Anime Vice News

DRAGON BALL -- Does the Tournament Arc Hold Up?

Goku isn't actually a hero in the traditional sense...?

I’ll say this for streaming services like FUNimation’s - - it makes marathoning significantly easier. We always try to keep our noses clean here and not get a show in front of us by… ah… gathering the Dragon Balls.

However, when time is of the essence, it’s actually scary how quickly those commercial breaks can stack up when you're using the free, legal options. I wanted to continue my epic DRAGON BALL revisit, but was having hard time squeezing it in amid all the new shows I’ve been covering, So I finally went ahead and set up an account.

If this sounds like a plug, that’s because it is. When I’m watching anime, it is far more preferable to just kick back on the couch, fire up the XBOX and watch freely on an app like this. And I like the peace of mind knowing that the folks who worked so hard to dub this stuff are getting something for their efforts. $5 a month is an entirely reasonable rate.

And yes, of course I watched the dub. Hearing these actors riff always brings a big, dumb smile on my face. Sometimes, I even close my eyes and just listen. It’s like an old Loony Toon.

Anyway, I rounded out the rest of the tournament arc - - covering the final round between Goku and Jackie Chun. LOONY TOONS is doubly appropriate to bring up, actually, because this whole fight might as well have been Bugs Bunny vs. Yosemite Sam. The personalities don’t correlate certainly, but still, when you compare it to other shonen tournament arcs, the dynamic is different in a couple, very pointed ways.

This is less of a power fantasy, and more of an escalating slapstick joke. When you watch the ‘Dark Tournament’ arc in YU YU HAKUSHO, your point-of-identification is obviously the lead character, Yusuke. You see him battle through rung after rung of villain, anticipating/fearing when he’ll have to face the Big Bad, Toguro.

Goku isn’t a lead character in the traditional sense here, though. He’s a constant; really more of a foil for his supporting characters to bounce off of. The intrigue here isn’t about whether our hero will win: it’s a joke about how this cranky old master is trying to teach his star pupil a lesson in humility, and having the hardest time actually doing it. The humor lies in how Goku just keeps stubbornly bouncing back from whatever obscure, deadly art Roshi throws at him, until blowing up the Moon doesn't even help (though, I'll say it was funnier when Piccolo did it in DBZ).

I've always interpreted the success of DBZ as being due to Toriyama treating it like a parody strip, and not having qualms of giving his readers more wish fulfillment (pun intended) than the stodgier strips were willing to. Now, I see that applied from early on. Goku gets away with being this perfect ass kicker, and not having any weakness or flaws, because he's more of a force of nature that these other jokers are revolving around.

Watch "the Final Blow" and decide for yourself, then read my thoughts on the previous episode.

Kino88on Nov. 20, 2014 at 7:58 p.m.
Yay!, now on to the Red Ribbon army saga, that one totally kicksass!
SpectroRaphaelon Nov. 21, 2014 at 6:09 a.m.

This was probably my second favourite arc in Dragon Ball. Easily one of the funniest.

BarThaRipperon Nov. 21, 2014 at 6:12 p.m.

I love all the tournaments in DB

Dig Deeper into Dragon Ball

Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball franchise is about the adventures of Goku and his friends from his early childhood to his death and beyond. It begins with a young Saiyan boy named Goku after falling of a cliff and losing his memory, and leads on to an adventure of a lifetime!

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