In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by Gaffer Tape » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:42 pm

ABED wrote:Gohan was about to be killed by Freeza before Piccolo showed up to fight. How do you not remember that?
I don't remember that because that's not how it happened. At all. When Piccolo showed up, everybody was in completely perfect physical shape, and Gohan himself was launching a new assault on Freeza. Piccolo showed up at the least threatening point of the entire fight, in fact.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by ABED » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:45 pm

Gaffer Tape wrote:
ABED wrote:Gohan was about to be killed by Freeza before Piccolo showed up to fight. How do you not remember that?
I don't remember that because that's not how it happened. At all. When Piccolo showed up, everybody was in completely perfect physical shape, and Gohan himself was launching a new assault on Freeza. Piccolo showed up at the least threatening point of the entire fight, in fact.
Regardless, it still wouldn't have ended well. No one was on equal footing with Freeza, not even Gohan. At least Piccolo stood a chance with Freeza in that form. That attack they would've launched would've lead to nothing. At the very least, Piccolo being there bought them all more time, which is what they needed. And your point about how narratively it makes more sense for Gohan and Kuririn to save Goku is incorrect. It's not logical from any perspective.
Last edited by ABED on Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by Gaffer Tape » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:46 pm

ABED wrote:
Gaffer Tape wrote:
ABED wrote:Gohan was about to be killed by Freeza before Piccolo showed up to fight. How do you not remember that?
I don't remember that because that's not how it happened. At all. When Piccolo showed up, everybody was in completely perfect physical shape, and Gohan himself was launching a new assault on Freeza. Piccolo showed up at the least threatening point of the entire fight, in fact.
Regardless, it still wouldn't have ended well. No one was on equal footing with Freeza, not even Gohan. At least Piccolo stood a chance with Freeza in that form. And your point about how narratively it makes more sense for Gohan and Kuririn to save Goku is just flat out wrong. It doesn't make more sense.
Please have fun trying to prove how my OPINION is wrong. Sheesh. Here we go again...

1. The story is about Gohan, Kuririn, and Vegeta. The arc makes them the focal characters. Piccolo has no relevance to this story. He's never been to Namek and ends up having no desire to stay with them. The only connection he ends up getting to them is grafted on to him by another pointless character. So narratively, Gohan and Kuririn shouldn't be pushed to the background to do nothing. They should be engaged in the story, not someone who hasn't even been a part of the story for the past year of serialization.

2. All that Piccolo does is a surprise attack kick to Freeza's head, buying maybe a few seconds. Literally any fighter could have done that. It didn't need Piccolo's marginally greater but pointless strength to accomplish.
Last edited by Gaffer Tape on Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by ABED » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:49 pm

Gaffer Tape wrote:
ABED wrote:
Gaffer Tape wrote:
I don't remember that because that's not how it happened. At all. When Piccolo showed up, everybody was in completely perfect physical shape, and Gohan himself was launching a new assault on Freeza. Piccolo showed up at the least threatening point of the entire fight, in fact.
Regardless, it still wouldn't have ended well. No one was on equal footing with Freeza, not even Gohan. At least Piccolo stood a chance with Freeza in that form. And your point about how narratively it makes more sense for Gohan and Kuririn to save Goku is just flat out wrong. It doesn't make more sense.
Please have fun trying to prove how my OPINION is wrong. Sheesh. Here we go again...
Yeah, sheesh, because Gohan was going headlong into a fight he couldn't win. You asked me how he saved them, and I gave you two examples, which are facts of the story, of him saving their lives. Whether you think it makes more sense for Gohan to save Goku isn't relelvant. Piccolo did in fact save Goku's life. This isn't a case of opinion. You are arguing facts. And where did this whole idea that opinions can't be wrong come from?
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by Cipher » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:51 pm

Somewhat re: above (since it gets at what does or doesn't have consequence in that fight), and re: points Gaffer Tape has made previously: You kind of have to remove yourself from the story to notice it, because it all plays out effectively on the page, but it does hurt the climax of the Namek arc somewhat that the day is saved so noticeably by the villain's own hubris over an extended length of time. Since Freeza has access to his full power from the start, and is only really toying with them with each lower form, the only thing standing between a happy ending and a horrific one is his deciding not to wipe everyone away as soon as the fight starts. This also affects how one might view the momentarily successful efforts of the heroes—as they aren't saving themselves so much as the villain is permitting them to continue. Again, in retrospect, since everything is still perfectly exciting on first read or when you're simply into the flow of the story.

