Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pet Peeve: Are we Still on Namek?

Truly, the greatest Sentai Team

Now I bet you’re asking yourself, is Hazard really doing a DBZ post?


See, I am a man of some pet peeves and what better way to deal with deal than to talk about them? 

It’s not unusual for me to hear people go on about how damn long Dragon Ball was. They are half right. “Are we still on Namek?” Jokes exist for a reason.

Here’s a fun fact, The entirety of Dragon Ball consists of 42 volumes. That’s 519 individual chapters. That’s everything from Bulma meeting Goku till the end of the Buu Saga. 

For reference, Naruto currently has 64 volumes. One Piece has 69, and even Bleach has 54.

Compared to current big shounen series, DB is not all that long. Mind you, it is still within the Top 100 as far as volume count goes.

Now, the question goes why have DBZ's pacing problems achieved an almost legendary status? Partially because it did it first, but there is another reason, the anime.

While the manga keeps a surprisingly brisk pace throughout its run, the speed of a weekly release cannot be compared to the speed of 20+ minutes of animation. 

So what does an anime do when it runs out of canon material to animate?


Not a single appearance in the original manga

When Naruto ran into this problem, it introduced us to Filler Hell. Sometimes they were 3-4 episode arcs. Sometimes it was a funny one episode plot. Filler every time. Eventually the number of filler episodes surpassed the number of canon episodes. 

Bleach… Bleach blatantly admitted its problem and did long filler arcs. Sure they had to cut things right in the middle of a climatic fight in the Hueco Mundo to start a filler arc, then return to that fight, then advance some more, then return to another filler arc, but at least they were honest about it.

I say many things about the Bleach manga, but I like the effort the anime put in. Plus, the animation was good. 

Now, the Dragon Ball anime has 153 episodes and Dragon Ball Z anime has 291. That's basically one chapter per episode, if they had done manga only content. Thankfully we were mostly spared from that, which is no to say it hasn't happened once or twice. Cell vs Gohan's Final Kamehameha Clash took all of one chapter in the manga but the anime team made it last an entire episode. 

Now, Dragon Ball filler comes in two flavors.

First the DB Filler, the way DB was set up allowed the anime team to fit in a lot of filler in a natural way. If Goku was training, you could expand that training. If Goku was travelling, you could make one or two filler adventures that happened during his travels. Basically, you could put in filler without making it feel like it was interrupting the flow of the story. The anime even gave nice little character moments between the matches of the tournaments sometimes.

Then Z started. 

Z gave a bigger focus to fights. Sure, there is a surprising amount of talking and planning, but there are plenty more good fights scenes.

Now two volumes of Goku and Frieza fighting can be cool on paper. One volume to build up the steam, slowly hammer in how outclassed Goku is, and lead up to Piccolo needing to distract the guy so Goku can use the Genki Dama. Another for a full brawl with SSJ Goku wrecking everything after Krillin's death with the moments of the evacuation of Namek in between. 

Five Minutes. Five Hours. Same difference

Sure, you are pushing it a bit but you can get away with it. 

Animated you can breeze through the material in maybe three episodes.Talking takes time. Fighting? Not so much.

So yeah, problem.

Solution?As amusing as it would have been to see the anime team pull a Bleach, they, sadly, went another way 

Filler the thing to hell. 

Bigger charge times! More punches! More kicks! Posing Dramatically and shouting for minutes!

Most of the things people associate with DBZ in other words, which they had done before only now they were taking them up to eleven.

The end result is a fight of nearly 20 episodes that will be forever etched in our minds.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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