Little Big List (Freeza/Cell/Boo arcs)

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Little Big List (Freeza/Cell/Boo arcs)

Post by Herms » Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:59 am

So, you’ve got first-form Cell. Then you’ve got second-form Cell. Second-form is stronger than first-form, pretty much by definition. Then Super Vegeta comes along, and is quite clearly stronger than second-form Cell. But then perfect Cell shows up…

You don’t have to be some power level nut to know this stuff. I think it’s safe to say that pretty much any DB fan who’s familiar with the Cell arc would consider the above sequence to be accurate. It’s all basically part of the plot. My question is: if we start with Bulma or Farmer with a Shotgun or whoever, and keep working our way up in this “nobody familiar with the series would deny Character A is significantly stronger than Character B” sort of way, how many links until we reach Vegetto? Without just going “Vegetto > Bulma” of course. So a minimalist type approach, but one that still tries to be comprehensive. A maximal minimalism.

I thought I’d give it a shot. If only to see what the minimum you can whittle stuff down to is. Again, I’ll try to stick purely to the main series, and even then mainly reference what we see, or what’s necessary for the plot. No battle powers, no multipliers, no Daizenshuu 7 bios, no Chinese editions of the GT anime comics, etc. Exactly what counts as “necessary for the plot” can get more than a little subjective, but if nothing else I’m trying to err on the side of minimalism. I want a list of things you could show to any fan and they’d go “no shit”, as opposed to a list of things that might be logical and well substantiated but would only be obvious to guys who write battle power charts.

Also, I’m just sticking to the manga. Even with the whole “minimalism” thing, I still don’t feel like trying to tackle Broli or Super Saiyan 4 or whatever the hell is in RoF right now.

Search for the Dragon Balls
For the first story arc, the main setup is you’ve got Bulma (an ordinary girl), then lots of fearsome but relatively conventional menaces (thugs with guns, wild animals, dinosaurs, big bear bandits with swords), and then Goku. It’s taken for granted that Bulma’s no match for the threats, while Goku can handle them all fairly easily. Yamcha’s the only character to give Goku a decent fight, and even then Goku takes him down pretty quickly once he’s got a full stomach (although I bet a lot of people just view the two as basically equal due to how their first fight plays out). Yamcha’s also seen easily taking down armed thugs, so we can consider him a cut above such “conventional threats”. Apart from Yamcha being set up as Goku’s closest thing to a rival, there’s otherwise no real attempt to rank the various other threats in terms of strength. Well, there is Boss Rabbit’s carrot touch, but that’s a special ability unrelated to overall strength, so I’ll just choose to ignore it.

Though they never fight, it’s made fairly clear that Kame-sennin is much stronger than Goku at this point. Oolong also assumes Goku’s no match for Gyuumao, and in the anime Goku fails to scratch him. Oozaru Goku is also much stronger than regular Goku, by definition. None of them fight each other, so for the sake of this story arc I’ll just chuck them all into a general “Off the Chart” category since they’re all stronger than Goku (even if Gyuumao’s a bit iffy, if we’re leaving out the anime), and leave a more detailed analysis for some other day.

If we say based on their rematch that Goku’s a cut above Yamcha, we end up with the following:
  • Off the Chart: Oozaru Goku, Kame-sennin, Gyuumao
    1. Goku
    2. Yamcha
    3. Armed thugs, etc. (“conventional threats”)
    4. Bulma (ordinary people)
If we wanted to be really cut-rate, we could put Goku and Yamcha into the same category, and just say Goku’s at the high end of the category while Yamcha’s at the low end. Certainly, there’s probably much less of a gap between Goku and Yamcha than there is between Bulma and an armed thug. Or between regular Goku and Oozaru Goku, for that matter. But I make no claim that there’s always going to be an equivalent amount of difference between each of these tiers. All I’m saying is, the characters on a higher rung are clearly portrayed as stronger than the characters on the lower rungs. I’m not even saying the lower characters will necessarily lose if they fought the higher characters, just that they’d be the underdogs. Bulma’s often shown beating up Kame-sennin for comedic purposes, but she’s never portrayed as a more powerful martial artist than him.

21st Tenkaichi Budokai
This is where things get a bit tricky. Once Goku finishes his training, he’s obviously way stronger than he was before. That’s the whole idea behind the training. But exactly how much difference is there? In practical terms, what if pre-training Goku had fought Giran or Namu? Or Bacterian and Ran-Fan, for that matter. It seems clear that Goku’s much stronger than Kuririn, but how does post-training Kuririn stack up against pre-training Goku? The tricky part though actually isn’t tackling these questions; the tricky part is trying to tackle them in a way that would be useful and convincing for a casual fan. Is there a way of settling this that doesn’t involve pouring over loads of strength quotes and character feats? What’s the big picture?

