Goku's long absences in the story

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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by JulieYBM » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:57 pm

For the Golden Freeza arc Gokuu and Vegeta should be there from the beginning. There's no reason to hold off on them. Something like this would give the arc more balance and keep the story focused on Freeza and Gokuu better, in my opinion:
ABED wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:18 pm
I'm honestly less interested in how the other characters can contribute to the plot than how they change and grow, or maybe regress.
They kind of drive me nuts and I find them boring to the point of nausea. Personally, I think Gokuu should have just not arrived on Namek until the battle with Freeza. Having Gokuu show up with Vegeta on his deathbed and Gohan's neck broken. Angered by the near death of his son, Gokuu transforms into a Super Saiyan right then and there.
That's just awful, awful writing. It's too damn easy. The reason the Super Saiyan transformation doesn't come off as a complete deus ex machina is because Goku goes through hell to get to that point, and when his friends are picked off and threatened, he's there powerless to stop it. He doesn't see it after the fact.
The Namek arc isn't even about Gokuu, though. Like, Gokuu doesn't even try to be a Super Saiyan, it's just a thing that happens because Toriyama needs it to.
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by MasenkoHA » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:11 pm

JulieYBM wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:57 pm


The Namek arc isn't even about Gokuu, though. Like, Gokuu doesn't even try to be a Super Saiyan, it's just a thing that happens because Toriyama needs it to.
It kind of is about Goku though. The Saiyan and Namek arcs are about Goku learning about and eventually accepting his heritage. That’s why the “I am the Super Saiyan Son Goku” speech is such a pivotal moment for his character its him embracing both his Saiyan roots and being raised on earth.

Having Goku just show up to become a Super Saiyan is not only incredibly lame and cheap writing it erases any sort of drama without Goku being on the losing end of his fight with Freeza or having that scene with Vegeta.

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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by It_Is_Ayna_You_Flips » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:13 pm

ABED wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:53 pm
It_Is_Ayna_You_Flips wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:52 pm
Plenty of Shonen stories do it too.
Shonen isn't a genre, it's a demographic.

I like ensemble stories, too, but not every story needs to be an ensemble.
I'm not disagreeing. But Toriyama kept pulling his attention away from the protagonist and resolving the plot to show us the series scrubs being scrubs. Sometimes we'd get a story like early Namek and sometimes we'd get a story like the later half of Namek. That's why these arguments keep happening. Because some people like those diversions enough to want to see more of them and want to them fleshed out better.
The secondary characters get interesting things to do without it having to be an ensemble show. Being a part of the central plot isn't necessary for them to contribute something interesting to the story.
They don't contribute anything. That's the problem. They're just there eating up time, doing things everyone knows won't matter.
What stories skip it?
Many and across many different genres. From action serials like Burn Notice to subpar space operas like Star Trek: Enterprise to Spanish telenovellas. It's a pretty useful trick especially if you're looking to save time and don't have any plans for the minor characters to actually accomplish anything.
JulieYBM wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:17 pm
They kind of drive me nuts and I find them boring to the point of nausea. Personally, I think Gokuu should have just not arrived on Namek until the battle with Freeza. Having Gokuu show up with Vegeta on his deathbed and Gohan's neck broken. Angered by the near death of his son, Gokuu transforms into a Super Saiyan right then and there.
I dunno if I would have gone that far but the SSJ transformation is already such a big late game asspull it's hard to see a way to introduce it into the story that doesn't feel contrived. Although with how easy it is to obtain the transformation is later on in the series I'm pretty sure Goku could have forced himself to do it if someone had told him it was possible.
MasenkoHA wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:11 pm
JulieYBM wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:57 pm
The Namek arc isn't even about Gokuu, though. Like, Gokuu doesn't even try to be a Super Saiyan, it's just a thing that happens because Toriyama needs it to.
It kind of is about Goku though. The Saiyan and Namek arcs are about Goku learning about and eventually accepting his heritage. That’s why the “I am the Super Saiyan Son Goku” speech is such a pivotal moment for his character its him embracing both his Saiyan roots and being raised on earth.
Ah yes. Those Earth roots which will totally continue to play a relevant role in the story and won't just be forgotten in half an arc.

