Again, considering how I now find the… leisurely pacing of this show to be rather charming after years of seeing it as one of the biggest faults, there’s something almost therapeutic about taking in DBZ’s rather low-stakes approach to this highest-stakes drama. I mean, Goku’s been brutally slain and the good guys are banking on a desperate gambit to resurrect him in time to prevent certain genocide from happening on Earth… and, right now, it all boils down to a cheekily-determined jog down an exercise path and an embarrassing dinner party?
If “Cha-La Head-Cha-La” roughly translate to “I’m all right! Don’t worry about me!”, then I guess this show really is espousing a cheerful philosophy from all its varied corners. To wit, considering how JOURNEY TO THE WEST was about the spread of Buddhism, then maybe Goku winds up being something of a Laughing Buddha figure here (who also happens to knows how to kick your ass).
With each re-visited episode, I’m not only seeing more clearly how this show’s ethos extends into its successor, ONE PIECE, but also how it connects to its predecessors in mythology and world religion. It might not seem that significant, at first, but a simple scene like Kami foreseeing his own year-ahead death - - and then ruminating on how his doppelganger Piccolo’s behavior might relate to that - - exudes a specific attitude regarding the supernatural that you really don’t come across in any other major shonen.
On a less high-falootin’ note… I completely forgot about Mr. Popo, and he is about 5000X more offensive than I ever realized he was as a kid. I feel really embarrassed by association. Ooof.