Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Discussion regarding the entirety of the franchise in a general (meta) sense, including such aspects as: production, trends, merchandise, fan culture, and more.

Moderators: Kanzenshuu Staff, General Help

User avatar
JulieYBM
Namekian Warrior
Posts: 12516
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:25 pm

Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by JulieYBM » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:01 pm

The deeper I dive into LGBTIA+ communities the more I learn about our world and the people in it. Recently, I learned that there are those who choose the pronouns of 'it/its' for themselves, feeling it best describes their self-actualization. Learning this neat new piece of life I was reminded of how in the Viz Media translation of the Dragon Ball comic the character of Cell--whom is typically referred to as 'he/him'--was referred to as 'it/its' in the aforementioned translation. This has got me wondering: is there something in the original text that specifies Cell as a non-binary or at least gave Viz the impression that he was?
•Julie | She/Her | Pansexual & Transgender | Queer |
•Avatar: Igarashi Kyou (married name: Hasumi Kyou) from the web comic 性転換後、親友と (Seitenka-go. Shin'yuu to) by Eroe (Pixiv; Twitter)

User avatar
sailorspazz
Advanced Regular
Posts: 1194
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: ZamaBlack love shack
Contact:

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by sailorspazz » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:22 pm

I'm inclined to chalk this one up to another Vizism, as I don't believe there's any significant difference in the way the cast addresses Cell compared to how they talk to/about any other villain. Admittedly, I haven't deep dived into this for comparison, but I certainly don't remember there being anything in the original script that stood out as a reason why they would switch from using he/him. Even Namekians, who only have one gender, are still addressed that way in the translation.

My guess for what Viz was going for was to emphasize the fact that he wasn't born, but created in a lab from other characters' DNA (he has many dads :wink: ). I don't think their decision was gender based more than just wanting to portray Cell as a an unnatural being.
A veteran fan-girl past her prime
Host of Fujoshi Trash Talk at Anibros Creative podcast network
Twitter | Tumblr | Fanfics at fanfiction.net and ao3 | DeviantArt | YouTube

User avatar
Soppa Saia People
I Live Here
Posts: 2597
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:26 pm
Location: minnesota
Contact:

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by Soppa Saia People » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:45 pm

^ yeah that's the sense that i always got off of it, not to mention, he looks like a bug at the start and most people call bugs "it", so maybe that also influenced them :p
they/them pronouns
my twitter
14 year old me didn't know how to spell "Saiya"......

Jord
OMG CRAZY REG
Posts: 779
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2004 8:13 am

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by Jord » Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:54 pm

He's a dude.
He's voiced Norio Wakamoto.

User avatar
VegettoEX
Kanzenshuu Co-Owner & Administrator
Posts: 16373
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2004 3:10 pm
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by VegettoEX » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:34 pm

Jord wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:54 pm
He's a dude.
He's voiced Norio Wakamoto.
Goku's a man played by Masako Nozawa.

Kuririn's a man played by Mayumi Tanaka.

Anyway, general reminder that we actually have a "Personal Pronoun Guide" on the site, have for quite some time, and Cell is right up in there! Enjoy!
:: [| Mike "VegettoEX" LaBrie |] ::
:: [| Kanzenshuu - Co-Founder/Administrator, Podcast Host, News Manager (note: our "job" titles are arbitrary and meaningless) |] ::
:: [| Website: January 1998 |] :: [| Podcast: November 2005 |] :: [| Fusion: April 2012 |] :: [| Wiki: 20XX |] ::

User avatar
ABED
Namekian Warrior
Posts: 15893
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:23 am
Location: VA
Contact:

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by ABED » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:02 pm

According to the guide, Cell is referred to as a him/he, not it. He tells Piccolo that he's his brother. And given that it's DB, it was always a safe bet Cell is a man.
Last edited by ABED on Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The biggest truths aren't original. The truth is ketchup. It's Jim Belushi. Its job isn't to blow our minds. It's to be within reach.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take - Wayne Gretzky" - Michael Scott
Happiness is climate, not weather.

User avatar
Apollo Fungus
Newbie
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:19 pm
Location: Cork, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by Apollo Fungus » Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:11 pm

I had no idea Kanzenshuu had a personal pronouns guide! I'm gonna give this a proper read later because I'm actually really fascinated by how many ways there are to refer to yourself in Japanese and what that suggests about your particular situation, either personally or socially.

Just skimming through the bits relating to the Androids and Cell, it's a really cool touch that No. 17 uses "Watashi" (a polite, gender-neutral term) when talking to Dr Gero but otherwise uses "Ore" (a masculine pronoun). At least to me, it suggests he's using that to convince Gero of his loyalty by using the same pronouns that the other active androids use, and then swaps back to his default pronoun when he longer has to do that. Granted, I could be talking out of my ass, but I still like the idea.