Well......Goku gets stronger by training. I already said that, but still, that’s all I can come up with as far as fundamental bedrock for this story arc goes. Last story arc, Kame-sennin definitely seemed stronger than Goku, but after training Goku gives the old guy an embarrassingly close fight. You might argue that Kame-sennin could have won easily if he had just used the Bankoku-Bikkuri-Sho right off the bat, and if there hadn’t been a full moon, but I think most people would consider them equal. If need be we could just say they’re at opposite ends of the same general level. And since regular Goku’s about on par with Kame-sennin, then Oozaru Goku must logically be way stronger than either. On the opposite end of the spectrum, post-training Kuririn seems a step or two below Goku, but also way stronger than Yamcha, at least based off of how long the three last in their respective fights against Kame-sennin.

Ranking the other tournament competitors seems murky, so for now I’ll just settle for this:
  • Off the Chart: Oozaru Goku
    1. Kame-sennin (Jackie Chun), Goku
    2. Kuririn
    3. Yamcha
Red Ribbon Army
Even though there’s a bucket-load of new characters throughout this story arc, the constant seesaw power inflation of the later parts of the series haven’t kicked in yet, so Goku sails through most of it with more or less the same strength he had at the tournament. Or so it seems. When Goku beats up Blue, Kuririn declares that Goku’s gotten a lot stronger since the tournament, but we pretty much just have his word for it (this does imply though that tournament!Goku would have had a much harder time against Blue). We’ll ignore this for now. Goku also says that Arale and friends are stronger than him, but if we try to fit Dr. Slump into this we’ll be here all day. Goku also says Android No.8’s punch was stronger than him, but since he never does much fighting outside that one punch he’s hard to get a handle on.

So it’s really not until Tao Pai Pai shows up that we get a solid, definitive enemy stronger than Goku’s ever faced before. Then Goku powers up training under Karin and…well, I want to say he’s a level above Tao Pai Pai after that. During their rematch he definitely seems to have the upper hand from start to finish, but I don’t know if I’d say there’s as big a difference between them as (for instace) Jackie Chun and Kuririn at the tournament. But again, I’ve resolved not to get too hung up on their being equal distances between the rungs of my ladder, so for now we’ll settle on this:
  • Off the Chart: Arale and co., No.8 (?)
    1. Goku (post-Karin)
    2. Tao Pai Pai
    3. Goku (pre-Karin)
    4. Kuririn
Blue probably ought to be stuck in there between pre-Karin Goku and Kuririn, although Kuririn did give him some trouble. His psychic powers make him hard to place too.

Uranai Baba
Goku beats the pants off of everybody. The end. Even Grandpa Gohan seems the underdog in their fight, though it’s a closer match than with Tao Pai Pai. On that note….during the 22nd tournament, Goku talks about using “match power” for tournament matches and (confusingly) “battle power” for life-and-death struggles. He fights Tenshinhan at full “match power” for a bit before switching to “battle power” when he sees Tenshinhan’s trying to kill him. So, is it possible Tao Pai Pai and Gohan are really closer than they seem, and Goku’s just not fighting as hard against Gohan since it’s just a tournament match? I mostly bring this up because at the 22nd TB, Kame-sennin’s amazed that Goku defeated Tao Pai Pai, even though he watched Goku and Gohan’s entire fight. It’s not exactly a huge plot hole that cries out for a solution, but the thought occurred to me. For now though, I’ll just treat Gohan as roughly on par with Goku.

Kame-sennin says tournament!Goku probably couldn’t beat the Mummy guy. Which if nothing else is weird because while the Mummy guy easily beats Yamcha, he doesn’t beat him nearly as quickly as Kame-sennin himself beat Yamcha back at the tournament. So did Yamcha get a lot stronger since the tournament? And are we supposed to assume the Mummy’s stronger than Kame-sennin too? I’m not saying it’s impossible, it just seems a bit strange. Either way, Uranai Baba says each of her fighters is stronger than the last, and Akkuman does way better against Goku than the Mummy…despite still losing really easily.
  • 1. Goku, Grandpa Gohan
    2. Akkuman
    3. Mummy
    4. Yamcha
Rest of the fighters put on hold because I can’t be bothered.

