Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

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Kodoshin
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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Kodoshin » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:44 pm

KBABZ wrote:
Kodoshin wrote:Given that it was believed the story was ending around that time
Nope!
Ah, well that being the case then I'd say it was definitely a narrative error. Still cannot imagine a world where it doesn't happen though given all the money it helped generate.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by KBABZ » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:51 pm

Kodoshin wrote:
KBABZ wrote:
Kodoshin wrote:Given that it was believed the story was ending around that time
Nope!
Ah, well that being the case then I'd say it was definitely a narrative error. Still cannot imagine a world where it doesn't happen though given all the money it helped generate.
I don't think it worked like that, personally. While Super Saiyan was built up with a lot of foreshadowing before that point, I don't feel like Toriyama introduces story elements to specifically up his paycheck, outside of "oh this seems to be popular".

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Kodoshin » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:56 pm

KBABZ wrote: I don't think it worked like that, personally. While Super Saiyan was built up with a lot of foreshadowing before that point, I don't feel like Toriyama introduces story elements to specifically up his paycheck, outside of "oh this seems to be popular".
I'm not implying that he foresaw it ending up that way, I seriously doubt he did when he went ahead with it. Just saying that with how things ended up he probably doesn't regret the decision.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by ulisa » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:51 pm

I wouldn’t say it was a mistake but I would say it was a mistake not to give the other characters a similar boost, maybe something unique to Earthlings or something along those lines. I don’t have a problem believing Super Saiyan is unique to the Saiyan race. I do have a problem believing it’s the only race with such a power multiplier.
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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Sonofman » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:31 pm

Super Saiyan was not a mistake. It's a form that allows the saiyan to go further beyond the normal state. It's an amazing design too. But, if you don't train your base state, SS becomes utterly useless as shown in the episode in Super where adult Gohan was unable to fight Frieza (1st form) due to lack of training. I think the non-saiyans are pretty strong without any transformations, because its about increasing the level of the base form. Since, it seems like anyone can push beyond their limits nowadays.
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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Yuli Ban » Tue May 22, 2018 12:47 pm

Considering my frustration with it helped spur me to come up with a DB-ripped-off story, I'd probably say "yes" to make things quick but to be honest, no. There's nothing wrong at all with Super Saiyan. Not even Super Saiyan 2. The problem with Dragon Ball stems much deeper than any single thing, but I'll see if I can explain it simply.

I don't know if Toriyama is a bad writer or not since he focuses on stories that, by nature, aren't focused heavily on plot. Making matters even more lopsided is the fact Dragon Ball was always meant for kids. Little kids at that. The 6-12 crowd isn't quite as discerning of these things as adults are, though they'll still catch them. When I was 10, I didn't care about how badly of a hax Super Saiyan was because I was amazed by its raw power. It signified which characters were worth my time, until SSJ2 and SSJ3 came along and SSJ4 joined them. If I were still 10 now, I'd feel the same way about SSJG and SSJB and Ultra Instinct. I wouldn't give a damn about Cabba, Caulifla, and Kale going Super Saiyan so easily for the same reason I disregarded Goten and Trunks back in the day— what good is SSJ2 when SSJB is around. Though I would have thought it was awesome to see Kale completely no-sell SSJB Goku's Kamehameha.

Which is getting to my point.

The problem with Dragon Ball is that character relevance, growth, and strength is determined solely by power and nothing else. There are no weaknesses anymore. You can't rely on tactics anymore. The only reason you lose a fight in Dragon Ball is because you are physically weaker than your opponent, and when that happens, you basically reach a state of runaway escalation where not only does every enemy have to be stronger but every new height of power is simultaneously treated as something great as well as something to later be cast as not enough. Ultra Instinct is awesome, but I'm already seeing people come up with concepts like "Super Ultra Instinct", "Ultra Instinct Kaioken", "Ultra Instinct 2", "SSJ4 Ultra Instinct" etc.

Super Saiyan blew the starting whistle for all of this. Kaioken could have applied, but we were told early on that there were limits to the form. Goku could use Kaioken x 100 theoretically, but if he used it for more than 5 seconds, his body would explode. And even if he only used it for one second, he'd be all out of stamina. That's a drawback. That's a flaw. That adds stakes to a fight. He could either go to Kaioken x 100 and fight for one second or try his hand at Kaioken x 50 and attempt to wear down his opponent in ten seconds. And while it sounds like this is something that could also lead to the same problem as Super Saiyan, there's still an egalitarian nature to it because anyone can learn Kaioken. Humans, Anthros, Namekians, Saiyans, Freeza's race, generic aliens, probably even Cyborgs.

