OK, so I finally got a chance to listen.
Good luck to Julian on taking the JLPT level 1! I'll be taking level 2 this year, so I've got a ways to go before I can catch up to Julian (the test's levels are in ascending order of difficulty, so 4 is the easiest and 1 the hardest). Azrael of Gaijin Smash
wrote an interesting editorial
about his experience with the test.
And for the record: Pig iron
. I guess 銑
is the kanji Julian was talking about.
Big long thing about canon
I think Desire didn't properly take into account the different meanings of canon. He mentions the Shakespeare canon and explains it a bit, but “canon” in the sense of the Shakespeare canon has a different meaning (in this case, all the works verified as being by a certain author) than what DragonBall fans mean when they talk about “canon”. Going by the Shakespeare canon use of the phrase, all works by Toriyama would be part of a Toriyama canon, including DragonBall, Dr. Slump, Kajika, Sandland, and everything else he did, which isn't what DragonBall fans mean at all. Generally, DragonBall fans uses “canon” to refer to what is and isn't “true” of the fictional DragonBall world, which is more or less the same meaning the term has for things like Star Wars or Buffy fandom.
Shakespearean canon and the other traditional uses of the word refer to a work's status or authorship in the real world (“Was the play written by Shakespeare?”, “Is this gospel divinely inspired?”) while the modern fandom usage of canon refers to a work's relation to the fandom's fictional universe; whether or not that particular work is part of the main continuity, and/or whether or not it counts when talking about the series as a whole (“Are the events of DBZ movie 1 part of the TV series' continuity?” “Can things from filler scenes be used as evidence to prove a point?”).
While it's true that the concept of “canon” has been around for a long time, the meaning of the term as it is now used by DragonBall fans and other fan communities is rather recent. The first use of “canon” to refer to what does or doesn't count in a fictional universe came from Sherlock Holmes fans. However, their usage was still a bit different than how modern fandoms use the term (or at least it was originally; maybe they've since assimilated). The early Sherlock Holmes fans used “canon” as part of their game of pretending that Holmes was a real historical figure, and going off of this to come up with explanations of the various plot holes and inconsistencies in Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes stories, which they treated as historical documents, to deduce “accurate” information on Holmes' life. The Straight Dope
has a good explanation of the whole thing, but here's the most relevent part:
Let's call it the Game. The point is to pretend that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were real, that Watson wrote the stories reporting actual events, and that Conan Doyle was merely Watson's literary agent. Essentially, one applies Holmes's own methods to analyzing the stories, trying to explain the inconsistencies, fill the gaps, and identify the other characters and events.
To aficionados, the original stories are "the Canon" and "the Sacred Writings." There are volumes of writings about the Writings.
So basically, Holmes fans used “canon” as part of a joking, tongue-in-cheek effort to establish “facts” about a fictional character they pretended was real (the fact that the other term they used was “Sacred Writings” should give you a hint that they didn't think “canon” was a term to be seriously applied to fictional stories), while modern fandom uses the term seriously, to establish “facts” about fictional worlds admitted to be fictional. I guess there's nothing wrong with words changing their meaning over time, but I think it says a lot that the term was originally used in a tongue-in-cheek way, but is now used seriously and is the source of constant arguments.
I also don't remember “canon” being used by DragonBall fans until comparatively recently.
One of the problems I have with “canon” as used by DragonBall fans is that it's treated as if it were an official idea, when it was just a term created and defined by fans. As far as I know, there is no Japanese term equivalent to “canon” as used by English DragonBall fans. So unlike Star Wars or Buffy, were the series creators talk frequently about what is and isn't canon, Toriyama and everyone else involved in the creation of DragonBall were not and do not think in terms of “canon” [edit
:listening further on, I see that you did cover this, which pleases me greatly]. The closest I've seen is gensaku
, “original work”, which is used to refer to the manga (so much so that I don't think I've ever seen any piece of Japanese writing about DragonBall that refers to the manga as the manga
. It's always gensaku
). It's vaguely similar to “canon” in that it's used to distinguish between the original story (ie the manga) and everything that came later, but it's not used in the same sense of “ultimate, final authority” that canon is.
