Nokra wrote:People don't like change especially in this fandom so when things were being changed or retconned fans immediately started hating on dbs.
Gaffer Tape wrote:Most importantly, though, it stripped out any sense of growth and progression. That's always what made Dragon Ball feel more sprawling, epic, and deeper than it had any legitimate claim to be. Characters aged. They grew. They changed. I could dip my toe into two different parts of the series, and they'd be totally different. The tone would be different. The characters would be different. The ages would be different. The locations would be different. The original run of Dragon Ball could always, ALWAYS be counted on to reinvent itself. And that kept it fresh for an entire decade. Even when the quality would slip, it still felt like you were growing with these characters. Do you have any idea what it felt like, if you'd only seen the Saiyan and Freeza Arcs on Toonami, to come across a fansub of the Boo Arc? And to pop it in and see Gohan in high school? And he's a superhero? Or to see that one-off girl from the first arc come back YEARS later to marry Goku, who's now all grown up?
Super is far too mired in the mindset of keeping Dragon Ball as recognizably Dragon Ball as possible. And that takes away a huge chunk of what makes Dragon Ball appealing. It is stuck in this ageless, changeless interquel status. Sure, it's still serialized, but nothing overall really ever changes in that entire series. More often than not, Beerus and Whis show up to either introduce or clarify a problem. Goku and Vegeta punch at it a lot. And then they all have a party at Capsule Corporation. It's no coincidence that the best episodes of Super are the one-off comedy episodes. They're not trying to force bigger and better hype. And the episodic format is a better fit for these time-warped characters. Unlike the original run, I could dip my toes into two parts of Super, and, yeah, they'll both be instantly recognizable. And for me, that's a problem. Without that sense of growth and change, Dragon Ball is reduced to its most basic elements. It's no longer a multi-generational epic. It's just fighting with the occasional gag.
Nice to see that we're all reading one another's posts and are critically engaged in a back and forth discussion and not just talking past one another trying to have our opinions override everyone else's by sheer force of will.
For my part though, while I certainly DON'T agree with a decent chunk of Gaffer's criticisms and analysis (of both the original series AND Super: I actually DO find the fighting in and of itself, when its executed well
mind you, to be interesting and I think that the "slice of life" portions of Super are easily and by lightyears some of its worst and most unwatchable parts), the part I highlighted up top here is SPOT ON THE MONEY regarding Super's biggest, most egregious failings that make it demonstrably
lesser than the original series.
Dragon Ball to me is DEFINED by its CONSTANT series-wide reinventing of itself and its seemingly bottomless yearning to shake up its status quo at every turn and never keep things the same or frozen in a particular stasis for too long. Apart from its core premise of being a Wuxia epic spanning generations of martial arts masters with varying degrees of Dr. Slump-like DNA mixed into it, Dragon Ball has otherwise always been loathe to keep itself contained into too much of a narrowly defined box: despite belonging to a fairly definitive genre of fantasy fiction, Dragon Ball could ALSO at the same time and within the same exact breath be anything from a space opera, to a B monster movie with a mutant insect-man, to a time travel story about mad scientists and killer robots from the future, to a Tokusatsu/Sentai/Henshin Hero parody to a Bangsian fantasy with Lovecraftian cosmic abominations: it could do a big, splashy action epic one moment, and then at least semi-grounded, intimate character pieces the next, and then back again without missing a beat.
And most impressively of all, it could do all of these disparate things while ALWAYS maintaining that signature snarky, irreverent, tongue-firmly-in-cheek Toriyama wink and nod at the audience... while simultaneously STILL being genuinely dramatically earnest and emotionally committed to its characters and the world they inhabit. That kind of "having one's cake and eating it too" tightrope balance is exceedingly exceedingly
fucking difficult to maintain for ANY length of time for pretty much ANY other writer/artist out there; and Toriyama managed it with seeming effortlessness for 11 years and 42 volumes worth of manga. The series is still FAR from flawless by any metric: but nonetheless that kind of creative feat is still grounds for some kind of a Hat Trick award.
The series would ALWAYS keep you guessing from one arc to the next on where it was going to go and what kinds of off the wall shenanigans Toriyama would throw into the mix this time (and I can say that from actual firsthand experience of actually following it from one arc to the next during its original Japanese run, without ANY degree of "spoilers" out there). For all the criticisms it gets (some of them certainly warranted obviously) about being too long and draggy in spots, the series was also a LOT less outwardly formulaic and predictable in its overall grand scheme than I think some people are willing to admit to or realize.
Don't misunderstand me: there are indeed elements of Super that I genuinely DO like a lot and that I think ARE very much still in keeping with the original series at its best. Most of it though is on a raw CONCEPTUAL level, and the issues with Super arise with the actual execution
of those concepts: which is precisely where the "crazy/silly" theory that the source of one of Super's biggest problems is that it isn't being mined from a full-blown actual manga of Toriyama's own direct creation.
Granted, Minus is indeed a worrying hint that even THEN Super might still have been an artistic failure due to some kind of artistic atrophy on Toriyama's part over the years: but apart from Minus at least, Toriyama has otherwise historically always been at his creative best when he's improvising and winging a manga together on the fly from one week or month to the next, and a whole lot less consistently so when other artists/creators are attempting to cobble something together from his brief notations and concept sketches (a lot of fantastic things and a lot of outright garbage alike have resulted from the latter approach, with Super certainly falling more closely into the latter camp).
But nonetheless, for as much shit as I give Super, I'm probably slightly MORE forgiving of some of its faults than even someone like Gaffer is. There are indeed certain stretches of Super here or there where some fleeting glimpses of "the old DB magic" seem to surface for a brief spell (and once again no, I disagree very strongly
that its in the "slice of life" episodes, which are mostly just vapid and obnoxious nothings in themselves). But those moments are few and far and fleeting: overall, Super is very much a victim of a level of corporate influence hewing towards "play everything safe and familiar and pandering" that was (very much demonstrably and objectively) a LOT less overtly prevalent in the world of Japanese Shonen manga/anime back in the time period in which DB was originally being serialized (1980s and early 1990s, and in the 1970s before that as well) than it has been in the years since (late 90s to now).
If Super were willing to still continually shake up the series' status quo and take the characters and stories to new and interesting places (rather than merely hint at doing so briefly a lot of the time before falling back into old, familiar, popular beats from the original series run), I'd rag on it a HELLUVA lot less: to the limited degree that I even pay any serious attention to it as it is at any rate (its hard to when large chunks of it are so deathly dull and stale).
And yeah, sorry to be that guy, but going back and retconning critically important and defining old stories from the original run of the series (even anime-exclusive ones like the Bardock special) into something WILDLY less effective and compelling, is also something that doesn't do Super any real favors either. And no, OBVIOUSLY in this context, that isn't an "all change is bad" lamentation of nostalgia from some old dude.
If you'd been paying attention to ANY of my (and others like Gaffer's) criticisms of Super, not to mention many of my constant blasting away on this forum at the tiresomeness of obsessive/pandering nostalgia fetishization on the parts of both fans and creators alike, then clearly the bitching at retconning isn't
about any sort of aversion to something new (since its Super's own aversion to trying new things and making them stick
that's at the very heart of a lot of the non-power scaling-related complaints being lobbied at it): its about when the new thing in question is something that is demonstrably of greatly
lesser quality and thought than what came before. That the lesser thing is also actually trying to overwrite
the much better executed and handled older thing is simply adding further insult to injury.