Welcome to another instalment of Otaku Digest! Summer season has passed and the fall season is looming, but for now we are cast into a void of catch ups. We have noted here on Otaku Digest that the summer season was very lacking and, really, instead of having even one or two true heavy hitters like other seasons, it was a major flop. If anything, it gave us more stinkers to talk about than any other season, which is sad because I genuinely found one or two anime that were actually good, but the epic piles of garbage given to us this season (and yes, their time for being ripped apart is coming) completely over shadow any good anime released this season. While we play the catch-up game on those anime that were actually diamonds in the rough, we turn to another anime that was overlooked by the duds.
There are very few anime fans who haven’t seen Dragonball, whether it be the original series, Dragonball Z or, for the hardcore willing to put up with anything fans, Dragonball GT, not to mention the countless films. This season was to be the rebirth of the famed series with Dragonball Chou or Dragonball Super. To honour one of my childhood nostalgia bomb anime, we are going to countdown my top 5 Dragonball characters. Obvious disclaimer: These are my opinions of the characters, if you felt I missed any or should have added something different let me know in the comments!
5. Mr Satan or Hercule – Dragonball Z
Yes, a bizarre choice to even have on this list, but I loved this character. He was completely useless at a time when the Z fighters are fighting earth-defying battles but, not only does he build a name for himself, he builds a very loyal yet stupid following. In reality, he gained his titles of world martial arts champion by beating normal humans as the Z fighters were busy fighting in Namek, then training and fighting the androids, so there was no time for tournaments. His massive ego during this time makes him think he is literally invincible, hence his entering the Cell games, and later once that dust settles the Hero who defeated Cell thus saves mankind. Now I know you’re probably thinking why I put him on this list; well, the main reason is he is not all he seems. Yes, he is an egomaniac who loves the sound of his own voice but, at the same time, he is a devoted father and would do anything for his daughter. Later we see an even softer side to him in the Majin Buu saga where he actually befriends Majin Buu himself. Although he may not have all the bells and graces of a super saiyan, Mr Satan turned out to be just as much of a hero. Also, he gives us some of the best comic relief for an anime.
4. Gohan – Dragonball/Z/GT
I can feel people’s frustration at this choice, but just bear with me. Yes, he is probably one of the most annoying characters of this show but he was also the kid when I was a child. This might seem a bit odd, but everyone has that actor or character that was their age or there about when they watched the show and that’s exactly what happened here. When I started watching Dragonball Z, Gohan was only a child not that much younger than I was and, as the show progressed, and so did I at the same time. Bar that, he actually was a pretty kick ass character when push came to shove. I am mainly concentrating on his childhood and not his adult years because I feel they really did cop out on his character in later sagas which, in essence, I understand. He became what his father never could, which was a normal(ish) guy and, later, father figure. He settles down, gets a job, has a child and lives the family life. Gohan became boring but, as a child, you wanted to be him, his dad was Goku the amazing super saiyan and he trained with Namek Picollo, so there was no keeping this kid down. Gohan fought some major battles in his time, even if one of them was against his mother and homework, so he is worthy of my 4th place spot.
3. Vegeta – Dragonball Z/GT
Next to Goku, Vegeta has to be one of the best known and widely recognisable characters from any anime ever with one of the most memed sayings to ever hit the anime fandom, and it is no surprise that he is on my list. In truth, when I first watched and consumed every minute of the Dragonball world, I never had much time for Vegeta. I always see him as the whining prince who lost his silver spoon so I could never take him seriously. However, there is a point in the anime between Frieza and the Cell saga where I actually saw him as a really great character and, shockingly enough, it’s when he starts his relationship with Bulma, particularly after the pink shirt incident. Maybe it was because, at the time, I was very much pro-comic relief but it gave him a lot more depth as a character. Massive spoiler to those living under rocks, but that point in the Buu saga where he sacrifices himself and Trunks, his son, find him, I actually wept for Vegeta, something I never thought would happen. Out of all the characters in the whole series, he is the one who actually grows and becomes a new person although slivers of the old him still rise their shiny forehead sometimes. Vegeta, the saiyan prince, will have to settle for third place.
2. Goku – Dragonball/Z/GT
It would be more of a shock if Goku did not make this list! Realistically this show should have been aptly called Goku and the Dragonballs because, even when they try take the focus off him, like a bungee cord it snaps right back onto him and with good reason. Bar being slightly annoyingly, and as the centre of attention for 99.9% of the time, Goku is the perfect anime protagonist. He is kind, generous and funny but, more importantly than that, what sets him apart from his saiyan counterparts is that he has a very clear moral compass. He cannot justify hurting others if there is no need for it. He bridges the gap between characters who normally would not be together. Let it also not be forgotten that this man has cheated death more than most soap opera stars. The only thing that ever annoyed me about Goku is the fact that he comes off as being too perfect; the man can literally do no wrong but, the more I watched, the fact is that Goku is basically a child. Where physically he is an adult, he has a complete childhood innocence about him that, until push comes to shove and things have gotten real, he stays in that child’s mindset which weirdly works for the entire series. He is as selfless as they come. Knowing it is his presence that is putting everyone he loves in danger, he chooses to leave to protect them thus not being able to see his second son born or grow, so really there is sadness there for Goku, but you would never know because the man literally sees the good in everything. The ultimate warrior and hero, Son Goku takes the second place position.
1.Bulma – Dragonball/Z/GT
No one can deny that the women of the Dragonball universe can kick some serious butt when the chips are down. There are some serious contenders from the ladies, including Chi Chi Goku’s better half and Android 18, but for me no one could be more influential than Bulma. The woman literally tamed the violent saiyan prince Vegeta and is the longest running character of the universe next to Goku. She is the first comrade, bar his grandfather, that Goku has and he begins his Dragonball adventure with Bulma as children. She was a child prodigy who took over her father’s company Capsule Corp and took it to a whole new technological level, and she also created the time machine to send her own son back to warn the Z fighters about the androids; they may owe their lives to future Trunks but, in reality, it’s Bulma they need to thank. She is continuously a source of help throughout each saga, for example she accompanies Krillin and Gohan while piloting the ship they take to the planet Namek. People see her as only the wife of Vegeta and mother of Trunks but, realistically, she has more to do with their success than people think. Also let’s not forget the woman has had more makeovers than any other character, continuously having new outfits and hairstyles from saga to saga. No lie, I always wanted to be Bulma when I was younger, as she was my idol. Where other girls wanted to be Chi Chi, I wanted to be Bulma; she has more influence than any other character and, when need be, she can lay down some serious whoop ass. Bulma is one of the most influential characters in the Dragonball universe, not to mention one of the most fabulous and, let’s not forget, she flashed the world in her teens, so she is more than worthy of the first place spot.
The Dragonball universe is one of the most widespread and influential anime that has ever aired with nearly every anime fan having seen an episode and thankfully it continues to grow even now, to many more years of it.
Have you been watching the new Dragonball series? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!