Dragon Ball – episodes 68 – 83

April 11, 2007 on 5:40 pm | In Dragon Ball | Comments Off on Dragon Ball – episodes 68 – 83

“Fortuneteller Baba Saga”

I was wrong about the division of the sets: the Fortuneteller Baba set starts at a pretty good episode to continue this part of the story, with the hangover from the previous set lasting mere seconds that would not really have been justified on the previous set.

This is fun stuff because it’s not very high concept and, before it launches into another storyline, a few stand alone episodes are offered. Elsewhere they might be considered “filler” (did I ever say that I hate that word? For I do, with every fibre of my being), but here they’re an entertaining break from relentless storylines involving immortal homosexuals who get killed by the tongues of rogue Chinese assassins.

Goku, now replete with an actual reason to secure the dragon balls, beats up the champions of Fortuneteller Baba’s fightin’ underworld. He makes his wish, then trains up for three years: three years in which he doesn’t grow at all.

Giving Goku an actual reason to collect the Dragon Balls was indeed a masterstroke for the story, because otherwise he was just beating up bad guys that he didn’t really care anything for. His dispassionate attitude to everyone, unless he is specifically told that they’re doing something bad or his Goku sense tingles when he sees a small dude getting beaten up, is distinctly tiring.
Fortunately, in addition to this, we’re given all of his friends to back up the storyline so that the clueless fellow can actually know what’s going on around him. Don’t get me wrong, I like Goku well enough, but he can’t carry a show by himself in a legitimate long running storyline. The one shots in this set, featuring him by himself, turned out fine.

These “one shots” are also notable for the fact that they introduce two fairly enduring characters of Dragon Ball folklore: Tenshinhan and Chaozu. I was surprised that their introduction painted them as total bastards, but we all know how Piccolo turns out in the end. I just think it’s sad that whatever involvement they have here will just turn into impotence as everyone who isn’t a Saiyan or a Namek with mighty fusion powers becomes useless to the storyline.

Beyond basic fun and one episode that, in the Australian release, unfortunately features dubtitles (which wouldn’t be so bad were it not for the fact that they totally contradict facts held true in the subtitles that materialise in later episodes), there was another emotional core beyond the resurrection plot of the Dragon Balls: Baba’s mysterious fifth challenger.

When his identity was revealed, which I guessed before Muten Roshi could get it out, Goku’s reaction was legitimate emotion. It was great to see that while Goku understands the ideas of friendship and right and whatever, he also has something that he’s actually connected to. It’s this material, more than watching people in robots getting beaten up by a short early teen kid, that makes Dragon Ball worthwhile, and the slog that it takes to get there isn’t that tough at all.

Next up is the next Tenkaichi Budokai, and we all know how that one ends up. Or we don’t, but it puts forth some dramatic Dragon Ball drama! I think that’s what we all want in this world.

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