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Author Topic: Why is DBZ so good?  (Read 732 times)

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Offline legomaestro

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Why is DBZ so good?
« on: October 10, 2017, 07:29:16 PM »
From a writer's perspective, why is DBZ so good? No matter how much it's a childhood anime, and how much the fights are hype, why is it that from a writing perspective you don't totally insult the characters for being cliche? Even though it's the pioneer of the new shounen anime and manga, with DBZ Super the anime has still proven to be popular and worth the wait. I've found myself excited at the power-ups, even though I'm tired out by that 'cliche' in other shounen anime.

My theory is that because it's so honest and simple a shounen, it hits all the points that any shounen-anime-watcher wants to see. By being so predicteable, it's as timeless and fundamental as greek mythology. DBZ can be interpreted in a millions ways because of how simple it is and fun to watch.

But yeah, maybe it is just the hype of how popular it is and how well it got recieved in the west.

Thoughts?

Offline MadOxMalachi

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 02:42:56 AM »
It has a great emotional beat and it pokes fun at the human condition, at human nature.

And as a thought experiment, compare a story you regard as high as dbz. You'll notice how similar their emotional beat is, and how often and what aspect of being human they commonly tease.

That's the secret sauce.

Offline Tzefa

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2017, 10:19:23 AM »
I think a large part of it is the fact that for a lot of us it's also our introduction to shounen and it and a few others help codified the genre and the reason a lot of the cliches exist is in the first place is because of how popular and successful DBZ is. I normally hate tournament arcs but I enjoy DBZ and Yu Yu Hakushos Tournaments a lot
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Offline suupertramp

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2017, 02:47:21 PM »
i agree yuu yuu hakusho was also similar. im rewatching it now and its just great.
i also think the simplicity of DBZ makes it hard to criticize. a lot of shows try and put in really complicated emotional issues and psychological problems, that are easier to pick apart, but i dont think DBZ does that so much.
its possible we are also biased towards it because it is old :P

from a writers perspective (which i dont have), i would say perhaps its the difference of saying "my story has a tournament in it because thats what shounens have", to "having a tournament in the story seems like a logical development". in other words, dont have it there because others do. just write the story naturally and if you end up with certain elements then that because they are meant to be there.

perhaps thats the difference with the older shows. they had no need to copy other shows, partly because they weren't there to copy, but also because they were writing a proper story.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 02:51:33 PM by suupertramp »

Offline Manimal

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2017, 03:06:03 PM »
Dragon Ball Z is remarkable in it's ability to great a world with clearly defined characters, strengthens, power levels and such. No show has scale like DBZ. It's mocked for it's over long fights, but I feel it's to the strength of the series overall. The fights are long but you feel the scale, you feel the struggles and you feel the characters get stronger with all the training, and defeats etc.

No other show I've seen is like this, there is so much time on training. Fairy Tail fails in it's character development and scale. In the first run we see no training whatsoever, no "leveling up". But in DBZ whenever something big happens like the first Super Saiyan transformation it's amazing. It pays off so well because we've been watching it build all this time. The best moment in the series is indeed the first transformation. The fight with Frieza is such a long affair, but worth it. We can gather how strong Frieza is and how hopeless things are. So in the darkness moment when tides turn, it's truly one of those thrilling moments you know.

and think of all the stuff with Gohan, as I always say the Buu saga should of never happened. Goku should've died and left it to the next generation. Gohan was basically the lead character of DBZ, we see him go from wimp kid to surpassing his dad. It was the perfect ending, and a waste that it continued after. I mean I like the Buu saga, we got cool stuff out of it, but DBZ's build was to that moment when Gohan's potential was finally released, something we'd seen so many hints of previously.

DBZ also works because it can be really silly, it has enough comedy and coolness to work. A time for goofing off, and a time to get real. It's such a fun and engaging watch because of how much it inspires. That's why there's so much "could ___ beat ___" talk and such. There is simply so much the universe builds. It has it's flaws, and yes it plays by the tropes, but it just works. and nothing else has done it quite as well since.