Combo
I’ll take a break here and try to combine the lists for the first four story arcs into one. Here they all are again for a quick refresher:
I’ll continue to ignore Oozaru Goku and Gyuumao for now, but for the 21st TB all I could really come up with is that post-training Goku is obviously stronger than pre-training Goku, and about on par with Kame-sennin. I like to think post-training Kuririn must surely be stronger than pre-training Goku at the very least, but definitive proof is lacking. It’d also be nice to think that Yamcha’s gotten a lot stronger training for the tournament, but that’s even more tenuous. Somehow I feel it’s unlikely anyone will actually argue that tournament!Kuririn is weaker than initial!Goku. He did move that huge rock Goku couldn’t budge at first, if nothing else.

I’m treating RR arc pre-Karin Goku as roughly the same as 21TB!Goku (geez, this terminology gets cumbersome fast). Kuririn and Yamcha are presumably the same too. I’m continuing to ignore Blue. OK, so is the Mummy really stronger than 21TB!Goku? If so, then Akkuman should be too. Mummy’s obviously way weaker than Tao Pai Pai (he goes down in one punch), but I can halfway imagine Akkuman as roughly Tao’s equal, though it’s a stretch. All of this is really more “into the weeds” than I wanted to bother with for the moment.

I’d rather die than try to tackle Arale and co. Android No.8 though….it’s not too hard to imagine Goku surpassing him training under Karin. He’s really just got that single “more powerful than Goku’s” punch to his name. Still, he theoretically could be as strong as No.16 for all we know.

Alright then, let’s go with this:
  • 1. Goku (post-Karin), Grandpa Gohan
    2. Tao Pai Pai
    3. Kame-sennin (Jackie Chun), Goku (21st TB)
    4. Kuririn (21st TB)
    5. Goku (initial)
    6. Yamcha
    7. Armed thugs, etc (“conventional threats”)
    8. Bulma (ordinary people)
This really is taking much longer than I anticipated. Why do all my ideas end up like this? Anyway, I’ll continue on with the rest later.
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Re: Little Big List

Post by Cipher » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:16 am

You're doing god's work.

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Re: Little Big List

Post by Diotor » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:14 am

Good list. Only had time to skim it due to being at work, but I'll take a more in depth look a little later.

Keep it up! :thumbup:

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Re: Little Big List

Post by Confidence Matters » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:17 pm

I just wish there was a way to establish just how much stronger the true brutes of the Boo saga are from each other. No one knows how much stronger anyone is post-Frieza, especially in the Boo saga

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Re: Little Big List

Post by thefalseprophecy » Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:53 pm

Confidence Matters wrote:I just wish there was a way to establish just how much stronger the true brutes of the Boo saga are from each other. No one knows how much stronger anyone is post-Frieza, especially in the Boo saga


Me too. I've always felt that it was a mistake that no battle powers were provided post-Freeza.

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Re: Little Big List

Post by Darkprince410 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:13 pm

I disagree. I think it was better left the way it was. Sure, some of the various arguments and debates had over the years would have been unnecessary since those numbers would be right there for us to see, but I feel it'd be too constraining story wise to have such specifics. It's far easier to depict someone as just "vastly stronger than so and so" as opposed to someone being "twelve and a half times as strong as so and so". That vagueness helps keep things simpler really.

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Re: Little Big List

Post by singsing » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:21 pm

Power levels would be unnecessary, but definite statements would have been nice.

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Re: Little Big List

Post by thefalseprophecy » Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:49 pm

Darkprince410 wrote:I disagree. I think it was better left the way it was. Sure, some of the various arguments and debates had over the years would have been unnecessary since those numbers would be right there for us to see, but I feel it'd be too constraining story wise to have such specifics. It's far easier to depict someone as just "vastly stronger than so and so" as opposed to someone being "twelve and a half times as strong as so and so". That vagueness helps keep things simpler really.
I totally agree about not providing any more battle powers in the story itself. What I meant was that I believe that battle powers should have been provided retroactively by Shueisha.

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Re: Little Big List

Post by Dayspring » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:40 pm

Regarding the original post:

For what it's worth, Pamputt (or whatever his name is) considered by Kamesennin to be the apex of what an ordinary human fighter can achieve. The guy can demolish a massive slab of concrete with ease. That gives us an idea as to how powerful regular human fighters can be.
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Re: Little Big List

Post by Confidence Matters » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:04 pm

Darkprince410 wrote:I disagree. I think it was better left the way it was. Sure, some of the various arguments and debates had over the years would have been unnecessary since those numbers would be right there for us to see, but I feel it'd be too constraining story wise to have such specifics. It's far easier to depict someone as just "vastly stronger than so and so" as opposed to someone being "twelve and a half times as strong as so and so". That vagueness helps keep things simpler really.
I partially agree, that was probably part of AT's plan all along - be vague enough to spark endless debates in order to keep people talkin' for ages and DB is immortal!

