zarmack wrote:Getting stronger and seeking out strong opponents (for whatever motive) is something they all naturally do. That's why Vegeta let Cell reach his perfect form and why he (along with Goku) insisted on not killing Dr. Gero before he unleashes the androids.
For what its worth, I also don't remember Kaio or Vegeta ever saying that specifically seeking out stronger foes and challenging themselves was any
kind of a Saiya-jin trait (unless its a dub-ism or something). Just that they were generally violent and aggressive and constantly indulging in fighting overall.
If anything, all the behavior we see of the non-Goku Saiya-jin in both the manga and anime suggests quite the opposite: anytime a regular Saiya-jin who isn't Goku has been faced with a stronger foe, they usually tend to freak out and get seriously pissed and/or scared. Raditz, Nappa, and even Vegeta during his early villainous phase (and sometimes even afterward)... all of them reacted to being outmatched by a clearly stronger opponent by basically shitting in their space armor.
The average Saiya-jin are mostly portrayed as violent, bloodthirsty bullies and thugs: they seem to relish and delight in lording their strength over lesser beings and victimizing opponents who stand no real chance against them... and promptly crumble once they're actually up against someone who can either give them a real challenge or just flat out overwhelm them. It isn't even specifically fighting
that they're addicted to really when you get right down to the core of it: its more just straight up murder and cold blooded cruelty and dominance over those weaker than them that drives their whole "battle lust".
This is in point of fact exactly what makes Goku so disgusted and revolted by them: he sees the Saiya-jin (rightly) as viscous murderers and thugs who target and slaughter weaker people who cannot possibly defend themselves. They aren't warriors who fight for honorable sport or a true challenge and test of their skills as fighters like Goku has always been: they just kill the weak for the sheer thrill of it, and as soon as their power is actually challenged, they typically tend to react either with cowardice or psychotically entitled and unhinged outrage that there can possibly be someone who can in any way stand up to them.
Even Vegeta as a character is someone who really all the way up until his epiphany in the Boo saga, is wholly defined by his insecurity and straight up cowardly inner terror as losing his status as "greatest of them all". At no point in the VAST majority of Z does Vegeta EVER genuinely relish in any sort of a challenge to his skill and power: even the thing with letting Cell become Perfect was all about Vegeta basking in his little "Beyond SSJ" power trip that he was on.
Vegeta was having the time of his life bashing away at a weaker foe who has no possible way of beating him, and only agreed to let Cell become stronger because it was plainly obvious that Vegeta genuinely didn't REALLY think that Cell would get THAT much stronger because of it. Cell buttered up his ego and Vegeta simply figured it'd be yet another chance to showboat his ability some more before finishing off Cell.
Vegeta's ENTIRE motivation throughout the Cell arc is in proving to others and to himself that he's a better fighter than Goku: NOT in actually challenging himself. He wants Gero to complete his Artificial Humans because he sees it as a prime opportunity to prove his superiority over Goku, and it isn't until 18 basically humiliates him that his attitude towards the Jinzoningen becomes truly personal for him. #18, Cell, all these opponents are to Vegeta are simply opportunities to wallow in his own ego, not to ever actually pose any true challenge or test to his abilities. There's a MASSIVE WORLD of difference between "this is a perfect opportunity to see what I'm truly made of" and "this is a perfect opportunity to show off how awesome and better than that other guy I am".
Prior to the end of the Boo saga, name ONE time in just about the entirety
of Z that Vegeta genuinely relishes in and derives enjoyment from fighting against an opponent who clearly outclasses him and poses a real challenge for him? Goku does it ALL the time: its what singularly DEFINES his entire character. Vegeta, be it in manga or anime-only material, is usually the one of the FIRST people in the group to piss in his pants once an opponent who is massively better than he is shows up and proves it.
As awesome of a fight as he held up to the bitter-most fucking end, at NO point was Vegeta enjoying himself or enjoying any of the challenge that either Goku or Gohan posed to him during the climactic final fight of the Saiya-jin arc. For pretty much that entire end fight, Vegeta was shrieking, pissing, and moaning about how impossible it was for Goku and the other remaining Z Warriors to have the gall to actually put up any kind of a challenge against him: of particular note is how he flat out LOSES IT the first time Goku actually draws blood from him.
