We like to have fun here in our Dragonball Super Recaps, but today I’m going to bring up something that has divided the Fandom for years. The big question: Is Goku a good family man? This episode was a nice eye opener into the mechanics of the Son Family so…forgive me, things are about to get a little ranty.
Recap; A little more than half a year later Pan is born and the families settle into normalcy. Except Goku who seems to be allergic to the idea being normal as he chases after Vegeta to train.
I didn’t know what to think coming into this episode. I had hopes, I had expectations, but mostly I knew no matter what happened this episode would be a golden moment for the Dragonball Fandom. For the first time we see a glimpse into life with Pan, Gohan’s daughter, and Gohan in the role of father. In the original manga, the time we get with Son Family in the years after Buu is just a glimpse. We see Gohan has a daughter, Goku is still training and Goten has put training to the wayside for girls. I’ve always wondered what happened to get them to that point, how Gohan could put aside training for academia and what drove Goten away from fighting. This episode doesn’t exactly answer all those questions, but it does fill us in on what happened in those years of peace. As well as give us a look at how the family functions in these peaceful times.
Gohan proves to be an amazing dad as he balances his studies with new found fatherhood. He seems busy, so it’s no wonder he would let fighting drop to the sidelines. The good news is Hercule is eager in picking up his role as Grandfather and the two of them seem to be bonding over their love for Pan. It’s great to see that these two have a good relationship since we’ve only seen Hercule as the over-protective dad in Dragonballz. Now he and Gohan seem to have an understanding of each other, but more importantly a bond over the new addition to their family.
Chichi is embracing her role as grandmother and the fact that there is now a girl in the family. We all suspected she would go a little crazy with her love but when Hercule and Gohan mention training Pan, Chichi violently refuses the notion. Almost as if she’s having horrible flashbacks to all the other times her children were “trained” to fight and found themselves in life or death battles. You can’t really blame her for wanting something different for Pan, but it seems Chichi and Toriyama might have forgotten that fighting was how she first met Goku, it was also what brought Gohan and Videl together. There is no way this kid is going to grow up without knowing some martial artists.
When Chichi asks Videl her opinion in the matter, Videl has the perfect answer. She wants her daughter to grow up being whatever she wants. It’s a nice moment of clarity in the episode and even better when Chichi doesn’t refute the decision. Chichi may be a narcotic woman, but more often than not she isn’t painted as the villain in so many instances. She’s a concerned mother (now grandmother) with a family she wants to protect. For a long moment, the episode seemed to be going down the path to show her as a nag, keeping our hero Goku from doing what he does best, fighting, but in the end she shrugs off her husband with a smile and a heartfelt “He’ll be back.”
It is hard for me to swallow how fans can be so callous towards Chichi, because it’s just a small glimpse into how people can hate on female characters. Her husband has been dead for years, so can you blame the woman for wanting her family to be together? Can you blame her for clinging to this peaceful time? In retrospect, this episode tries to correct the awful stereotype that has been made of her.
The same can’t be said for Goku who… well, comes off more of aa asshole than usual. It is during a conversation with Bulma where he finds out that Vegeta has disappeared with Whis to train. Goku immediately wants to go after Whis and join him which rubs me wrong for a number of reasons. First and most obvious, things are peaceful, his granddaughter was just born and Goku already wants to leave again? We don’t see any interaction between Goku and baby Pan, but in comparison to Hercule he is coming in second place as far as best grandfather.
Second, in his determination to get to Whis Goku becomes a secretive and borderline obnoxious character as he constantly bothers Bulma and lies to Chichi about wanting to leave. He doesn’t appear to have any concern for those around him as he tries to track down Whis: not for Bulma’s privacy or his wife’s trust. In the end, Chichi finds out when Gohan tells her of Goku’s plan. They fight and nothing gets resolved before Goku runs away and grabs ahold of Whis at the last moment.
It becomes evident in this episode that Goku has only one thing constantly on his mind, training. I’m not saying he doesn’t love his family, but I think the love he has for his family is very different from the kind of love Krillin and Gohan show. Krillin’s moment in the last episode was about him realizing you have to sometimes give things up for your family. He puts Maron and 18 before his own dreams. I can’t see Goku making that same sacrifice.
Actually, scratch that, I can see Goku making sacrifices. He did so when he gave up his life, fighting Radditz and when he decided to stay dead for the good of the Earth. Those were moments where he made decisions for the good of the Earth, his family and his friends. Before the Cell Games, he concentrated on spending time with his family because he wasn’t sure how the fight was going to go. He wanted to enjoy peace. Yet now he acts like his family is a burden on his training. Goku can act childish sometimes and I love him for that, but his need to go train was something I just couldn’t understand.
Even stranger is how Gohan and Goten don’t seem to mind their father’s wishes. Both speak up, trying to convince their mother to let Goku go off to train which shows a deep level of understanding for the family. However, I can’t help but wonder if it ties into what we know to expect in the future. Will Goten eventually grow to resent fighting because his father is always gone? Does Gohan pick academics over training because he knows the strain it puts on his family?
Knowing Dragonball it will never delve into these quiet questions about what one sacrifices to be a hero and maybe that’s one of the biggest issues with the series. It gives us entertaining moments in these character’s lives but never acknowledges anything that might shed a dark light on such a happy show. This is a difference in tone between Super and Z, which showed us just how bad things could get in the Andriod Arc. Super, even in its battles, show no moments of hardship or struggle. Maybe that will all change in the next episode as we jump into the Resurrection F storyline.
Freakouts, Giggles, and Notes:
- I am so glad this episode put more focus on Gohan. It seems the animators have finally remembered how to draw him without looking like a total spaz.
- The only thing that could have made this episode better would have been if it had Piccolo in it. We need more Piccolo.