Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Superhero Media: Dragonball Super

It may not come up much on this blog, but I'm a big fan of Doctor Who, a television programme that has been running for over fifty years at this point. With such a legacy, people who grew up as fans eventually start to work on the programme, creating an odd meta-nostalgic tone where it becomes a re-imagined version of what the new crew mis-remembers watching as children. For Doctor Who, this led to the tonally terrible "New Who" that I can't stand and don't even hate-watch anymore after that time I screamed myself hoarse at the television and my girlfriend was actually scared of me for a hot minute even though she knows Muay Thai and could bench me. On the other hand, Dragonball Super is a masterpiece of fan-management, fan-fiction made canon and fresh new takes on characters older than I am, not just in spite of being made by fans who grew up with the material, but because of it. Some amount of time after the defeat of Buu, Goku is a not-terribly-successful radish farmer until a fateful meeting with Beerus, the God of Destruction. 

Stories expanding on the Battle of Gods and Resurrection 'F' films begin Dragonball Super, but the programme really begins to shine once these are out of the way and more original content can begin. Although Akria Toriyama plots out the major points of the stories, what DBS ends up with is a treasure trove of stories and ideas that seem to be ripped from the wish-lists of fans worldwide; evil Goku, the return of Future Trunks, Super Saiyan Blue Vegito, tournaments aplenty and Gohan rediscovering his power. As good an arc as it is, the "Universal Survival Tournament", in which fighters from multiple realities battle to save their entire universes, is really simply a brilliant framing device for a brand new series of adventures and set-pieces that are great to watch. This review could really have just been a list of my favourite moments from the programme, like Tien making (another) sacrifice play, Gohan rising to lead the team, Frieza and Goku fighting side-by-side, Androids 17 and 18 getting back into sync, Master Roshi overcoming his compulsions, I could keep going. The absolute best elements of the programme, however, don't even involve the main cast.

See the picture above? Meet Dragonball's first, positively-portrayed, queer couple. Call it "head-canon", call it me reading too much into it, but Cauliflower and Kale are not only two young women in love, but are actually in a 24/7 Sub/Dom relationship, clearly evidenced not only by Kale's behavior around Cauliflower, but also Kale's collar. For those not in the know, a collar can be an alternative take on a wedding ring in the kink community, with the submissive partner wearing it. Also, female Super Sayians! Shit yeah! I feel like it took way to long to get there, but glad we finally made it. A couple of points for the fanboys in the back while we're here too. One, Cabbage and the Sayians from his universe clearly have a different physiology, what with not having tails, of course Super Saiyan works differently for them. Two, Krillin beat Goku in that training match because he's smarter than Goku, everyone got that but you. Three, the time rings would indicate that Dragonball GT is likely an alternate timeline, though it still could "work" in the current timeline, more on that when I get to GT. If you liked DBZ and want more, DBS has you covered and more, maybe just lay off on the heavy mathematical analysis, ok? It's not meant to be taken that seriously, the characters are named after food for Whis' sake!

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