Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by Gligarman » Fri Feb 01, 2019 2:42 pm

I don't really think Gohan was capable of carrying an entire series. I'm glad he got a bit more spotlight in the anime but ultimately Goku's just a more interesting character.

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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by Kokonoe » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:21 pm

I find Gohan to be more interesting. Goku has kind of a set mold in who he is without much evolving from that. Gohan is a character that progressed his personality throughout the series so I would've loved to see his progression as he got older and older being he's more "human" than Goku in a sense. I mean I love Goku at the same time for what he is, but I felt it was his time to move on and for Gohan to fulfill his role.

It honestly would've been pretty cool if there were just generations of his family as time went on so like say Pan would be the main character later on and offer something fresh, a girl main character in Dragon Ball.

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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by ABED » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:54 pm

Kokonoe wrote:My opinion is this:

If Toriyama went out of his way to build his character from the very beginning and lead to a point where Goku essentially passed the torch to him and the manga chapter is labelled "The Successor", then yes he should've been the main character no question.

You don't write all this shit to cockblock the readers later and their investment into your story. He shouldn't never wrote Gohan doing all these things and kept the focus on Goku if he didn't want to make him the main character.
That assumes the readers were on board with the change. I wasn't invested in Gohan as the lead. Putting him where he didn't belong hurt my investment in the story. Toriyama tried to make him the main character and switched back when he felt it didn't work. Should he have kept going when he didn't think it was working?
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by Kokonoe » Fri Feb 01, 2019 4:27 pm

ABED wrote:
Kokonoe wrote:My opinion is this:

If Toriyama went out of his way to build his character from the very beginning and lead to a point where Goku essentially passed the torch to him and the manga chapter is labelled "The Successor", then yes he should've been the main character no question.

You don't write all this shit to cockblock the readers later and their investment into your story. He shouldn't never wrote Gohan doing all these things and kept the focus on Goku if he didn't want to make him the main character.
That assumes the readers were on board with the change. I wasn't invested in Gohan as the lead. Putting him where he didn't belong hurt my investment in the story. Toriyama tried to make him the main character and switched back when he felt it didn't work. Should he have kept going when he didn't think it was working?
Toriyama didn't swap focus for that reason. When Buu arc started he wanted to write a slice of life and pretty much said he could've wrote Gohan's slice of life segment forever but eventually he had to swap to action. His mindset was that because Gohan is focused on studies now, he can't be the hero at the very last second right after he got a hyped up power up. It's poor writing all things considered.

See it's not even that it happened at the very start of the Buu arc, it happened right near the end where he flipped the switch and decided Ultimate Gohan cares about studies more. And on that front, if he wasn't writing Gohan to be so heavily into studies in the Buu arc to begin with, this wouldn't have happened. However, once again he wanted to write a slice of life segment and Gohan ended up becoming butchered because of it.

Hell even the Ultimate power up ended up ruining any chance of progression he could obtain in future installments. How do you power up someone who is always at max power and has no need for Saiyan forms? It's very hard to do that as this transformation is technically the "best" conceptually but inferior in terms of a progressive character standpoint. I think it would've made sense if he killed off Buu with this clearly superior transformation to all transformations ever added into this series, but he gets turned into food in the following chapter.

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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by ABED » Fri Feb 01, 2019 5:09 pm

Where's this quote where Toriyama just wanted to turn DB into a slice of life story? Regardless, that's not a story.

You lost me with the rest of it.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by Robo4900 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:10 pm

ABED wrote:
If Toriyama went out of his way to build his character from the very beginning and lead to a point where Goku essentially passed the torch to him and the manga chapter is labelled "The Successor", then yes he should've been the main character no question.

You don't write all this shit to cockblock the readers later and their investment into your story. He shouldn't never wrote Gohan doing all these things and kept the focus on Goku if he didn't want to make him the main character.
That assumes Toriyama tried to make him the main character and switched back when he felt it didn't work. Should he have kept going when he didn't think it was working?
TBH, I do think Toriyama was very much one to try stuff and then switch it up when he doesn't think it's working. The cyborgs/Cell storyline was pretty much a long series of examples of this. So, I can absolutely see Toriyama trying out Gohan and Goten as the new main guys, then deciding "Y'know, this isn't working for me", even if it's less of a conscious decision, and more just how his writing sort of organically went in terms of "This would make a good story, this turn would make the story better, etc."

