Tag Archives: Dragon Ball

Four Current Examples of Dynamic Characters

Dynamic and Static characters may seem like an easy-to-process concept, especially with some solid examples. However, you may run into the problem of your solid, perfect example becoming suddenly (or not – let’s be truthful with ourselves) obsolete.

Well, here’s where I come to the rescue. Without further ado, here are 5 examples of Dynamic characters that today’s youth will understand. The design is such that hopefully if you cover this list, at least one will hit students the right way, and you’ll have that “Ohhhhhh” moment!

Vegeta, Prince of Saiyans

Before

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Vegeta begins in an anime/manga called Dragon Ball Z, where he starts as a heartless alien prince hell-bent on destroying all life on Earth so it can be terraformed and sold to the highest bidder. He is cruel, sadistic, and arrogant. He shows this through his cruel fighting style, as well as his unflinching penchant for destroying those in a vulnerable position. A perfect example of this is when his partner – unexpectedly defeated by the heroes of the series – begs him for help. Vegeta pretends at first to help his long-time partner-since-childhood, then instead tosses him into the air and brutally destroys him in a blinding flash of power.

After

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This one is great because every time we see Vegeta, he is going through some kind of change. Like the next example, we almost never see the same Vegeta twice.

Vegeta is forced to fight on the heroes side repeatedly out of self-preservation, and somewhere along the way a change happens inside him that he has to wrestle with. It arguably begins when he marries one of the heroes, Bulma, and has his first child with her. He battles with his newfound affection and benevolence for Earth, and even tries one last time to turn to his evil self before eventually holding his son close and telling him he’s proud to be his father, and then subsequently sacrificing himself to save the Earth.

Iron Man/Tony Stark

This superhero is one that is always in a different part of his personal journey when you see him, and even though his first movie was about a decade ago, he’s still hugely popular.

BeforeRASPUTIN

Tony Stark starts as an arrogant genius inheritor of a world-changing weapons manufacturer, Stark Industries. While the arrogant part of his personality takes a bit longer for him to adjust, his sense of responsibility for the world’s events begins when he is kidnapped and sees firsthand his company’s weapons being used in the Middle East to oppress innocent people.

After

ironman

This one is more impressive to kids if you go movie by movie.

  1. Iron Man – By the end of this movie, Tony realizes that he cannot differentiate himself from the new task that he has before him in protecting innocent people. The last line is one that allows him to take responsibility for his actions and to truly own the changes he has gone through in becoming a hero: “I am Iron Man.”
  2. Iron Man 2 – Tony starts this movie as a superhero, but an arrogant one. Bit by bit, this comes back to bite him as he first gets outdone by a man who figures out his tech from his broken down hut, followed by losing everyone close to him. He ends the movie a more humble hero, leading to…
  3. The Avengers – By the end of this movie, Tony readily sacrifices himself for the good of humanity. He lives, but not because he wasn’t ready to die. In fact, he spends the 3rd solo movie freaking out about how traumatic this experience was. No matter what you think the catalyst is for his change, it’s apparent that the Tony Stark of the 2008 movie would not be prepared to do what he does in this film.

There are more movies, but I’ve got three more characters to go. Don’t be greedy!

Oliver Queen/The Green Arrow

Oliver Queen is a famous DC hero, but most kids will know him from The CW’s hit series, Arrow, or if they watch any of the other three or four shows that take place in the same universe. Warning: If you’re watching this show, I spoil it brutally here.

Before

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There are some obvious character changes here when it comes to Oliver before and after his father’s yacht, The Queen’s Gambit, is shipwrecked, marooning Oliver on the remote island of Lian Yu. Before the shipwreck, he is a fun-loving, irresponsible, selfish man who took his long-term girlfriend’s sister on a cruise for several days. Scandalous. However, there are less obvious changes that make this character dynamic. After 5 years of being away from home, Oliver returns as a figure known as The Hood, and begins to “save the city” by doing whatever it takes to destroy its criminal element – including eliminating people on a list that his father leaves him. While this may sound badass and hero-ish, this literally makes him a serial killer.

After

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Over the course of seasons of the show, Oliver decides that the killing must stop. He also makes several changes regarding his life of deception, especially when it comes to who he should trust and what it means to be in a trusting relationship. This conflicts often with his life as “The Hood,” and later “The Arrow,” and then even later, once he stops killing, as “The Green Arrow.”