Come on. Even if that was what Toriyama was going for, characters have arcs that span different parts of the story. You might as well argue that the Namek and Saiyan Arcs are about Vegeta letting go of his pride. Or that the Saiyan and Namek Arcs are about Gohan rejecting his sheltered upbringing to become a more assertive person. That Goku gets thrown into the assend of the arc and, seemingly, goes through a small bit of character development does not make the arc about Goku.
Last edited by It_Is_Ayna_You_Flips on Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by Ringworm128 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:15 pm

This is something I've noticed ever since I first started watching the show. I remember back when I was 13 thinking "The show is more or less about Gohan growing, and Goku just comes in and beats up whatever bad guy."
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by MasenkoHA » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:17 pm

It_Is_Ayna_You_Flips wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:13 pm


I dunno if I would have gone that far but the SSJ transformation is already such a big late game asspull
It would be a late game asspull if such a thing was never mentioned until after Goku achieved Super Saiyan. The fact that Vegeta won’t shut the hell up about it or that the story telegraphs that Goku will be a Super Saiyan (to the point Toei correctly guesses as such and just has Goku become a Super Saiyan in movie 4 before the manga gets to it) it is by no means an asspull.

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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by WittyUsername » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:27 pm

MasenkoHA wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:11 pm
JulieYBM wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:57 pm


The Namek arc isn't even about Gokuu, though. Like, Gokuu doesn't even try to be a Super Saiyan, it's just a thing that happens because Toriyama needs it to.
It kind of is about Goku though. The Saiyan and Namek arcs are about Goku learning about and eventually accepting his heritage. That’s why the “I am the Super Saiyan Son Goku” speech is such a pivotal moment for his character its him embracing both his Saiyan roots and being raised on earth.

Having Goku just show up to become a Super Saiyan is not only incredibly lame and cheap writing it erases any sort of drama without Goku being on the losing end of his fight with Freeza or having that scene with Vegeta.
Did Goku ever really have trouble accepting his heritage? He was pretty open with Kaio about being a Saiyan, and he seemed to attribute his love of fighting to the fact that he’s a Saiyan.

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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by MasenkoHA » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:28 pm

It_Is_Ayna_You_Flips wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:13 pm


Ah yes. Those Earth roots which will totally continue to play a relevant role in the story and won't just be forgotten in half an arc.
Not beating you over the head with the fact that he was raised on earth because you had the entire first half of the story to establish that=/= forgotten about. What a weird reach.
You might as well argue that the Namek and Saiyan Arcs are about Vegeta letting go of his pride
It’s not that

.
Or that the Saiyan and Namek Arcs are about Gohan rejecting his sheltered upbringing to become a more assertive person.
The Saiyan arc is about Gohan growing up from his sheltered upbringing. It’s also about Piccolo redeeming himself and Goku learning about his heritage and reaching new heights of strength through his training with King Kai.

It can be multiple things but here’s the thing Dragon Ball is Goku’s story he is the main character. Arguing that the Saiyan and Namek arcs aren’t even about him is asinine.
That Goku gets thrown into the assend of the arc and, seemingly, goes through a small bit of character development does not make the arc about Goku.
He hardly gets thrown into the ass end of arc. Just because not every page/frame of animation doesn’t have Goku in doesn’t mean he didn’t matter

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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by Gaffer Tape » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:29 pm

MasenkoHA wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:11 pm
It kind of is about Goku though. The Saiyan and Namek arcs are about Goku learning about and eventually accepting his heritage. That’s why the “I am the Super Saiyan Son Goku” speech is such a pivotal moment for his character its him embracing both his Saiyan roots and being raised on earth.
The Saiyan Arc, yes. In regards to the actual narrative of The Freeza Arc, no. He just shows up and fights. He has nothing to do with the plot or its characters. He simply shows up to fight. The idea of him "accepting" his heritage could, at best, be considered an idea lifted out of The Saiyan Arc, where it exists organically, and randomly dropped into this storyline for about five seconds. But the story and character beats of The Freeza Arc really have very little to do with Goku or his heritage because they're both very small parts of this story. If anything, it's about Vegeta's rebellion and his coming to terms with the idea that he's could be doomed to fail. And it's about Gohan and Kuririn stuck in the middle of this planet-wide conflict trying to survive while gaining the trust of the oppressed locals. None of that has to do with Goku's heritage. It's a footnote, and even that is being somewhat generous.