No, the problem with Super Saiyan didn't begin with Super Saiyan 2 or Super Saiyan Grade 2. I believe it began with Trunks.

Yes, that Trunks. Our favorite boy hero from the future. The moment he went Super Saiyan, the transformation was basically now destined to run the series into the ground in the long run.
My favorite period for Super Saiyan was when it was treated as a legendary messianic warrior, someone who was last seen a thousand years prior for a reason. Goku being the legendary Super Saiyan is essentially him being proven to be the Saiyan Messiah. He is the One foretold by prophecy. He is essentially a godly Saiyan already, but Saiyans are a people of war so naturally his battle instincts are pushed to their absolute limit and broken beyond them further. You can't put a number multiplier on a god.

Super Saiyan has been cheapened over time, but because of my perception that it should always have been a fulfilled messianic prophecy, I think its biggest fall off was Trunks's appearance. More than Super Saiyan [Insert Number], more than Goten transforming because he wanted to, more than Caulifla's back tingles, more than the S-Midichlorians. After Future Trunks became a Super Saiyan and proved that anyone with even a drop of Saiyan blood could attain the form (allegedly), everything afterwards was pretty much inevitable.

I stand by my belief that Super Saiyan may have a 50x multiplier but this is merely a resetting of one's base power, so that Goku's 50x multiplier up to a power level of 150 million is no different than his "base" power level of 3 million— something that he can increase through training and ki control. I feel this could be more expertly explained in the series.

Instead, after Vegeta got beaten by 18, he immediately assumed that he could go beyond Super Saiyan if he trained enough. I didn't understand how he came to that conclusion when I was a kid, even though I already knew Super Saiyan 3 would eventually be a thing. At that point, Super Saiyan was basically Saiyan Jesus. You don't see Christians saying there's such a thing as Super Jesus. It was established that it was the legendary transformation, period. If it wasn't invincible, that just meant it wasn't the peak of raw power Vegeta himself claimed it to be. But instead, we got new grades of Super Saiyan and eventually Super Saiyan 2. So if Super Saiyan was supposed to be a Saiyan brought to his or her battle peak, what was Super Saiyan 2? Well to be fair, before SSJ3 was a thing, SSJ2 was nothing more than another extension of the Ascended and Ultra Super Saiyan states (grade 2 and 3), one that increased speed and strength rather than just strength. It's only in retrospect that we gave it a 100x multiplier and placed it so far above the others.

If Super Saiyan 2 was "Super Saiyan Fully Unleashed", with every ounce of battle potential now put on the forefront of your fists with much greater ki control, it would have been fine as well.

But then came Super Saiyan 3, and that's also when we started numbering Super Saiyan transformation levels. That's where the visible problems began because now you could start imagining Super Saiyan 4 (which we got), Super Saiyan 5 (goddammit Tablos), Super Saiyan 6, Super Saiyan 10, Super Saiyan 9,001, Super Saiyan Zero, Negative Super Saiyan, Super Saiyan Blue (which I created in 2003 and which finally came true over a decade later!), Super Saiyan Green (Broly's I guess?), Super Saiyan Pink (even this came true?!), Super Saiyan White (I mean...), Super Duper Super Saiyan, Hyper Saiyan, Mega Saiyan, Ultra Saiyan, Maximum Over Saiyan, etc. etc. etc.

At this point, Chi Chi could go Super Saiyan and we'd explain it as "she had relations with Goku so she technically has Saiyan DNA in her". There's nothing special about the form. If you're a Saiyan, you have to have it. Not just because it raises your power level to anything above a microscopic level compared to Goku and Vegeta's, but also because you're a Saiyan. So why don't you have it? Just focus your ki in your back, focus your emotions, and make that hair blond. Now your power level is 50x greater than it was before because we say it is. Come across a slightly stronger opponent, go Super Saiyan 2. Someone takes you down when you're an SSJ2? Go SSJ3. That's not enough for the next guy? SSJ4 or SSJG time.

TLDR It reduces all character growth down to the letter or number on the end of your name. You can only lose because you're weaker than your enemy, not because your enemy is specialized in different tactics than you are and knows how to exploit your weaknesses, which means that all tension is based around whether or not you'll get a higher number or a new color. Super Saiyan by itself isn't the problem, and when it was nothing more than a messianic prophecy, it was truly legendary. It started going downhill when other people besides Goku could become Super Saiyans, ruining the form's legendary status, and accelerated when there were more states than just the one.
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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Gligarman » Wed May 23, 2018 8:05 pm

I wouldn't call it a mistake. It made it easier for Toriyama to draw since it meant less inking. Also as demonstrated in Super, the other characters can be as powerful as the plot needs them to be.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by miguelnuva1 » Thu May 24, 2018 2:53 am

I don't think ssj or kaioken were mistakes but if it had to be one I would say kaioken.

