Were deaths meaningless / with no tension after the Namek story arc?

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Were deaths meaningless / with no tension after the Namek story arc?

Post by Ripper 30 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:34 am

one of the biggest complaints i hear by fans who hate or critisize Dragon Ball is how the death loses its meaning and was predictable after freeza arc since they had two sets of Dragon Ball now, one on earth and one on Namek and the Namek one can bring back anyone multiple times too. many people that's why found all the tension in fights fake since in the back of their minds they had this feeling that they have lots of Dragon Balls so deaths are all temporary and characters can be brought back. that's why many felt It was fake tension in Boo Arc when Super Boo was killing everyone or Kid boo was destroying the planet as they already had Namek to go to as backup and wish back everyone. do you think with the inclusion of Namekian Dragon Balls, deaths lost all meaning and tension?
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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by KBABZ » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:08 am

That's true to a certain extent, but what set the Cell and Buu arcs apart was the sheer scale of it. Cell killed hundreds of people to absorb their power (not to mention the original future Trunks came from), but with Buu we got apocalyptic-scale death and destruction, something not seen before with the exception of the destruction of Planet Vegeta. While you know that it can be reversed, it doesn't make all the senseless death at the hands of Buu and Vegeta any less unnerving, and it very quickly gets to a point where you and the characters wonder if the sacrifice of Earthlings will be worth it in the end.

Plus, each set has its own restrictions, in particular Shenron and his inability to wish someone back more than once, which I believe still remains even after Dende upgrades him to wish more than one person back with a single wish.

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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by MozillaVulpix » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:17 am

After Namek...? Well, if we do this in order:

The reason they're threatened by the Androids is Trunks explains in the future, they kill everyone including Piccolo, meaning there are no Dragon Balls to bring them back. Then once Piccolo merges with Kami, the Dragon Balls vanish, so suddenly there is no way to bring them back. And, I mean, before the Cell Games, they specifically explain that the new Dragon Balls won't be able to bring them back to life again. Dende tells them and Gohan even mentions it when he realises the Cell Jrs are going to kill them. Heck, Android 16's death actually was permanent. And the funny thing is when Trunks dies and Vegeta goes berserk, Krillin kind of calls him an idiot for getting upset because they can bring him back. But, you know, either Vegeta didn't remember that or didn't want to say that meant he wasn't allowed to show emotion over it.

I think with Buu the issue starts getting that once Buu kills almost every human on the planet, you kind of assume they're going to find some way to reverse it eventually. It doesn't seem likely they'd continue the story with the main characters living on an almost-empty planet, or them bailing altogether to go to a new place to live. And then when Buu turns most of the supporting cast into chocolate, it's pretty much a guarantee it's going to get reversed by the end. The story wasn't just going to kill off Bulma and Krillin and Yamcha permanently without us even seeing it happen. That's too mean-spirited even for Dragon Ball.

So with Cell, it felt like there was always a reason as to why they couldn't just Dragon Ball their problems away, and with Buu the consequences were far too extreme to keep once the story was over.
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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by sunsetshimmer » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:20 am

Not only there are more dragon balls but finding them is also a lot easier. You have to come with something else to make death matter, like being erased by Zeno. In this case, only Super Dragon Balls can help you which makes things a lot harder. Very smart move was in last GT arc because since dragon balls turned evil there was no way to revive all the victims until all dragons were gone and Krillin actually couldn't be brought back to life for entire saga despite dying in previous one. And since entire planet was separated from the rest of universe, they couldn't use Namekian balls either.

Another way is to make excuse for someone to stay dead. Something that Goku used a lot when he trained for a year to fight Nappa&Vegeta or wanted to remain dead after Cell saga. Another example are fusion sacrifices like Nail, Kami and Buu since they never returned after that.

Also, even regular dragon balls started to make more wishes at some point so random deaths in battle do not matter at this point.
Even the rule of not being able to be wished back to life twice is obsolete with namekian balls.
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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by ABED » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:18 am

MozillaVulpix wrote:So with Cell, it felt like there was always a reason as to why they couldn't just Dragon Ball their problems away, and with Buu the consequences were far too extreme to keep once the story was over.
That's a great point I hadn't explicitly thought of.
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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by KBABZ » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:22 am

At the same time though, the sheer amount of death that the heroes justify as being acceptable because they can just use the Dragon Balls starts approaching the line of monstrous, and they have a big problem with just letting Buu kill millions without consequence. While the deaths themselves are fairly inconsequential, I don't think any of the heroes were at all okay with having all of them on their hands.

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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by SSJmole » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:33 am

I'd argue it was buu saga. As everyone got wished back. Litrally the entire earth. But cell saga ends with Goku staying dead. I thought he was never coming back and Gohan was taking over. Then buu saga Goku is back! So the fact cell saga left the main character dead and the entire saga was built on "everyone will die we need to stop it as we can't just undo it" made death still feel like it was inpurtant. If that makes sense.

