Canon matters

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Canon matters

Post by Doctor. » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:06 pm

I'm going against the grain here and say that canon is something that does matter. Not on the stories that already exist, you can enjoy them separately from whatever retcons are made now, which is, I think, something people don't really grasp. The Bardock TV special doesn't stop existing because Minus is 'canon'. But canon does matter for the stories that are to be written in the future, somewhat. By this I mean that the way those stories are written and interpreted will be entirely dependent on the groundwork laid out by the 'canon' stories that came previously. So while Minus/DBS Broly doesn't necessarily change the way you can read and interpret the Saiyan arc because it can be read in isolation, the stories that come after DBS Broly that tackle Goku/Vegeta/Freeza/Broly's past cannot; they must be interpreted exclusively through the upcoming movie. Why does this matter? It matters if it's compromising the quality of future stories; if they're being built on a shaky foundation and are not realizing their full potential because of it.

So I feel some people, myself included as I have dismissed this in the past, have to be a bit careful when saying that canonicity doesn't matter at all.

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Re: Canon matters

Post by zarmack » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:13 pm

I've always personally thought that there are 3 canons in Dragonball.

Jaco/DB Minus -> Original manga -> Super manga -> DBS Broly manga

Bardock FoG -> Early DB -> DBZ -> DBGT

Early DB -> DBKai -> Super anime -> DBS Broly film

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Re: Canon matters

Post by ABED » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:22 pm

I think writers should pay attention to their own continuity, but that's really about it.
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Re: Canon matters

Post by KBABZ » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:07 pm

There isn't a "canon" with Dragon Ball outside of the manga and a few bits of the anime; anything else just extrapolates from there, be it GT, FighterZ, Xenoverse, Super, Heroes, and so on.

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Re: Canon matters

Post by GT_Goten10 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:46 pm

continuity&universe consistency matters

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Re: Canon matters

Post by Robo4900 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:34 am

I think it's necessary that any given story has some kind of consistency and continuity that makes some amount of sense, but every story in a franchise fitting into the same continuity really doesn't matter, and getting into nitty-gritty on some definiteive, singular canon, or trying to poke holes or invent "Fixes" to minor plot holes that really don't matter, is all just a waste of time.

Dragon Ball GT has a consistency and continuity within itself, in which all of the DB and Z animes' events occurred. It follows that this means at least the broad strokes of the two TV specials and the first Z movie occurred too, but this detail isn't hugely important.
Some like to take this a little further and claim the neat little easter egg of Coola being in a few background shots in the Super #17 arc means more of the movies are "Canon", but that's just getting unnecessarily obsessive.

Dragon Ball Super has a consistency and continuity within itself, in which all of either the DB and Kai animes' or the entire original manga's events occurred, depending on which version of Super you're consuming(Remember, it is a plot point in ResF that the Ginyu Frog is around). Provided we count the upcoming movie as part of Super, it will also therefore follows that at least the broad strokes of Minus occurred too.

Most of the movies have some kind of consistency and contunuity, with Z 1 taking place between the DB and Z animes(Thus taking the DB anime events into account), Z 9 taking place shortly after the defeat of Cell(Thus taking the DB and Z anime events into account), Z 8, 10, and 11 take place at various points along the Z anime timeline(Thus take DB and Z into account) and follow on from each-other, Z 13 takes place between the events of the Z and GT animes(Thus takes DB and Z into account)...

The question of canon comes up quite frequently, and this is the solution I've arrived at after all these discussions; dividing things up into what is and isn't "Canon" is a stupid way to categorise things; ultimately it gives us absolutely nothing. It's a way of obsessively categorising things in a way that is entirely devoid of value. Taking a more sensible route of looking at the individual stories, and what material they take into account is the sensible way of looking at it, because it helps us place it in the timeline, it helps us understand the context it takes place in, where the characters are in their journey through the overall story, etc. Both approaches of thinking about continuity reach the goal of organising at least one fairly straightforward timeline of the material, how it all relates to each-other, and thus what stuff one should ideally watch/read, but the thing is, one has an odd, singular philosophy of "One continuity. All other stories are totally irrelevant", while the other is a much more open philosophy of "Every story takes different things into account. Here's what needs to be kept in mind for any given story you may be watching/reading."