He also vacillates regarding how close he keeps the people around him, starting with his bodyguard, Diggle, who eventually becomes the hero “Spartan,” and Roy Harper, who becomes the Red Arrow (known in the show as Arsenal). By 2017, the show has a “Team Arrow,” composed of Wild Dog, Mr. Terrific, the third Black Canary, Spartan, and The Green Arrow himself. This is a big departure from Oliver’s tendency to go it alone.

This team is eventually broken up due to a breach of trust; Oliver suspects one of his team is a mole, which leads him to spy on the whole team. This shows the struggle that Oliver still has with trusting others. He eventually reconciles with the team, even though they agree to go separate ways.

Despite this apparent failure of this team, Oliver of 2018 is a lot more compassionate, trusting, and responsible. He is even elected as the Mayor of Star City.

This version of The Green Arrow draws a lot of comparisons to Batman. However, one should note that Batman’s character tends to NOT change, even as the events of the two plots begin to look similar.

Marlin

Yeah, I know you know this one. We all know this one. This one works because a lot of our high schoolers were like three or four years old when Finding Nemo came out, so they’ll get it.

Before

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Marlin the clownfish is a paranoid, neurotic, single father who is terrified of the ocean and even more terrified of losing his son. This is mostly due to a traumatic incident in which a barracuda killed his wife and hundreds of his children, leaving only one survivor – his son, Nemo. As a result, Marlin is fiercely protective of Nemo, to the point that he stifles Nemo’s development. His fears are further exacerbated by Nemo’s apparent helplessness – one of his fins is tiny and underdeveloped (dubbed as Nemo’s “lucky fin”).

After

nemomarlin

When his son is picked up by divers, Marlin goes on a crazy odyssey to recover his son. He is forced to confront his fear of the ocean’s dangers, as well as confront the faults in his own parenting that led to this situation. This is further helped by his encounters with a regal blue tang named Dory, who tries to help him despite having a memory and attention span so short that she often requires the same type of supervision as a child. By the end of the movie, Marlin is more confident and assured of his own abilities as well as those of his son, and he happily allows his son to have experiences in childhood unmarred by fear. He also accepts Dory as part of the family, which displays his newfound openness and security, along with the development of his ability to trust.

Hopefully, between these four examples, you are able to successfully convey the concept of dynamic characters. I purposefully avoided famous literary characters, because I know pop culture references work better, plus now you can ask them yourself after talking about them with your class without you having given them the answer. I’ll write another soon, talking about some static characters you can use – these are remarkably a lot harder for some people to pull out nowadays.

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Dragon Ball Evolution Writer Apologizes to Fans | The Dao of Dragon Ball

Apparently, the writer of Dragon Ball: Evolution has apologized to fans for writing that monstrosity of a movie.  I think it’s admirable for him to put the onus on himself considering there was way more than awful writing going on with that movie.  Also, there are many who suspect that if not for this horrible movie, Toriyama wouldn’t have come back with Battle of the Gods and Resurrection of F, not to mention his decision to continue the series.

“I went into the project chasing after a big payday, not as a fan of the franchise but as a businessman taking on an assignment. I have learned that when you go into a creative endeavor without passion you come out with sub-optimal results, and sometimes flat out garbage. So I’m not blaming anyone for Dragonball but myself. As a fanboy of other series, I know what it’s like to have something you love and anticipate be so disappointing.”

We forgive you.  Now let’s forget.  Forever.  Don’t be that guy that keeps getting our attention so you can keep apologizing.  We all want to forget this movie.

Source: Dragon Ball Evolution Writer Apologizes to Fans | The Dao of Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball Xenoverse – Review

The only Dragon Ball games I played before this were the SNES ones, Budokai 3 and Burst Limit.  With that in mind, I had passed on purchasing Dragon Ball XV simply because when I read the reviews people described the fighting as simple and boring and when I looked at gameplay it looked hard to keep track of; everyone looked like little flies whizzing around, occasionally colliding and sometimes shooting little beams at long range.  I didn’t have any sense of the large-scale exaggeration that is evoked with Dragon Ball Z.