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Re: Little Big List

Post by DBZAOTA482 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:05 pm

^Yep, he did it to prove strength can't be determined by mere numbers... which Vegeta himself even states.
Dayspring wrote:Regarding the original post:

For what it's worth, Pamputt (or whatever his name is) considered by Kamesennin to be the apex of what an ordinary human fighter can achieve. The guy can demolish a massive slab of concrete with ease. That gives us an idea as to how powerful regular human fighters can be.
So... Pamput is the representation of peak human levels and not Videl or her weak-ass father...? Nice. The guy is actually able to do flurries without exerting himself... though he made a big deal about it.... so by that moment it was painfully obvious he was outclassed.

I think he'd be somewhat of a threat during the 21st Budokai.... as long as he doesn't have Yamcha's bad luck.
fadeddreams5 wrote:
DBZGTKOSDH wrote:... Haven't we already gotten these in GT? Goku dies, the DBs go away, and the Namekian DBs most likely won't be used again because of the Evil Dragons.
Goku didn't die in GT. The show sucked him off so much, it was impossible to keep him in the world of the living, so he ascended beyond mortality.
jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:31 am
I'm just about done with the concept of reboots and making shows that were products of their time and impactful "new and sexy" and in line with modern tastes and sensibilities. Let stuff stay in their era and give today's kids their own shit to watch.

I always side eye the people who say "Now my kids/today's kids can experience what I did as a child!" Nigga, who gives a fuck about your childhood? You're an adult now and it was at least 15 years ago. Let the kids have their own experience instead of picking at a corpse.

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Re: Little Big List

Post by Dayspring » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:38 pm

DBZAOTA482 wrote:^Yep, he did it to prove strength can't be determined by mere numbers... which Vegeta himself even states.
Dayspring wrote:Regarding the original post:

For what it's worth, Pamputt (or whatever his name is) considered by Kamesennin to be the apex of what an ordinary human fighter can achieve. The guy can demolish a massive slab of concrete with ease. That gives us an idea as to how powerful regular human fighters can be.
So... Pamput is the representation of peak human levels and not Videl or her weak-ass father...? Nice. The guy is actually able to do flurries without exerting himself... though he made a big deal about it.... so by that moment it was painfully obvious he was outclassed.

I think he'd be somewhat of a threat during the 21st Budokai.... as long as he doesn't have Yamcha's bad luck.
Satan is also very strong in his own right. Remember that his punch machine score at the 25th Budokai was still the highest among the regular humans who qualified. The 25th also drew more fighters than all the previous ones due to Satan's popularity, so that's telling a lot. I'd compare Satan to Pamput as Tsurusennin to Kamesennin. Both very strong, one visibly stronger than the other but not able to win with ease.
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Re: Little Big List

Post by Faustus » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:44 pm

Dayspring wrote:Satan is also very strong in his own right. Remember that his punch machine score at the 25th Budokai was still the highest among the regular humans who qualified. The 25th also drew more fighters than all the previous ones due to Satan's popularity, so that's telling a lot. I'd compare Satan to Pamput as Tsurusennin to Kamesennin. Both very strong, one visibly stronger than the other but not able to win with ease.
Pamput is Satan's kid brother, clearly.

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Re: Little Big List

Post by DBZAOTA482 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:50 pm

^Pamput is older than Mr. Satan.
Dayspring wrote:
DBZAOTA482 wrote:^Yep, he did it to prove strength can't be determined by mere numbers... which Vegeta himself even states.
Dayspring wrote:Regarding the original post:

For what it's worth, Pamputt (or whatever his name is) considered by Kamesennin to be the apex of what an ordinary human fighter can achieve. The guy can demolish a massive slab of concrete with ease. That gives us an idea as to how powerful regular human fighters can be.
So... Pamput is the representation of peak human levels and not Videl or her weak-ass father...? Nice. The guy is actually able to do flurries without exerting himself... though he made a big deal about it.... so by that moment it was painfully obvious he was outclassed.

