3 More Clever Dragonball Trivia Gags From Team Four Star

With this being the last article before Christmas I thought I had run out of holiday themed topics since I refuse to bash on bad carols this year.

But then I remembered that I have a relatively new Christmas tradition I can talk about; DBcember!

Yes, every year, the hard-working comedy geniuses at Team Four Star reflect on the franchise that helped make them famous and brought them and so many others so much joy with a new video counting down memorable moments and characters every day until Christmas where they give us all a special present in the form of a brand new episode of Dragonball Z: Abridged. This one hopes to be the biggest yet as they have been teasing the reveal of the long-awaited parody of The Legendary Super Saiyan, finally ending the chants of, “Wen Broly?”

So, let’s take another look at the subtle trivia-based humor that I love them for.

Imperfect Cell’s Horror Inspiration

The introduction of Cell in Dragonball Z brought in elements of Horror to a series that also blended Action, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy. So it was only fair that TFS pay tribute to that.

This was most notable in the introductory scenes of their Halloween special Flight Out Of Cell where the news reporter name checks several classic horror films. But for my money, the best was in Episode 47 where he straight up quotes one of the most memorable lines from the film Wishmaster.

Fun Fact: Because Flight Out Of Cell takes place solely as a dream sequence in Krillin’s head, his voice actor Nick “Lanipator” Landis provided all of the voices during the dream (with the obvious exception to Cell). Nice work, Lani!

Goku’s Feats Got REALLY Silly

In Episode 53, a perfected Cell utterly crushes Trunks spirit by informing him just how unblooded he is as a fighter. He then goes on to cite the feats Goku had accomplished before he was Trunks’ age… which get a little ridiculous.

But if you’ve been following his adventures since the original Dragonball, you know he’s not pulling any of it out of his ass. The rabbit Cell refers to is none other than Monster Carrot whose touch can turn anyone into a carrot and was sent to the moon with his gang; alluding to the Japanese folk tale of The Rabbit In The Moon.

Unfortunately for Monster Carrot, the moon was destroyed during the 21st World Martial Arts tournament and the Rabbit Mob have been drifting through space ever since. So sad.

Yajirobe Declares Himself “The Bean Daddy”

In Episode 35, Yajirobe comes down from Korin’s Tower to help the others prep for the oncoming android attack by supplying them with life-restoring Sensu Beans. However, quick to remove himself from the conflict, he hands them the beans with no sense of ceremony and swiftly departs with the phrase, “Bean Daddy out.”

What he doesn’t mention is that this is the ACTUAL name he gives himself when doling out Sensu Beans.

During the movie Cooler’s Revenge, an exasperated Yajirobe gets fed up with Korin’s demanding nature in the face of an emergency and takes control of Sensu distribution while declaring, “I’m The Bean Daddy this time!”

What’s great about this is how it becomes a running gag in DBZ:A as we see Korin fretting over Yajirobe’s safety after being stranded by the android attack and longing for his Bean Daddy; an in-joke among fans over the speculated nature of the mostly unseen relationship between the two and their tendency to act like an old married couple.

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Why Dragon Ball Z‘s Zarbon Is a More Sympathetic Villain Then You May Realize (and Why He’s My Hero)

Screw Vegeta, THIS is MY prince.
Source: Rhandi-Mask @ DeviantArt

So, I’m still on a bit of a Dragon Ball kick from the last article I wrote on the topic. Team Four Star recently released Episode 50 of DBZ: Abridged, I’ve been re-watching the original series when I can, and I just downloaded Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle on my tablet.

What’s more, the research that I did for that article turned up some details that got me doing deeper studies of the individual characters. Of particular interest to me was a villain that I was quite fond of – the elegant, but frightful Zarbon.

Now, I know I’m in a very small camp of people that actually like Zarbon. Most people I know balk at the idea of him being a respectable character. They hate the fact that he’s coded queer and seems very self-centered. But the information that I found was enough to make those traits more endearing (to me at least) and reaffirmed my fan status.

First, let’s start with Zarbon’s most dominant trait – the foppish antagonist stereotype. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this character in any medium, let alone anime. But, in the best stories (in my humble opinion), this trope of male characters acting more archetypically feminine is used to extenuate and/or cover up an important aspect of the character that will come into play later. The two that tend to come to mind when I think of this are James/Kojirō from Pokémon and Yuda from Fist of the North Star.

In James’ case, we often see him disguising himself as a woman a la Bugs Bunny and acting completely subservient to his lady partner in crime in Team Rocket Jessie/Musashi. However, it’s important to note that his cross-dressing is not portrayed as sexual, but as a means to an end; namely to complete whatever mission they are pursuing that day. As for his submissive nature, we are given multiple hints that he’s like this because he has legitimate feelings for Jessie and only wants to make her happy. In fact, the manga series The Electric Tale of Pikachu ends with the two tying the knot and a shot of a clearly pregnant Jessie (adorably enough, people who like to pair these two are often called “Rocket Shippers”).

As for Yuda, we see him constantly dressed in flamboyant garb and heavy make-up and surrounded by people who are forced to worship his beauty. We later learn that his evil actions are greatly influenced by the fact that he was utterly shown up by his former colleague Rei which started him down a path of self-hate. In other words, he surrounds himself with superficial beauty to hide the fact that he feels spiritually hideous.

From what I’ve seen I believe that a similar story is happening to Zarbon. Bare in mind that he is the prince of his home planet (the royal-looking cape and headdress aren’t just for show). As such, we can assume that he would be under great pressure to portray an image of grace and elegance to his people that would likely stick with him long after he was deposed by Frieza.

But even that doesn’t touch on the REALLY heartstring-tugging part. Take note of how differently Zarbon acts when he shifts to his “Monster Form.” He starts off respectable and honorable, but ends up displaying extreme machismo that errs on cruel barbarism, especially during the brutal headbutting sequence of his fight with Vegeta. It seems the transformation is psychological as well as physical. He even refers to the two forms as different sides of himself – “The Beauty” and “The Beast” respectively.

This is why I love Zarbon as a character so much. To be perfectly blunt, he’s using a coping mechanism to distance himself from a very cruel part of himself… a part of himself that I once saw in me in my youth.

I often catch flak for “not acting macho.” I enjoy body grooming (man-scaping if you will), I use make-up to hide scars and ache when I can, and I often will actively find ways to soften my image where ever possible. I do that because when I acted like the man others expected me to be, I was not proud of what I did.

I grew up in a rather ugly neighborhood with addicts, street toughs, and a terrible school (seriously, I don’t know another school with a 50% drop out rate). Of course, when you go to a high school whose principal was a football coach in your father’s day who encouraged his players to cripple the other team, you can’t rely on the grown-ups to help you against twisted people. My only option for survival was to be as mean or meaner than everyone else.

After I left public school to finish my studies at home and in college, I slowly started to realize overtime what I had done. I was short-tempered, pushed good people away, and was even a bit of a womanizer just to blend in with the scum I was living among. I took up the role of non-traditional male values as a way to distance myself from that life as well as to remind myself why I never want to be that man ever again.

To sum up the longest and most soul-bearing essay I have ever written, Zarbon, despite the acts of evil he committed under another man’s orders, is my hero because we share a common burden – we both err on the side of this…

… because we would sooner die than willingly become this…

… EVER. AGAIN.