Editor’s Note: This article references the Toei dub of Dragon Ball Super.
Growing up, I identified with the villains in stories. Characters like Scar from The Lion King, Envy in Fullmetal Alchemist and Loki within the Marvel Universe were some of my favorites in the media I consumed, and the list only grew longer as I got older.
It was a few years before I realized why I gravitated towards the “pretty”, flamboyant villains who frequently wore purple eyeshadow: I was gay and nonbinary, and these were often the only mirrors I had when consuming media. They were characters I could connect to with ease.
When I was a kid, there were few responsibilities I took as seriously as my daily obligation to join Toonami Tom and watch the newest decade-late rerun of Dragon Ball Z. It didn’t matter if I’d seen the episode a million times—the battles fought by Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, and all their friends against countless colorful foes lit up the dopamine centers of my adolescent brain like a Christmas tree.
I love Dragon Ball Z. I always have, and I always will. But I have a confession to make:
I don’t give a crap about the super powerful, never-give-up, unwaveringly-cheerful main character of the series. I don’t care about Goku.
In the world of fandom, one question has loomed large since the very beginning. No, not “who is your OTP” (though also that). I’m talking about the classic, completely hypothetical, message board ruining question, “who would win in a fight?”
Anime is a visual medium, but have you ever stopped to really think about what that means? One way to think about it is that anime has the ability to use the things we see to give us information we might not get otherwise. For example, since we don’t always get to know what’s going on inside the heads of the characters we watch on screen, anime can use visual cues to help us understand the emotions they might be feeling. Some of these are obvious, like blushing, but others – like a red hash mark or the almost ubiquitous sweat drop – aren’t always so clear.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at the aforementioned sweat drop and figuring out what it could possibly mean for anime characters to be sweating all the time!
If you found yourself caught up in the habit of watching Dragon Ball Super on a weekly basis, you’re probably still feeling a colossal void in your schedule. There was something downright comforting about following Goku’s journey, especially during the high-stakes final run through the universes-shattering Tournament of Power arc. Now that we’ve had some time to soak it in, the lack of Dragon Ball Super feels more deflating than ever.
Don’t let it get you down, though! While nothing can perfectly match the electrifying heights of Akira Toriyama’s world of Dragon Ball, there’s plenty of anime out there for those looking to scratch a similar itch. So, prepare your watch list accordingly, and get ready to commit to a few more ground-shaking journeys and the unforgettable characters that make them all worth taking.
Even if you haven’t seen a single moment of Dragon Ball Super (what are you waiting for?!), it should come as no surprise that it’s absolutely full of earth-quaking battles. The power levels of these fights blew past their limit about 100 episodes ago, so it’s safe to say the currently-running Tournament of Power arc is completely off the scales. With the series barreling toward its conclusion, now is the perfect time to take a look back at some of the most bombastic defeats that have rocked the DBS world since the pint-sized Zen-oh-sama duo decreed it into action.