Dragon Ball: episodes 46-57

March 30, 2007 on 2:08 pm | In Dragon Ball | Comments Off on Dragon Ball: episodes 46-57

“General Blue Saga”

Oh, I’ll give you romantic, all right.

Dragon Ball skirts controversial territory with a trip to an ancient yet high tech pirate cave, a cross over with Dr. Slump that makes little to no sense to those unfamiliar with the source material, and the introduction of a very busy villain: Aryan SS officer narcissist psychic homosexual, General Blue.

Yeah. Good work there.

The quest for Dragon Balls leads to an island detour and constant fights with a man who was always going to have to be gay. I’ve already given you the story, see.

When General Blue was introduced to the series, I had the strangest feeling that he was going to turn out homosexual. The way that General Blue was always crushing roses, ordering nose pickers to be executed, and looking in mirrors tipped me off to the fact that he was on the fast track to anime and manga shorthand for the love that dare not speak its name.
I had this confirmed for me in the amazing two-for-one deal of “you hit my beautiful face!” and then the mincetacular event of Bulma trying to seduce him and being screamed at.
It was a classy event.

I checked this out in the dub, and rather than Bulma saying “You’re gay?” and Kuririn chasing it with “A gay man in the Red Ribbon Army?”, Bulma accused him of being a prude. Well, fair enough!
The translation was probably a bit … irresponsible … from here on out, with Kuririn being subtitled as saying “Come at me, you flaming homo!”
Here I will use vague Japanese translation skills to question the homophobia inherent in what Kuririn actually said. The Japanese was “okama yaro!“, which I would translate to “gay bastard”. Based on the idea that these Japanese insults just use something that someone is (such as “chikin yaro” to describe a bastard who is also a chicken), I don’t think it’s that bad. The “flaming homo” translation seems somewhat irresponsible, especially for the wide audience that Dragon Ball reaches.

I would say that General Blue does not represent anywhere near the way that I or any of my friends act, but do people put the behaviour of heterosexual villains in the limelight and see how this reflects on them (presuming, of course, that the respondent in question is heterosexual)?
Well, no; not often. But General Blue succumbed, in the end of this arc, to the one thing that I desperately, desperately wished that he wouldn’t: he was infatuated by a small boy in Penguin Village.
Most of the time he was on screen, Blue was devoted to the pursuit of treasure and vaingloriousness, so that his simmering homosexuality was less of an issue than was his evil and his disturbing Nazi wardrobe. Penguin Village was major ick factor, and I would like to iterate this clearly: homosexuality does not default to paedophilia.

All of that said, there’s quite a bit of fun stuff in the General Blue Saga, including Kururin and Bulma, as well as one of the things that I’m personally a sucker for – an indoor city – and a disturbing number of deaths by execution or otherwise (execution jokes still seem somewhat odd to me).
The Dr. Slump crossover was strange because Toriyama’s style between the two series was totally different, and it just seemed like an unnecessary detour to nostalgia town. Maybe if I was more familiar with the material my tune would be totally different, but for now it just seems odd.

General Blue is still around, so hopefully he can redeem himself. Flying out of Penguin Village may put the series back on track! Only ten more episodes to contend with this Red Ribbon Army before they get beaten to death! Onward ho!

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