He cowers pathetically before Freeza (multiple times, including having himself an outright crying jag) once Freeza clearly demonstrates that Vegeta stands no chance against him. He has a complete and utter mental Blue Screen of Death when 18 beats him and spends a decent chunk of time immediately after basically sitting on a cliff marinating in self-pity at his embarrassment.
He throws a whining temper tantrum when Perfect Cell clobbers him. In the anime, while the other Z Warriors (up to and including fucking Yamucha) tear ass to go help Gohan against Cell for the final showdown, Vegeta sits back and does the whole poutingly nihilistic "What's the USE?! Cell's SO much better than all of us!" routine before FINALLY growing a spine and tagging Cell with a Ki attack at the 11th hour. And of the original 13 Z movies, 8 is the one that gives Vegeta by far and away the most screentime and narrative focus... and I don't think I need to remind people how he spent the majority of that particular outing (spoiler: it involved a lot of crying, whining, and cowering in terror at how utterly fucked they all were against Broli).
It isn't until the mid/late Boo Saga that Vegeta starts developing something that even passingly resembles a genuinely selfless and heroic streak to him, demonstrating some actual bravery against Boo, even though he knows he's hopelessly outmatched. Vegeta stepping up to the plate and carrying on valiantly and without complaint against an opponent (Boo) that is unquestionably his superior in combat is treated as a massive breakthrough in character development for him in Z's final arc: because its SO outside of his typical behavior at any point prior in this series.
Vegeta even makes a point in his big "Kakarotto, you're No. 1!" speech specifying about how Goku doesn't care how much stronger his opponent is than him, because Goku, unlike Vegeta, fights to genuinely challenge and surpass himself rather than to feed his own ego, and that this is largely why Goku has always been a better fighter than him.
To put it in Fist of the North Star terms: Vegeta sees himself in his mind as Raoh - a grand, towering, regal warrior king of proud nobility and immense stature - when the cold reality is that he (and most other regular Saiya-jin in general) fundamentally has a LOT more in common than he'd ever care to admit with someone like Jagi - insecure, petty, bullying, sadistic, small, pitiful, quick to gloat obnoxiously the moment he has the upper hand and just as quick to cower and cry and whine when he's being beaten or challenged in any way... and moreover is just hopelessly obsessed with status and being seen as the best and particularly as better than a hated rival who is always and forever several steps ahead of him (in large part because said-rival just doesn't care about and isn't weighed down by any of this ridiculous mental/emotional baggage).
Point is, Goku's constant thirst for new challenges and his dissatisfaction with being the strongest warrior is constantly portrayed as directly ANTITHETICAL to most Saiya-jin behavior. Almost every non-Goku Saiya-jin that we see (especially Vegeta pre-Boo arc) are only satisfied when they're at the top of the heap and their strength isn't being questioned, challenged, or contested. Vegeta in particular is at his absolute happiest in life when he can comfortably sit back and bask in being seen as the best fighter ever: he's ANYTHING but happy or excited at ANY kind of situation that calls his combat abilities into question in even the SLIGHTEST, TINIEST amount, and he doesn't develop any kind of a Goku/martial artist-like competitive streak until his big character shift in the Boo arc (which both GT and Super have still ran with and continued).
Goku, in STARK contrast to every other full blooded Saiya-jin character (particularly Vegeta), is at his most terminally bored and dissatisfied with life when he's at the top and is the unquestionably strongest of them all: Goku's never more happy and content with life than when he's further down the mountain struggling his way up against stronger and stronger foes that can put his skills to a real endurance test.
This isn't an accident either: Goku is so dramatically different than the other Saiya-jin because he's a martial artist raised on Earth and trained by other martial arts masters. His competitive drive and tireless desire to constantly challenge himself and seek greater hills to climb is what makes him DRAMATICALLY different from the rest of his race, who are the exact antithesis of martial artists: they are instead barbaric, murdering thugs who get off on lording their power over those weaker than them and dominating over opponents who cannot hope to beat them. The moment that paradigm changes and a typical Saiya-jin is forced to face off against someone who is capable of actually seriously throwing down with them, said typical Saiya-jin will usually throw a tantrum and have an existential meltdown.