I think he'd be somewhat of a threat during the 21st Budokai.... as long as he doesn't have Yamcha's bad luck.
Satan is also very strong in his own right. Remember that his punch machine score at the 25th Budokai was still the highest among the regular humans who qualified. The 25th also drew more fighters than all the previous ones due to Satan's popularity, so that's telling a lot. I'd compare Satan to Pamput as Tsurusennin to Kamesennin. Both very strong, one visibly stronger than the other but not able to win with ease.
I know he's strong for a human but damn... Pamput's feat of destroying a big chunk of a wall (an impressive feat in the 21st Budokai) with an elbow smash seems far more impressive than Mr. Satan almost breaking his hand from smashing 14 out of 15 tiles especially since it got more of a reaction from the audience. BoDB Goku can break 3 with his index finger, and Roshi thought he needed his training just to past the preliminary rounds.

He seems more of an Olympic level fighter...same with Videl.
fadeddreams5 wrote:
DBZGTKOSDH wrote:... Haven't we already gotten these in GT? Goku dies, the DBs go away, and the Namekian DBs most likely won't be used again because of the Evil Dragons.
Goku didn't die in GT. The show sucked him off so much, it was impossible to keep him in the world of the living, so he ascended beyond mortality.
jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:31 am
I'm just about done with the concept of reboots and making shows that were products of their time and impactful "new and sexy" and in line with modern tastes and sensibilities. Let stuff stay in their era and give today's kids their own shit to watch.

I always side eye the people who say "Now my kids/today's kids can experience what I did as a child!" Nigga, who gives a fuck about your childhood? You're an adult now and it was at least 15 years ago. Let the kids have their own experience instead of picking at a corpse.

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Re: Little Big List

Post by Dayspring » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:19 pm

DBZAOTA482 wrote: I know he's strong for a human but damn... Pamput's feat of destroying a big chunk of a wall (an impressive feat in the 21st Budokai) with an elbow smash seems far more impressive than Mr. Satan almost breaking his hand from smashing 14 out of 15 tiles especially since it got more of a reaction from the audience. BoDB Goku can break 3 with his index finger, and Roshi thought he needed his training just to past the preliminary rounds.

He seems more of an Olympic level fighter...same with Videl.
It's not quite like that, though. Fighters who make it to the finals (meaning the fights viewed by spectators) are the best the world has to offer. It's like saying the crummier of them are gold-level Olympians and the majority are the Michael Phelps of fighting. Satan in this case would be better than Michael Phelps since he even won a Budokai. He's essentially among the upper 0.1% of fighters.

Also, Videl might plausibly have surpassed what's considered normal for humans once Gohan trained her how to fly. I'd still put her beneath Tchappah (or however his name is spelled), though.
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Re: Little Big List

Post by DBZAOTA482 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:00 pm

Dayspring wrote:
DBZAOTA482 wrote: I know he's strong for a human but damn... Pamput's feat of destroying a big chunk of a wall (an impressive feat in the 21st Budokai) with an elbow smash seems far more impressive than Mr. Satan almost breaking his hand from smashing 14 out of 15 tiles especially since it got more of a reaction from the audience. BoDB Goku can break 3 with his index finger, and Roshi thought he needed his training just to past the preliminary rounds.

He seems more of an Olympic level fighter...same with Videl.
It's not quite like that, though. Fighters who make it to the finals (meaning the fights viewed by spectators) are the best the world has to offer. It's like saying the crummier of them are gold-level Olympians and the majority are the Michael Phelps of fighting. Satan in this case would be better than Michael Phelps since he even won a Budokai. He's essentially among the upper 0.1% of fighters.

Also, Videl might plausibly have surpassed what's considered normal for humans once Gohan trained her how to fly. I'd still put her beneath Tchappah (or however his name is spelled), though.
The Announcer did say the 24th Budokai was "boring" and at "such a low-level" so I don't think any super strong fighters attended that one... possibly due to age and/or being hopelessly outclassed by Goku and the others. He just lucked out.

Doubt it. Fast flurries are strenuous to her. Do you think any master level (or even close to) fighter would get sweaty and tired just from doing that?

Oh, and do you mean King Chapa?
Last edited by DBZAOTA482 on Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
fadeddreams5 wrote:
DBZGTKOSDH wrote:... Haven't we already gotten these in GT? Goku dies, the DBs go away, and the Namekian DBs most likely won't be used again because of the Evil Dragons.
Goku didn't die in GT. The show sucked him off so much, it was impossible to keep him in the world of the living, so he ascended beyond mortality.
jjgp1112 wrote:
Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:31 am
I'm just about done with the concept of reboots and making shows that were products of their time and impactful "new and sexy" and in line with modern tastes and sensibilities. Let stuff stay in their era and give today's kids their own shit to watch.