Offline FrankieSutton

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2017, 10:52:29 PM »
story buildup.

take for example....Gohan. 
right from the beginning of dbz, we are along side the Z-fighter, learning about his ability as he does. we watch him grow from cowardly/shy little guy...to the man you want maybe in front or aside of you fighting. 

and for goku, thru the story...he's not just a mindless fighter.  he's a husband, dad, friend, hero.  and you really care for him. 

i just liked how it wasn't a jarring transition between villians. 

Offline araithiel

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 10:34:39 PM »
Am I allowed to provide a counter-view on why DBZ is very bad from a writing perspective? And in doing so hopefully bring clarity to the arguments on why it's good?
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Offline dmasterxd

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2017, 03:43:08 AM »
DBZ isn’t good though...it’s all nostalgia. You actually look at it from a writing perspective and you can clearly see this. Even ignoring the awful pacing, there is still the problem of execution, plot holes, and immense failure at character development. Only characters who ever had a remote amount of development are Gohan and Piccolo. Except Gohan ended up losing his anyway so it’s meaningless. Goku is also a really one-dimensional MC. All he cares about is fighting and eating, literally. Doesn’t even consider his family and the fact that he’s such a terrible father only hurts his character more. He doesn’t have any redeemable qualities that would make someone who didn’t grow up with the show actually want to root for him. And it rides on him, everyone else just takes the backseat while Goku does all the heavy lifting. No other characters matter in the long run because the show only cares about Goku. And that’s not a good thing, at least give the other characters something significant to do in helping out. It’s also not the starter if shounen “cliches” plenty of other similar anime had come out before Dragon Ball...

Now compare that to like Fairy Tail, which actually takes it’s time to give not only amazing development and depth to it’s main cast but also all of it’s supporting characters as well. Everyone gets a chance to shine and a role to fulfill in the show, there’s no Yamcha or Krillin...It doesn’t needlessly diddle daddle on fights and it doesn’t spend all it’s time focusing on Natsu being the one and only hero. Heck Natsu has only ever once taken down a main villain all by himself out of sixteen arcs so far. Because Fairy Tail actually knows to give all my of it’s characters equal treatment and this a primary thing every story should do, unless there is only one character to begin with. And speaking if Natsu, he is how you do a proper MC, he had character development in learning what it meant to feel fear and learn to back down when absolutely necessary. He had depth in being highly family oriented, he wasn’t like every other shounen MC who only cares about fighting and eating. He liked to fight but he also cared more about seeing him s dad again than anything. He had no interest in saving the world and outright mentioned several times how he could care less about the world so long as his family in his guild was safe. He would be one of the best anime dad’s ever really. See, now that’s a good show from a writing perspective. But DBZ, not so much...
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Offline araithiel

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2017, 12:00:20 PM »
More or less this above ^^

Dragonball is actually really good, and a charming story of adventure, exploration, and growth, with excellent ramp up into an escalating battle and satisfying losses and endings. The side characters have relevant time on screen and the intention is to learn and change.

DBZ is simply a non-plot driven series of one-off fights of escalating power. They always break down to:

Threat arrives
Threat beats up some minor characters to indicate strength
Threat requires training to surpass threat
Goku (or other character) trains to the point of surpassing
Beats threat

And then it just goes on again. I did enjoy reading Dragonball, but when I read DBZ I got bored very quickly. It has enormous issues with power escalation, and there's almost no threat of anything. Characters can almost never die, someone will always power up enough to match. There's not really any creativity in the combat. Nobody has to figure out a way around it, they just need to make a larger Spirit Bomb than the last time, to infinity. I actually dislike DBZ even more because Dragonball has so many strengths and does such a good job before it. It's so weird that it goes from this sort of One Piece style adventure story into basically just a tournament arc?

