It's not like Vegeta was all that developed when we first meet him. We don't even know he's a prince. We know he's the big bad, but most of what is so memorable about him is the quality of the fight. In a fighting series, that's really important. The role Raditz plays into the story is setting up expectations about the villains. He's not even the strongest member of his race and yet a fight against him results in Goku's death. If Raditz cares so little about his own brother, imagine what Nappa and Vegeta are like?

Saiyans aren't good guys and they don't see themselves in moral terms. He wouldn't think that taking Gohan is saving him except from being weak.
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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by sangofe » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:50 pm

ABED wrote:So the other things I listed don't factor into it?

And isn't intensity an important quality in a fight?
It is but it's far from my favorite fight.

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by ABED » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:15 pm

I don't know if that's a turn of phrase or that's a criterion you are using in your assessment. It's not my favorite fight, either, but it's a great fight.
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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by Marco Polo » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:21 pm

He could have been Vegeta's brother I guess.

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by KBABZ » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:41 pm

I think being Goku's brother is a useful tool to help say "Nope, he isn't lying", and it allows for a more personal wallop that Goku is not only of the race of these Saiyan maniacs, but also related by blood to the one telling him all this. As for him dying so quickly, I think it works on the basis that he's too horrible character to let stay alive, and unlike later instances Goku isn't in a position to spare him by the way the battle happened to play out. Raditz dying gives a spark of hope against the seemingly insurmountable task of defeating the next two.

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by Vijay » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:41 pm

Raditz was "brother" that Goku needed, not the "brother" he deserved.

He served his purpose. End of story.

Do I wanna see his character explored? Hell yeah

Do I think Raditz an interesting character. Hell no

Dude was gate-way for the entire "alien invasion" troope that became synnonymous with DBZ

1. Revealed Goku & Saiyans history
2. Gave birth to Goku/Piccolo 1st official Z-fighters team-up
3. Paved introduction of Veggie & Nappa
4. Goku's death & whole Other World (King Kai dimension) was explored beyond just Kami-Sama

Raditz more than brother, was plot-device to propagate the Saiyan Arc

I believe his biological traits as brother/Saiyan would be as plain as Nappa

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by TheGreatness25 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:25 am

I get that point of what the argument is. We have some sort of natural inclination to believe that a protagonist's brother should be a major deal. We are used to stories of dueling brothers with a lot of emotion behind them. We're also conditioned to feel this way about dueling parents and children, and former best friends. These kinds of stories are as old as it gets.

I like that Saiyans don't really care about their families or "friends." We see it between Raditz and Goku, then see it with Vegeta turning on Nappa, and even see it when Bardock doesn't care about Goku. But I did think that more could have been done with Raditz. The relationship between him and Goku didn't have to be different, but the battle could have been stretched out a bit more.

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by ABED » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:41 am

the battle could have been stretched out a bit more.
One of the reasons the battle is so good is because it isn't stretched out.
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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by Kuwabara » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:56 am

Why shouldn't Raditz be Goku's brother? After hundreds of episodes/chapters of knowing Goku as an earthling with no siblings, we find out that he has a brother, and that he's from outer space. It's a big twist and important in marking the tonal shift the series would take.
This is the episode of when Gokuh enrages himself after Freezer talk shit about Kuririn

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Re: Should Raditz Be Goku's Brother?

Post by ABED » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:30 am

Kuwabara wrote:Why shouldn't Raditz be Goku's brother? After hundreds of episodes/chapters of knowing Goku as an earthling with no siblings, we find out that he has a brother, and that he's from outer space. It's a big twist and important in marking the tonal shift the series would take.
This is me splitting hairs, but Raditz and the Saiyans weren't really a tonal shift. It was certainly a big shift in the direction of the story, bringing in aliens, but the more earnest and ominous tone had already been established in the Piccolo Daimao arc.
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