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Son Goku

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love Dragon Ball Z

by Jason Morrison

It all began over two years ago. I was in WalMart, wandering the toy aisle, when I saw a package labeled Dragon Ball Z. I pointed it out to a friend. "What is this? It looks like there's a few main big guys and then small versions of them."

"Not really," he explained. "This guy is this guy's son, and this other guy has nothing to do with the big bald guy." And that was that.

Then Cartoon Network began carrying it. It was after Batman, so I watched. A human-looking guy was fighting a green guy. "Cool," I thought; "I'm always up for a good anime fight." Green guy shouted at human guy, then began to gather energy for an attack. I knew he was doing that, and not just grunting and sweating for fun, because I've seen lot's of anime and I know how it goes. Grunt and sweat, build up energy, then shoot a fireball at the other guy. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Except he didn't fire it just yet. He kept building up energy. A commercial break came and went. He still built up energy. At this point more than a few animation frames were being recycled.

Suddenly, he fired! I white-hot particle beam filled the screen. The camera angle flew back about a mile and a half and a dome of pure energy expanded, hesitated, then blasted outward! Nothing was left but a giant crater andů the guy he was shooting at, unscathed!

The guy he was shooting at laughed. They'll be hell to pay now, I thought. Nope. Just credits. The episode was over. Half an hour to watch one guy wind up for one attack, which was useless.

Needless to say I wasn't impressed. I'm all about aliens fighting humans with Kung Fu and sonic booms, but come on! A half hour for one punch!

From then on, whenever anyone mentioned Dragon Ball, which in my life is often, I made some sort of wise crack about taking an entire episode to brush my teeth or something.

Then, this summer, Dragon Ball was on Cartoon Network the exact time I ended up eating lunch almost every day. I must have seen almost three month's worth of episodes in a row. Exactly one major fight took place over the course of those three months.

And it was good.

What a great show! What great fighting techniques, and silly names like Piccolo and Freezer! And the gratuitous explosions, shock waves, and planet-cracking-the Hiroshima symbolism was so thick it would take three grad students to write a paper about it!

So now, I desire nothing less than to be the universe's greatest fighter, like Goku, or at least the most powerful Namek. When I see hills, I long to annihilate them with a single Destructo Disk.

But alas, I will never have the powers displayed in Dragon Ball Z. Not even in their video games, because they suck and I refuse to play them anymore.

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