Shigbeard's Blog

Just a place for me to dump my various thoughts and ramblings. All opinions are my own.

27 Sep 2022

Beast Gohan - Finally a return to good form

It’s about time Dragon Ball Super treated transformations correctly.

I finally took the time to watch the Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. But I got annoyed when I looked at some online discussion for the movie. A certain person claimed it featured “Horrific animation” and “awful writing made for a 12 year old”. And lastly, they bagged out the transformations… so I just had to make a response.

The Animations

Look, the animations weren’t too bad. I liked this 3D rendered version, and it’s certainly a step up from the abysmal artwork we saw out of the Battle of Gods arc. Sure, it’s not Broly… but it’s still ok.

The Writing

I’ll admit, the plot contrivances to get this movie’s plot going were certainly out there. I mean, Dr. Gero’s Grandson? Return of the Red Ribbon army? I don’t know. I feel it was just a contrivance to force similarities with the original Dragon Ball and the Android/Cell arc.

But it wasn’t all too bad. I like’d the side details, like the reference to Andoird 21 in the movie, potentially making the Dragon Ball FighterZ game semi-canon? Plus, seeing Pam train with Piccolo, seeing Broly and the gang again, and seeing the return of the Red Ribbon army was all pretty cool.

The Transformations

This is the part I got the most angry with this guy’s comment. He reckoned that the transformations weren’t earned. Let me recap for you. Spoilers ahead.

In the movie, we see two new transformations. Piccolo gets a bigger, buffed out orange transformation that he’s hesitently calling “Orange Piccolo”, while Gohan unlocks a new, unofficially named “Beast Gohan” transformation. But to say they weren’t earned…

Let me give you a brief recap of some of the more notable transformations achieved by the Saiyans. We have SSJ1, unlocked by Goku on Namek. How did that happen? He had pushed himself beyond his limits and wore himself out, thinking he’d finally defeated Frieza, except surprise, not dead… so after watching his friends all die, powerless to stop it, he unlocked SSJ1.

SSJ2 was just as earned. Gohan had already unlocked SSJ1 by facing inner demons regarding all the times he failed to protect those around him, and how countless times the people around him have protected him, even at the cost of their own lives. But this was dialed up to 11 when Cell destroyed Android 16, taunting Gohan in the process. Facing this, and the already countless deaths (and near deaths) of the Cell Tournament, Gohan unlocked SSJ2.

SSJ3… well we don’t know much about SSJ3. It was unlocked off-camera by Goku in the Buu arc, and we don’t know how he unlocked it. By all accounts, it was unlocked through training alone, which would imply it’s less of a transformation and more of an evolution of the SSJ2 form. I’d say this one isn’t earned, but considering that it literally never has won a fight and Goku has even stated that it’s power drain is overwhelming… it probably isn’t that big of a deal.

Dragon Ball Super is clearly where the transformations stopped being earned. We kick off with Goku achieving Super Saiyan God, which was part of a temporary ritual. Somehow, despite the rules of the ritual, Goku learned to tap into it again on his own further down the line, and even Vegeta managed to tap into it without the ritual.

And then, we get the off-camera SSJ Blue, again an unearned transformation that’s just boiled down to “oh, it’s Super Saiyan God, but with Super Saiyan on top.” What a cop out.

We don’t start seeing earned transformations again until well into the Tournament of Power, where Vegeta unlocks his Evolved version of SSJSS or SSJ Blue Evolved. This is the first time we’ve seen a transformation that’s been earned. Vegeta had been pushed to his limits, and was forced to confront the fact that he’d been living in Goku’s shadow for so long. When he confronted that, he unlocked the transformation.

Now back to this movie. Piccolo unlocks his transformation the cheap way - he literally had it handed to him by Shenron. I feel this is just to keep him relevant, because until now he’s only way to remain relevant is to absorb Namekians. But I digress.

Gohan on the other hand, his transformation parallels the Cell Arc. He and the other fighters are all against a wall, Cell Max is too tough for any of them to take down, and Gohan is faced with the reality that, if he doesn’t pull through, everyone around him will die. Again. And that snaps him into the Beast transformation. It’s just as earned as SSJ2.

So yeah, in conclusion, transformations earned. Cope harder. I’ve ranted for long enough.

Next time, we'll talk about "Whatever I want"