ABED wrote: ↑
Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:17 pm
Can you say why you think it's cynical without using the word? I think that would be helpful to all involved, especially me.
People here seem to have different ideas on what defines something as cynical, so I guess it’s tough to explain, but I’ll give it a shot.
In the world (or universe) of DB, there’s a general sense that things are kind of screwed up. The people of Earth (more so once Mr. Satan is introduced) are often portrayed as selfish idiots, and the main cast of characters also tend to have their selfish streaks. Toriyama himself has stated that he considers Goku to be an inherently selfish person who only really saves the world by accident, and indeed, Goku has been shown making some pretty baffling and selfish decisions for no reason other than to enjoy a good fight. Yes, I know that it’s a martial arts series, but it’s also a series where world ending threats are a regular occurrence, so it’s difficult to not view the decisions these characters often make as boneheaded.
Then you have the fact that Freeza’s empire/organization were/are presumably a dominant force in the universe, with everyone either being powerless to stop them, or being completely apathetic to them. That is a rather dark implication, especially now that Freeza is currently alive again in the story.
Of course, we’ve also already talked about the first arc of the series, but that arc is notable because it has a certain sense of mean-spiritedness and irreverence to it. It’s a gag story where nothing is really taken seriously, and some downright appalling behavior is played for laughs. Yes, the characters are not completely irredeemable scumbags, but you don’t really get the impression that they learned anything by the end of their ordeal.
Once again, I’m not saying that a work of fiction has to be the Care Bears in order to not be cynical. LotR can get pretty dark, but it’s still ultimately a hopeful story about good overcoming evil.
Also, I’m not saying that DB is a story that revels in cruelty and misery. I’m just saying that Toriyama’s writing has a certain sense of irreverence to it that makes it noteworthy. People have pointed out that Toei has had a tendency to make DB more of a traditional good vs. evil story, and that’s probably for a reason.
To be clear, I’m not necessarily saying it’s a bad thing that DB isn’t strictly focused on good vs. evil plots. It’s not a Western superhero story, and that’s fine. Just because something is geared towards kids, doesn’t mean it has to promote positive messages or whatever. If Dragon Ball Minus
is any indication, Toriyama is pretty bad at telling wholesome and heartwarming stories anyway.