PDA

View Full Version : Discussion DBZ SYNDROME: The silent killer



warsaint777
April 05, 2006, 04:31 AM
DBZ Syndrome: A condition whereas the power bar in a manga/anime is constantly reset to a higher level too fast and too much until the concept of power itself becomes all talk and no show, taking away from the excitement and experience of the combat itself, and eventually eroding the dignity of the series away.

Akira Toriyama himself verbally admitted that he lost passion for his job when Jump magazine made him beat a dead horse by dragging the series on after the Freiza arc. However, Akira's mistake was progressing the power bar too fast. At the beggining of the Radditz arc, 1000 was daunting, and apparently enough to blow up a mountain. A few chapters later, a character boasting maybe a power of 3000 blows up a city by merely lifiting his fingers. A single volume later, not only did the power standard jump to a ridiculous 20,000, but characters were apparently already able to blow up entire planets. Very irresponsible planning on Akira's part. Eventually, DBZ sealed the deal of its stupidity when a charged up villain claimed he "could blow up the entire solar system" with his chi if he wanted to. Cue eye roll.

While this destructive process can't be avoided, it can certainly be slowed until it reaches a proper climax of "unimaginable power" right as it ends. I think Kishimoto is being careful about this, and in the right ways.

One techinque I know he uses is to keep the power comparisons from being very obvious. Nobody knows for sure how to compare all the characters, and what's most exciting is that 75% of them give the impression that they could hold their own against any of the others, adding to the curiosity. For example, how the hell was Gai able to intimidate Itachi so much that he had to run away instead of risk his exhaustion? Is Itachi much weaker than any of the other great Akatsuki ninjas? And then who's to say that Gai is much stronger than any other Konoha jounin? And aren't a few of the teenage characters already jounins?

Another technique is making "power" not the same as "skill" or "experience". In the better fights, characters aren't just hammering the crap out of each other as much as they're thoughtfully trying to map out their attack plans, set up their traps, and take advantage of each of their foe's moves. Note Yamato's line during the four-tail vs. Orochimaru fight, "It's not even a question as to how powerful, but as to how they can seize these opportunities". It's an iffy translation, but it's understandable. MAKE NO MISTAKE: Kishimoto's only purpose for this line was to bitchslap the sense into you that the fight you were watching was not cool because it was big, but because it was utter batshit (which means craziness). Remember it.

The best and easiest techinque is to set the initial power bar very very LOW. This does not effect the coolness of a story's setting in the slightest and gives plenty of room for the intensity of the fights to expand before the power levels grow excessive and the fights become ridiculous. Kishimoto's average ninja in the beggining of the story couldn't do much more than blow a ten foot plume of fire from his/her mouth, yet we were still amazed to see Sasuke bewilder his teacher and pull it off during the bell exercise. The story of Naruto has been progressing for years and years now, and it's only been a month since we saw any kind of large crater.

However, one of the first supernatural things we ever saw at the nose-beggining of Dragon Ball was a giant beam of light blowing the top off a volcano. Uh oh. Where the hell is there to go from there, Tori? Certainly not up. As for Naruto, it wasn't until recently that "energy blasts" even became a possible feat for anybody.

Bleach fell to this condition a while ago, but recently took a turn for the worse. I mean, come on: "Limit lifting"...? "Quintupled"...? The Arrancar recently killed were "only those of the lowest class"? When the hell did you get so cheap, Kubo? Your art is so good, and yet you've gotten lazy with your action and storytelling technique.

Here are some common symptoms of DBZ Syndrome. If the manga or anime you are into is displaying behavior such as this, take it to the back and shoot it immediately before it begins to truly suffer. (BG=Badguy, GG=Goodguy, RG=Randomguy)

BG- "Rarr! I am so strong! You cannot defeat me! My power is so vast I cannot measure it in words or numbers!"
GG- "Glah! My defeat is iminent! Hope is lost! He is too strong! Wait... Oh shitz!!1 I just realized I beileve in myself!
[TRANSFORMATION SEQUENCE]
BG- "What in blazes, now your power is twenty times that of mine?! Impossible!"
GG- "I didn't think so either, but fuck, you can't argue with results!"
[TWO-PAGE IMAGE OF BADGUY GETTING KILLED]
BG- "Gurg! I have been defeated!"
GG- "Victory is for me!"
RG- "Hey! I just got a letter from some guy that said he was 50 TIMES as strong as you, and he'll be here in a week!"
GG- "Oh shitz! The wonders! Train me, random guy!
RG- "Ossu!"

