Tag Archives: Dragon Ball Z

OWLS December “Miracles” Post: Shonen Protagonists and Creating Miracles

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations

It is time once again for another OWLS post. This months theme is “miracles,” as described down below:

Tis the season where miracles happen. For December’s theme, we will be exploring faith in anime and pop culture. We will discuss some of the miracles that enter a character’s life during their darkest moments. Some of their questions we will explore is how does a “miracle” change a person’s life? How do we define miracles? Can miracles only happen due to a legend or a mystical being? Or do miracles happen every day, but we just don’t see it?

Also, I want to be sure and give a shout out to a few of my fellow OWLS bloggers: Megan Peoples and Karandi, so be sure to check out their posts as well. With that being said, here is my post:

In much of mythology and religion, miracles are often something delivered to someone in their greatest time of need, when they are helpless and cannot do anything for themselves. In that way, they are a fairly passive phenomenon. Nothing needs to happen for you to receive a miracle, really, other than for you to believe it will happen. This same logic underlies the idea of thoughts and prayers that many offer up after a mass shooting in the U.S. Instead of doing anything proactive, it is much easier for certain groups of people to remain passive and simply do nothing. However, as much as many would like to believe it to be the case, most things that people would consider good to not just appear out of thin air, and, in fact, many people have to work hard for things that others would consider miracles. A lot of Shonen protagonists operate under similar principles.

Source: Japan Powered

Take Goku from Dragon Ball Z for example. After he and Piccolo defeated Radditz, they learned that Vegeta and Nappa would be coming to destroy the earth. If Goku had just assumed that a miracle would have happened and that he would be able to defeat them both no problem, then he probably would not have gone and gotten training from King Kai. However, Goku realizes that the power he needs to defeat the two Saiyans is not just going to appear before him, so he goes to work and trains. This also happens later on when Goku needs to visit the planet Namek in order to help his friends obtain the Dragon Balls. He uses the time he has aboard the Spaceship in order to train even more, because of Frieza.

Source: Bleach Wiki

Another great example would be Bleach. Many fans of the show talk about the Soul Society arc, the part of the show in which Ichigo goes to save Rukia, as being one of if not the best part of the show, and with good reason. The story of that arc is great. One of the reasons its great though is because of Ichigo’s training. Ichigo and those around him realize that saving Rukia is not going to be as easy as walking into the Soul Society and taking her back. So, Ichigo prepares by training and eventually becoming strong enough to get her back.

In fact, this idea is by no means limited to Shonen series. One great show from this year that demonstrates this fact is A Place Further than the Universe. The show focuses on Mari, a high school girl who wants to do something incredibly before she leaves high school and becomes engulfed by societal responsibilities, and Shirase, a girl who has been outcast-ed by her classmates because of her goal of making it to Antarctica like her mother. The two work together in order to make their dream come true, even despite the overwhelming odds that they were never going to be able to go.

The point I am ultimately trying to make is whether it be characters in a fictional universe or people in real life, most things do not just happen because they believe hard enough. 99 percent of the time, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to create our own miracles. But, overcoming the odds and enjoying the fruits of that hard work is what makes them miracles in the first place.

Anime and the Concept of Power Levels

Welcome, weebs and authors alike, to The Aniwriter

Recently, I was watching the second season of Seven Deadly Sins on Netflix with my best friend. Its a show we both enjoy a lot so I decided to make him wait and watch it with me because he always complains when I don’t watch shows with him and then it becomes an argument and… well, you get the point. Not even one episode goes by when something that rarely shows up in shonen anime anymore became a major focal point of the show: Power Levels.

As I’m sure many of you reading this know, power levels originated in Dragon Ball Z. When Radditz first came to earth, he brought a tool with him known as a scouter, a wearable eyeglass that allowed him to sense the physical strength of other living creatures. Vegeta and Nappa also brought scouter with them to earth, leading to the now infamous scene where Vegeta screams about Goku’s power level being over 9000.

itsover9000

Something similar actually happens in the first episode of Seven Deadly Sins. Merlin gives Hawk a special earing that allows him to see people’s power levels. Additionally, the ring can also break down a person’s power level into three distinct categories: Physical strength, magic, and spirit. It is currently unclear what exactly makes up someone’s spirit, at least as far as I’ve gotten.

Some might say power levels in anime are perfectly reasonable, while others might say they are dumb and make no sense. Personally, I tend to fall in the middle. On one hand, power levels can be used to keep track of a character’s strength relative to others. This would also be good to narratively justify why one might make a rash decision, or go through a training arc because their power levels might be far too weak.

Freiza One Million.png

However, I also think that, historically, power levels have just made anime worse. In later episodes of Dragon Ball Z, the numerical values associated with power levels become utterly meaningless. Even when faced with Frieza’s power level of over a million, Goku still manages to take him down despite being at a huge deficit. It often times feels like you could take power levels out of a story entirely and have a similar, if not better in quality show then you did with them.

Despite what I’ve written so far, I do not actually hate the concept of power levels. I think if implemented in a story the right way, they can be more narratively impactful. However, it is also important to recognize that a lot of stories, including the most popular ones, do not seem to do it well.


What do you guys think about power levels in anime, or in any other medium? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you want to support the Aniwriter through donations or are just feeling generous, consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. Otherwise, thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!