Dragon Ball, by Jean-Paul Sartre

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Dragon Ball, by Jean-Paul Sartre

Post by *PINHEAD* » Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:33 am

This is a children's cartoon. It was published in a magazine aimed at young boys, aired at times suitable for a young audience, marketed in merchandising with products for kids. With that said, let's move on to the greater implications of this little world Mr. Toriyama has occupied our stagnant gray matter with so thoughtlessly.

What we see from the very beginning of this irreverent parody up to the end of this cultural phenom is the displacement of moral and metaphysical objectivity. The characters themselves are some of Asia's most culturally impacting and influential legends reduced to toilet humor and comic antics. The moon can blow up and nothing really bad happens to tides or weather fronts or the entire world's ecosystem for that matter. We learn that God is not only old and wrinkly, but actually an alien, and a coward, who can't do much other than watch helplessly from above.

The series revolves, at least in principle, around mystical objects that can supposedly grant any wish. The first wish is for panties. As the series progresses we learn that these once all-powerful relics are in fact limited and temporal, and eventually they become a non-essential plot device. What is originally a godly vessel for divine intervention gets shoved aside into the side story while the true story centers around characters plunged into an absurd world no one but themselves can face. The gods ultimately prove to be not-that-great, if not utterly powerless. If not weak and naive, they are old and depraved. It is ultimately one little boy, a freak with a monkey tail, who becomes the universe's one hope for survival and posterity.

God must resort to taking the form of a human to defeat the devil, to save mankind, but this incarnation fails. To defeat Piccolo, Kami must die. This is absurdity, the death of God or the death of humanity. Yet Goku does not succumb to this harsh reality, he owns up to this and takes the initiative to find victory where all hope is lost. He knows his God is mortal yet he does not abandon him, and in fact, that mortality, that temporality, impermanence, this is what makes Kami such a vital character. Goku becomes the savior, succeeds where God has failed, and he chooses to remain mortal, to not take Kami's throne as God. He owns up to his reality, authentic to his identity, despite his awareness that the idealizations of the past are indeed lies.

The heroes of Dragon Ball must abandon hope in external forces to take care of their problems. Their hope, if it exists, lies in themselves. Trunks is faced with a desolate future where hope is truly absent. Though he does place his hope and faith elsewhere--originally in Gohan and then in Goku--Trunks must take it upon himself to bring about that change. And in the end, he himself becomes responsible for defeating the androids. He is responsible for his destiny, as well as for the rest of humanity, because no one else could or would. He is alone in the world, and he alone can own his plight. He does not stay in the much more pleasant past. He returns to his bleak future to remain true and authentic to what he has, all he has, what is rightfully his no matter how painful or pointless it is.

In crafting this wonderful little children's cartoon our friend Mr. Toriyama has in fact created a stage on which a post-modern drama can unfold. Heroes become villains become heroes, evil intentions produce good results, good intentions produce evil results, reason and objectivism are shoved aside, and the characters must face this unreasonable, impersonal and cold world alone and unflinchingly, the only authentic way. Dragon Ball contains literary implications similar to that of Franz Kafka or Albert Camus. Of course, this isn't what our buddy Akira had in mind while making this series, but this is an interpretation I just came up with some thirty minutes ago.
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Post by Pain » Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:43 am

Huh? What? I'm so confused. I lost you right after"What we see from the very beginning of this irreverent parody up to the end of this cultural phenom is the displacement of moral and metaphysical objectivity." . :?
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Post by Kendamu » Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:51 am

That was a fun read. At first it was sounding kind of critical but as I got further into it the whole thing started to make more sense.

EDIT: My grammar sucks sometimes.
Last edited by Kendamu on Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Pain » Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:56 am

Kendamu wrote:That was a fun read. At first it was sounding kind of critical but as I got further into it the whole thing started to make sense more.
Wait a sec...does PINHEAD think this? Who is Jean Paul Sartre?
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Post by *PINHEAD* » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:04 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Paul_Sartre

This is more of a, dragon ball through the eyes of sartre. The bantering above is me.
Last edited by *PINHEAD* on Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Kendamu » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:05 am

Pain wrote:
Kendamu wrote:That was a fun read. At first it was sounding kind of critical but as I got further into it the whole thing started to make sense more.
Wait a sec...does PINHEAD think this? Who is Jean Paul Sartre?
According to Google, some French guy who died in 1980 who did a lot of writing, critiquing, and philosophy-related stuff.

If I were to take a wild guess, the text in the OP was done in the style of Jean Paul Sartre.


EDIT: Pinhead beat me to it.

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Post by Pain » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:08 am

*PINHEAD* wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Paul_Sartre

This is more of a, dragon ball through the eyes of sartre.
He said that? Impossible. He died in 1980. And Dragonball came out in '84. So I guess old dead French philosophers can come back to life now? :lol:


EDIT: Damn! Kendamu beat me to it!
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Post by Thanos6 » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:49 am

Heh, pretty funny. Reminds me of MST3K's "Jean-Paul Sartre's motorcycle gang."
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