In addition, when you realize that, it becomes hard to align with Freeza's more pragmatic nature at other points.

This type of reliance on villain hubris is inherent to the series and genre, but I don't think it's ever so extreme before or after—mostly because the gap between villain and heroes is never again so large (in the manga.)

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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by ABED » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:56 pm

Cipher wrote:Somewhat re: above (since it gets at what does or doesn't have consequence in that fight), and re: points Gaffer Tape has made previously: You kind of have to remove yourself from the story to notice it, because it all plays out effectively on the page, but it does hurt the climax of the Namek arc somewhat that the day is saved so noticeably by the villain's own hubris over an extended length of time. Since Freeza has access to his full power from the start, and is only really toying with them with each lower form, the only thing standing between a happy ending and a horrific one is his deciding not to wipe everyone away as soon as the fight starts.

And when you realize that, it becomes hard to align with his more pragmatic nature at other points.

This type of reliance on villain hubris is inherent to the series and genre, but I don't think it's ever so extreme before or after—mostly because the gap between villain and heroes is never again so large. (In the manga.)
How does that hurt the story? Did it hurt the Saiyan arc when Vegeta called for a 3 hour time out? Had Goku not arrived in time to save Gohan and Kuririn, Vegeta wouldn't have been defeated.

Freeza is hardly pragmatic. He does whatever he wants if the moment suits him. He has zero reason to kill a kid. He does so because it amuses him. There was no reason to destroy Planet Vegeta, none of them stood a chance against him.

Stories (almost) always have a villain's hubris affect their judgment. If villains were really pragmatic, they wouldn't be villains. If there's anything Breaking Bad teaches us, it's that.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by Cipher » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:09 pm

ABED wrote:How does that hurt the story?

Freeza is hardly pragmatic. He does whatever he wants if the moment suits him. He has zero reason to kill a kid. He does so because it amuses him. There was no reason to destroy Planet Vegeta, none of them stood a chance against him.

Stories always have a villain's hubris affect their judgment. If villains were really pragmatic, they wouldn't be villains. If there's anything Breaking Bad teaches us, it's that.
We want the initiatives of all characters to have consequences. By allowing events to be determined so largely by villain hubris (fine in small doses), it reduces decisions of consequence singularly to said villains'. It can reduce investment too of course, it it strains the believability of characters truly acting in their own best interests, with real-feeling motivation pit against real-feeling motivation.

Vegeta in the Saiyan arc, for example, is a villain with hubris. His ego and tenuous belief in his own genetic superiority helps form a thematic cornerstone of the arc. He allows the heroes to survive early on (pulling out the Saibaimen rather than crushing everyone from the start, etc.) that do wind up biting him back later—as the day is saved with help from Gohan and Kuririn. But largely, the feeling of that fight is one in which both he and the heroes are scrapping for their lives, no techniques or powers held back.

Both versions of Super's Future Trunks arc suffer from this as well—with Zamasu tossing away opportunity after opportunity to off the heroes, even well after he's established the upper hand. How much more satisfying would it be if, rather than simply having him relinquish Goku and Vegeta from a chokehold, a decision on the part of Trunks, Mai or the Kaioshin helped free them? To know that, despite the villain giving it—for the most part—their all, the tenacity or bonds or simply character choices of the heroes are enough to keep them going? To know that the conflict—as all conflicts in writing, action or not, genre or not, tend to benefit from—boils down to choice interacting with choice, motivation against motivation.

I love the Namek arc regardless, and it's to Toriyama's credit as a visual storyteller that this aspect of the story is so invisible while experiencing it. But given a choice between one or the other, give me heroes succeeding in spirte of the villain, rather than because of them.

Re: Pragmatic Freeza: I think it all mostly shakes out, especially when directly injured ego is involved—so, sure, wanting to humiliate everyone on Namek, needing to fight Goku head on in the android arc or Resurrection "F"—but there's still the side of him that pre-emptively destroys the Saiyan race and apparently fears death enough to have made the trip to Namek to achieve immortality in the first place. That was more of an aside though. However in-character his decisions may or may not be, the real weakness there—unless the story is to be one specifically about ego—is balancing the tension on his hubris and for that length of time to begin with.