I always side eye the people who say "Now my kids/today's kids can experience what I did as a child!" Nigga, who gives a fuck about your childhood? You're an adult now and it was at least 15 years ago. Let the kids have their own experience instead of picking at a corpse.

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Re: Little Big List

Post by singsing » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:11 pm

Dayspring wrote:
DBZAOTA482 wrote: I know he's strong for a human but damn... Pamput's feat of destroying a big chunk of a wall (an impressive feat in the 21st Budokai) with an elbow smash seems far more impressive than Mr. Satan almost breaking his hand from smashing 14 out of 15 tiles especially since it got more of a reaction from the audience. BoDB Goku can break 3 with his index finger, and Roshi thought he needed his training just to past the preliminary rounds.

He seems more of an Olympic level fighter...same with Videl.
It's not quite like that, though. Fighters who make it to the finals (meaning the fights viewed by spectators) are the best the world has to offer. It's like saying the crummier of them are gold-level Olympians and the majority are the Michael Phelps of fighting. Satan in this case would be better than Michael Phelps since he even won a Budokai. He's essentially among the upper 0.1% of fighters.

Also, Videl might plausibly have surpassed what's considered normal for humans once Gohan trained her how to fly. I'd still put her beneath Tchappah (or however his name is spelled), though.
Most decorated and successful Olympian in history who owns a shitton of records is considered not upper .1%?

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Re: Little Big List

Post by Herms » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:41 am

22nd Tenkaichi Budokai

Someone once said that the great thing about this story arc is how it feels like all the characters have a shot at winning the tournament. OK, Panput and Man-Wolf are pretty much out to sea, but other than that it’s a fairly level playing field. While it’s clear Goku and Tenshinhan are the top competitors, they’re not so far removed from the rest, especially compared to what we get in later story arcs. Tenshinhan may deflect Yamcha’s Kamehameha, but he needs to perform a fancy kung-fu move to do so. He can’t just stand there and let it harmlessly crash into him, like Piccolo and so many later villains (or Tao Pai Pai, for that matter). And compare their match to the last time Yamcha went up against the eventual tournament champion.

Likewise, Goku promises to not hold back against Kuririn, and while he has the upper hand throughout the entire match, it’s still “the most fun” fight Goku’s ever had. Even in the finals when Goku reveals he’s merely been using his “match power” up until then and switches to his “battle power” to fight Tenshinhan, the concept behind this is that Goku starts fighting harder because he’s now treating the fight as a life-or-death struggle rather than a sports competition. Notably, this is a pretty down to Earth and realistic version of the whole “now I’ll use my true power!” cliché; people actually can and do fight harder when their life is on the line. The series hasn’t gotten to the point yet where characters routinely lock away anywhere from 50 to 99.5% of their power for drama’s sake.

Meanwhile, Kame-sennin throws his match with Tenshinhan the moment he realizes that he no longer has any reason to bother with his “Jackie Chun” charade, even though Tenshinhan realizes the old guy hadn’t used his full power yet. Kame-sennin admits that he “might” have lost had the match continued, but overall there’s probably no solid reason to say there’s a huge, huge difference between him and Tenshinhan. He definitely holds his own better than Yamcha did, or Kuririn did against Goku. Speaking of the concept of “full power” not being quite the same here as in the later series, a little ways into their match, Tenshinhan declares that now he’ll fight seriously….at which point he busts out the Taiyo-ken. When that doesn’t work, he tries a Kamehameha. It seems by fighting “seriously” he means using special attacks, as opposed to Z-style powering-up.

Kuririn says he and Yamcha are about on par, and this seems to hold based on their respective fights against the (also about on par) Goku and Tenshinhan. Chiaotzu seems a step down from Kuririn but still on the same overall level (he gets a lot of mileage out of his psychic powers and flight). The entire point behind Panput’s character is that he’s first class by ordinary standards, but can’t match the superhuman level Goku and co. have reached. Man-Wolf also seems to fall into the “strong by ordinary standards” category, but I’m just going to say he’s no match for Panput. He didn’t win any championships, after all.

So then:
  • 1. Goku (“battle power”), Tenshinhan, Kame-sennin (probably)
    2. Kuririn, Yamcha, Chiaotzu
    3. Panput
    4. Man-Wolf
I guess I should say: overall Goku probably has the upper hand in his match with Tenshinhan, but probably not enough to split them up into two different levels. If nothing else, Tenshinhan’s Kikoho and Bukujutsu count for a lot. Really, the “tiers” for this story arc seem like actual fighting game tiers: the top characters are better, but not to the extent that the lower tier characters have zero chance.