And ultimately, abandoning something that isn't working is a valuable thing in an ongoing series; Buffy The Vampire Slayer famously had that storyline about The Anointed One, who no one liked, and that storyline was abandoned in favour of doing something with Spike, who everyone liked. Or there's the turn the Daredevil TV show took, with its third season leaning much more into stuff about the Kingpin, and related stuff, which had been what people liked originally, with Elektra, Black Sky, etc. being not so well liked, and thus not really showing up in season 3.

But... Having said all this, that doesn't mean a decision of this nature was necessarily correct in hindsight. Lots of people would have preferred if #19 and #20 had gone about the originally-planned revenge story Toriyama had in mind... And are they wrong?... Well, I wouldn't say yes or no, because I think both answers have a reasonable argument behind them, and at the very least, this hypothetical scenario of #19 and #20 being the true villains of the cyborgs arc is a fun one to think about.
ABED wrote:
Robo4900 wrote:Really, the Cell arc was very much Gohan's story, and the Saiyan and Freeza arcs did build up to that
How was the Cell arc Gohan's story? Gohan is on the periphery for most of it and it never feels like it's purposefully doing so for the payoff at the end. Gohan's character arc is complete in the Saiyan arc. It doesn't feel like the first step towards him taking the spotlight.
Y'know, that's fair.
Perhaps I was wrong to say the Cell arc was his story. However, the main thread of Goku's story in that arc was one of passing the torch to Gohan, and Gohan's was one of being passed said torch. So, perhaps it would be fair to at least say it's as much the story of the torch being passed to Gohan as it is Goku passing the torch, if not necessarily totally Gohan's story...

However, the Saiyan and Freeza arcs ultimately did spend a lot of time building him up into taking advantage of the power within him, learning to fight against evil, etc., and the Cell arc was the culmination of that, and with this view, the Boo arc does ultimately seem to take this progression and just sort of flop it into something that doesn't quite hit home satisfyingly... He learned to fight, "Be a man", etc. in the Saiyan arc, was without his father figures watching over him and had to sink or swim, thus proving he was truly on this journey in the Freeza arc, then in the Cell arc, finally reached his true potential, and had the torch passed to him by his father, his primary mentor in this journey... And then he screws it all up, Goku has to bail him out, and Goku's alive again so he's effectively taken the torch back again, and now Gohan's just given up and is a family man...?

I do like Gohan as a family man, but the way his arc has progressed since the Cell arc is a bit of a mess, and I don't blame Toei and Toriyama for entirely leaving him out of Broly, and doing almost nothing with him throughout the run of Super.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by SuperSaiyaManZ94 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:29 pm

I think in a way Toriyama tried to do that as he was developing Gohan from the Saiyan arc onward as he grew out of the crybaby stage during his training under Piccolo until he reached his peak with the Cell arc and taking Goku's place, that is until the Saiyaman/Buu arc came along when we see that transitioning into a proper school setting has made him lose all of that progression he had made. It really comes back to bite him when even after he undergoes the training under the Kaioshin he still is unable to stop Majin Buu and thus was greatly wasted as a character as it goes right back to Goku being front and center once more. From what i can gather, i believe he tried to some degree to fit Gohan into the hero's role but ultimately he must have come to a realization at some point with the way that his change in character that there was no way he'd be able to carry the series.

Personally, it makes me prefer the future version of Gohan that we see in the Trunks special because there it made better use of him in a quasi hero role truly assuming Goku's role. Even though he was ultimately unable to defeat that timeline's version of Androids 17 and 18 he was better established as a character.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by ABED » Fri Feb 01, 2019 9:18 pm

of people would have preferred if #19 and #20 had gone about the originally-planned revenge story Toriyama had in mind... And are they wrong?
Who would've preferred them being the big bads?
the main thread of Goku's story in that arc was one of passing the torch to Gohan
Your new argument is a difference without a distinction. Goku passing the torch doesn't really occur until late in the game.

One of my biggest problems with the whole Gohan FINALLY reaching his potential in the Cell arc is that it's predicated on his power being released to its max for the nth time. Gohan's character arc was complete in the Saiyan arc. The Freeza arc furthers this point, and the Cell arc creates inorganic drama and forces him into the lime light at the 11th hour as a plot twist.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by MasenkoHA » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:59 am

Robo4900 wrote:.