Them Budokai games were pretty fun though.
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Offline Fronomenal

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2017, 05:27:51 PM »
DBZ isn’t good though...it’s all nostalgia. You actually look at it from a writing perspective and you can clearly see this. Even ignoring the awful pacing, there is still the problem of execution, plot holes, and immense failure at character development. Only characters who ever had a remote amount of development are Gohan and Piccolo. Except Gohan ended up losing his anyway so it’s meaningless. Goku is also a really one-dimensional MC. All he cares about is fighting and eating, literally. Doesn’t even consider his family and the fact that he’s such a terrible father only hurts his character more. He doesn’t have any redeemable qualities that would make someone who didn’t grow up with the show actually want to root for him. And it rides on him, everyone else just takes the backseat while Goku does all the heavy lifting. No other characters matter in the long run because the show only cares about Goku. And that’s not a good thing, at least give the other characters something significant to do in helping out. It’s also not the starter if shounen “cliches” plenty of other similar anime had come out before Dragon Ball...

Now compare that to like Fairy Tail, which actually takes it’s time to give not only amazing development and depth to it’s main cast but also all of it’s supporting characters as well. Everyone gets a chance to shine and a role to fulfill in the show, there’s no Yamcha or Krillin...It doesn’t needlessly diddle daddle on fights and it doesn’t spend all it’s time focusing on Natsu being the one and only hero. Heck Natsu has only ever once taken down a main villain all by himself out of sixteen arcs so far. Because Fairy Tail actually knows to give all my of it’s characters equal treatment and this a primary thing every story should do, unless there is only one character to begin with. And speaking if Natsu, he is how you do a proper MC, he had character development in learning what it meant to feel fear and learn to back down when absolutely necessary. He had depth in being highly family oriented, he wasn’t like every other shounen MC who only cares about fighting and eating. He liked to fight but he also cared more about seeing him s dad again than anything. He had no interest in saving the world and outright mentioned several times how he could care less about the world so long as his family in his guild was safe. He would be one of the best anime dad’s ever really. See, now that’s a good show from a writing perspective. But DBZ, not so much...

Not every character in DBZ got a one way trip to a Spa resort on character development island, but ones that did were treated fabulousy and were well done. I still look at Vegata's journey in the story as a good example of the Villian turned good guy trope. DBZ had problems sure, but hey, it was still cool and inspiring to watch as a kid, and for nostalgia sake, that's all that matters to me.

Budokai 3 was pretty fire though...
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Offline Forlorn Serpent

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2017, 05:42:03 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-TingFNeTA

I think this scene alone brings up that there was some subtext. If it was some "let's fight the next villain" this scene, this entire battle wouldn't exist. Characters keep track.

And for the dragon ball excuse, "everything can be wished back". Look how that was flipped in this scene.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzF6GEEva-s

The entire buu saga kept raising the stakes, flipping the script, and eventually, kid buu died in a satisfying fight.

I guess it should be states, the english version is way better. The lines were changed, character personalities changed, so yeah, that should be a point to make.

And they did this great scene.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W6M0g-mAfI
« Last Edit: December 02, 2017, 05:54:45 PM by Forlorn Serpent »

Offline Fronomenal

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Re: Why is DBZ so good?
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2017, 10:44:20 PM »
Watching those scenes points out the fact that characters always have roles and they don't necessarily have to be major ones in order to be considered significant.

Take Hercule for example: He wasn't necessarily a strong fighter with abilities that could rival saiyan gods or anything like that, but he still affected the story in major ways just by being himself. He managed to convince a dangerous monster to be his friend forever, and let's not forget that he was the sole reason why Goku was able to gather enough energy for the spirit bomb that put away Kid Buu for good.

Tien's small moment of shine is another one that's overlooked. Tien literally sacrificed his life force just to keep imperfect cell at bay long enough for android 18 and the others to escape. Again, it's not big, but in that particular instance it was important. We probably would have gotten an entirely different scene if that hadn't happened.

And Krillen doesn't get enough respect placed on his name. The man's death by frieza led to Goku turning to super saiyan, arguably the greatest moment in anime history. KRILLEN DIED FOR OUR SINS FOR GOD'S SAKE!!! MULTIPLE TIMES DAMMMIT!!!

Again, not everybody plays a major role and they also don't get as much screen time as we think they should, but when they do, it serves a purpose and that purpose is fulfilled rather well.

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