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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by SupremeKai25 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:34 am

The only exception was the Future Trunks arc. Death meant a lot in this arc. Why? Because the Dragon Balls were rendered useless by Piccolo's demise, and Zamasu cunningly destroyed the Super Dragon Balls. Seriously, that was a smart move! Zamasu made sure that, even if he happened to lose, mortals at least wouldn't be able to undo his divine work. You've got to wonder why previous villains didn't just destroy the Dragon Balls... maybe they were simply not as wise as Zamasu. But Yes, since no Dragon Balls were left in the Future timeline, death meant much more. And indeed it's not a surprise that the community was utterly shocked when Future Bulma was brutally murdered by Zamasu, because she could no longer return. And Present Bulma also cried because she realized that if Trunks were to die, there wouldn't be any Dragon Balls left to bring him back.

As a result, there was much more tension in the Future Trunks arc. But this primarily because the Future multiverse didn't enjoy the plot armor given by the End of Z. While it was obvious that Frieza or Jiren would fail because Earth was still present by the End of Z, it was not clear that Zamasu would lose, since the Future multiverse might have been destroyed by the End of Z. Its fate wasn't set in stone. And, indeed, in the end the Future multiverse was erased when the immortal spirit of the Supreme God merged with the fabric of the cosmos, prompting the King of All to make everything vanish for good.

It was brilliant writing, in my opinion. Getting rid of all the Dragon Balls made the arc much more tense, much darker, and less boring too! Since you couldn't just say "Whatever, it doesn't matter if Future Bulma died, just use the Dragon Balls" or "It's obvious that Zamasu will lose because everyone is happy in the End of Z".
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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by goku the krump dancer » Mon Jul 23, 2018 1:40 pm

SupremeKai25 wrote: You've got to wonder why previous villains didn't just destroy the Dragon Balls... maybe they were simply not as wise as Zamasu.
Freeza didn't learn about the Dragon Balls until The Fight with Vegeta and didn't get a single wish anyway. Cell probably didn't know about them and Boo is.. well, he's Boo (Dumb).

King Piccolo is the only one who openly knew about the Dragon Balls from the get go and what did he do after he got his youth restored?
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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by sunsetshimmer » Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:08 pm

SupremeKai25 wrote:The only exception was the Future Trunks arc
And Shadow Dragons arc although in a bit smaller degree since they got ONE wish after they killed Omega Shenron.
Still, until that nothing could be fixed. After that neither. Whoever would die, would stay dead forever.
SupremeKai25 wrote:You've got to wonder why previous villains didn't just destroy the Dragon Balls
If i'm not wrong Zamasu wished for dragon balls to be destroyed. He didn't destroy them himself.
Piccolo and Baby couldn't wish for it since Shenron granted only one wish at this time and Ultimate Shenron was always granting a single wish.
None of them lived long enough to find them again, especially Baby who would have to search for them in entire universe.
Also, Piccolo already killed dragon and probably thought it's enough.
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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by Lord Beerus » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:53 pm

Death in Dragon Ball can still carry an substantial emotional weight that can provide some kind of effect on the progression of the plot plot, but it will never longstanding as long as there are those three wish granting plot devices that negate any kind of absolute consequences of death.

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Re: Were deaths meaningless / with no tension after the Namek story arc?

Post by KBABZ » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:13 am

Funnily enough it was rendered meaningless by the Baba arc; Goku's entire goal there is to revive Bora from death, and we hadn't been given the limitation of "only once" yet. I feel like that's one of the reasons why Toriyama had Piccolo kill the dragon; not just to show how vile he is, but to also make it more dramatic that Chiaotzu and Roshi had been killed.

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Re: Were deaths meaningless / with no tension after the Namek story arc?

Post by Kokonoe » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:26 am

Funnily enough, Cell arc had a death that was not only impactful, but wasn't ever bastardized later with Android 16. Him being an Android let them do that.

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Re: Were deaths meaningless / with no tension after the Namek story arc?

Post by sintzu » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:46 pm

Deaths may not be permanent but what makes up for that is the emotional side of them. All the deaths in the original manga had massive weight behind them so despite us knowing they'd eventually be back it was still painful to watch them go and see the reactions of everyone around them.
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Re: Were Deaths meaningless and had no tension after Namek Arc?

Post by ZodaEX » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:07 pm

Lord Beerus wrote:Death in Dragon Ball can still carry an substantial emotional weight that can provide some kind of effect on the progression of the plot plot, but it will never longstanding as long as there are those three wish granting plot devices that negate any kind of absolute consequences of death.
Wow, brilliantly worded!

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Re: Were deaths meaningless / with no tension after the Namek story arc?

Post by Dr. Casey » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:55 pm

Going through the series in chronological order...