But... Having said all this, that doesn't mean a decision of this nature was necessarily correct in hindsight. Lots of people would have preferred if #19 and #20 had gone about the originally-planned revenge story Toriyama had in mind... And are they wrong?... Well, I wouldn't say yes or no, because I think both answers have a reasonable argument behind them, and at the very least, this hypothetical scenario of #19 and #20 being the true villains of the cyborgs arc is a fun one to think about.
.
Hold the phone. There are people who would have preferred 19 and 20 as the true big bads as originally planned? I thought it was unspoken universal agreement we were all glad Toriyama took his ex editor’s opinion to heart.


Your Buffy mention earlier is apt because that’s how I see it. Going from Android 19 and 20 were the real villains! No its actually 17 and 18! No wait they’re small potatoes to the real threat Cell! Those series of retcons was pretty comparable to how Buffy s2 had originally planned for The Annointed One to be the big bad but puberty got in the way so he was hilariously disposed off for the more interesting Spike. And then midway Spike stepped aside for Angelus who became the second season’s true big bad.

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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by ABED » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:56 am

Other than the change of the numbers, those aren't retcons. It's interesting to know the behind the scenes stories, but much like the anointed one, unless you knew the plans, they aren't apparent in the final product with the minor exception of the change in the cyborg's numbers. DB and Buffy organically moves in the direction of Cell and Angelus respectively. 19 and 20 being the big bads is a truly terrible idea.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by MasenkoHA » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:39 am

ABED wrote:Other than the change of the numbers, those aren't retcons. It's interesting to know the behind the scenes stories, but much like the anointed one, unless you knew the plans, they aren't apparent in the final product with the minor exception of the change in the cyborg's numbers. DB and Buffy organically moves in the direction of Cell and Angelus respectively. 19 and 20 being the big bads is a truly terrible idea.
Retcon probably wasn’t the right word. Just that the changing of planned big bad from 19/20 to 17/18 to Cell is pretty comparable to Annointed One being set up as the big bad then it switching to Spike and then finally Angelus.

Although I would argue revealing no Android 19 and 20 weren’t the cyborgs Trunk was talking about IS a retcon because the narrative clearly sets them up to be just that (they show up on the appointed time and everything) and they were planned as such and then the story goes “ummm well actually no the timeline must have been changed because those are ‘t the REAL Androids”

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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by ABED » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:13 am

A retcon is when information the audience was given is overwritten. A reveal is when the audience is given knew information. The changing of 19 and 20 to 17 and 18 are retcons. Cell being the big bad is not. We didn't have all the required information. The first third of the arc is constantly bringing up questions such as why are some important details of Trunks future different in the present, such as when Goku's heart virus occurs. Given that it's time travel, 19 and 20 not being the big bads work as a subversion of expectations and not merely the author changing his mind on a whim. And the Annointed One wasn't set up as the big bad. They didn't get nearly far enough into the season for that to be the case. At most, it set up expectations that he might be, but in classic Whedon fashion, he subverted those expectations.

Getting back to Gohan, it's clear that late into the Cell arc, for whatever reason, Toriyama decided to make Gohan the central character. In the Buu arc, the change back to Goku is clearly Toriyama feeling he needed a course correction as the change back feels abrupt and goes against themes about the next generation taking over. That said, I was never really on board with the next generation taking over so I'd rather a less than graceful course correction than he continue going down the wrong path.

I think people's knowledge of the BTS stories affects their perception of the writing, but whether a story is planned or not or if the plans changed, it ultimately doesn't matter if story flows naturally.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by Robo4900 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:36 am

MasenkoHA wrote:Your Buffy mention earlier is apt because that’s how I see it. Going from Android 19 and 20 were the real villains! No its actually 17 and 18! No wait they’re small potatoes to the real threat Cell! Those series of retcons was pretty comparable to how Buffy s2 had originally planned for The Annointed One to be the big bad but puberty got in the way so he was hilariously disposed off for the more interesting Spike. And then midway Spike stepped aside for Angelus who became the second season’s true big bad.
Quite.