That's a solid example of when a manga is going in a bad direction. For those of you who think that manga/anime is just about "getting stronger and beating stronger badguys", you may be a quarter right, but you're also an idiot. This is a bad way to close my point, but my point was to only define to you all what DBZ Syndrome really was.

Kusachu
April 05, 2006, 04:54 AM
very enjoyable! bravo! ah *nostalgic sigh* out of respect for toriyama san, i was able to continue through DBZ to the bitter end, yet, when i saw that horrible garbage that was called GT i had cry off and go on my way. I recently (like TODAY) caught up with the bleach anime (slacking on the manga) and was begining to think "hmmm...well, where can he possibly go now??" but still, the pictures are pretty, so until it becomes a pale mockery i think I'll stick it out.

I have angst about Naruto particularly because there isn't enough "meat" to it. There is all this implied tension and scenarios between the characters, and while they are intriguing, the relationships between them are barely discussed. As much as i love the battles and such, would it be too much to ask for a bit of...i don't know...emotional drama as actual storyline and not just random information being narrated? A story arc that doesn't have to involve a mission? I mean, most of the vital information about the characters is told like data (with a couple of exceptions). It just seems like he's narrating. You shouldn't need a DATA book to understand clearly what characters are about and what is going on in the story. Though, i can't blame the authors though, they have to think hard and fast to create new chapters every week and that doesn't leave much room for error, but still...IDK...i just hope that kishimoto san slows down and doesn't get rediculous. It would be a shame. guh i am through rambling...XP good post.

Miso
April 05, 2006, 07:01 AM
Very interesting post, warsaint777. You deserve Ki for that. ;)

I think we cannot argue about the ridiculous power bost in Dragon Ball Z. While the Dragon Ball series with this flaw was bearable, DBZ just wasn't.

As you pointed out the good thing about Naruto is that it started on a low power level. At the beginning we were in awe just because ppl could walk up trees using their chakra.
On the other hand, you cannot say that Kishi is totally free of the power boost fault. I must say that I enjoyed Naruto very much but was totally disappointed in the Naruto-Sasuke clash (b4 timeskip). That was exactly the dumb-only-power-hit-the-enemy crap. No neat techniques..just Naruto getting powered up by Kyuubi and Sasuke powered up by Cursed Level 2. bleh.



I have angst about Naruto particularly because there isn't enough "meat" to it. There is all this implied tension and scenarios between the characters, and while they are intriguing, the relationships between them are barely discussed. As much as i love the battles and such, would it be too much to ask for a bit of...i don't know...emotional drama as actual storyline and not just random information being narrated? A story arc that doesn't have to involve a mission? I mean, most of the vital information about the characters is told like data (with a couple of exceptions). It just seems like he's narrating. You shouldn't need a DATA book to understand clearly what characters are about and what is going on in the story. Though, i can't blame the authors though, they have to think hard and fast to create new chapters every week and that doesn't leave much room for error, but still...IDK...i just hope that kishimoto san slows down and doesn't get rediculous. It would be a shame. guh i am through rambling...XP good post.


Of course you are right. I would also like to have the story "deepen" a bit more. I think the Kakashi arc was something like that. Interesting background story about Kakashi and Yondaime (:love).
We could use more background info on some of the characters. But you have to admit that we have soooo many characters - we cannot fill in everything. There is just not enough space for much storytelling in this area I think.

njt
April 05, 2006, 11:26 AM
haha, I have to admit, of all the posts I've read of yours warsaint, I have to say this is the best :). Nicely put :p. (I liked the end part :p)

As for the series in question.

Dragonball: The manga, I LOVED. Seriously. I spent night after night just reading through the manga until I was finished with the series. It wasn't all that bad, heck I lost my virginity to that series (in the non sexual way thank you :p) and it's what kept me in "dream land" the "what if I had this type of power, how fun it would be :p" type thing. While it was a bit flawed when it came to power levels, you can't blame them for trying to keep it interesting and proposing an even stronger villian.

Naruto: While it doesn't have those little arcs that touch you in a tender spot or propose any life changing views on life, it's a damn good series. I guess what I like about it is that past events tie into the future (even though some mistakes happen) it for the most part is well planned out. I have to admit it does feel like one very long arc, but that's what keeps me going. I'm interested in all the bits and pieces that we've been fed. It makes me crave more, in which I don't see it being all explained anytime soon means that I can even enjoy this series longer. I guess I just like the interesting concepts that Kishimoto comes up with, and how it doesn't seem too outrageous. Plus the characters are admirable and funny :).