While Toriyama and those in charge of the anime never use “canon”, they do sometimes talk in terms of continuity. For instance, in his Daizenshuu 6 interview, Toriyama says that he views the movies as taking place in a “parallel dimension”. And really, I think that 99% of all the fan talk of “canon” is really about continuity, and should be discussed that way. “Canon” is a vague term whose definition varies from fan to fan (because, again, it was created by fans), but “continuity” has a more concrete meaning
The problem with trying to rank in terms of “canon” the guidebooks is that it involves treating them as a single homogenous entity, which they're not. There are guidebooks based purely on the manga, guidebooks based purely on the TV anime, guidebooks based purely on the movies and specials, and ones that cover them all (actually, I think Daizenshuu 7 is the only one to mix them all together, now that I think about it). For instance, Daizenshuu 4 is based purely on the manga, so going by Desire's ranking system, shouldn't it be directly below the manga? While Daizenshuu 5 is based on the anime, so it should be directly below the anime, while 6 should be below the movies. Each one is directly based off of the part of DragonBall-dom it a guide to, with imput from the creators, so I don't understand why Desire considers them so far removed from the original.
Another thing is that all of the guidebooks contain lots of information straight from Toriyama, and the anime/movie guides have lots of background information and whatnot from those who made the anime. For instance, Toriyama designed the model of the DragonBall cosmos in Daizenshuu 4. So shouldn't that map be at the highest level of canon? But the information that Tenshinhan is descended from aliens (descended from descendants of aliens, to be technical) isn't directly linked to Toriyama, so should it be at a lower level of canon? But then the entire book itself has Toriyama's stamp of approval, with him using the book introduction to praise the staff for doing a better job than he did at tying up all the lose ends and making things consistent (granted that this is mostly standard Japanese humility). It seems that Desire's idea of a ladder of canon simplifies things too much in cases like this.
OK, here are some other random, non-canon related thoughts:
You say that the notes about Saiyan's hair scheme and how it's shown in the anime is from Landmark and Forever, but Landmark and Forever are guides to only the manga. You're probably thinking about Tenkaichi Densetsu and/or Son Goku Densetsu, the two new anime guides. The anime guide daizenshuu also have features on Toriyama's notes, giving much of the same information as Tenkaichi and Son Goku Densetsu.
You brought up the plot holes surrounding Dr. Flappe and Kame-sennin's legend of the dragonballs. These actually do get addressed in Daizenshuu 7, and are sort-of-kind-of-not-really explained. No.8's bio mentions in it's “anime” section (the character bios sometimes have an “anime” section listing significant anime-only things about them) that in the anime Flappe is said to be No.8's creator, and suggests that maybe Flappe was Gero's assistant (there's a lot of “hey, maybe this is how it is” stuff like that in Daizenshuu 7). In the Particulars Dictionary, there's two pages devoted to anime-only things, and it mentions that legend from the anime of the creation of the dragonballs. It seems to take for granted that this legend isn't the real story of the dragonballs' origins (for obvious reasons), but notes that the reason there were seven dragonballs is never explained in the series, and says that perhaps this legend contains a clue. So again, not really the most helpful comment.
You said that a SSJ's aura is always present in the manga, but this isn't true. There are lots of panels where it isn't shown, generally when the SSJ in question is engaged in close combat with someone, or other cramped shots. Presumably this is because there wasn't any room to put the aura in without making the panel very cluttered.
Desire mentions No.20 saying a Super Saiyans' power can't be measured or some such thing. This gets referred to a lot, but there's actually no such line. He's probably thinking of Vegeta's statement that “Saiyans aren't the sort of thing that can be understand merely through calculations”.
Casual Matt says that Ginyu's name comes from the Chinese word for milk, but it's actually the Japanese word, ginyuu
(specifically it's the word for “cow's milk”).