I’m holding off on King Chapa for later.

Piccolo

With this story arc though, the whole “bad guy stands still while hero’s attacks bounce off him” stuff finally becomes a standard part of the series. Tao Pai Pai got there first, but at least his clothes got ruined; the whole thing was done half for laughs, while with Piccolo it’s entirely serious. I vaguely remember Toriyama saying somewhere that Piccolo was basically a Dragon Quest-style villain (there are loads of demon kings throughout the DQ series), and the RPG influence seems strong here. Goku works his way through the mooks, loses to the big boss, then has to level up to win. We’ve even got the bad guy transforming into a stronger version for the first time.

That said, the set-up’s really not too different than the RR arc: Goku pretty much cruises through things until hitting the wall that is Piccolo, powers up in a short amount of time, and wins the rematch. In fact, Piccolo’s the first character since Tao Pai Pai to flat-out beat the pants off Goku. Even though Goku presumably got stronger training those three years, you really could argue that he’s still basically at the same level fighting Piccolo the first time as he was fighting Tao the second time. I don’t think there’s anything explicitly contradicting the idea. Gaffer Tape has already pointed out the whole Tao=Pic connection in his review series, but one big difference is that the Tao Pai Pai sequence is just one of about half a dozen mini-story arcs that make up the RR arc (it’s not even the climax: Goku still has to go attack RR HQ, and even that’s not the end of his DB hunt), while here it’s the entire story arc.

Another innovation: Piccolo transforms. Sort of. Like the “full power” stuff last story arc, this is likewise a more down-to-Earth version of things than what comes later. After all, the difference in physical strength between an old person and that same person in their prime is a part of everyday life. It’s not like Freeza going out of his way to create new forms to restrain his power because otherwise he’ll obliterate anyone he tries to shake hands with. There’s also no power seesaw: Piccolo beats Goku, then gets even younger and stronger as icing on the cake. Nobody beats him up in his old form, forcing him to become young to regain the upper hand. Well, Goku does actually beat up old Piccolo a little, before Piccolo gets serious (sheesh, this is already pretty much the Z era, isn’t it?), but it’s got nothing to do with Piccolo’s transformation.

On that note, we’ve got Piccolo’s “I’m not using even half of my power” line. It’s almost impossible to fit this in with Z era numbers, even without getting the daizenshuu involved, but basically it just means Piccolo’s curb-stomping Goku without even trying. Meanwhile, Drum kicks the crap out of Tenshinhan, though Tenshinhan still gets in a good hit or two. Drum’s not standing there letting Tenshinhan’s Kamehameha hit him or anything like that. So in practical terms, even without getting too hung up on Piccolo’s “half power” line, it seems clear that old Piccolo’s a step above Drum, who’s a step above Tenshinhan, who’s supposed to be on par with Goku. Then Goku drinks the magic water, kills Drum in one hit, and has a long and drawn-out fight with young Piccolo.

In other words:
  • 1. Goku (post-Super God Water), young Piccolo
    2. old Piccolo
    3. Drum
    4. Goku (pre-Super God Water), Tenshinhan
We can probably safely tack Tambourine on to the end there as a step below pre-SGW Goku and Tenshinhan, but I’ll hold off on him, Yajirobe, and Cymbal until the mythical age when I get around to all the stuff I’m holding off on.

Combined List

Last time, on Herm’s Latest Project That’s Taking 14 Times More Time and Effort Than Anticipated (HLPTTx14MT&ETA):
  • 1.Goku (post-Karin), Grandpa Gohan
    2. Tao Pai Pai
    3. Kame-sennin (Jackie Chun), Goku (21st TB)
    4. Kuririn (21st TB)
    5. Goku (initial)
    6. Yamcha
    7. Armed thugs, etc (“conventional threats”)
    8. Bulma (ordinary people)
Since then, Drum, Piccolo, and Water!Goku are all undoubtedly superior to Goku from the end of the Uranai Baba arc. Everything else is picky stuff that more laidback fans like Mike or Toriyama don’t keep track of. Still the big question is: how much stronger does Goku get during those three years of training for the tournament? Could New!Goku beat the pants off Old!Goku, or is he still on more or less the same level? We know he’s conquered his tail’s weakness, but that’s the only concrete improvement we see. Well, since I’m trying to be minimalist, I guess by definition I can’t put New!Goku above Old!Goku if there’s no definitive proof. For now at least.