One Piece: Even though you didn't mention it, I would have to say it's something that you should read. It does however feature a little bit of the "dbz" syndrome it's a very good series. I think something that will make it appeal to many people is the fact that the arcs are semi short and that they really leave you touched. I seriously nearly cried in many of the arcs. Sooo much goes into the character development that you really feel for the characters and just want to see the enemies get what they deserve :).

Bleach: I read up to the end of the Rukia arc.... I'm just going to have to read this series again to give it more of my impression... I mean, it's good and all- but.... I dunno I really don't see why everyone likes it all that much :p. (then again the second time I read it I'll pay more attention :) )

with that said, great post. :ossu

hurotias
April 05, 2006, 11:34 AM
I think your article is pretty interesting, but as for me you're a little bit too harsh regarding bleach... The fact that their is a limit to avoid the power of a captain or vice-captain to disrupt the balance of the world was explained in the early volumes of this manga, so i guess it's not that "OMG i'm so strong and i don't know why"...
So maybe it's not that DBZ syndrome in bleach (and by the way it's surprising to see that ichigo never stops loosing...so it's not that surprising to see him evolve from time to time^^)

Syntaxis_
April 05, 2006, 11:58 AM
Good post, enjoyed reading it :) Insane power jumps are ok as long as it's not going to be too over the top like in DBZ - blowing up a mountain.. sure.. but a planet? Get real. Sadly.. even Naruto has this problem. I used to enjoy the basic fighting without people shooting laser beams out of their fingers and eyes. Sadly.. ninja's do that too apparently. And it got to an all-time worst when Kyuubi-Naruto slammed Sasuke into a rock wall on full power and Sasuke managed to get up from it without any explanation.. why.. he can still, you know, breathe. Kakashi used to scare when they (Naruto/Sasuke) seemed to fall from that tree. But being slammed into a mountain is ok.

Bleach is going too far as well, but at least the story-telling is fun. I can't forget about the first time we see Rukia.. ghostly sneaking into a room, not noticing she's been seen, very gentle and spookily float down and WHAM a kick in your ass from Ichigo! The look on her face.. priceless..

barbapapa
April 05, 2006, 12:36 PM
Well Bleach always was more of a DBZ series than Naruto; but that doesnt make it bad imho.
I see it more like, DBZ done right. Bleach has always been about style, if you deny this I dont know what you've been reading for 20 volumes.
Whereas Naruto is more a mix of old school Dragonball and DBZ with more emphasis on what exactly goes on during a fight.
And then there's One Piece which is very old school Dragonball in a way where the fights are there to serve another purpose; that of comic relief. They never drag or get in the way of the story.
And then there's Hunter X Hunter which is the exact opposite of standard shounen manga, where everything Togashi sets up is so explained & reasoned.

Anyway, if DBZ-ing bothers you, you're reading the wrong genre. Shounen is all about this; sure DBZ wasnt the most refined manga; but keep in mind that it dates from the 80's thru 90's ffs.

warsaint777
April 05, 2006, 08:55 PM
I'm not totally 100% dissing Dragon Ball. It was seriously the father manga of all shonen mangas. But because it was the first, I think it was overstretched and ruined, and I think alot of what made their stretching it out even worse was because the characters for some reason just had to get stronger stronger stronger. Shonen isn't about getting stronger until you can blow up the galaxy. It's about general conflict. [br]Posted at: April 05, 2006, 06:50:15 PM_________________________________________________

Very interesting post, warsaint777. You deserve Ki for that. ;)

I think we cannot argue about the ridiculous power bost in Dragon Ball Z. While the Dragon Ball series with this flaw was bearable, DBZ just wasn't.

As you pointed out the good thing about Naruto is that it started on a low power level. At the beginning we were in awe just because ppl could walk up trees using their chakra.
On the other hand, you cannot say that Kishi is totally free of the power boost fault. I must say that I enjoyed Naruto very much but was totally disappointed in the Naruto-Sasuke clash (b4 timeskip). That was exactly the dumb-only-power-hit-the-enemy crap. No neat techniques..just Naruto getting powered up by Kyuubi and Sasuke powered up by Cursed Level 2. bleh.



The Naruto vs. Saskue battle was an excuseable 100% brute force fight because it was the climax of series. There is a time for technicalities, and a time where the emotion is so strong and the drive for combat is so heavy that it's simply time to just throw down and fight fight fight. We were all desperate by that point to see a real battle between Sasuke and Naruto, so we tolerated a no-strings-attached fight.