I'm not even sure I can agree with you in regards to the speech. If anything, that bit of characterization is in his monologue after Vegeta dies. His Super Saiyan speech is just him spouting off a bunch of random, out-of-character nonsense in regards to a transformation he has no business knowing anything about. Seriously, it's just unimportant exposition. You have a calm heart that was awakened by rage? Good for you. How do you understand any of this, Goku? Why are you monologuing in this way? Did you tune your brain receiver into the All-Saiyan Exposition Network, and they're telling you this?
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by JulieYBM » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:33 pm

It's a very :crazy: feeling watching Gohan and Kuririn's story just sort of fizzle out. It feels like their story is supplanted by the need to have Gokuu show up and defeat Freeza. It's weird because it contrasts so much how it feels like Gokuu and Freeza's relationship is also this big, grand thing that hangs over the franchise, even before Dragon Ball Super. Basically, I wish there had been a a sense of resolution for Gohan and Kuririn and then a building of Gokuu's own story to more clearly definite a new arc beginning.

How about removing all of the Gokuu scenes until he arrives on Namek and saving them for a flashback for after he saves Gohan and the others and sends them on their way? So, Gokuu arrives on Namek just as he arrived after being healed. Gohan, Piccolo (assuming he's even revived), Kuririn get a chapter where structured like an 'ending' to the story up to that point, then we get all of Gokuu's scenes at the hospital and training as well as the warning from Kaiou-sama? Then from there it feels like we've arrive at a new story? But then, what would the climax be for Gohan and the others' story? What's their big win? Perhaps hold off on reviving Piccolo because Freeza is attacking and the wish to Polunga to revive Piccolo is handled like a down-to-the-wire winning goal in a sport manga? This way it feels like the reviving of Piccolo and the others feels to the reader like it's 'the end', even though Freeza is technically still a threat?
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by MasenkoHA » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:46 pm

Gaffer Tape wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:29 pm


The Saiyan Arc, yes. In regards to the actual narrative of The Freeza Arc, no. He just shows up and fights. He has nothing to do with the plot or its characters. He simply shows up to fight. The idea of him "accepting" his heritage could, at best, be considered an idea lifted out of The Saiyan Arc, where it exists organically, and randomly dropped into this storyline for about five seconds. But the story and character beats of The Freeza Arc really have very little to do with Goku or his heritage because they're both very small parts of this story. If anything, it's about Vegeta's rebellion and his coming to terms with the idea that he's could be doomed to fail. And it's about Gohan and Kuririn stuck in the middle of this planet-wide conflict trying to survive while gaining the trust of the oppressed locals. None of that has to do with Goku's heritage. It's a footnote, and even that is being somewhat generous.
The story arcs don’t exist in a vacuum. Goku’s character arc in the Saiyan and Namek arc are pretty interwoven. The Saiyan arc is the set up the Namek arc is the pay off.

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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by Gaffer Tape » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:01 am

MasenkoHA wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:46 pm
The story arcs don’t exist in a vacuum. Goku’s character arc in the Saiyan and Namek arc are pretty interwoven. The Saiyan arc is the set up the Namek arc is the pay off.
You're right. The story arcs don't exist in a vacuum. That's why what little payoff there is to Goku's story feels so distant and unearned by this point. Certain narrative threads to interweave from The Saiyan Arc into Namek... Vegeta, dead friends, Piccolo's home planet. Those roll over seamlessly in the set-up/payoff paradigm you're suggesting. Elements related to Goku simply don't. They're dropped for long periods of time and then picked up again when it's convenient. Goku sees one murdering psychopath kill another murdering psychopath. I'm not saying the scene doesn't work, but there's not a lot of real context there for Goku. He's never seen Freeza before. Toriyama can't remember if Freeza is even aware of Goku's existence. The way in which the scene works for the audience is a culmination of everything we've learned about Freeza's relationship with the Saiyans. But our representative of the Saiyans is Vegeta, not Goku. We the audience are invested because we've been present for this story and these relationships. Goku lacks that connective tissue. He doesn't fit into this narrative. He's a random passerby who happens to witness this. Therefore, it's very difficult to accept the argument that this somehow serves as the culmination of all of Goku's supposed angst about his people. For Goku, it's the equivalent of walking into the theatre at the moment the Kane's sled is thrown into the furnace without having seen any of the rest of the movie.
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by It_Is_Ayna_You_Flips » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:23 am

WittyUsername wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:27 pm
Did Goku ever really have trouble accepting his heritage? He was pretty open with Kaio about being a Saiyan, and he seemed to attribute his love of fighting to the fact that he’s a Saiyan.
iirc (it's been a while) most everyone starts crediting Goku's Saiyan heritage for his more battle hungry traits almost immediately. So Goku's Saiyaness isn't really something anyone ever has trouble accepting. Outside of the Tree of Might movie it's not treated like much of a big deal.
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by WittyUsername » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:40 am