A bigger nuisance though is, how do 22nd TB Kurirn/Yamcha/Chiaotzu compare to Tao Pai Pai? I wrote in the 22nd TB section that everyone seemed relatively close together. Goku’s already handily defeated Tao Pai Pai and has since grown at least a bit stronger. He has a decent match against Kuririn, but it’s only his “match power”, whereas he presumably was using his “battle power” against Tao. Although it is while watching Goku’s match with Kuririn that Tsuru-sennin admits Goku really could have defeated Tao. Also, Tao just stood there and let Goku’s Kamehameha hit him, while Tenshinhan bothers with a whole song and dance to deflect Yamcha’s Kamehameha. Tao’s stronger than Goku was at the last tournament, no two ways about it, so if Kuririn or anyone else is on par with him, naturally they’re stronger than Goku from back then. Which seems a bit odd to me, but I don’t think there’s anything proving this can’t be the case.

So for the combined list, I guess I’ll settle for this:
  • 1. Goku (post-Super God Water), young Piccolo
    2. old Piccolo
    3. Drum
    4. Goku (22nd TB), Tenshinhan
    5. Tao Pai Pai
    6. Kame-sennin (21st TB), Goku (21st TB)
    7. Kuririn (21st TB)
    8. Goku (initial)
    9. Yamcha
    10. Armed thugs, etc (“conventional threats”)
    11. Bulma (ordinary people)
Seems anti-climatic after all that, but I really am trying to keep to the slimmed down, just-the-facts ideals I started with, even if I keep rambling on and on before reaching these obvious conclusions. Later I’ll probably try and make something a little more fleshed out (and speculative), but for now I’m trying to leave off anything that doesn’t feel like a description of what we see in the series.

To be continued…
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Hugo Boss
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Re: Little Big List

Post by Hugo Boss » Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:37 am

I would probably place *Kame Sen'nin (22nd TB), *Goku (22nd TB) [Match Power], *Goku (Post Karin training) [Battle Power] between 4 and 5. I guess it's still speculative, though. Kuririn (22nd TB) and Yamcha (22nd TB) could be at the same level as Tao Pai Pai or the Akkuma guy.

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RandomGuy96
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Re: Little Big List

Post by RandomGuy96 » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:34 pm


So for the combined list, I guess I’ll settle for this:

1. Goku (post-Super God Water), young Piccolo
2. old Piccolo
3. Drum
4. Goku (22nd TB), Tenshinhan
5. Tao Pai Pai
6. Kame-sennin (21st TB), Goku (21st TB)
7. Kuririn (21st TB)
8. Goku (initial)
9. Yamcha
10. Armed thugs, etc (“conventional threats”)
11. Bulma (ordinary people)
Seems anti-climatic after all that, but I really am trying to keep to the slimmed down, just-the-facts ideals I started with, even if I keep rambling on and on before reaching these obvious conclusions. Later I’ll probably try and make something a little more fleshed out (and speculative), but for now I’m trying to leave off anything that doesn’t feel like a description of what we see in the series.
Shouldn't other "conventional threats" be somewhere on that scale? I mean, Tao Paipai does get taken down by a hand grenade. Oh, and armed thugs should technically be above initial Goku on the threat scale, right? He's still vulnerable to regular ol' pistol bullets.
That said, the set-up’s really not too different than the RR arc: Goku pretty much cruises through things until hitting the wall that is Piccolo, powers up in a short amount of time, and wins the rematch. In fact, Piccolo’s the first character since Tao Pai Pai to flat-out beat the pants off Goku. Even though Goku presumably got stronger training those three years, you really could argue that he’s still basically at the same level fighting Piccolo the first time as he was fighting Tao the second time. I don’t think there’s anything explicitly contradicting the idea. Gaffer Tape has already pointed out the whole Tao=Pic connection in his review series, but one big difference is that the Tao Pai Pai sequence is just one of about half a dozen mini-story arcs that make up the RR arc (it’s not even the climax: Goku still has to go attack RR HQ, and even that’s not the end of his DB hunt), while here it’s the entire story arc.
Roshi states that Goku should be on par with Yamcha and Krillin now (after expecting him to get stronger), is worried about his match with Chappa, and thinks himself superior to Goku (because he's been training a bunch). Then Goku one-shots Chappa, shocking Roshi. Note that this is way after Roshi sensed Goku's fighting strength when he fought Gohan (and yes, he can sense ki at that time... at least that's what the line sounds like). So Goku at the 22nd Budokai is undeniably much stronger than he was when he fought Tao.
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.

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