If you have ever had a conversation with me, you probably know I love DragonballZ, and I do mean love. It was one of the big cornerstones of my childhood. It got me interested in the media and culture of Japan. It started my love for long epic stories where everything is always on the line and there is always a bigger badder evil to defeat, but there is also always another level that we can push ourselves to as well.
Now I’ll admit that DragonballZ is far from a perfect show. The animation varies greatly from episode to episode. The fights go on for way too long and involve way too much shouting. Most characters are one note and often get shuffled to the side for the more popular characters. The women are portrayed horrendously if at all. But at it’s core this show, and the fighting manga that have followed in its footsteps, still speak to me on a very deep level. It still tells me something very important.
For most of us the past year, and possibly even longer, has not been a great one. For most of this past winter I fell into a funk where I barely did anything with my life but go to my day job, come home, and lose myself in comics and tv shows. I barely did any writing, and I let my website do nothing but collect digital dust. I still hung out with friends and family and did a few fun things in the city, but for several reasons I just could not find the drive to do much more than go through the motions. I wasn’t striving for anything.
Then around the time of my birthday I found a small bit of drive and used it to completely escape from my daily life. I bought a trip to Ireland, not telling anyone, and disconnected from everything and everyone I knew for an entire week. I made no phone calls or texts home, I checked no social media, I wasn’t even traveling with anyone that I knew. I just broke away looking for some kind of meaning, some special something to put things into perspective in this world where less and less seemed to make sense. But I didn’t find it, which is exactly what I needed.
The thing I love most about DragonballZ, One Piece, Naruto, and all these other manga and anime are their heroes. Goku, Luffy, and Naruto face off against big bad after bigger bad after even bigger bad, and not only do they not give up, but they don’t even think about giving in. This tends to be their biggest difference from western heroes. Naruto isn’t blessed by god to win. Luffy doesn’t use an ancient holy item to win. Goku doesn’t dramatically change his character at the climax and win through the power of emotional complexity. They all just keep going. Maybe this gives them a new finishing move or unlocks another final form, but they are still who they are at the start of this battle. They are exactly as steadfast as they were when they start as they are when they get up from being knocked down the twentieth time, and they always get up.
I have what it takes to make it. I have what it takes to face whatever horrible bullshit the world will fling my way. I just need to remember, like my favorite heroes, that a challenge is something to be excited about, and as long as I can still get up, I can still crack a smile, and if I can smile, nothing can stop me.
This website, and my aspirations are back, and we’ve gone super saiyan. Expect new blogs, and new comics, and check out my brand new podcast Three Writers Take a Left. And if you are feeling particularly generous please join my patreon page for special content I’ll release every month. Thank you for sticking with me. Now let’s go kick some ass!