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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by ABED » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:35 pm

Yes, and that hubris has consequences. If villains were really acting in their own interests, they wouldn't be villains.
But largely, the feeling of that fight is one in which both he and the heroes are scrapping for their lives, no techniques or powers held back.
Your feeling, not mine. This isn't a superhero show. This is a story about martial artists. They want a challenge and will forgo more expedient methods that would bring them a quicker victory because it gives them a more interesting fight. It's their reason for being. That's their primary goal.
give me heroes succeeding in spirte of the villain, rather than because of them.
To be fair, the heroes are just as guilty of this as the villains.

To me, the real fault of the Freeza arc is that the final fight is too long and Goku was once again sidelined to up the tension. In Z, the fight against Freeza is nearly 30 episodes.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by emperior » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:56 pm

lancerman wrote:To me the Namek arc was a natural place to end it for two reasons.

1. It was the first meaningful Dragon Ball Hunt since the Red Ribbon Army arc. Gohan was playing the role of his father Goku, Bulma was Bulma, Kuriren was Oolong, and Vegeta (ironically) was the Yamcha outsider/enemy who helped them in the end. Freeza was a more serious Pilaf. So you took the Dragon Ball search and lore to it's highest extension by taking it into space with higher stakes because their friends were dead and the Earth's Dragon Balls were actually gone.

2. It completed the story of Goku trying to surpass all his limits to become as strong a fighter as possible. First Goku was fighting to try to beat Roshi and become the strongest Martial Artist, it took him years but finally he defeated Piccolo to become the strongest fighter on Earth. The natural escalation was to bring in aliens that Goku could fight. That's where the Saiyans come in. Then Goku finally ends his journey by becoming a legendary super warrior and defeating the strongest person in the universe.

To me you could have ended it there with Goku dying on Namek and when they try to wish him back he just says he is at peace as reached his limits in this world and wants to continue fighting and training in the other world to see what strong guys are there. Meanwhile Gohan now as a brave fighter takes up his father's mantle and goes on his own journey. That to me is the perfect way to end it.
I agree. The Namek arc may have been the perfect moment to end the series. But Cell arc was also a good point where the series could have ended, and its finale is very conclusive, and so is Buu arc before the 10 years time-skip. With Namek it was clear Toriyama intended to go forward, but if he ended the story there, with a few changes it would be the best finale, although we would have missed all the good stuff that came later, so I'm glad the story continued.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by GamerSkull » Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:59 pm

I personally would have liked if the Namek arc was tweaked enough to be a suitable end to the series. (I even stop most of my re-reads and re-watches here because I genuinely don't have as much fun with the Cell and Buu arcs aside from some areas).

That's just my opinion though and I don't expect anyone to really feel the same way. But I truly feel that Namek was the last time I felt invested in a lot of the characters and most of the story.

It didn't help that Vegeta (who I loved to that point) became far less interesting to me. Or that the enemies didn't feel as interesting. Or that characters made dumb decisions. Or that there were some questionable issues (such as Goku and SSJ3) or that fusion was brought in and felt a bit disappointing....... or that Yamcha was thrown under the bus for the millionth time.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by ABED » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:04 pm

There's plenty to enjoy about the latter arcs, but by the end of the Freeza arc, it's 107 episodes. 153+107=260. That's plenty, so I don't feel as though it would've ended too soon had it ended after Freeza.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by GamerSkull » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:06 pm

ABED wrote:There's plenty to enjoy about the latter arcs, but by the end of the Freeza arc, it's 107 episodes. 153+107=260. That's plenty, so I don't feel as though it would've ended too soon had it ended after Freeza.
I agree. 260 episodes and 27 manga volumes is a pretty decent run. Plus, we had like 8 movies and an OVA too at that point.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by Captain Strawberry » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:45 am

I agree when it comes to the Frieza arc, that Dragon Ball's consistency goes down and I'm not really a big fan in retrospect of how this massive empire starts to crumble down, I think it should have been a lot more of fighting an army like a big war. I think Toriyama held Goku too much against Frieza and should have introduced him to Frieza much earlier, I think it would have been a cool sort of One Piece moment where you had Luffy lose to Crocodile a couple of times but after a while, Luffy figured a way to win.

