Friday, March 17, 2017

Superhero Media: Dragonball Z - Season Seven

I actually like the Great Saiyaman Saga, quite a lot actually, which tends to put me at odds with other DBZ fans, who only tune in for the homoerotic punching. I doubt it's any surprise to anyone reading this that I'm a big fan of Silver Age comics tropes, which is part of the reason I find the Saiyaman stuff so much fun. Think about it; Gohan is a teenager, but also a Superhero in a colourful costume, he protects one city, is pursued by a female companion obsessed with discovering the Superhero's identity and most of the enemies are regular criminals who underestimate the hero's abilities. If you've ever read some Silver Age The Flash, Martian Manhunter or Blue Beetle, this is pretty much bang on. For all the videos and reviews on the internet that point out references in DB/DBZ/DBGT/DBS to Western films and television, I don't see this one too much, which I guess is down to people just not liking the saga? 

I think part of the disappointment many fans have with this season comes from just how much the characters have changed since the defeat of Cell. Although the Celestial Tournament Saga is full of fun characters and hearkens back to Dragonball in many ways, aside from a couple of offhand references from Goku later, the Saga may as well have never happened; I mean, if the Supreme Kai is bringing in the mightiest dead warriors to combat Buu, where are Pikkon and Olibu? Not a major misstep though, and the World Tournament Saga more than makes up for it. The Trunks/Goten fight is one of the best in the series, Spopovich is a memorable villain for such little screen time and Mr Satan is always good for a few laughs. Also, unlike some of the later Sagas and films, Android 18 gets to go fight (at least in the tournament) because she is stronger than half the Z Fighters, plus even Videl gets some great fight scenes.

If I were to guess at the one big problem with this season, and to a lesser extent in the next two, is that it all feels like a bit of a let-down after Cell. There are plenty of good ideas, great jokes and fun characters, but they never really hit the emotional heights of the Father-Son Kamehameha and Trunks returning home to free his world. Honestly, were I not doing a full rewatch of the series, I probably would have stopped shortly after this, but the Tournaments are still a lot of fun, even if their endings aren't the best in Dragonball history. 

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