Bora's death? Perfectly effective. This was probably the only death in the series where, to the average viewer, death felt every bit as permanent and irreversible as it is in most any other story. It likely wouldn't occur to most readers/viewers in the heat of the moment that the Dragon Balls might be able to revive Bora, and those who did remember them might go "Nah, they probably can't revive people" because revival of the dead is either impossible or considered immoral in most stories where magic exists. (The lack of any such flimsy sentiments is actually something I've always loved about Dragon Ball. Use whatever means are at your disposal to reduce suffering in the world instead of drawing arbitrary lines in the sand where some forms of misfortune are okay to be relieved but others are not.)

Krillin's first death? The average viewer will probably be thinking "But the Dragon Balls can bring him back" in the back of their minds, but it's still a powerful scene as the first death of a major character in the entire series. Then comes Piccolo Daimao's murder of Shenron, which probably succeeded in convincing quite a few first-time viewers and readers that Krillin, Master Roshi, and Chaozu weren't coming back; or at the very least kept them on pins and needles since they couldn't imagine any way that the three of them possibly could. I'm going to assume that there's been at least one person between today and 1987 that felt sad about Chaozu dying

Goku's death when fighting against Radditz? There was never any doubt that Goku was coming back, that was discussed at the scene of his death, but the main character dying is a crazy enough twist that it remains a powerful scene regardless.

The fight against the Saiyans? Deaths and revivals were becoming fairly old hat by this point - even before the existence of the Namekian Dragon Balls is raised, the Piccolo Daimao saga should have made it clear to much of the audience that Toriyama would continue finding new ways to bring characters back - but the number of deaths featured in the series has been low enough that there's still some power to them, and the whole scenario of the secondary leads taking the spotlight and falling in battle one after the other is a really unique one completely unlike almost anything the story had contained up to that point.

Beyond that point, though, I think deaths in the story begin to rapidly experience diminishing returns. There's a handful that made me experience some pinpricks of emotion depending on how well they're done (the somber and oppressive mood atop Kami's Temple whenever everyone mistakenly thought Gohan was dead being the prime example), but generally any deaths beyond the Saiyan arc didn't faze me.
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Re: Were deaths meaningless / with no tension after the Namek story arc?

Post by Tavarano » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:46 pm

No, they were since chapter 1 when Bulma tried to murder Goku on a whim and it was played off as a gag, it never changed since then, here's how relevant death was on Namek when ressurection wasn't so easy yet.
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Re: Were deaths meaningless / with no tension after the Namek story arc?

Post by Cursed Lemon » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:21 am

A character death is meaningful when it's attached to a pivotal point in the story.

Goku? Combining the death of the show's main character with the tension in knowing that Nappa and Vegeta were coming in a year created a buildup for the saiyan saga that basically wrote itself.

Yamcha, Tien, Chaotzu? Their deaths underscored the extreme severity of what was happening during the battle with the saiyans, the changing tone of DBZ compared to DB. Never before had so many heroes died in one battle.

Piccolo? His death was the culmination of a radical change of character and a jumping off point for another demonstration of Gohan's latent power.

Vegeta? An emotional sacrifice before the mighty evil that was Frieza which put emphasis on Goku being the last saiyan alive and the only hope left of defeating the Big Bad of DBZ's first multi-story arc.

Krillin? Fairly obvious.

After this point, things start getting weird.

Android 16 was handled beautifully as the trigger that set off Gohan's multi-arc character development saga and arguably the defining moment of the entire franchise. He also stayed dead, which always helps.

Goku and Vegeta's self-sacrifices are a little bit complicated. On one hand, they are brimming with emotional charge and are directed fairly well. On the other hand, their deaths were literally pointless and actually made things worse, which is utterly ridiculous when you're talking about the show's two primary protagonists, not to mention Goku took out Kaio-sama which inexplicably had zero effect on the story whatsoever.

Trunks? Well, I suppose that his death was actually appropriate for his character; considering that he basically doesn't do shit for the entire time he's around after killing Frieza and King Cold, having his death be the machina the creates the final showdown of the Cell saga was at least some way for him to be involved.

Everyone killed by Buu? Had absolutely no appreciable tension, emotional impact, or real consequence. You can argue that this is mainly due to "yeah but Dragon Balls" syndrome, but how does a villain literally blow up the Earth and I feel nothing? The directing and scripting during this saga was simply awful from an investment standpoint.
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Re: Were deaths meaningless / with no tension after the Namek story arc?

Post by The Tori-bot » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:00 am

Tavarano wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:46 pm
No, they were since chapter 1 when Bulma tried to murder Goku on a whim and it was played off as a gag, it never changed since then, here's how relevant death was on Namek when ressurection wasn't so easy yet.
What's with that page? There are two panels from a completely different scene randomly stuck to the bottom. The fact that they're in normal b&w and not greyscaled is a bit of a tip-off...
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Re: Were deaths meaningless / with no tension after the Namek story arc?

Post by Kokonoe » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:49 am

Yes outside of Android 16. Which still remains the most impactful death of the series to me.

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