Gah! No more Hakuouki. I forbid myself. *firmly points at self* No. Stop.
I guess I could start looking into Sailor Moon attacks, but I don’t think that any of them wow me like they did when I was a child. I could look at Dragon Ball Z or Super, but I don’t know that even now I particularly remember any one attack that made my heart stop or anything.
There was a moment though… a moment that was just, for a fighting anime, too freaking cute…
WAIT, no, two moments, though one was far more intense than cute.
WAIT AGAIN, maybe they’re both intense rather than cute, but they are attacks that stem from an explosion of emotion. Oh! And they both have one character in common:
This angry man right here.
As was the case when I wrote on my favorite examples of armor, gear, or weapons, I chose an attack based on the emotion behind it. Believe it or not, I’ve always found Vegeta to be a prime example of an evolving character, and he’s one anime character for which I’ll always hold a soft spot even if action titles aren’t really my thing. Watching him transform from evil destroyer of worlds (no, not Beerus!!) to emotionally stunted (but ultimately caring) family man is beautiful and one of the reasons that I enjoy Dragon Ball Z/Super as much as I do. The still-ongoing transition is slow and realistic, fraught with ups and downs, but after the Buu Saga, I knew. I knew that Vegeta had finally become the man all the fanfiction writers wanted him to be.* Dragon Ball Super has only confirmed that.
Thus, I present the following attack moments for your consideration.
Cell kills Trunks and Vegeta fights Cell, Dragon Ball Z Kai, Ep. 95
This scene, depending on it’s incarnation, portarys a Vegeta with varying degrees of self-awareness. For purposes of this post, I first focus on Kai.
He has yet to accept Bulma. He has yet to accept that he is a father. He has yet to accept his station as a whole. This lone prince cares for nothing and no one; he is alone, the last scion of a proud yet long irradiated race, and he doesn’t feel such petty emotions as love. He knows only the pursuit of power, and will confidently sacrifice anyone and anything who gets in his way. This is Vegeta…
…but suddenly Trunks is murdered, and everything has changed.
This is the moment in which Vegeta explodes, as though realizing for the first time that he has a son. “He’s dead,” says Yamcha, and suddenly Vegeta’s vision tunnels to a speck. “It’s impossible,” he murmurs, and yet even now he doesn’t fully understand why his rage is so consuming. Vegeta doesn’t fathom love, even if somewhere inside he feels it. All he can comprehend is that the creature who murdered his son much die, and by Vegeta’s own hand.
Between the original scene in DBZ (Ep. 189) and the remastered in Kai, I prefer the timing and visualization of Kai ‘s pacing and fight scene because the timing between Trunk’s being hit and Vegeta’s recognition of the fact seems much less awkward. Yet I cannot seem to forget original’s moment in which Vegeta soliloquies. In perhaps my favorite lines of the show, he says:
How could I let this happen to my son? He has sacrificed everything for me, and I have done nothing but ignore him. No! I won’t give up on him! There is still time to change things. Cell has crossed me for the last time. He has tricked me in battle, mocked my Sayan ancestry, but THIS. This time he’s gone too far! He will pay the ultimate price for what he has done to my son!
The theatrical edition of said scene (in Kai) as below is not cannon, but I feel like it’s creator really captured all that was going on in Vegeta’s head. All the emotions which one might to him ascribe are fully exposed, and all of it makes perfect sense, and not one iota of it is out of character. Vegeta doesn’t pretend to understand, but all of these thoughts keep running through him mind, fueling his rage. I truly believe that this is what Vegeta experiences in this moment, and this video gives the thoughts and feelings that he experiences (and yet we as the audience are not originally privy to) a visual representation. It’s a compromise between the emotion of the original and the timing of the Kai, and I appreciate that.
Vegeta fights Berus, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods
In case you didn’t know it, this is the “THAT’S MY BULMA!!!!!!” moment, and I love it. The impact, relevancy, and importance of Vegeta and Bulma’s complex relationship is the subject of a post for another day, but I will say that those two have been though some $#it (if you’ll pardon my French). What she did not always but finally now means to him is portrayed sublimely in this moment. Having accepted his inevitable death, Vegeta approaches his demise with the grace of a warrior. He’s prepared to take the final hit.
…and then Bulma gets in the way, and the results are glorious.
In that shining moment of combat, his strength even surpasses that of Goku. Throughout the series we have seen time and time again that ultimately Vegeta’s own life—HIS ENORMOUS PRIDE, EVEN—is less important to him than his closest loved ones. For the Prince, his family is paramount; nothing else matters so much. This realization was a long time in coming for the Prince; comparing his demeanor in Battle of the Gods to his demeanor in the aforementioned fight scene (Kai), one can clearly ascertain that his transformation was not over night.
This particular scene has at least two incarnations, but I hold that the one featured in Battle of the Gods best portrays the emotion of Vegeta’s blinding rage and power. When we get to the dub of that portion in Super, I may need to reevaluate, but based on the blocking of both scenes I doubt my opinion will change. Super substantially over-dramatized the hit itself, and made Vegeta’s reaction into something more comical. In Battle of the Gods, the hit just was, and Vegeta instantly became beast without time for rational decision. In Super, he briefly struggles to master his power before attacking; in Battle of the Gods, he runs on his rage.
There’s also the fact that Super’s animation at the time was pretty bad comparatively and the blocking poor, but I won’t get into it today.
So, what is your favorite attack? Leave a comment and let me know!
*There is a LOT of awesome, realistic (within the context of the series, I mean—it’s not like people can really fly), easy to find fanfiction written about the relationship between Vegeta and Bulma. I highly suggest you check it out. If you need a recommendation, I have them to give.
How about that moment in Super when Goku’s IT is messed up and he pops into Bulma’s room on accident? When she screams, Vegeta comes running to discover Goku in their bedroom with his basically naked wife and both he and Bulma are furious. Goku goes, “It was an accident! I didn’t come to see your sagging breasts!” I about died.
I wonder how the dub will handle that line, rofl!