Dragon Ball Lore

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

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ABED
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Dragon Ball Lore

Post by ABED » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:02 pm

Film Critic Hulk has a fascinating article about lore that is well worth the read and got me thinking about DB's lore. People here know I'm not a lore person. I find it mostly boring, especially when a lot of emphasis is placed on it in the story. If it's out of text, it's tolerable, provided it doesn't infringe on the text. By that I mean I don't want to watch a story and have some gatekeeper tell me "you'd know if you read [fill in the blank]" which often is some guidebook or interview by the author or cartoon, etc. Bottom line, it's the story that made us fans, lore is croutons on a salad. DB continues to work well because it's a simple and clear story. We know why the characters are doing what they are doing. The lack of lore isn't a bug, it's a feature.

Here's a link to the article: https://www.patreon.com/posts/36291441
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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by MyVisionity » Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:47 pm

Dragon Ball isn't a lore-type series. Too much lore and Dragon Ball is no longer Dragon Ball. And it feels convoluted and unnecessary.

Lore probably works better for more epic-type series like Star Wars/Lord of the Rings, hard fantasy/sci-fi series, or long-running/broad-range type series.

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by ABED » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:03 pm

Even Star Wars deep lore feels superfluous. The original Star Wars was made such a huge impact because of its likable characters and sufficiently simple narrative and recognizable archetypes. Even for all the talk about Tolkien's middle Earth lore, the reason LOTR and The Hobbit are enjoyed by millions of people is because they have pretty simple stories and there's something to be said for a story where the most important character is a the smallest and unlikeliest of heroes. He's a normal everyday person and who can't identify with that? Lore comes out of the story, not in place of it.
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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by WittyUsername » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:24 pm

Modern Dragon Ball definitely comes across as more lore focused than classic Dragon Ball, I’ll say that much.

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by Matches Malone » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:29 pm

I think lore is important, but too much of it can bring a story down. For example, I don't mind having a hierarchy of powerful characters, but not to the point of having multiple groups that I have to remember, how they're tied to each other, and how they impact everything. I think another issue a lot of series face is too much set up. One of the things I like about DB is that it puts all its focus on the story it's telling. When you were watching Namek, you weren't constantly being switched over to Babidi planning something that you wouldn't see for another 100+ episodes. When you do that, you take away from the story you're currently telling. If I'm being told that Buu is going to show up...later, then why would I care about Freeza ? One issue that I have with One Piece (which I like despite it) is the excessive backstories. I understand that giving your characters rich stories will in turn enrich the lore of your world, but not everyone has to have a super deep story for us to care about them. When you're always stopping the current event in order to jump back 10+ years to tell us about everyone's past, it just ruins the pacing of it.

I always read criticism against DB that Toriyama's world isn't as deep as others, and I completely disagree with that. You don't need to have countless chapters and episodes dedicated to every little thing for your world to be deep. When you take the time to look past the fights, you can easily see that DB's world is just as rich as any other series out there, both in terms of what the world includes and the characters that live in it.

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by Melee_Sovereign » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:30 pm

Lore is important because it's basically the setting of whatever given fiction. We may find the characters likeable, but characters don't exist in a vacuum. They exist in the world they live in, and they are shaped by it. If Luke Skywalker was born in the LoTR universe, he would likely be a completely different person. He would likely also follow a completely different plot. No learning about The Force, or being a Jedi or anything like that.

Lore becomes boring when it becomes far too detached or distance from the plot and characters, rather than being the broad frame that shapes the plot and characters. Lore isn't intrinsically boring. It's just boring when it isn't done right (like anything really).

Granted, there are works of fiction where the lore it self is the central focus, or an extremely heavy focus, like the Cthulhu Mythos, or games like Bloodborne (which is based on the Cthulhu Mythos), and Dark Souls. The former two are horror, so maybe that's why it works. I generally like interesting characters, but Bloodborne is one of the few things that wasn't heavily character focus that I found had an a completely enthralling plot, and it's because of the lore. Hands down, best video game ever imo.

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by TheBigBoy » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:03 pm

Wait...THIS Film Crit Hulk?