It_Is_Ayna_You_Flips wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:23 am
WittyUsername wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:27 pm
Did Goku ever really have trouble accepting his heritage? He was pretty open with Kaio about being a Saiyan, and he seemed to attribute his love of fighting to the fact that he’s a Saiyan.
iirc (it's been a while) most everyone starts crediting Goku's Saiyan heritage for his more battle hungry traits almost immediately. So Goku's Saiyaness isn't really something anyone ever has trouble accepting. Outside of the Tree of Might movie it's not treated like much of a big deal.
The anime also added that moment where Goku gets a vision/pep talk from Vegeta about Saiyan pride, but yeah, I really can’t think of any moment in the manga where Goku or anyone else was shown having to come to terms with him being Saiyan, outside of the initial shock of what Raditz told him. That’s why it’s weird to me that some people think that Goku asking Broly to call him by his Saiyan name is a sign of character growth. Goku never had a problem with being addressed by his Saiyan name in the series proper. That part honestly just seemed like an excuse for Broly to call him by that name.

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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by It_Is_Ayna_You_Flips » Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:47 am

WittyUsername wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:40 am
The anime also added that moment where Goku gets a vision/pep talk from Vegeta about Saiyan pride, but yeah, I really can’t think of any moment in the manga where Goku or anyone else was shown having to come to terms with him being Saiyan, outside of the initial shock of what Raditz told him. That’s why it’s weird to me that some people think that Goku asking Broly to call him by his Saiyan name is a sign of character growth. Goku never had a problem with being addressed by his Saiyan name in the series proper. That part honestly just seemed like an excuse for Broly to call him by that name.
I hear ya. As far as I can see Goku was never going through any kind of angst over being a Saiyan. And that fits. He's Goku. A happy go lucky guy who never gets tied down to minutia of life. He doesn't strongly identify as anything. If he found himself in a Ranma situation he'd probably shrug that off too. Goku is, very deliberately, not that deep a guy.
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by Peach » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:12 am

Goku's long absences reminded me of my dad. My parents got divorced and I hardly saw him. Any time i did see him was very special for me. When Gohan saw Goku after those 7 years in the Buu arc, that was a lot like my reaction to seeing my own father. My younger brother was 3 when my parents divorced, so he was a lot like Goten in a sense.

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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by Matches Malone » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:16 am

I understand why people got tired of it as it was a bit overused, but you have to admit that those entrances were among the most exciting scenes in the franchise's history. There's nothing more badass than a hero making an epic entrance when everything seems hopeless. :clap:

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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by ABED » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:11 am

They don't contribute anything. That's the problem. They're just there eating up time, doing things everyone knows won't matter.
Matter to whom? The answer should be "the audience" not "the plot". The resolution of Muten Roshi's character arc doesn't matter a whole lot to the plot of the 22nd TB, but it matters to the audience because we care about him, and it's a beautiful resolution to his story.
From action serials like Burn Notice
When did Burn Notice do what? Also, please stop comparing completely different genres. One is a spy action thriller / procedural about a solitary man embracing family with a mystical martial arts story about a martial artist's journey to better himself.
JulieYBM wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:33 pm
It's a very feeling watching Gohan and Kuririn's story just sort of fizzle out. It feels like their story is supplanted by the need to have Gokuu show up and defeat Freeza. It's weird because it contrasts so much how it feels like Gokuu and Freeza's relationship is also this big, grand thing that hangs over the franchise, even before Dragon Ball Super. Basically, I wish there had been a a sense of resolution for Gohan and Kuririn and then a building of Gokuu's own story to more clearly definite a new arc beginning.
Their story doesn't fizzle. They get the DB's and they make two wishes. They achieve their goals.

I don't agree that the Namek arc serves as some great denouement to his character arc, however I feel like people have some issue with Goku not having some history with Freeza so it doesn't feel as climactic, and I just feel like that's completely wrong. Goku doesn't have the history that Vegeta does, but he damn sure has a personal issue that develops over the course of their battle and that's just as interesting. Thematically it still works because Freeza is a racist, classist dick. Vegeta was also a classist douchebag. They judged Goku based on his superficial qualities and would end up paying the price. Through hard work and hardships, Goku is able to defeat the ultimate big bad (to that point). Not only is Freeza brought down by the beings he thought so little of, yet felt uneasy about, he was brought down by one of their rejects. He was defeated by a reject of a reject.
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by OhHiRenan » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:13 am

The idea that Goku and Freeza having no pre-established relationship being a bad thing is just ridiculous to me, as it completely ignores all the dialogue between Goku & Freeza during their fight– dialogue that develops a very discenerable and easy to understand dynamic between the two characters that more than makes up for Goku's lack of connection to Freeza before fighting him. A dynamic that's still ingrained in modern Dragon Ball. You can't ignore the fact that Goku and Freeza develop a clear relationship with one another during their fight. They don't have a pre-established history, but they create one.

