The Forgotten Few: Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z Characters Who Deserve to Be Revisited in Dragon Ball Super
Hooking a Crowd
Characters make or break any and every story. The right personality traits, mixed with a cool back story, and some growth and setbacks along the way, draw a viewer or reader in. Having at least one good, relatable, protagonist is key to success. Having multi-layered characters with a solid supporting cast of others to keep an ongoing story hot is vital to creating a great franchise and fanbase.
For a franchise like Dragon Ball, it can be difficult to decide which characters are important. Who gets to stay? Who gets to grow? Who is unnecessary and outstayed their welcome? We’ve watched Goku grow from a wild vagrant jungle boy to a civilized grandfather. His encounters with villains, aliens, and civilians across the universe have all molded him into the hero he is today. Some of these characters don’t get the love and respect they deserve in this series. This is critical because it’s becoming increasingly harder to justify the continuation of the manga and anime. We only see growth in Goku and Vegeta as fighters; not fathers, husbands, citizens, or Saiyans. Dragon Ball Super has been slow-paced fan service.
Raditz & Nappa
Raditz and Nappa were two of the first Saiyans we ever met. Raditz landed on Roshi’s island and ushered in the new era of Dragon Ball, explaining Goku’s immense strength and origins. Much like a big brother in real life, he was a handful to deal with. He alone was too much to handle causing our beloved Goku to experience the afterlife for the first time. Without Raditz, one could argue there would be no Dragon Ball Z. His kidnapping of Gohan was also the first time we got a glimpse of the latent power that lay dormant inside of his nephew.
Nappa was a one-man wrecking crew. He was Vegeta’s right-hand man and took pride in being so. When he made it to Earth, the first thing he did was destroy a city. He and the Saibamen were too much for the Z Fighters and many had fallen before Goku arrived. Nappa’s brute force and willingness to destroy anyone and anything would come back to haunt him.
Raditz and Nappa were the last of a dead race. Goku’s brother and Vegeta’s comrade. They died as they lived and we never saw them again. The entire Red Ribbon army lived on from Dragon Ball to not just see Dragon Ball Z, but be a factor towards the end of the show. Mercenary Tao came back with robot parts and King Piccolo spit his essence into an entire hatch-able being. Seeing these Saiyans in more than a flashback or origin movie is a must. It’s a great way to introduce even more characters, planets, and Saiyan secrets while filling us in on what it was like to work for Frieza, as well as travel the galaxy fighting and conquering. It’s a shame we see so much of their oppressor (Frieza) but little is known of Raditz and Nappa. The knowledge, powers, and skills they could’ve absorbed by now are mind-shattering! It’s time for them to return to the series and shake things up.
Who Would You Prefer to See?
By nature of his proximity to the Senzu beans and Korin Tower, we should see Upa all the time. There should be check-ins and filler episodes, and Upa should have Senzu beans. Upa’s people have guarded Korin Tower since the day it was built and he was hoping to one day make a climb. His father Bora was a human that was strong and disciplined enough to be able to bounce bullets off his chest. With this lineage and responsibility, Upa should be an honorary Z Fighter.
Upa still lives at the bottom of Korin Tower following in his father’s footsteps. Korin Tower is located just below The Lookout. That means that all the training in the chamber and Senzu bean trips should warrant a few Upa appearances. Upa lives to protect what Goku and crew use leisurely and in times of need to save the world. Upa the Protector has earned a reason to be on screen. Maybe we’ll finally get to see him climb the tower or defend his village. With the right storyline, maybe we can see him save the world.
Pikkon is one of my favorite characters. He pushed Goku even in his Super Saiyan form. He’s confident and tactical. He’s also dead. He was great enough to keep his body in the afterlife and gives off a Namekian vibe. Clearly he’s not of Namekian descent, but that green sure looks good on him. Goku was drawn to Pikkon from the moment he first saw him. He knew he was strong and was determined to fight him. It was more of a friendly sparring session that ended in a draw when both competitors landed outside the ring. Goku ended up disappearing to save Earth. That was pretty much it for Pikkon unless we’re counting the Janemba movie which we’re not.
The origin of Pikkon is so unknown he could have his own movie. How did he die? What happened to his people? Why not wish him back? A great fighter that I’m sure could teach the humans a trick or two. For now, Pikkon watches from the Other World. You don’t have to be a spectator if you’re heart burns to fight.
Cell is perfect. He’s the last creation of Dr. Gero. His name suits him well because he is comprised of all the cells of all the Z Fighters. Human, Saiyan, and even Namekian. Cell happened to reach perfection as Goku’s heart had started to betray him. The timing couldn’t have been better for an evildoer. His strength, ability to regenerate, and his built-in knowledge of all the fighters made him the ultimate villain. Somehow, he was blasted to smithereens and never heard from again.
This might be the stretch of all stretches but why wasn’t he afforded a second chance? You could argue that he peaked. He reached his goal of becoming perfect so there’s no need to bring him back. What about King Piccolo or Buu? They left a piece or pieces of them behind. Cell could have done the same thing. He is part Namekian after all. He could leave a piece behind to study and learn what happens next. Maybe even mix in some God Ki. There's potential for a great storyline with both depth and death.
The Grand Kai
The Grand Kai is a cool hipster dude. He doesn’t do much of anything on the show and his powers seem to be questioned time and time again. How many supervillains have haunted and destroyed planets and galaxies on his watch? Why doesn’t he intervene? Is he the reason the Supreme Kai is always so stressed out? He lets King Kai get away with a lot.
We see from the show that he’s a carefree, laid-back type of Kai. He’d be perfect for some filler episodes, and yes, Dragon Ball could use more filler episodes. The Grand Kai is simply a fun character with a cool design. He doesn’t say much but when he does, those words have meaning. Allowing Grand Kai to pop in even just to give a drop of advice or get on King Kai about meddling would be ideal, because what’s the purpose of creating a character who doesn’t advance a story and then just disappears?
Asking For a Friend
Do you like filler in anime?
I believe that if the writers and producers look back in the big box of characters, the Dragon Ball franchise can find new hope. Give reasons for characters to be drawn and appear on our screens. Characters like Yamcha and Piccolo were necessary for Goku to develop as a young fighter and now they’re lost in the mix, rotting away into oblivion. The great problem with great power is not all can achieve it. So many of our once beloved fighters end up left behind and written out, simply because they weren't born with a tail. Instead of adding new unnecessary forms and powers rivaling Gods, hopefully, we can get back to the art of storytelling and appreciating our long time friends. This is the best way to introduce a legendary manga and anime to a new generation.
© 2020 Earvin Allen