It's fairly organic, natural storytelling, but I think it's totally fair if people want to reflect back on it and say "Nah, I think they could've made it work without just making the intended baddy step aside totally."
Though, having said that, my main criticism with the writing of Stephen Moffat is his resistance to course-corrections of this nature, instead just seeing things through and trying to make it work, so... Maybe this is just a bad attitude, but I personally think it's at least an interesting way of discussing hypotheticals, for us fans.
ABED wrote:Your new argument is a difference without a distinction. Goku passing the torch doesn't really occur until late in the game.
One of my biggest problems with the whole Gohan FINALLY reaching his potential in the Cell arc is that it's predicated on his power being released to its max for the nth time. Gohan's character arc was complete in the Saiyan arc. The Freeza arc furthers this point, and the Cell arc creates inorganic drama and forces him into the lime light at the 11th hour as a plot twist.
Personally, I always thought it was fairly clear all the way up to his ascention to Super Saiyan 2 that he still had a ways to go, and it progressed fairly well, and the passing of the torch was ultimately fairly well set-up.
IDK... Maybe this is just a case of different strokes for different folks.
Or perhaps this is just my bias as someone who grew up on the English dubs talking. :lol:

Still, I do stand by this, whatever the reason for my developing of this take.
ABED wrote:I think people's knowledge of the BTS stories affects their perception of the writing, but whether a story is planned or not or if the plans changed, it ultimately doesn't matter if story flows naturally.
I agree 100%.
In hindsight, #19 and #20 being cast aside in favour of #17 and #18, then their casting aside in favour of Cell does all read as on-the-seat-of-his-pants writing course-correction, but just watching the show, reading the manga, experiencing the story, these reveals do work pretty damn well as being just strong twists and subversions of expectations.

However, this is my main criticism with the Gohan situation; much as I think his story generally works great most of the time, the moment he got absorbed by Boo, I feel like his story just kind of stopped. He didn't really have a conclusion to his arc, everything that had previously been set up and done with him was kind of left hanging with no real point being made by the Boo arc except "heh, maybe we were a bit hasty with what we did in the Cell storyline"...
Though, honestly, I think the entire Boo arc just kind of falls apart briefly when Boo starts absorbing people. It comes back together fairly quickly, basically sorting itself out around when Vegetto happens, but that brief falling apart of the story pretty much completely obliterated the roles of Gohan, Goten, Trunks, Piccolo, and by extension Gotenks... And while the story does come to a satisfying ending, it does leave you kind of miffed in a way if you're a Gohan, Goten, or Trunks fan. And as a Piccolo fan, it's kind of a shame to see his time as a mentor to Goten and Trunks cut to an abrupt end with no real conclusion to that thread...

Again, to echo what I've said previously, I am a fan of the Boo arc, but I think it's definitely a flawed piece of writing, and there are a few places where it dropped the ball on its journey to delivering the particular ending it was all leading up to. And unfortunately, the thread of Gohan within the Boo storyline was one of the balls that was dropped in a major way.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by ABED » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:57 pm

Personally, I always thought it was fairly clear all the way up to his ascention to Super Saiyan 2 that he still had a ways to go
Fair enough, but I don't agree. His character arc was complete by the Saiyan arc. If he never became the main character, I wouldn't feel Gohan's potential was unrealized or that Gohan's potential was left as a dangling plot thread. He went from sheltered kid to be an integral part of bringing down Vegeta. In the Freeza arc, he showed that the trial he went through wasn't for nothing. Super Saiyan 2 doesn't feel like it a natural end to his journey as his full potential had been reached. And if his long journey was just to become super strong instead of something internal, it's not an interesting journey.

And as an irrelevant aside, Spike wasn't set up to be the big bad of Season 2. Joss had originally planned to kill him in What's My Line?: Part 2.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by Kokonoe » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:19 pm

ABED wrote:Where's this quote where Toriyama just wanted to turn DB into a slice of life story?
Everything I mentioned is right here.

http://www.kanzenshuu.com/translations/ ... b-version/
Toriyama:
… Nope (laughs). I’m pretty sure I just kept on drawing without a clue Majin Boo was going to turn up. I enjoyed working on that part, but eventually I figured it was time to come up with a new enemy… Even though I would have liked to just go on with the “slice of life” stuff… (laughs)
But while the children back then enjoyed the “slice of life” material, they still wanted battles… (laughs)
Toriyama:
They sure did (laughs).

Toyotarō:
While enjoying the everyday stuff, they’re waiting for the battles to come (laughs).

At the time Son Gohan was turning into the main character, wasn’t he?

Toriyama:
Yeah! I figured Goku was getting old, and it was time to switch over to the next generation.

Toyotarō:
That’s what Goku himself said in the Majin Boo arc.

Toriyama:
But drawing Gohan’s daily life made me gradually realize he likes studying more than fighting (laughs). Later on he even lost his dōgi (laughs).

Toyotarō:
Now he’s fulfilled his childhood dream and become a fine scholar.