Without kaio-ken ash could have been a 5x or 10x increase or if kaiokenx5 was the max ssj could have been capped at 10x.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by PerhapsTheOtherOne » Thu May 24, 2018 7:19 pm

Like others have said, Super Saiyan by itself was never the problem.

The problem was what led to it, and in turn what it led to.

The root of the problem is endemic to the franchise as a whole: constant progression.

That's not to say this is necessarily a bad narrative core to have, it's just that problems arise when it's utilized in a bit of an inflexible manner. In the case of DB, constant progression generally means getting stronger. This isn't necessarily bad in and of itself, either. But when you widen gaps with transformations stacked on top of each other and intrinsically link them to a particular set of characters? You create the potential to lose sight of balance, weighing power progression with general character relevance.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Polyphase Avatron » Thu May 24, 2018 9:29 pm

No, as it's probably the single most iconic thing in the franchise.
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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Meshack » Fri May 25, 2018 1:31 am

Who cares if there’s a gap? Gokou is the main character and he's the main character. You just need to make other characters relevant. It was not a mistake.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Simere » Fri May 25, 2018 2:23 am

All these bogeyman. It's not hard to create scenarios for characters to get stronger. The "non-saiyan" characters fell into disuse for one reason only: Toriyama wasn't interested in keeping them around.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Yuli Ban » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:39 pm

Massive bump, but I want to add that I realize now that Dragon Ball suffers from the exact same problem that afflicts just about all poorly thought out xianxia fiction.
Dragon Ball is certainly not original by any stretch of the imagination, and that extends even to its problems— if you ever take the time to read xianxia (which is a relatively new term used to describe the equivalent of "high fantasy wuxia" that typically follows a protagonist's desire to become immortal), you'll see that this genre almost always begins breaking down when powers grow too great. It's escalation syndrome, but in the manner you'd see with a child's story. And even outside of wuxia, the problem can show itself— perhaps the most infamous example is Superman Prime 1,000,000 (who isn't even the strongest DC character). Dare I say it, the Abrahamic God (Jehovah, Allah, Yahweh, whatever you call Him) likely suffered this problem that led to it becoming so absurdly omnipotent.

It appeals to that little kid in you that wants to create stupidly over-exaggerated and hyperbolic statements like, "And then he picked up the moon and tossed it at the bad guy, but the bad guy caught the moon and broke it in half and punched the good guy to the next galaxy! So he got even stronger and lifted the universe in half and—" and so on and so on. Because it sounds over the top and impressive when some hero can lift thousands of pounds and leap thousands of miles in a single bound. It's superhuman, beyond what we know in daily life. It gets even more impressive when he can lift millions of pounds and leap millions of miles. Now he's just showing off and his abilities seem to have no limit, but the difference beyond what we know is still close enough to the norm to make it seem so supremely superhuman— we know what thousands of pounds look like, and we can visualize thousand of miles. That's like Son Goku drinking the Divine Water or using Kaioken for the first time. We can't visualize millions of pounds all that easily, and millions of miles sounds like an impossible distance, so when we see someone do these things, it's too far beyond our normal experience to fathom and it's purely godlike— that's Super Saiyan Goku.

It gets less impressive when he can lift billions of pounds and leap billions of miles. We already can't visualize millions of something; billions of something is exponentially larger and more impersonal, but you can still glean some amazement out of it. Once you reach the trillions, you've already been there, done that and clocked out. You're never going to recapture those first waves of awe.

That's sort of like what the constant evolution of Super Saiyans have become, and why I compare it to xianxia.

Xianxia fiction is epic when the hero crushes the street bully, tens times as epic when he crushes the petty warlord, and godly when he crushes the evil emperor. It's still godly when he crushes the heavenly king or space warlord or demon king. But then comes the heavenly king beyond the old heavenly king that is arbitrarily 50x stronger. When the hero fought the street bully, he probably only knew how to throw a punch and kick and maybe understood the absolute basics of martial combat like attacking the throat and whatnot. The fights look pretty sloppy and raw, and he can barely warm his hands, let alone create a ball of chi. To face off against the heavenly king, he had to learn how to fight with superhuman agility and strength, cultivating his chi to enhance his attacks, going well beyond his limits, unlocking stressful sparking techniques to further enhance his strength, and learn every major martial arts move imaginable. His fights already look like punch-kick-block-dodge loops sped up 20x while he and his opponent fly all over the place and shoot globules and waves of chi at each other (sound familiar?).

