Monday, April 3, 2023

Dragon Ball: A Lesson in Bad Parenting


I am grateful for Dragon Ball for many reasons. This was the first anime I watched growing up. I didn’t know this at the time, but a lot of people my age watched this show, but never talked about it. The reason I didn’t because I was embarrassed that I watching an anime show. In the past few years everyone been talking about how great the genre is. I still get embarrassed talking about it, but I am trying to be  embarrassed publicly. Anyway, since Dragon Ball was my first anime, I try to keep up to date with it even though there are much better shows out there. Recently, I have watched the newest movie for this franchise, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero and I want to talk about it. 

I will be honest I enjoyed watching this movie. I thought it was fun and entertaining to bring back the original storytelling style as a throwback to when Dragon Ball started. Also, I really, really appreciated that the movie focused on Gohan rather than Goku. Ever since the Buu Saga, Gohan has been a let down from where he was previously and it's nice to see him in the spotlight. 

In the first few sagas of Dragon Ball Z it focuses on Goku, the main protagonist, giving the mantle of earth’s protector to his son Gohan---which, in my opinion, would have been the best ending for Dragon Ball Z. However, in the Buu Saga the mantle goes back to Goku because Gohan passion isn’t to be a fighter, but being a scholar.

As you may recall, and for those don’t know, Dragon Ball Z starts off with Goku introducing Gohan, his son, to the Z fighters from the series prior. After some unfortunate events Gohan is raised by Goku former enemy, Piccolo. Anyone that has seen the series agrees that Piccolo is a better father than Goku. Piccolo sacrificed his life (don't worry no one is dead forever) for Gohan’s, while Goku will give the strongest enemy, Cell, a senzu bean so he would be fully healed prior to his fight with Gohan who doesn’t want to fight. 

There are more examples of Piccolo being a better father, but that isn’t the focus of this post. In this post I want to focus on Gohan and his relationship with Pan, his daughter. As this movie begins Gohan is raising his daughter the same way as Goku--- by not being present. Instead of finding the next opponent to fight he focuses on research and ignores his child. All Pam wants to do is to be with with her Dad similar to how Gohan wanted to be with Goku in DBZ. Luckily, Piccolo is there to be her father like he was there for Gohan. 

I thought the movie did a great job showing the similarity of Gohan becoming like Goku. In the movie Videl, Pan’s mother and Gohans wife, calls Piccolo to see if he could take care of Pam while she is busy and Gohan is working at home doing research. Piccolo, understandable frustrated at Gohan’s neglect of his own child, visits with him to remind him of his responsibilities. Gohan gets out of parenting and Piccolo and Pam get into trouble with the red ribbon army (the bad guys).

By the end of the climax you would think that Gohan would learn a lesson that he should be more a part of Pan’s life, but no, Gohan doesn’t learn this lesson. By the end of the movie Pan is impressed that her father saved her but goes to Piccolo to train with him instead of Gohan.

Moral of the story: be part of your child’s life, be interested in them. Don’t be like Gohan, be like Piccolo. As I young father I am learning I need to be part of my children's lives, which means I need to put down my phone and do what they want to do, be interested in what they like, and listen when they talk.

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