My Adventures with Dragon Ball Multiverse

Dragon Ball MultiverseThis past week I discovered a new level of procrastination that I had never felt before. Yesterday was my last day of class—after ten years of college—and at eleven the night beforehand, I still had two projects to finish, including my final. Naturally, instead of working my ass off, like I should have, I found a fan comic. I then read this comic—all 873 pages—in one go. I found myself so enraptured by the story and my lack of willpower to do anything else that it wasn’t until ten in the morning the next day that I realized “fuck! I have homework!”

Everything worked out for the best, though. I got an extension until Monday.

But seriously, after being a full-time student with two jobs and an internship, Dragon Ball Multiverse was exactly what I needed to help me get away for a few hours. It might be a fan comic—which is never as good as the actual thing—but if I hadn’t known that before going into the story, I would have thought otherwise. Dragon Ball Multiverse is thought out, true to the characters and to the original art style, and it keeps up with the original theme of the original narrative. That is, it has lots of fighting, explosions, and an abundance of Super Saiyans.

However, sadly Vegeta never screams this.

Sadly, though, Vegeta never screams this.

Yeah, I was hooked.

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Manga Mondays: The Portrayal of Masculinity and Femininity in Manga and Anime

From an historical viewpoint, just about every culture on the planet has idealized males as dominate figures, while dismissing females as the lesser sex. Japan is certainly no exception to this way of thinking. Though in recent years, while the gap between both genders has slimmed, it is still there, and the Japanese reflect this ideology in their manga and anime. Manga has been around for quite some time, and anime first appeared in the last century to represent manga on the television screen. While manga has an incredibly wide fan base that continues to grow each year, it normally targets either boys or girls. Manga for boys is called shounen, and for girls it’s shoujo.

Both may display similar characteristics regarding gender roles, but they are quite dissimilar in their portrayal, and normally cater to different genres. Shoujo, for instance, tends to center more on romance and finding true love, while shounen, even though it may also have romance, focuses more on action and adventure. This is not to say that shoujo has neither action nor adventure; those are just not the main focus in a typical shoujo.

So what I’m going to talk about today are two different shounen, Kisimoto Masasi’s Naruto and Takahasi Rumiko’s InuYasha. I also hope to explain why they are both shounen and not shoujo. Obviously, Naruto is a shounen, but there are some discrepancies about what category InuYasha falls under. And you’re going to have to brace yourselves, but I’m also going to be discussing gender roles.

Okay, let’s get to it.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Point of no Return by niteryde

Remember DBZ in all its glory? Ah, there’s nothing like watching some good old classic anime. I can all too easily recall running home from the bus stop as a child and eagerly awaiting for Toonami to play the latest episode. But what did I do while impatiently wishing for five o’clock to roll around? Why, fanfiction, of course.

I love this show so much that the very first thing I ever wrote was DBZ fanfiction. But don’t worry. I’m not about to start gushing on how awesome my non-existent writing skills were back when I was twelve. But alas, there were certainly other fics to read. This one in particular didn’t make it to ff.net until 2010, and I only recently found it a couple days ago.

Point of no Return by niteryde captivated me so much I stayed awake until midnight to finish it the day before getting up early the next morning for surgery. So, yeah, I may be half asleep as I type this, but it was well worth it. And besides, I did get a bit of nap in on the operating table, so all’s well that ends well.

The summary for the story reads as:

Trunks was going back in time to warn the others about the androids, but instead ended up in a time when Vegeta was Frieza’s most ruthless soldier… can he keep his power and identity a secret when he sees the brutality of his father’s past?

Well, to answer the question presented to us by the author: no, he can’t.

Point of no Return is twenty-three chapters long, with almost two-hundred thousand words, and begins with Trunks headed back in time, but something goes horribly amiss when he doesn’t take Bulma’s words to heart when operating his time machine. He ends up on an alien planet in the process of being purged by his father and two companions, Nappa and Raditz. Seeing as they’re his only means off the planet, he convinces them to let him join them, and they in turn take him back to Frieza. All the while, Trunks searches desperately for a way to get to planet Earth, since his time machine broke upon his arrival, so he needs the Dragon Balls to get back home.

As the story wears on, Trunks’s mere presence alters the past so much that he begins to realize that his actions may mean his parents never getting together, or that Goku will never face Frieza when he’s supposed to, thus never reaching the Super Saiyan status. In horror, he knows that if things don’t go as planned, and that if he doesn’t get the medication to Goku in time, the Earth will not be prepared for the Androids of the future.

Not only does Trunks have this weighing over his head, he’s also dealing with Vegeta and the other two Saiyan’s and learning just what their lives were like in Frieza’s care. At first he is sickened by their actions and must put up with their racial slurs at only being half Saiyan, but he slowly learns what a harsh environment they’re in. On top of dealing with this new reality, he also learns that Vegeta never wanted children, which makes a good bit of violent Saiyan drama when Vegeta does discover the truth.

I also love his reaction when he hears Trunks’s name. He comments:

“I have a half-breed son named Trunks. My eternal humiliations truly have no bounds.”

I think my favorite thing about this story is the characterization. Niteryde does such a wonderful job of it. Finding stories that get the personalities of just about every character right is no easy feat. The strongest dynamic would obviously be between Vegeta and Trunks, but even Raditz and Nappa are spot on. Neteryde managed to keep them in character, while also giving them some likable traits. Nappa’s even the first one to figure out Trunks’s identity, and being loyal to the throne, he begrudgingly admits that his job is to protect it, even if it now includes a “half-breed”.

Obviously, Vegeta’s pretty pissed when he realizes that Nappa kept such a secret from him. Nappa’s subsequent death at Vegeta’s hands does relate back to canon and how time was supposed to flow. The likable characterization of Nappa and Raditz made his death upsetting, and it also makes the audience worry for Raditz when Vegeta finally sends him off to look for Goku.

I’ll stop the summary here, since I’ve given so much of the story away already. This is a fantastic fic, and it’s definitely worth a read. Check it out here.