So, depending on which definition of continuity you're going with, I would say either yes, it is somewhat important, or no, you're paying tons of attention to an entirely useless mental exercise.
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Re: Canon matters

Post by Dragon Ball Ireland » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:46 am

Ideally it should. The problem, which has caused so much debate in the first place is that in the case of Dragon Ball the writers don't seem to care as much as the fans.
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Re: Canon matters

Post by ABED » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:45 am

Part of that stems from what seems like fans wanting one single uniting canon.
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Re: Canon matters

Post by KBABZ » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:46 am

ABED wrote:Part of that stems from what seems like fans wanting one single uniting canon.
Well more specifically, a canon that fits their ideals, such as the older Broly being canon and not the "whimpy female knock-off" or Bio-Broly, GT being non-canon except for this specific arc, etc etc.

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Re: Canon matters

Post by ABED » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:58 am

Ultimately it all depends on so many factors. The Simpsons is reset TV, so canon doesn't matter. In a continuity heavy story like DB, canon does matter. That doesn't mean every movie or TV special has to be. Throwing stuff out of continuity like GT shouldn't be done willy nilly, but I'm not automatically against it.
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Re: Canon matters

Post by TheGreatness25 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:59 am

Of course canon matters... just not in Dragon Ball. It doesn't matter in a series that systematically seems to purposefully eliminate whatever building blocks came before. As if on purpose, Super tried to go against many things that had been established from Potara fusion rules, to their power, to Goku's backstory, right on down to Trunks's hair color.

It is my belief that rather than to care about the canon and following a logical flow that came before it, the creators would rather break the canon so that virtually any story could be told using these characters. There's a lot to play with in the Dragon World and I think whether it's Akira Toriyama or Toei or whoever, want to create the ability to play with it without restriction. Want to put Gohan up against Vegeta? Well now you can! Forget about their power differences, Gohan "trained" for an hour and here we are! Want to get Broli against Beers? Here you go! And with Heroes becoming an actual thing, I think there's just an endless hodgepodge that can be created for Dragon World. Anything can now happen in Dragon Ball.

That's why the canon "doesn't matter" -- because it's meant to not matter. Me, personally, I would appreciate a solid story that makes sense, but I recognize that Dragon Ball is not that story. It's meant to be fun and almost like a video game where you can put anyone up against anyone. At least, that's how it comes off to me and that's how I choose to see it.

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Re: Canon matters

Post by ABED » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:01 am

But it wasn't always like that. Why try to have your cake and eat it too?
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Re: Canon matters

Post by KBABZ » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:45 am

I think there's a little bit of confusion between canon and continuity again. While they are closely related, they aren't the same. Canon is a judgement as to whether something actually happened in a work of fiction, while continuity is the relationship between different works and how they flow from one to the other, as discussed by Robo4900. Dragon Ball Chapter 113 has continuity flow to Chapter 112, in much the same way GT episode 1 has continuity flow to DBZ episode 291. Conversely, there's nothing saying that the Trunks: The Story Chapter is relevant at all to the core manga since it doesn't have a Chapter number, but given that it was written by Toriyama in the normal manga publication run alongside a normal manga Chapter (much like DB- was with Jaco), that solidly places it in continuity with the manga, despite the fact that it could just as easily fit in with the anime as it existed at the time.

The flow from one work to another is important because it means we have safe expectations about a particular work when we absorb it: when we read Neko-Majin Z or watch Curse of the Blood Rubies, we have expectations of how they fit relative to other the works that we're familiar with. A sequel to Dragon Ball FighterZ would take place in the vague Super-like continuity established by its story, but wouldn't have any applicability to either version of Super or the upcoming Super Broly movie.

However, since there have been so many stories told over the years and Toei isn't really concerned with how they connect outside of the DB>DBZ>DBS anime flow, trying to fit them all together is literally impossible unless you use a grand multiverse theory to throw them all in one overall bucket (which Dragon Ball Heroes has kinda done). In terms of what the core "Canon" is, the only thing that remains a constant influential factor throughout everything from Dragon Ball SD to the Fusions game is Toriyama's original manga. Whenever Toriyama makes an addition to it, be it Battle of Gods, DB Minus, or even contradicting backstory established by the anime, it is reflected in almost every other work thereafter.