As for Cell, he normally uses "Watashi", but swaps to "Ore" when he first refers to himself and when he's about to self-destruct. I don't really know how to interpret the change in pronouns since there doesn't seem to be anything in those respective situations where it makes sense for him to do that, but it's likely I'm just missing something. (Also, he uses "Ore" when using No. 17's voice to trick 18 into being absorbed - that's a pretty cool addition to that trap.)

I haven't read Viz's translation in a long time, but I suspect that when they made the decision, their intent was likely to convey that Cell was so far removed from humanity (in the metaphorical sense) that using "it" was the most appropriate pronoun for the character - like how you'd describe a violent, mindless beast in ancient tales. (I don't intend to suggest that people who use "it" as a personal pronoun are inhuman beasts or anything of the sort, and I apologize if I've caused any offence. It's more that the translation team either weren't aware of that or didn't consider it when they made the decision at the time, and it resulted in a happy accident where Cell can be interpreted as non-binary to readers of the Viz translation.)

User avatar
jjgp1112
Born 'n Bred Here
Posts: 6160
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:15 pm
Location: Georgia (I wish I was in New York)

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by jjgp1112 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:30 pm

I think Viz was trying to play up him being a sci-fi alien abomination.
Yamcha: Do you remember the spell to release him - do you know all the words?
Bulma: Of course! I'm not gonna pull a Frieza and screw it up!
Master Roshi: Bulma, I think Frieza failed because he wore too many clothes!
Cold World
"They say assholes grow on trees/But I'm just here to trim the leaves"
"If a girl is over 35 and not married, then she must be nuttier than squirrel shit." - Reverend Pastor Father Uncle Ruckus (no relation)

User avatar
RandomGuy96
Kicks it Old-School
Posts: 8793
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:57 pm
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by RandomGuy96 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:50 pm

He reproduces asexually and doesn't have a dick.

Of course that didn't stop them from calling Piccolo "he", so maybe they just applied that label to him because he's a bio-android. He refers to himself as Piccolo's "brother" in both the Japanese and Viz versions, so it's clear that, despite his sex differing from a human's, he views himself as male.
The Monkey King wrote:
RandomGuy96 wrote:
dbgtFO wrote: Please elaborate as I do not know what you mean by "pushing Vegeta's destruction"
He's probably referring to the Bardock special. Zarbon was the one who first recommended destroying Planet Vegeta because the saiyans were rapidly growing in strength.
It was actually Beerus disguised as Zarbon #StayWoke
Herms wrote:The fact that the ridiculous power inflation is presented so earnestly makes me just roll my eyes and snicker. Like with Freeza, where he starts off over 10 times stronger than all his henchmen except Ginyu (because...well, just because), then we find out he can transform and get even more powerful, and then he reveals he can transform two more times, before finally coming out with the fact that he hasn't even been using anywhere near 50% of his power. Oh, and he can survive in the vacuum of space. All this stuff is just presented as the way Freeza is, without even an attempt at rationalizing it, yet the tone dictates we're supposed to take all this silly grasping at straws as thrilling danger. So I guess I don't really take the power inflation in the Boo arc seriously, but I don't take the power inflation in earlier arcs seriously either, so there's no net loss of seriousness. I think a silly story presented as serious is harder to accept than a silly story presented as silly.

User avatar
JulieYBM
Namekian Warrior
Posts: 12516
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:25 pm

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by JulieYBM » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:01 pm

O' Cell, my child borne of many fathers, how I love you so.
ABED wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:02 pm
According to the guide, Cell is referred to as a him/he, not it. He tells Piccolo that he's his brother. And given that it's DB, it was always a safe bet Cell is a man.
If my memory is correct Cell actually says 'kyoudai' which is gender neutral, i.e. 'sibling'. A closeted trans person would probably refer to themselves similarly to avoid gendering themselves their assigned at birth gender. :P

Cell says trans rights!
•Julie | She/Her | Pansexual & Transgender | Queer |
•Avatar: Igarashi Kyou (married name: Hasumi Kyou) from the web comic 性転換後、親友と (Seitenka-go. Shin'yuu to) by Eroe (Pixiv; Twitter)

User avatar
ABED
Namekian Warrior
Posts: 15893
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:23 am
Location: VA
Contact:

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by ABED » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:14 pm

RandomGuy96 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:50 pm
He reproduces asexually and doesn't have a dick.

Of course that didn't stop them from calling Piccolo "he", so maybe they just applied that label to him because he's a bio-android. He refers to himself as Piccolo's "brother" in both the Japanese and Viz versions, so it's clear that, despite his sex differing from a human's, he views himself as male.
Freeza doesn't have genitals, either, but is male. Hell, he doesn't even have an anus. I wouldn't be looking at anatomy for answers.
The biggest truths aren't original. The truth is ketchup. It's Jim Belushi. Its job isn't to blow our minds. It's to be within reach.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take - Wayne Gretzky" - Michael Scott
Happiness is climate, not weather.

User avatar
RandomGuy96
Kicks it Old-School
Posts: 8793
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:57 pm
Location: San Diego, California, USA

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by RandomGuy96 » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:20 pm

ABED wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:14 pm
RandomGuy96 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:50 pm
He reproduces asexually and doesn't have a dick.