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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by ABED » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:33 pm

Those quotes don't negate my point. Gohan wasn't working as the lead in a fighting series given Toriyama realized Gohan wanted to study more than fight. It would've been a big mistake to turn DB into a slice of life manga. For one, it's more of a prelude to a story than an actual story, second, they barely qualify as stories, and thirdly, going from world(s) threatening stakes to slice of life is incredibly anti-climactic.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by Kokonoe » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:39 pm

ABED wrote:Those quotes don't negate my point. Gohan wasn't working as the lead in a fighting series given Toriyama realized Gohan wanted to study more than fight.
Which is his own fault for changing his character in the Buu arc. Gohan pre Buu was in fact a fighter, his motivations were his friends but he freely skipped school lessons and disobeyed whomever if it meant getting stronger. Eventually you see after his progression from being a coward child that he ends up even enjoying the sparring he does with people and it became a part of who he is.

Gohan in Buu doesn't feel like Gohan to me at all, and I'll go as far as to say it doesn't feel that way even when he goes to his "fighter" side with Ultimate Gohan. I mean you can look at the portrayal of Future Gohan as how he would've been written if it was Cell saga era but Toriyama kinda just did what he wanted to at this point with the Buu arc and Gohan suffered for it.

I don't even care for the Great Saiyaman thing because there's no even hints at it early on in the series that he's into super heroes. Really this Gohan just does not feel the same.

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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by ABED » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:46 pm

Gohan wasn't a fighter by nature. He's a fighter by circumstance. He'll do it because his friends are in danger, but testing himself against the strongest isn't a motivating factor for him. Deciding he wanted to become an academic felt like a logic end for his character. It's his character at the end of the Cell arc that felt very un-Gohan like. Future Gohan was born of a completely different set of circumstances. He didn't fight because he loved it. He fought because no one was left.

People change when the grow older, especially from preteens through their teen years. Gohan becoming a superhero doesn't require set up.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by 8000 Saiyan » Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:48 pm

Dragon Ball without Goku as the main character isn't Goku, so no.

If the series had ended with Gohan beating Super Buu, it would have been quite anti-climatic. It was a better idea to have Goku finish Buu off with the Spirit Bomb.
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Re: Do you still think Gohan should've been the main character?

Post by ulisa » Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:27 am

Kokonoe wrote:
ABED wrote:Those quotes don't negate my point. Gohan wasn't working as the lead in a fighting series given Toriyama realized Gohan wanted to study more than fight.
Which is his own fault for changing his character in the Buu arc. Gohan pre Buu was in fact a fighter, his motivations were his friends but he freely skipped school lessons and disobeyed whomever if it meant getting stronger. Eventually you see after his progression from being a coward child that he ends up even enjoying the sparring he does with people and it became a part of who he is.

Gohan in Buu doesn't feel like Gohan to me at all, and I'll go as far as to say it doesn't feel that way even when he goes to his "fighter" side with Ultimate Gohan. I mean you can look at the portrayal of Future Gohan as how he would've been written if it was Cell saga era but Toriyama kinda just did what he wanted to at this point with the Buu arc and Gohan suffered for it.

I don't even care for the Great Saiyaman thing because there's no even hints at it early on in the series that he's into super heroes. Really this Gohan just does not feel the same.
I am definitely inclined to agree with you. Gohan may not have been a fighter by desire at the beginning but quite frankly, I don't think we know if that would have been the case if Goku had been allowed to introduce him to it like he wanted to. ChiChi was so dead set against it that I suspect Gohan didn't really feel he had a choice to like it or not. I've always felt he liked the martial arts, the fighting and battles no but that doesn't mean he can't enjoy the sporting part of it. He always seems to enjoy the friendly spar with his father or Piccolo and being a protector by nature, it makes sense that he would use it to help other people.

I always felt that his character shifted after the time jump myself and I think you phrased it perfectly here: it doesn't feel like Gohan. Gohan in the Buu saga just doesn't feel like the way the child in the Saiyan and Freeza sagas would have turned out. Granted, you could argue that characters can change a lot as they grow but for such a shift, I would have liked to see explanation for it. I see Gohan in Movie 9 the way I think Gohan after the Cell Games likely should have gone: still studies but also enjoys spending time outside and sparring. He doesn't have to have the same motivation of "I want to get stronger" as his father. I think his motivation of "I have to be able to protect the people I care about" is just as reasonable. Particularly in the anime, his entire trigger for becoming Super Saiyan is fury at himself for the times he wasn't able to protect people he cared about! I just don't see that strong a motivator "going away."
We truly begin to live when we find something we're willing to die for

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