To face off against the higher heavenly king, what does he have to learn? Basically to just cultivate his chi further. We won't notice anything different about the way he fights. We'll have to be told that his attacks are doing more damage than before because there are only so many times you can show someone super strong destroying an entire city or landmass or planet before we stop caring.

And that's the big damn problem with xianxia, including Dragon Ball. The worst xianxia stories always revolve the stakes around strength and the fate of the world & hero. The problem with action stories is that the survival of the protagonist is already at stake once the conflict gets started; it doesn't work as an actual narrative stake. If someone shoots the protagonist in the head halfway through the story, that's the end of it, and the arc feels utterly incomplete even though the story's over. The stakes being the fate of the world or universe can easily work, especially when it wasn't the case before, but there's only so many times you can fall back on that.

Compare that to Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Not the absolute best movie ever, but a much better movie than I expected it to be because the stakes rode on the survival of Broly. You didn't want Broly to die, even though he was cast as the villain of the story and as a purely destructive force who had to be stopped. There was extreme tension at the end because Gogeta was going to kill him and it seemed as if there was no way out. And yet there was. That was more effective tension and storytelling than the entirety of the Tournament of Power and Goku Black arcs (partially because we already know how the canon story ends so there wasn't any tension to the arcs, whereas we had no idea if Broly would actually survive).


Super Saiyan as used in Broly isn't a mistake; the stakes would have been the same if it were set in the Pilaf arc, so Super Saiyan and its variants were used as effective tools to gauge character power and ability without making the entire story ride on the possibility of Earth being destroyed if the heroes don't BS "Super Saiyan Periwinkle 3".

It's a mistake for something like Resurrection F, where we get two shiny new super forms indescribably (literally) more powerful than what we saw before that ultimately accomplishes nothing narratively and doesn't feel satisfying.
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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Saiga » Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:09 pm

Firebolt wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:07 am
After Goku and the other Saiyans achieved Super Saiyan, the power gap between Saiyans and Non-saiyans became enormous. There was just no way at all for the Non-saiyans to catch up, and so they became mere fodder. After the Saiyans achieved more transformations (SS2, SS3, etc), the Non-saiyans became increasingly useless. Was it a mistake to give Saiyans the ability to transform? Leave your thoughts please.
No. This position requires the belief that the power gap between Saiyans and non-saiyans is an issue, which I don't believe for a second.

Further, Toriyama still had Piccolo keep up for a time, showing that Super Saiyan was no obstacle if he wanted other characters to be relevant. He simply did not want this, and I agree with this direction for the story.

I do think at this point the franchise has become over-saturated with transformations, but I don't think this was any issue with the original series and Super Saiyan is an incredibly iconic and important transformation that has helped Dragon Ball be a massive influence on the shonen genre.
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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by funrush » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:30 am

Roshi is viable in the Tournament of Power based on sheer force of will. He's significantly weaker than Raditz and has no place being a part of the tournament, yet he is, and he lasts quite a while.

My point is, Super Saiyan doesn't suddenly ruin Humans and Namekians. Toriyama could've given them powerups & transformations (ex. Guru's "potential" boost, have more "Ultimate" characters) or taught them the Kaio-ken if he still wanted them around.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Melee_Sovereign » Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:57 pm

Honestly, it affects human characters the most. With Piccolo, they could have expanded on the Super Namekian concept but just decided not to. As for the human characters, I'm not sure how they could ever close the gap (without just forcing it out of the blue like in Super).

I've always been curious what would happen if, for instance, Tenshinhan learned Kaioken and combined it with Tri-Beam. Theoretically, this would likely kill him instantly, but they could have written in him doing intense training to become resistant to this. He could have been the character that has one of the strongest single attacks. We see something like this in the anime/manga Claymore. A character named Jean is not necessarily the strongest character, but giving her time, she can charge up an attack that is the single strongest attack in the series.

I guess the point I want to make is, yeah, introducing Super Saiyan makes it difficult to close the gap between other characters. But there is always work arounds, and it doesn't necessarily have to be a linear close in power gap. Like the above example, other characters can have specialties that are useful but somewhat different to other characters. We see this kind of thing in Marvel and DC for example. Toriyama and Toei just don't want to spend their creative juices towards doing this and want to focus mostly on Goku and Vegeta (but Goku more).

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by ruler9871 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:36 pm

funrush wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:30 am
Roshi is viable in the Tournament of Power based on sheer force of will. He's significantly weaker than Raditz and has no place being a part of the tournament, yet he is, and he lasts quite a while.

