The Failure of Dragon Ball Z
In this article, I will be referring to the MANGA, and not the Anime. While both have their faults, it is the Manga that suffers the most (and beside, everyone already mocks the Anime with its twelve episodes for a single 5 minutes fight scene).
So Without Further Ado: Let's go down the list!
Number One: Cheat Codes
One of the biggest failures from the DBZ manga is the fact that no matter what the issue is within the universe, there is some kind of cheat code that allows characters to get through a situation. The primary cheat-code stems from the ability certain characters have that magically raise the Power Levels (or Chi) of another person.
Super Kami Guru does this, the Lord of Lords of Lords great Grandfather of Lords does this, and the Namekians can do this naturally through merging. If magic isn't involved then we are given a character who can just absorb someone else's energy to add to their own stretch (IE Androids) or there is a special super hidden room that lets a year pass in a day (Chamber of Space and Time).
Seriously; the characters of DBZ just use cheat codes to get stronger. Whereas in Dragon Ball, they all had to train to become as good as they are. Goku, Kirllen, Tien, and Yamcha all went through training from hell, breaking their bodies and fighting one another over and over to become the strongest of the strongest.
There was only one time where Goku had to use a cheat-code in the Dragon Ball series and that was after he nearly died while fighting Piccalo for the first time. He drank a powerful poison and it was only after nearly dying that he tapped into his hidden power.
So even with this cheat code, Goku had to work his butt off to achieve his goals least he perish and doom all of earth. Every other time Goku had to rely on his friends, his own personal strength, or his imagination to get past his enemies. He had no cheat codes to increase his power within seconds; he had to work for it as did all the other characters.
Number 2: AUTOBOTS TRANSFORM AND ROLL OUT!
One of the things that irritates me the most is the fact that EVERYONE transforms in Dragon Ball Z. Okay, maybe not Yamcha but we all know that he is nothing more than a big disappointment. But practically everyone in DBZ transforms.
Since the end of the Sayian Saga, the entirety of DBZ rested on the transformations of the characters instead of them actually becoming better fighters. It did not matter how much damage a character took; as long as he can transform than the fight can keep going. This meant that instead of a large variety of characters as seen in Dragon Ball, we get one MEGA villain who transforms at the MINIMUM of 3 times.
Those who cannot transform are usually killed off within seconds after Goku arrives or whenever Vegeta gets irritated. This means that we are introduced to several minor battles before getting at least two books worth of fights for the main boss.
It's irritating; mostly because we've lost all the creativity when it comes to battles. Because one fight now lasts dozens of chapters, we are given rather dull, and quickly drawn out panels that show blurs of motion.
For example; if you take the fight between Goku vs Final Form Freeza, it's just the two of thing talking, comparing power levels, or smashing each other into the planet.
You take the fight of Goku vs King Piccalo and it is a serious no-holds bar fight to the death. Arms break, bones are shattered, holes are punched into one another, and you can actually feel the tension radiating off the pages. In DBZ, we just keep flipping the pages over and over until we finally get to that final chapter of the fight in which the Detail and Emotion are finally added...
Furthermore, the entirety of the series became not about the storyline, but about how to achieve the next transformation. Super Saiyans failed so they needed to go SS2. When that failed, they needed Fusion, when that failed they needed SS3, and so on.
And speaking about Super Saiyans...
Number 3: We aren't Special Anymore
During the ENTIRE Freeza Saga, we listened to Vegeta carry ON and ON and ON and ON about Super Saiyans. He says it to EVERYONE. The Ginyu Force, Freeze, Krillin, Goku, Freeza's minions; he just does NOT shut up about it!
Naturally we are all like "SHOW US ALREADY!" and while Goku's transformation to SS in the manga is rather pathetic (Compared to the Anime which is AWESOME), we get to se this uber powerful warrior who just humiliates Freeza. Awesome! Super Saiyans are so cool! They are impossible to beat!
Until the next chapter where they get their asses kicked by androids...and then two more androids...and then cell...and then Buu...
We spend an entire story-arc listening to the power of the Super Saiyans only for them to be rather pathetic. This is due to the terrible pacing of DBZ. It has ZERO down-time between the arcs (Remember: Manga).
Dragon Ball had a lot of down-time during and between its arcs. For example, during the Red Ribbon Arc, we spend most of the entire arc seeing how awesome Goku really is. He came in 2nd during the Heavens Tournament and instead of immediatly being over powered by his next enemy, we get to see him just RAVAGE the entire Red Ribbon Army up until he faces Taopaipai. Even though he had issues with General Blue, he still was able to kick everyone's ass and show off his power for 2/3 of this arc.
In the DBZ series, the moment one character becomes awesome, they are immediately shot down. Piccalo merges with Kami and becomes awesome? NO!!! Cell just slaughters a couple of cities and now he is the most powerful. Goku becomes Super Saiyan? NO!!! He gets a heart disease and gets kicked out of the fight. Vegeta becomes SS? NO!!! He fights once then gets his ass kicked by a girl. Gohan becomes SS2? NO!!! He quits fighting and becomes a geek.