FYI Norio Matsumoto's animated version of that fight was custom made and he added alot of really ingenious things to the fight. I'm talking about the legendary episode 133, of course.

barbapapa
April 05, 2006, 09:56 PM
Well DBZ just got so exaggerated at one point I dont even think Toriyama even cared anymore about it making sense :P
in some ways I like how its so cheesy and old school ^^

EvilSniffles
April 05, 2006, 11:38 PM
bleach touches the syndrome but I don't think it has caught it....as was said the limit was explained. also the power of the anncrracer are somewhat explained but not all that well.

Uchiro
April 05, 2006, 11:57 PM
This is a great topic, and an all around good reason a lot of people lost interest in DBZ. Thank god I'm easily amused.


I have angst about Naruto particularly because there isn't enough "meat" to it. There is all this implied tension and scenarios between the characters, and while they are intriguing, the relationships between them are barely discussed. As much as i love the battles and such, would it be too much to ask for a bit of...i don't know...emotional drama as actual storyline and not just random information being narrated? A story arc that doesn't have to involve a mission? I mean, most of the vital information about the characters is told like data (with a couple of exceptions). It just seems like he's narrating. You shouldn't need a DATA book to understand clearly what characters are about and what is going on in the story. Though, i can't blame the authors though, they have to think hard and fast to create new chapters every week and that doesn't leave much room for error, but still...IDK...i just hope that kishimoto san slows down and doesn't get rediculous. It would be a shame. guh i am through rambling...XP good post

I dont think this is really that big of a problem in Naruto... maybe others would disagree. I like the mistery of it all. You learn the story as the characters learn it. It makes it that much more rewarding!

Kusachu
April 06, 2006, 07:56 AM
This is a great topic, and an all around good reason a lot of people lost interest in DBZ.  Thank god I'm easily amused.

I dont think this is really that big of a problem in Naruto...  maybe others would disagree.  I like the mistery of it all.  You learn the story as the characters learn it.  It makes it that much more rewarding!


Yeah, don't get me wrong, Naruto is my all time fave, but still, there is soooooooooo much that kishimoto is leaving to the imagination, which would be great, except, I WANT TO SEE IT!!! He makes the most intriguing characters and then just leaves the reader hanging (like fake sai from that tree). Like, here's an example: Haku and Zabuza-- He gave them both a sufficiant amount of background to get the reader attached and then he killed them off in a reasonable fashion. That was good! No more of those two. But then when you start getting into the more main characters, he gives us a tiny peek and then forgets about it, leaving the reader to wonder what happened and doesn't even give any inclination that that area will ever be resolved in the future because every chapter is about setting up the comming battle and during the battle there is nothing but banter that reaveals yet another surprizing plot twist that may or may not ever be addressed in the future. It frustrates the hell out of me! and crap...i think i am off topic so i'll appologize and stop babbling. XD

SacredNic
April 06, 2006, 08:19 AM
But then when you start getting into the more main characters, he gives us a tiny peek and then forgets about it, leaving the reader to wonder what happened and doesn't even give any inclination that that area will ever be resolved in the future because every chapter is about setting up the comming battle and during the battle there is nothing but banter that reaveals yet another surprizing plot twist that may or may not ever be addressed in the future.  It frustrates the hell out of me!  and crap...i think i am off topic so i'll appologize and stop babbling.  XD



I agree. The first series of Naruto brought a few tears to my eyes because there was intensity that was developed through people's suffering. Haku suffered the loss of his parents. Inari suffered the loss of his foster dad. The country suffered under the hands of Gatou. Zabusa suffered because he lost Haku, and then failed to admit his true feelings until the very end.

The end of this little saga brought great resolve not just because the bad guys were defeated, but because the change brought about healing and new hope for everyone. This is what the good stuff is made of :tem

njt
April 07, 2006, 12:34 AM
I agree. The first series of Naruto brought a few tears to my eyes because there was intensity that was developed through people's suffering. Haku suffered the loss of his parents. Inari suffered the loss of his foster dad. The country suffered under the hands of Gatou. Zabusa suffered because he lost Haku, and then failed to admit his true feelings until the very end.

The end of this little saga brought great resolve not just because the bad guys were defeated, but because the change brought about healing and new hope for everyone. This is what the good stuff is made of :tem



Then you would like One piece :p

Tamerlane
April 12, 2006, 04:52 PM
You know I finally just sat down and read thru this. You made such a great point Warsaint! What you call the 'DBZ Syndrome' is one reason that I have trouble getting into a lot of anime these days. They always tend to follow the same patterns when it comes to the power levels and fight sequences. Of course DBZ being the prime example, however like you pointed out Naruto iseems to be going down that path as well, athough much slower.