However, fate intervened, and I found myself not only with a copy of the game for my birthday from my brother, but two systems to play it on, courtesy of my wife, so that I didn’t even have the “out of memory” excuse.

Graphics:

I love the environments in this game.  They’re huge!  I’m not saying you’ll never touch the edges of a stage but there’s definitely room for everybody.  I didn’t run into the framerate issues that other people complained about when playing on the PS3… Just the occasional slowdown with maximum players and all of them doing their Ultimate Attacks.

Player models looked perfect.  Of course more customization options would be grand but it’s not too hard to be unique through your playstyle.  Weirdly enough though I saw a lot of copies of established characters.  (Is everyone a 4 year old with a character named “SS4 GOGETA”?)

There’s huge pop-in with player-created characters, but what else is new?

Sound:

The overworld music is disco, but catchy.  The new cover of CHA LA HEAD CHA LA is nice to hear.  All of the sound effects are faithful to the original, all the dubs have the voices.  It’s satisfying to hear your character yell the name of the attack.  “FINAL FLASH!”  The occasional sound glitch happens with the in-game cutscenes (Frieza’s transformations seem to not make any noise until the very last moment, making all the debris flying around beforehand confusing.)  The in-battle music is… forgettable. Maybe I just need to turn it up?

The character interactions while you play eventually get repetitive, but I always found they helped me get into the scenario, which is really important with any RPG.  I like that all the characters react to some weird Saiyan intruding, and that they all underestimate me.  I like that if Nappa sees Vegeta go Super Saiyan, he freaks out a little bit.  I like that Goten keeps asking about that toy Trunks offered him as a consolation for losing the Strongest Under the Heavens Tournament.

I just sort of wish they’d remember me from battle to battle.  “Hey remember that dude that totally turned the tide of that battle with Majin Buu?  This guy kinda reminds me of him…”

Gameplay:

If you just go in mashing the melee buttons, you’re going to lose.  Strategy is exciting if you’re playing with a friend, but as a single player you’ll find the real leisure is when you start getting attacks you recognize from the show.  Galick Gun, Final Flash, Instant Transmission, Special Beam Cannon, Death Beam, these are all favorites of mine that made me giddy.  The first time my character yelled “FINAL FLASH!” and obliterated the opponent – such moments are iconic.

The first time you turn Super Saiyan you’ll burn it out in about 3 moves… but once you start beefing up your ki, Super Saiyan starts lasting a lot longer… then you get your energy charge attack (in which you power up with that iconic DBZ yelling… you almost expect the action to cut off so that the narrator can describe “the next exciting episode of Dragon Ball Z….”).

I found the AI to be frustrating.  Enemy AI is good, which is different from being cheap.  Ally AI on the other hand is a mixed bag.  This especially becomes annoying in the beginning when battles are long and grueling, with your power level enough to ensure your survival but certainly not enough to deal with someone else’s enemy for him.

STOP DYING KRILLEN OMG YOU –

I’m good.

The idea then, becomes to get enough power to either a) dispose of your own enemies quickly or b) be able to absorb damage from behind while you double team your weak ally’s enemy.  Vegeta’s AI in particular loves to attack me from behind while I’m working someone’s lifebar down.  Weird, because his build seems to focus on his Ki attacks…

Replay Value:

I don’t know about replay value… I can’t see myself grinding from the beginning just to try being a Namekian now that I can kill people with a single move.  Apparently there are all sorts of incentives to do so but it all sounds so tedious.

So if I’m going to do this mathemagically, I have to give Dragon Ball XV a solid 8.  Very fun first time around, awesome moments of creativity, beautiful graphics!  A 10 needs to be a game you can come back to and never be tired of.  I haven’t played a fighting game like that since the first Soul Calibur.

Naruto vs Goku

This is not an indulgence of ignorant universe-crossing what-ifs.  I’m not comparing the characters of these series in terms of how powerful they are, but how effective they are as characters.  In other words, this is a comparison of the series as entertainment.

Premise

The basic premise of each of these series is irresistible to children, as usual with anime and manga directed at that age group.

Dragon Ball follows a character based on the Chinese Monkey King, Sun Wukong.  Simply called Goku, the character is small, cute, and incredibly small.  He is also super strong, and in fact half of the series’ appeal is watching bad guys underestimate Goku, and then have them be completely wrong.