My point is, Super Saiyan doesn't suddenly ruin Humans and Namekians. Toriyama could've given them powerups & transformations (ex. Guru's "potential" boost, have more "Ultimate" characters) or taught them the Kaio-ken if he still wanted them around.
This is actually false. Roshi & Krillin were explicitly stated and shown to be much stronger than they were in Z due to training, and are definitely at least stronger than say, Piccolo when he fused with Kami.
zarmack wrote:The whole "Dragonball is only supposed to be light and funny" mentality that exist in a lot of the fandom is in many ways even dumber than the "edgeload" side of the fandom. You know, the contrarians who think DB should be a Slice-of-Life series, the folks who worship Pre-Raditz Dragonball uncritically, the folks who downplay and often flat-out deny that Dragonball is an action series, the folks who try to push that false argument that none of the serious moments in the series were mean't to be taken seriously, etc.

Dragonball doesn't have a single tone. It has both silly and serious moments, both humor and drama, just like real life. The idea that a work of fiction should be only all-comedy or all-serious is unnatural and frankly, retarded.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by ruler9871 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:42 pm

Saiga wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:09 pm

No. This position requires the belief that the power gap between Saiyans and non-saiyans is an issue, which I don't believe for a second.
Neither do I. There's nothing narratively wrong with writing a fictional universe that features a cast with massive differences in power, intelligence, skill, speed, potential etc. (like Marvel, DC, most Shonen anime/manga in general, etc.)

We are not all equal, and some people are just flat out better than others in every way. Why should fiction be any different?

Besides, massive gaps in power & skill were already a thing in the franchise before SSJ was introduced and even before Raditz showed up.
zarmack wrote:The whole "Dragonball is only supposed to be light and funny" mentality that exist in a lot of the fandom is in many ways even dumber than the "edgeload" side of the fandom. You know, the contrarians who think DB should be a Slice-of-Life series, the folks who worship Pre-Raditz Dragonball uncritically, the folks who downplay and often flat-out deny that Dragonball is an action series, the folks who try to push that false argument that none of the serious moments in the series were mean't to be taken seriously, etc.

Dragonball doesn't have a single tone. It has both silly and serious moments, both humor and drama, just like real life. The idea that a work of fiction should be only all-comedy or all-serious is unnatural and frankly, retarded.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by Nokra » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:07 pm

ruler9871 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:42 pm
Saiga wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 11:09 pm

No. This position requires the belief that the power gap between Saiyans and non-saiyans is an issue, which I don't believe for a second.
Neither do I. There's nothing narratively wrong with writing a fictional universe that features a cast with massive differences in power, intelligence, skill, speed, potential etc. (like Marvel, DC, most Shonen anime/manga in general, etc.)

We are not all equal, and some people are just flat out better than others in every way. Why should fiction be any different?

Besides, massive gaps in power & skill were already a thing in the franchise before SSJ was introduced and even before Raditz showed up.
I don't get what you mean by "its fiction so it shouldn't be different". Its precisely because its fiction and not real life that it has the leniency to be different and that means they can make other characters as strong or nearly as strong as the saiyans if they really want to. Toriyama did it in the past with having weak shit piccolo fuse with weak shit nail and somehow became on par with 2nd form freeza. And he did it again during the android storyline with kami and even surpassed the "legendary super saiyan" form. So he could easily do it again and have a random powerful namekian show up on namek and fuse that namekian with piccolo. Then Piccolo will be as strong as the god forms easily. Fiction is fiction because the possibilities are endless with what you can do within it. I dont know why you would want fiction to follow boring real life rules.

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Re: Was Super Saiyan a mistake?

Post by funrush » Thu Apr 11, 2019 11:40 pm

ruler9871 wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 5:36 pm
funrush wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:30 am
Roshi is viable in the Tournament of Power based on sheer force of will. He's significantly weaker than Raditz and has no place being a part of the tournament, yet he is, and he lasts quite a while.

My point is, Super Saiyan doesn't suddenly ruin Humans and Namekians. Toriyama could've given them powerups & transformations (ex. Guru's "potential" boost, have more "Ultimate" characters) or taught them the Kaio-ken if he still wanted them around.
This is actually false. Roshi & Krillin were explicitly stated and shown to be much stronger than they were in Z due to training, and are definitely at least stronger than say, Piccolo when he fused with Kami.
Roshi? Krillin I get, but Roshi wasn't even deemed strong enough to be invited to train on Kami's Lookout back in the Saiyan Saga. It took him 50 years to figure out the Kamehameha. I just really don't buy that he's anywhere near Cell-Saga strength levels. Maybe I just missed a line or something.

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