Please rethink signal boosting his work...these attitudes are NOT OK. :cry:

https://twitter.com/husbandsrevenge/sta ... 1550941187

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by goku the krump dancer » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:21 pm

TheBigBoy wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:03 pm
Wait...THIS Film Crit Hulk?

Please rethink signal boosting his work...these attitudes are NOT OK. :cry:

https://twitter.com/husbandsrevenge/sta ... 1550941187
Eh it's no big deal, you can like someone or admire their work and not agree with everything they do or say outside of said work.

We all love Goku but we dont always agree with his decision making.
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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by ABED » Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:04 pm

TheBigBoy wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:03 pm
Wait...THIS Film Crit Hulk?

Please rethink signal boosting his work...these attitudes are NOT OK. :cry:

https://twitter.com/husbandsrevenge/sta ... 1550941187
https://twitter.com/FilmCritHULK?ref_sr ... r%5Eauthor
No, THIS film critic hulk
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.
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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by LoganForkHands73 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:34 pm

Melee_Sovereign wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:30 pm
If Luke Skywalker was born in the LoTR universe, he would likely be a completely different person.
He'd probably just be Frodo as a human. Both are based on the same Campbell "Hero" archetype after all 8)

I kid, of course there would be differences. Speaking of Star Wars, I suppose my main issue with the deep lore from the old "Legends" expanded universe is that the events detailed in the distant past, i.e. KOTOR or future, i.e. Legacy seem so much more epic that it ironically becomes harder to take seriously that the Original Trilogy would be considered that special or important to the Galaxy's history. Like, an evil Sith emperor takes over the whole Galaxy? How shocking, it's only happened like 50 times before and will continue to happen at least half a dozen times more. That's why I was initially okay with Disney wiping most of it away. I enjoy the fact that every Star Wars character was given an expanded story, but how necessary is it, really?

On the same token, Dragon Ball doesn't need a whole backstory on that one random civilian who Dr. Gero brutally decapitated on Amenbo Island. I don't mind it occasionally, i.e. with Cranberry who at least became relevant again. The series is best when it keeps a tight focus on the main characters and establishes new characters around them. It's why spin-offs about the Time Patrol or whatever don't interest me nearly as much or "feel" like Dragon Ball.
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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by Lord Beerus » Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:30 pm

I've said this before and I'll say it again:

Lore and world building is NOT a substitute for an actual narrative. It's the character(s) that tells the story, NOT the lore.

That isn't to say that lore and world building doesn't have a place in a story, but you must make sure to properly define the character(s) before you turn your attention to building the world they occupy with lore. It's the character(s) that the audience get invested into the most, not the world they live in.

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by Melee_Sovereign » Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:05 pm

Lord Beerus wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:30 pm

Lore and world building is NOT a substitute for an actual narrative. It's the character(s) that tells the story, NOT the lore.
That doesn't necessarily have to be true. You can have a lore-centric story, and there's nothing wrong with that.

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by ABED » Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:29 pm

Melee_Sovereign wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:05 pm
Lord Beerus wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:30 pm

Lore and world building is NOT a substitute for an actual narrative. It's the character(s) that tells the story, NOT the lore.
That doesn't necessarily have to be true. You can have a lore-centric story, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Except if it's centered on exposition, it's not concentrating on narrative, theme, character development, conflicts both internal and external, setups and payoffs.
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.
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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by ekrolo2 » Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:38 pm

I'm with ABED, I have stopped caring hard about lore shit. I don't care about who makes the hyperdrive model of the Millenium Falcon or who forged the first Witcher medallion,... It's fluff, pure, and simple. Can I appreciate good lore if I care enough to check it out? Sure. But DBs 0 fucks given approach to that particular side of writing is something I 100% support.
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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by Melee_Sovereign » Fri Apr 24, 2020 6:19 pm

ABED wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:29 pm

Except if it's centered on exposition, it's not concentrating on narrative, theme, character development, conflicts both internal and external, setups and payoffs.
Novels like The Color out of Space, and the Southern Reach trilogy are lore-centric (or world-centric), and it's not used as some sort of cheap exposition. And the main character(s) are deliberately one-dimensional (they don't even have names), because they're only meant to serve as a perspective to the strange world unfolding around them (you could even say they basically represent the reader).