No one is special anymore in the DBZ saga. We don't ever get a moment to see their abilities to their fullest...which leads me too...
4: Everyone is a Liar!
Everyone in DBZ is a damn blasted liar. EVERYONE!
King Kai, after being killed by accident by Goku, says "I'm the Lord of the Worlds! The move important person in the universe! I am bigger than Kami-Same! You killed me to save a single planet?!"
Most important person in the universe? Than who is the Lord of the Lords? The Great Lord of the Lords? And the GREAT GREAT SUPER KAMI GURI LORD OF LORDS?!
My favorite is "I am the most powerful being in the universe!"
NO YOU ARE NOT! YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN ACROSS THE UNIVERSE! STOP LYING TO US! YOU ARE JUST BEING A NARCISSIST!
The WORST lie that is told throughout the series, however is "I wasn't fighting seriously." This is the most irritating thing in the entire DBZ saga. These are characters who spend long chapters bitching about how they cannot wait to kill someone, then when they finally fight that person, they only fight at 20% of their power. Only when they get their clothes ripped do they say "Now I will get serious!"
Do you know how many times this actually happens in Dragon Ball?
First: When Goku fights Tien and announces that he will no longer fight in his "Tournament Level" and will instead fight with his "Battle Level", and second when Goku and Piccalo are going at it during the Strongest Under the Heavens.
THAT IS IT!
The rest of the battles are fought to the death. Period.
5: GOKU? WHY YOU NO KILL?
Do you realize how many people Goku killed (or tried to kill) in Dragon Ball? DOZENS. He caused the deaths of most of the Red Ribbon Army, killed Taopaipai (or attempted too meaning that he thought Tao actually died from the grenade), killed 2 of Piccalo's demons, and then King Piccalo himself. If you got in Goku's way and were a pure evil person, you died. Period. The only person Goku ever spared willingly was Piccalo. No other.
Do you know how many people Goku kills in DBZ?
Goku kills only TWO people in ALL of Dragon Ball Z. That glowing frog thing, and Buu. THAT IS IT. He doesn't kill any of the Ginyu Force (Vegeta Does), he doesn't kill Freeza (Trunks does), he doesn't kill the androids (Vegeta, and Cell do), he doesn't kill Cell (Gohan does)...he doesn't even kill off any henchmen!!
6: The Characters are Jerks/Idiots
Did you know that during the Cell Saga, when Cell uses the KAMAHAMEH for the first time, Piccalo freaks out? He's like "HOW CAN YOU DO THAT?!?!?"
Uhm...let's go down the list:
WHO CAN USE THE KAMEHAMAMEHAMA?
- Grandpa Gohan
Hell, Tien clearly states during the 2nd tournament: "Such an elementary move! Once you see it, you can learn it!".
So why did Piccalo freak out? Worse, when Cell uses the FIST OF THE SUN attack to bind everyone, Piccalo is all like "I thought that was Tien's move?!" Let's just ignore the fact that Piccalo saw Goku use the ability during his fight with Tien during the 3rd Strongest Under the Heavens. Even Krillen is like "Uhm, Goku and I can do it also."
Also the callousness of the characters is rather unfortunate. This is less on the characters and more of the writing. Besides Krillin's death on Namek, no one really gives a damn about one another. Anytime someone starts getting hurt it goes "The Dragon Balls will help them!". The only and I mean the ONLY character who continues to emote properly is Vegeta.
Vegeta is bad ass. Even in the manga, he is bad-ass.
Final: Deaths are Meaningless
Like I said before, the Dragon Balls are over-used to the point where you no longer care if someone dies. It's actually a big joke. I mean, it's like "Oh, Krillen died. Who cares. Oh, cities all over the world were wiped out. Who cares. Earth is gone, who cares."
It reminds me a lot of the Death of SuperMan: It's like OMG! THEY KILLED HIM OFF only to revive him the next issue. It's a slap in the face to the fans. When Krillen dies the very first time in Dragon Ball it was like ZMOG! NOT KRILLEN!!!! I LOVE HIM!
And when he was brought back to life, it was a relief. We were like WOOT! YAY! Because it was only the 2nd time that has ever happened in the DB universe.
Here is what the Ballz were used for in Dragon Ball:
- Bulma's Panties
- Uma's Father to be ressurected
- Piccalo's youth to be restored
- Everyone killed by Piccalo to be Ressurected
AND THAT WAS IT!
The Dragon Balls in DBZ are ONLY used to constantly bring people back to life (minus the bombs removed from 17 and 18). I mean, it became useless. We did not care if anyone died because we knew they'd come back. Even Goku who was originally going to be written out of DBZ after the Cell Saga ended up coming back (because Akira himself said that he couldn't keep Goku from returning). This means that any hope in seeing the other cast members take up the role of hero was shattered. :(
Well that is enough ranting. I just had to finally get all of this off my chest. I think I will put my DBZ manga back in storage and return to Dragon Ball. It is just better - from the fighting, to the characters, to the emotion, to the humor. The only thing DBZ has over DB is Vegeta.