Then you have Naruto, a series about a young ninja in a ninja village who wants to grow up to be… the best ninja in the village.

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Master Roshi trains Goku and Kuririn by having them perform assorted chores – Mr. Miyagi style.

Main Characters

Goku’s adventures  involve him traveling West, to find the legendary Dragon Balls for some noble, Goku-related reason.  In fact, Goku is inexplicably kind, innocent, and giving, with almost every other character having some kind of flawed personality.  His main pull is his naivete.  Goku is always the kindest, most innocent character in the room.  His foils are the vain Bulma, the posturing Yamcha, the obsessive Tienshinhan, the lecherous Master Roshi, the similarly perverted Kuririn, and other characters that are part of his revolving entourage.  The other irresistible element of this series is Goku’s ability to befriend former enemies, as to him fighting is a sport, and part of the game is knowing how to separate that from personal feelings.  Almost every comrade Goku travels with has fought against him at some point.

To sum up his character as introduced by the series, Goku is:

  • young
  • innocent
  • super strong
  • constantly underestimated
  • noble
  • orphaned
  • fun-loving

It’s no wonder people love this guy!  It’s a blast to watch him defeat whole armies led by fat, corrupt commanders, or take down a master assassin who can kill people with his tongue.

Naruto, however, excels in its execution.  Immediately Naruto is presented as a bratty orphan that everybody hates or looks down on, including the wise adults and the good guys.

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Naruto, even when put down by the entire village, still finds a way to smile.

Adults may be quick to hate such a character, but children latch on immediately.  Who hasn’t felt like everybody was judging them?  Who hasn’t felt like the world considers them a nuisance?  Who hasn’t had a dream that they would show everybody that ever doubted them that they were wrong?  Naruto is what Goku isn’t; an Everyman.  Naruto is not initially skilled at anything; he must always find his own niche, and that’s what makes him fun to watch.  His version of the Rasengan involves his own special method.  His Shadow Clone jutsu as a specialty is in itself a symbol; he relies on himself to support himself in battle, because he knows himself the most.  His constant flashbacking shows his power to reflect.  If the children I knew were as reflective as Naruto, they’d all be young novelists.

As a result, Naruto is more grown than he has the maturity to show.  He can see when an adult is looking out for him because he has spent so much time as an orphan.  However, he doesn’t know how to properly repay such a kindness – he lacks the social maturity to do anything but act out.

Instead, what becomes Naruto’s trademark is to pay it forward.  If Kakashi treats him a certain way, he makes sure that he treats anybody else the same way if he’s in that position.  Did someone save his life?  He’ll save someone else’s, because he’s learned that life is precious.  Especially potent are times when Naruto sees himself in other people and moves to protect them.  He sees Neji insulting Hinata, and even though he is not involved in that family’s conflict he rushes to Hinata’s aide.  When fighting Gaara, a stranger, he immediately recognizes the loneliness they have in common.

“It’s almost unbearable, isn’t it… the pain of being all alone. I know that feeling, I’ve been there, in that dark and lonely place… but now there are others – other people who mean a lot to me. I care more about them than I do myself, and I won’t let anyone hurt them. That’s why I’ll never give up. I will stop you, even if I have to kill you! They saved me from myself. They rescued me from my loneliness. They were the first to accept me as who I am. They’re my friends.”

Naruto is a very flawed character with a sense of right and wrong burned into him by the very role models that have failed him in other ways.  One thing he has learned for sure is that he has to believe in himself, even when it seems nobody else will.  Anyone who has spent any real time with Naruto cannot hate him.

Conclusion

I have been a fan of Dragon Ball since I was a small child.  I was only introduced to Naruto this year, and even so it was with extreme skepticism and cynicism.  I had a million questions, and I tore episode by episode apart with reckless abandon, annoying my wife horribly as I pointed out plotholes and obvious instances of filler – then Naruto opened his stupid mouth and ruined it for me.

Morally, I would want my kids to watch Naruto.  My previous favorite is a deadbeat alien father who constantly abandons his family (Adult Goku).  Naruto ruined me with his stupid optimism, his stupid compassion, and his stupid perseverence.  Be a brat, kid.  You grow up more with every episode… it feels real, even if it takes place in a ninja world.