I also miss when using weapons was a thing :(
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by Attitudefan » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:15 am

The worst offender in the Cell arc is that they are warned about the Cyborgs, they do nothing, even after Bulma says she knows the location (due to it being in a magazine apparently). Even if some of the fighters were against that due to them wanting a "challenge, and that Gero is innocent" (which is a total cop-out; and Gero was part of the RR army so his innocence is already bunk; plus he kiddnapped people and turn them into droids which is enough of an offense to take him out) there would most likely be someone in the group who fundamentally disagreed with them on keeping Gero alive. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for one of the characters to go look for Gero in the meantime and take him out early, before he sicks the cyborgs on the world. Tien could be a character that, to spite Vegeta as he hates his guts, take away the challenge he so hopes for. Something like this narrative weak point is a major flaw that kicked off the arc in the first place.

Plus, all the closure we got in the Namek arc is reversed completely. I guess Vegeta crying as he is about to die is something we can all forget about, and he remains a heartless jerk. The humans are reduced to nothing, despite the whole Namek journey was to bring them back so they are alive and kick it old school with Goku again. Yeah, the humans are trashed despite the need for them to be brought back in the previous arc... the Cell arc is just a total wash. Entertaining, sure. But overall, it is detrimental to the narrative.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by ABED » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:50 am

Attitudefan wrote:The worst offender in the Cell arc is that they are warned about the Cyborgs, they do nothing, even after Bulma says she knows the location (due to it being in a magazine apparently). Even if some of the fighters were against that due to them wanting a "challenge, and that Gero is innocent" (which is a total cop-out; and Gero was part of the RR army so his innocence is already bunk; plus he kiddnapped people and turn them into droids which is enough of an offense to take him out) there would most likely be someone in the group who fundamentally disagreed with them on keeping Gero alive. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for one of the characters to go look for Gero in the meantime and take him out early, before he sicks the cyborgs on the world. Tien could be a character that, to spite Vegeta as he hates his guts, take away the challenge he so hopes for. Something like this narrative weak point is a major flaw that kicked off the arc in the first place.

Plus, all the closure we got in the Namek arc is reversed completely. I guess Vegeta crying as he is about to die is something we can all forget about, and he remains a heartless jerk. The humans are reduced to nothing, despite the whole Namek journey was to bring them back so they are alive and kick it old school with Goku again. Yeah, the humans are trashed despite the need for them to be brought back in the previous arc... the Cell arc is just a total wash. Entertaining, sure. But overall, it is detrimental to the narrative.
It's not a narrative weak point. They aren't out to prevent the bad guys from coming. They want to fight the cyborgs.

We're not supposed to forget Vegeta crying. Where did you get this idea that the bad guy has one break down and he should stop being a dick? It was the first step in his development.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by Fizzer » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:42 pm

Everything from the beginning of DB to the end of the Namek arc is brilliant and feels like a natural progression story-wise. Putting problematic filler in the anime aside, that is.

I do feel it goes downhill from there, although conceptually the Trunks-Cyborgs-Cell-Multiverse storyline is fantastic. The problem is in the execution and the descent into ridiculous one-up-manship that becomes really problematic around the time the RoSaT is introduced and stays for the rest of the series. The reveals around Cell and the second time machine are actually high points for me, but that's also when the series nosedives and begins to feel like fanfiction.

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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by Attitudefan » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:43 pm

ABED wrote:
Attitudefan wrote:The worst offender in the Cell arc is that they are warned about the Cyborgs, they do nothing, even after Bulma says she knows the location (due to it being in a magazine apparently). Even if some of the fighters were against that due to them wanting a "challenge, and that Gero is innocent" (which is a total cop-out; and Gero was part of the RR army so his innocence is already bunk; plus he kiddnapped people and turn them into droids which is enough of an offense to take him out) there would most likely be someone in the group who fundamentally disagreed with them on keeping Gero alive. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for one of the characters to go look for Gero in the meantime and take him out early, before he sicks the cyborgs on the world. Tien could be a character that, to spite Vegeta as he hates his guts, take away the challenge he so hopes for. Something like this narrative weak point is a major flaw that kicked off the arc in the first place.

