When you think of Dragon Ball, doubtless the first thing that springs to mind is the combat. Okay, so maybe you’ll imagine a meme first, but you get the general idea. The fight scenes are inseparable from the whole Dragon Ball package, coded into its DNA. Yet, for me, the franchise isn’t defined by it.
I recently finished watching the last fifteen or so episodes of Dragon Ball Super and had something of an epiphany. I enjoyed the fisticuffs well enough, though like all the franchise’s fights it dragged on and on, but it was in the space between the combat that most appealed to me. After this revelation I started thinking about what exactly it was I liked about the show, and I came to a simple conclusion: the characters.
Dragon Ball Z was one of – if not the first – anime I was ever exposed to and so it will always hold a special place in my heart. Though it was fun to re-enact battles from the Cell and Androids sagas on the playground, even then, it was always the moments of training, of domesticity and, frankly, the filler, that resonated with me most. It seems obvious to look back on it now, but there we are.
All of this leads me to the title of the piece and my want of a slice-of-life show set in the Dragon Ball franchise. I want whole episodes where Goku, Vegata and their families sit down and have dinner, talking about this and that, or go shopping, or just spending time together, with sight gags and jokes thrown in. The more I think on it, the more disappointed I become that it doesn’t already exist.
When I think back on Dragon Ball, the moments I remember the most aren’t combat related, they’re conversations and interactions. I think of Goku training or indulging his prolific appetite, I remember the tender moments between Krillin and Android 18, and I remember family gatherings before yet another ne’er-do-well came along and spoilt all the fun.
I liked Super well enough and I’d be happy to see the series return in some capacity, but what I’m really after is a slice of the everyday Dragon Ball life. Who’s with me?