Abed's also right about Freeza being a thematic extension of Vegeta's role in the Saiyan arc. Goku is still a lower class Saiyan, and while his heritage isn't something he deals with in an explicit manner, like Gaffer Tape said it's a small part of the story, which means it shouldn't be brushed aside. Goku's dialogue and behavior at the end of the Freeza arc feel like a natural extension of how his character evolved throughout the Saiyan arc. So what if he's barely in the first half? I fail to see how that is a bad thing. Namek is everyone's story, including Goku. It truly does not matter in the slightest that he isn't on Namek during the first half of the arc. It's this storytelling that allows Gohan, Kuririn, and Vegeta to thrive as characters (and they continue to thrive alongside Goku after he shows up.)

Dragon Ball does not exist in an arc to arc vacuum where stories and themes reset. The series' thematic and narrative priorities shift, but Goku doesn't suddenly become a new character when he leaves to Namek, and Dragon Ball doesn't throw away the arcs & themes it was playing with during the Saiyan arc.
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by ABED » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:21 am

OhHiRenan wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:13 am
The idea that Goku and Freeza having no pre-establish relationship being a bad thing is just ridiculous to me, as it completely ignores all the dialogue between Goku & Freeza during their fight– dialogue that develops a very discenerable and easy to understand dynamic between the two characters that more than makes up for Goku's lack of connection to Freeza before fighting him. A dynamic that's still ingrained in modern Dragon Ball. You can't ignore the fact that Goku and Freeza develop a clear relationship with one another during their fight. They don't have a pre-established history, but they create one.
It's like saying Die Hard is bad because there's no pre-existing connection between John McClane and Hans Gruber. It doesn't start off as personal but it damn sure becomes personal.
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Re: Goku's long absences in the story

Post by emperior » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:57 am

I never had a problem with Goku’s long absences, in fact I love every single time Goku comes up at the last moment with new powers and we see how superior he is to the others. It always made Goku feel special to me, and I had the same feelings as the OP did.

These absences also meant other characters could shine while Goku was out.

As for the discussion that emerged about Ginyu Force being filler, I actually think the most fillerish part of the Freeza arc is without a doubt the fight with Freeza up until he transforms into his final form. It’s just a stall of time from the heroes’ side. While the fight with the Ginyus, at least, has Vegeta join Gohan and Krillin and is basically build-up for Goku to arrive and display his power in a cool way.

But surely the story is fine as it is, in fact it’s one of my favorite arcs and even if I feel like Freeza’s fight is filler until Goku arrives (especially all the transformations he has) I still think it’s very entertaining and well done so it’s the good kind of filler stuff.

Maybe the only thing I would change is Freeza’s ability to transform. First of all, I would play it as an unexpected revelation by Freeza himself, so Zarbon wouldn’t tell Vegeta or the audience about this ability of Freeza.
530’000 of battle power is already much higher than the 180’000 Goku displayed against Ginyu, so there was no reason to make it 1 million by having Freeza transform right at the beginning. The fight with Freeza would play exactly like it did, just with no transformation added in the mix. Gohan, Vegeta and Krillin would have some hopes of either beating Freeza, or wear him out for Goku to have an easier fight later.
Piccolo would be just another ally to help against Freeza, which is basically the role he had in the manga. But in this case he would still be no match for Freeza.
Then Goku arrives puts a good fight against 1st form Freeza until Freeza reveals his final form the same way he revealed he was holding back against Goku.
I think this would help make the fight with Freeza less bloated in terms of power levels, would make some sense out of Krillin and Gohan surviving so long against him and would remove the super-filler aspect of Freeza always transforming after having taken some damage, basically resetting every single effort of the heroes.
Even Dende’s ability was ultimately just filler to stall for time.

As for Goku not having a personal conflict with Freeza, some other posters have pointed out how that is developed through their fight. And both the Bardock TV special and Minus tried to add more to this conflict to make it more personal.
悟 “Vincit qui se vincit”

What I consider canonical

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