Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Who Should be a Super Saiyan?
In anime, there are but few things that carry into pop culture, or parodies in general. Pokemon is often referenced for it's theme song as is the original Yu-Gi-Oh! But if there is one thing that is universally known, one image that will forever be planted on the face of anime, it's that of a Super Saiyan.
Some of the best moments in Dragon Ball lore are Super Saiyan transformations. Some of the most memorable moments for us as children watching television are watching the Super Saiyans go into battle against their over-bearing foe.
But if there is one major question among the hardcore fan-base and fans in general, it's this: where should the line be drawn for Super Saiyans?
At the start of the Buu Saga, two things seemed to vanish from lore: the absolute weight one carries of becoming a Super Saiyan, and the fact that a Super Saiyan can blow up a planet by looking at it funny (which makes the scene where Super Saiyan Adult Gohan fights off the robbers completely ridiculous and I kinda hate it).
I mean, let's count off the Super Saiyans, including the ones from the movies: Goku, Vegeta, Future Trunks, Gohan, Broly, Present Trunks, Goten, and Bardock, Goku Jr, Vegeta Jr.. That's ten characters that can become a Super Saiyan, and it's meant to be one of the most legendary statuses in all the land. Even Beerus, the God of Destruction for the Seventh Universe, was like, "Oh, a Super Saiyan? Hmm, better check him out."
That's how incredible the transformation is, that's how awe-inspiring it's meant to be! Frieza, the supposed strongest being in the universe, feared the legend of the Super Saiyan, so he made sure to blow up their home planet, killing all but seven (?) of them. And of those seven, four turned into Super Saiyans.
There are several transformations that I didn't really care for, but there was one that I had to draw the line at.
In Dragon Ball GT, there's an extra episode featuring a young Goku Jr., a boy who is pretty much exactly like Goku in the original DB--he lives in a rural area with his grandparents and hangs out with dinosaurs and giant birds--transforms into a Super Saiyan upon defending a few animals or something, even going so far as to punch a monster and the monster barely feels a thing, instead just walking it off.
But when Goku punched Frieza, he could have crushed a mountain with that kind of strength! So, what's the deal?
It makes you wonder who indeed deserves to be a Super Saiyan. According to Goku, and this is a quote that I personally love, the power to become a Super Saiyan "comes in response to a need, not a desire." You can wish to be a Super Saiyan all you want, but it's the great power and great need for more power to overcome your obstacles that will bestow the power. So, with that said, I've come up with the characters who I think should indeed be Super Saiyans.
This one's a no-brainer. He's the main character, and when he transformed (spoiler...but you already know!) it was in response to Krillin's death. We already knew he had an immense amount of power stored within him, and it was in response to a need to avenge Krillin that he was able to transformed. He summoned the power from within, and it was in a moment where it was needed most. It wasn't just because, it wasn't anything like that.
Goku's Super Saiyan transformation is one of the most pivotal moments of the show, if not the most pivotal moment of the show. It proved what dedication and power can do for a person in times of struggle.
Not Kid Trunks or Present Trunks. The one who time-traveled from an apocalyptic future, that Trunks. Of all the characters on this list, I'd say that Trunks probably has it the worst. Yeah, Goku sees his friends die a lot of the time but he's also able to bring them back. For Trunks, death is final. So when his best friend, his only friend, and mentor dies while he is absolutely helpless to do so, his transformation is one of the most emotional moments of the show.
He needed to beat the Androids. Trunks needed to save the future. Trunks deserved more than the future he was given, so he earned the power to change it. Unlike the characters not on this list, and even some on the list, Trunks earned his Super Saiyan abilities through hard work and living through a nightmare. He wanted nothing more than to defeat the Androids, and it was when he transformed that he realized he was the only one left in the whole world who could.
It would seem that I'm going in order of transformations, aren't I? Well, I am. So I probably gave away the next transformation, but I'm cool with that.
Vegeta should be a Super Saiyan simply because he does indeed earn it, and, it's in his lineage. He is the Prince, baby. You can't leave him hanging like that. A prince of what, though? A dead race. The fact that the Saiyans are extinct, the fact that he was succeeded not only by his rival but by his son, and the fact that he finally has a shot to accomplish something Goku couldn't (defeat the Androids) definitely lends itself to Vegeta realizing the legend of the Super Saiyan. This transformation is probably the most desperate and epic of them all, as the first time he transforms is actually during training, but it's just notable because Vegeta, at the time, was actually the strongest of them all.
Present or Future, take your pick. Both Gohans knew what was at stake for them. In the Trunks timeline, Gohan was the only Z-Warrior left to fight against the Androids and had to train as such, becoming stronger along the way until he finally became a Super Saiyan like his father. In the regular time-line, I do think Gohan's transformation makes a little more sense.
Pressured by the failings of the past and fearful of the failures that may come, Gohan did indeed need to transform to save the world from its greatest threat as well as to overcome any fears or doubts he may have in himself. It's probably the most internal of transformations, as it almost feels like Gohan transformed out of need and desire. He needed to be stronger for himself and for his friends, and he desired to be stronger for them. Both regular and Future Gohan had a legacy to live up to and both are part of the canon, so they both had an immense pool of half-Saiyan blood in them that would lend itself to the transformation.
The four canonical Super Saiyans are the only ones that I think should really be Super Saiyans. I tempted putting Broly up here, but I think the only reason he was a Super Saiyan was because he was a big body of muscle (born with a Power Level of 10,000, I mean come on!).
As for Goten and Kid Trunks...yeah, no. Goten transformed while sparring with Chi-Chi and Kid Trunks transformed while sparring with Vegeta. The only reason they were Super Saiyans was to serve as the eventually useless Gotenks fusion. Goku Jr. and Vegeta Jr. were both just for fan-service and thankfully both of those are out of the canon since GT is no longer within it. Phew.
But a major part of me wanted to put Bardock on the list. The reason I didn't, though, was because I think it's just a gimmick, and it's something that should stick to being a secret character in the video games. Just something to please the fans that wish Bardock could be a Super Saiyan. I mean, who knows.
If they do expand on the character of Bardock outside of one regular episode, a TV special, and a special episode, I might change my mind about it. As is, though, the only special thing about Bardock was that he was psychic for a bit and then was somehow thrust back in time. Worm-hole? There are many plot-holes with his transformation (how could he transform if in the special he got almost killed by Dordoria?) and I wish they could have done more with the character to make him stronger and more likable before making him transform. It would make it all the more meaningful rather than simply convenient to have.
So, if you like anyone else as Super Saiyans, that's cool. I do like Bardock as a Super Saiyan, but, I don't think he should be one. The only ones deserving are those four above, and that's something I don't think that can be argued.
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Also I've got another blog, wordofsao.blogspot.com where I'm doing an episode-by-episode review of the anime Sword Art Online and we're on Episode 20 right now so if you wanna catch up or just hop on board, it's fine either way!