Of course that didn't stop them from calling Piccolo "he", so maybe they just applied that label to him because he's a bio-android. He refers to himself as Piccolo's "brother" in both the Japanese and Viz versions, so it's clear that, despite his sex differing from a human's, he views himself as male.
Freeza doesn't have genitals, either, but is male.
He's vaguely lizard-like so his genitalia is probably held inverted within the body. If his species doesn't reproduce asexually as well, of course.
The Monkey King wrote:
RandomGuy96 wrote:
dbgtFO wrote: Please elaborate as I do not know what you mean by "pushing Vegeta's destruction"
He's probably referring to the Bardock special. Zarbon was the one who first recommended destroying Planet Vegeta because the saiyans were rapidly growing in strength.
It was actually Beerus disguised as Zarbon #StayWoke
Herms wrote:The fact that the ridiculous power inflation is presented so earnestly makes me just roll my eyes and snicker. Like with Freeza, where he starts off over 10 times stronger than all his henchmen except Ginyu (because...well, just because), then we find out he can transform and get even more powerful, and then he reveals he can transform two more times, before finally coming out with the fact that he hasn't even been using anywhere near 50% of his power. Oh, and he can survive in the vacuum of space. All this stuff is just presented as the way Freeza is, without even an attempt at rationalizing it, yet the tone dictates we're supposed to take all this silly grasping at straws as thrilling danger. So I guess I don't really take the power inflation in the Boo arc seriously, but I don't take the power inflation in earlier arcs seriously either, so there's no net loss of seriousness. I think a silly story presented as serious is harder to accept than a silly story presented as silly.

User avatar
KBABZ
I Live Here
Posts: 3995
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:38 pm
Location: The tallest tower in West City

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by KBABZ » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:06 pm

RandomGuy96 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:20 pm
He's vaguely lizard-like so his genitalia is probably held inverted within the body. If his species doesn't reproduce asexually as well, of course.
Cell has Frieza's cells too.

MyVisionity
Regular
Posts: 513
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:51 pm
Location: US
Contact:

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by MyVisionity » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:12 pm

Neither Freeza, Cell, nor Piccolo seem to be biologically male or female, at least in terms of reproductive functioning. As far as gender is concerned, they all seem to identify as "male", but of course this is because of the author's intent.

Jord
OMG CRAZY REG
Posts: 779
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2004 8:13 am

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by Jord » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:57 am

VegettoEX wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:34 pm
Jord wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 1:54 pm
He's a dude.
He's voiced Norio Wakamoto.
Goku's a man played by Masako Nozawa.

Kuririn's a man played by Mayumi Tanaka.
Yes, I know but while both actresses you mentioned are known for their portrayal of boyish characters, Norio Wakamoto is known for voicing large, male characters. His booming bass voice isn't much applied to female characters.

Dbzfan94
I Live Here
Posts: 4886
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:16 pm
Location: Mt. Paozu

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by Dbzfan94 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:03 am

jjgp1112 wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:30 pm
I think Viz was trying to play up him being a sci-fi alien abomination.
That was my thoughts too. I doubt there was any other reason beyond that.

User avatar
Apslup
Not-So-Newbie
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:32 pm

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by Apslup » Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:12 pm

Aside from Freeza's cells, Cell is made up of the cells of all males. This and his highly masculine appreance makes me think that Cell identifies as a "he"

User avatar
Sin
OMG CRAZY REG
Posts: 788
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:24 pm
Location: England

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by Sin » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:29 pm

Apslup wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 3:12 pm
Aside from Freeza's cells, Cell is made up of the cells of all males. This and his highly masculine appreance makes me think that Cell identifies as a "he"
Freeza is a male, he is referred to as King Cold's son.

In context I think the choice to use 'it/its' was probably more to convey Cell as something alien/creaturely rather than an attempt to represent Cell's possible gender identity. Personally, I think it would be awesome if Cell was an 'it' and was non-binary, a being who might see themselves as 'perfect' would very likely feel beyond the constraints of gender.

User avatar
Soppa Saia People
I Live Here
Posts: 2597
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:26 pm
Location: minnesota
Contact:

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by Soppa Saia People » Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:44 pm

Sin wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:29 pm
Personally, I think it would be awesome if Cell was an 'it' and was non-binary, a being who might see themselves as 'perfect' would very likely feel beyond the constraints of gender.
god, that would be so sick lmao. great idea.
they/them pronouns
my twitter
14 year old me didn't know how to spell "Saiya"......

User avatar
MasenkoHA
I'm pretty cozy, here...
Posts: 1534
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:38 pm

Re: Cell's Pronouns: He/Him v. It/Its

Post by MasenkoHA » Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:09 pm

Is it/its really a pronoun people use? I know non-binary/gender non-conforming people sometimes use they/them but I thought “ it”was just used to dehumanize transgender and gender non-conforming people.

Anyways Cell is clearly treated as male.

Post Reply