I guess you kind of have to look at it from the mangaka's point of view. They want to make something exciting and that will keep people reading their story, but sometimes the only way to do that (especially in a action orientated manga) is to allow the character to gain almost absurdly high power levels over a short period of time. I always like to imagine what a normal person in the Naruto universe would think of all these Ninja running around breathing fire, moving at insane speeds, and throwing knives with a precision that defies all laws. Personally if I was a normal citizen of Konoha I would try to avoid them at all costs...in case I got 'accidentally' killed or my house blown up in the process. x_x

juUnior
January 09, 2007, 12:20 PM
Warsaint777 nicly said, and I agree with all of that ..

DBZ: We know how it was, so I will not reapet ;p

Naruto: Goodie, goodie, but Is it me, or someone like Sasori was queite TOO much to handle :x But from that I think it's great on such aspects.

Bleach: It is good, very good to the end of SS saga, then begining of the bext is intersting, but when appears some major arrancars, it looks power is too much to handle, and later on, when Ichigo has superb power boost, it's like transfromation to another transfromation, to power boost, like in DBZ some ssj.. yeah, Bleach was given after SS saga huge power up, and sometimes you can think: gotei 13 captains looks pathetic :x

Jammin
January 09, 2007, 11:32 PM
I am incapable of understanding why the characters in a manga or anime becoming, more or less, gods is a problem. Nothing makes me happier when then when they pile on the power till they are blowing holes in planets and moving so fast they rip holes in space time. So for me the term "overpowered" has no meaning.

As long as they throw a little strategy in there somewhere, I won't complain if mushroom clouds start appearing after every jutsu/technique/bleach sword transformation. :amuse

Frankly, as long as i don't see mecha i'm a happy guy. :smile-big (If they throw in mecha.....:mad)

rankgain
January 10, 2007, 12:31 AM
I am incapable of understanding why the characters in a manga or anime becoming, more or less, gods is a problem. Nothing makes me happier when then when they pile on the power till they are blowing holes in planets and moving so fast they rip holes in space time. So for me the term "overpowered" has no meaning.

As long as they throw a little strategy in there somewhere, I won't complain if mushroom clouds start appearing after every jutsu/technique/bleach sword transformation. :amuse

Frankly, as long as i don't see mecha i'm a happy guy. :smile-big (If they throw in mecha.....:mad)

Well, if the characters had the power to blow everything up, there really isn't a point of the story anymore. Just blow up the planet. XD And if you can generate that much power, you probably can survive the impact...

Jammin
January 10, 2007, 07:54 PM
As long as both the character in question his adversary both have that much power i don't see how it could effect the quality of story. It will just increase the number of craters in the landscape. :smile-big

Maxy Barnard
January 11, 2007, 10:09 AM
or indeed just destroy everything till theres nothing left, making it all very tedious, repetitive and boring. power only has so much strategy. same with speed. so constantly improving them is just.... bad. man i suck at saying stuff.

its true that as mangas go its harder to avoid the devilish syndrome of doom, but some can kinda hold out, managing to keep everythign on a decent scale.

juUnior
January 12, 2007, 05:17 AM
or indeed just destroy everything till theres nothing left, making it all very tedious, repetitive and boring. power only has so much strategy. same with speed. so constantly improving them is just.... bad. man i suck at saying stuff.

its true that as mangas go its harder to avoid the devilish syndrome of doom, but some can kinda hold out, managing to keep everythign on a decent scale.


I agree. If manga would have only overpowered creatures xD to some point of the story it would be boring. Like for esxample I like imrpovement of the characters, like in:

Naruto - Naruto or Saske or any rookie of Konoha or Suna ^^ It's amazing to see how they are more powerful and more xD And in the begining it was introduced to the people named -kage, so already we know how powerful shinobis could be there. It's essential :D

Bleach - it's a little complicated. Maybe Ichigo lacks exepreince and more techniques of attacks (Gestuga, Gestuga ehh :x), and begining was queite intesting to see how he prgogresses, than introduced powerful at that time vice-captains and captain of Gotei 13, that whole SS arc was masterpiece how characters progresses, but after that it was to much after what it was said about hybrids, and most of us know how it endedwith Ichigo. He is too much of power to anybody else (of kors if he could bring a little longer some mask :X). No, Im', not saying it's bad, but it really looks like some transforming to have another power like in DBZ was ssj transfomration.