Plus, all the closure we got in the Namek arc is reversed completely. I guess Vegeta crying as he is about to die is something we can all forget about, and he remains a heartless jerk. The humans are reduced to nothing, despite the whole Namek journey was to bring them back so they are alive and kick it old school with Goku again. Yeah, the humans are trashed despite the need for them to be brought back in the previous arc... the Cell arc is just a total wash. Entertaining, sure. But overall, it is detrimental to the narrative.
It's not a narrative weak point. They aren't out to prevent the bad guys from coming. They want to fight the cyborgs.

We're not supposed to forget Vegeta crying. Where did you get this idea that the bad guy has one break down and he should stop being a dick? It was the first step in his development.
It is a weak point. They were warned about the incoming doom from a guy from the future, and they do nothing about it. Sure, some of the characters are dumb gym-bros essentially, but other characters are way more pragmatic (or at least, we're led to believe they are by the exposition).

After facing Freeza, I'm damn sure guys like Piccolo and Krillin don't want to deal with that again. But yet, because the plot demands having baddies to fight off for 100 chapters, they do nothing. This issue doesn't plague earlier arcs in Dragon Ball like it does here.

Honestly, the arc would have been more interesting if one of the non-Saiyans (and maybe Gohan because he's not plagued by the "I need to fight the strong guy" gene) went early to destroy Gero. The power scaling would have been more believable, we would have Cyborgs and Androids more akin to the RR arc in Dragon Ball, and would have taken the overpowered Goku (and Vegeta) out of the equation. That would have been the solution to the OP Saiyans with golden hair trope that has consistently plagued the series because they just wait for very strong villains to come to them than them going to take villains out.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by Son Perfect » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:24 pm

the whole Freeza Arc had some much potential as this was the conflict foreshadowed in the Saiyan Arc
the battle vs. Freeza was so slow and every character becomes so useless
I love Gohan a bit too much...

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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by ABED » Tue Jan 23, 2018 6:52 am

It is a weak point. They were warned about the incoming doom from a guy from the future, and they do nothing about it. Sure, some of the characters are dumb gym-bros essentially, but other characters are way more pragmatic (or at least, we're led to believe they are by the exposition).

After facing Freeza, I'm damn sure guys like Piccolo and Krillin don't want to deal with that again. But yet, because the plot demands having baddies to fight off for 100 chapters, they do nothing. This issue doesn't plague earlier arcs in Dragon Ball like it does here.

Honestly, the arc would have been more interesting if one of the non-Saiyans (and maybe Gohan because he's not plagued by the "I need to fight the strong guy" gene) went early to destroy Gero. The power scaling would have been more believable, we would have Cyborgs and Androids more akin to the RR arc in Dragon Ball, and would have taken the overpowered Goku (and Vegeta) out of the equation. That would have been the solution to the OP Saiyans with golden hair trope that has consistently plagued the series because they just wait for very strong villains to come to them than them going to take villains out.
PIccolo at no point ever said he wouldn't want to deal with a threat like Freeza again. You don't understand these characters. They are warrior out looking for a good fight. Goku let Piccolo and Vegeta go because he wanted a good fight. They all acted well within character because they want a challenge, not to save the day. This is a case of the characters determining the course of the plot. You can be damn sure all you want, but you can also be incorrect. This isn't a superhero story, and it doesn't seem like you understand the kind of story it is.

Which characters are "pragmatic"? The only character who really puts up a fight is Bulma.
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Re: In my opinion, after the Namek arc, DBZ was a let down

Post by lancerman » Tue Jan 23, 2018 5:02 pm

One thing I also noticed.

-Hunt for the Dragon Balls: obviously a Dragon Ball quest
-Red Ribbon Army: villains looking for Dragon Balls
-King Piccolo: Villain looking for Dragon Balls
-Saiyan: The Saiyans came to Earth to look for the Dragon Balls
-Freeza arc: Villains on Namek looking for the Dragon Balls.

The rest were tournamens.

After this...

Android arc: Androids looking to cause destruction and Cell looking to destroy the universe
Boo arc: Boo looking to destroy the universe

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