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Re: Canon matters

Post by ABED » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:58 am

That seems like a difference without a distinction.
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Re: Canon matters

Post by KBABZ » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:40 am

ABED wrote:That seems like a difference without a distinction.
Explain?

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Re: Canon matters

Post by ABED » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:50 am

KBABZ wrote:
ABED wrote:That seems like a difference without a distinction.
Explain?
I can say DB movie 1 isn't canon and isn't in continuity and it means the same thing. The events of the movie didn't happen in Toriyama's story, it's just two different ways of saying the same thing. The explanation you wrote doesn't show a noticable difference between the concepts.
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Re: Canon matters

Post by KBABZ » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:13 pm

ABED wrote:
KBABZ wrote:
ABED wrote:That seems like a difference without a distinction.
Explain?
I can say DB movie 1 isn't canon and isn't in continuity and it means the same thing. The events of the movie didn't happen in Toriyama's story, it's just two different ways of saying the same thing. The explanation you wrote doesn't show a noticable difference between the concepts.
Well, as I explained above, continuity is the way multiple works flow through and "fit" with one another. To use the example you gave, DB movie 1 flows nicely into movie 2, which nicely goes to movie 3, so they have continuity with each other. But those movies don't have continuity with either the manga or the anime from which they're based because they were never intended to be (and have way too many contradictions). It's separate from the word canon because a work doesn't need to be canon to have continuity with something else in the franchise (again, the first three DB movies are good examples of this).

Canon meanwhile is a word that refers to what has "actually" happened in a given work. For example, the Infinities line of Star Wars graphic novels detail how the story might have progressed if a key event had happened differently. While these graphic novels do their best to stay accurate and authentic to the Star Wars story leading up to that point, they are ultimately not canon, ie they didn't actually happen. To provide another example, all fanfiction is automatically considered non-canon, even though multiple fanfiction stories can be made that have continuity with both each other and the works they're based on.

Because Dragon Ball has had so many different tellings over the years, the idea that a certain series of works overwrites all the other ones is impossible to define, especially given the overwhelming popularity of the anime over the manga, and that Toei doesn't care enough about it to even mull the possibility of thinking it over. The closest we have is the fact that the manga has influenced everything else practically to the letter, so that is the best we have.

tl;dr:
Canon: Did this story actually happen?
Continuity: What other works does this story directly relate to?

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Re: Canon matters

Post by Lord Beerus » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:32 pm

Continuity and consistency is very important aspect of any kind of storytelling. Unfortunately, Dragon Ball is/was driven by a man and a production company that is fully willing to forsake any kind of consistency or continuity when it come what kind of stories they'd like to tell.

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Re: Canon matters

Post by ABED » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:41 pm

To use the example you gave, DB movie 1 flows nicely into movie 2, which nicely goes to movie 3, so they have continuity with each other. But those movies don't have continuity with either the manga or the anime from which they're based because they were never intended to be (and have way too many contradictions). It's separate from the word canon because a work doesn't need to be canon to have continuity with something else in the franchise (again, the first three DB movies are good examples of this).
Orrrrr, you can say they are not canon to the manga. So while I agree that they are different concepts, in certain contexts they can be used to explain the same thing because the concepts share commonalities.
Continuity: What other works does this story directly relate to?
This seems needlessly complicated. What other works deal with this sort of thing where movies aren't canon to the main work but share a timeline?
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Re: Canon matters

Post by Mister_Popo » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:39 pm

I would say, it gives me a feeling of authenticity the original author is still involved.
And i do think Toriyama at this point still has the franchise an extra value to give, although not every story is 'as good' or he sometimes retcons things.
In that sense canon matters to me.

It does not matter in a sense you can't enjoy a DB-story or it can't have quality because Toriyama is not involved.
If you like GT or the old movies over Super, that's fine, and there are talented writers out there who could probably do it as good.

I do fully understand however for some continuity matters the most, fans have the right for a consequent story that's believable.
So i know why people prefer to have a clear continuity without to many retcons or inconsistencies.
But in a franchise as big as DB, it's difficult not not have any. One way or another, certain things are changed for different reasons.
I actually don't mind retcons too much as long as the story itself benefits from it, in some cases.
When the reason is 'we retcon because we have screwed up in the past or there was lack of long-term-view' and that happens a lot, i understand it somehow irritates fans.
Last edited by Mister_Popo on Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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