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by LoganForkHands73 » Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:08 pm

Hmm... I think with everything it's all down to execution and authorial intent. Like Melee says, different writers take different approaches to it and some pull it off well. Take big fantasy franchises like LOTR and ASoIaF. Both Tolkien and GRRM wanted their universes to be extremely rich in lore and backstory from the beginning and authored all of it themselves. Therefore, even the most far-out lore always feels relevant and heartfelt. Toriyama on the other hand has never been interested in lore, outside stuff regarding the Saiyans, who are after all the main characters. The recent manga arc has had a more generous amount of it than usual, probably more from Toyotaro's fanboy input, but it's been tolerable and interesting enough because it's not overdone.

Going back to my Star Wars example, I'd never say that all of the old expanded universe was bad - hell, I'm still a fan of some of it - but it's clear that many ascended fanboy writers got carried away with bloating what George Lucas intended to be a simple, timeless story. That's where the disconnect kicks in. Similar case with Doctor Who, the more boring crap we see or hear about the Doctor's home planet Gallifrey, the less interesting it gets.
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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by Sadala Elite » Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:21 pm

WittyUsername wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:24 pm
Modern Dragon Ball definitely comes across as more lore focused than classic Dragon Ball, I’ll say that much.
Dragonball Heroes (the games and manga, not the promo anime) is the only piece of DB media that's lore centric.

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by Sadala Elite » Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:31 pm

Lore only matters when it has direct relevance to the story that's currently being told and/or the major characters in it. That's why the only Dragonball lore that seems to have any lasting appeal and value is the stuff about the Saiyans (and to a lesser extent Freeza).

As for Star Wars, to be honest, a lot of the Expanded Universe stuff is a lot better than the Sequel Trilogy (and most of the Prequel Trilogy except Revenge of the Sith)

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by WittyUsername » Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:39 pm

Sadala Elite wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:21 pm
WittyUsername wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:24 pm
Modern Dragon Ball definitely comes across as more lore focused than classic Dragon Ball, I’ll say that much.
Dragonball Heroes (the games and manga, not the promo anime) is the only piece of DB media that's lore centric.
I don’t know if I’d say that. Super has focused pretty heavily on the hierarchy surrounding deities in the Dragon Ball world.

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Re: Dragon Ball Lore

Post by Sadala Elite » Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:43 pm

LoganForkHands73 wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 4:34 pm
Melee_Sovereign wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:30 pm
If Luke Skywalker was born in the LoTR universe, he would likely be a completely different person.
He'd probably just be Frodo as a human. Both are based on the same Campbell "Hero" archetype after all 8)

I kid, of course there would be differences. Speaking of Star Wars, I suppose my main issue with the deep lore from the old "Legends" expanded universe is that the events detailed in the distant past, i.e. KOTOR or future, i.e. Legacy seem so much more epic that it ironically becomes harder to take seriously that the Original Trilogy would be considered that special or important to the Galaxy's history. Like, an evil Sith emperor takes over the whole Galaxy? How shocking, it's only happened like 50 times before and will continue to happen at least half a dozen times more. That's why I was initially okay with Disney wiping most of it away. I enjoy the fact that every Star Wars character was given an expanded story, but how necessary is it, really?

On the same token, Dragon Ball doesn't need a whole backstory on that one random civilian who Dr. Gero brutally decapitated on Amenbo Island. I don't mind it occasionally, i.e. with Cranberry who at least became relevant again. The series is best when it keeps a tight focus on the main characters and establishes new characters around them. It's why spin-offs about the Time Patrol or whatever don't interest me nearly as much or "feel" like Dragon Ball.
Well considering how much the Sequel trilogy sucks (and retcons and contradicts much of the Original Trilogy), I'd take the Legends stuff over it any day.

And as for Dragonball spinoffs like Xenoverse and Time Patrol, well most of it actually is centered around the main characters, the "lore" aspect mainly comes in the form of new villains or items they find along the way.

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