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What if Dragon Balls could only resurrect once

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  • What if Dragon Balls could only resurrect once

    I believe I've seen a topic similar to this on the old forum, but anyways. The idea is that the Dragon Balls are only allowed to bring someone back to life once. For this what if, it also includes the Namekian Balls or any other Dragon Balls. So if Krillin dies and is brought back with Earth's, Namek's can't bring him back if he dies.

    It would certainly change things radically for the series, but I don't think many actions would change throughout the series. Vegeta, Krillin, Chiaotzu, Tien (most likely), and many others would stay dead. Probably a few more than who I mentioned if you count Buu destroying the Earth and killing some of those who had already been brought back once. Goku is probably the only one that'd be able to die twice and still come back thanks to Old Kai.

  • #2
    In my opinion that would have made the show better. If the dragon balls could only resurrect once, this would make characters a lot more reluctant to sacrifice themselves. It could also change the personality of some of them: For example, Gohan would be incredibly moody and depressed that the closest thing to a friend he has [Krillin] died and there's no way to bring him back. Goku I can see being either depressed too or irrationally angry most of the time, having a self-guilt for being unable to save his best friend. If Goku becomes like this, I think he would be disliked, if not, outright hated by Piccolo and Vegeta: Piccolo thinking that he's a weak man who's unable to move on and will not want to do anything with him, and Vegeta hating him because Goku considers Krillin dying a bigger deal than his rivalry with Vegeta, adding insult to the injury.

    Also, plenty of other arcs would change. Each arc would end on a more bittersweet tone: Every time a bad guy strikes, a large portion of humanity is sacrificed. This would make the guys reluctant to let Super Buu rampage around the world to buy more time. I could go on but I see it changing a lot of things, if someone could only be revived once.


    • #3
      Agree with Vitalista. You're looking at a more macabre atmosphere with much reflection and weariness to commit to making sacrifice. Goku and the others wouldn't have the luxury of being able to use the population as cannon fodder because they literally only have one chance at being brought back. Should they choose to take it in, say, the Cell arc when he absorbed much of the populace then we'll be witnessing an Earth whose numbers have dwindled down so severely come Buu's rampage that things will probably start to look like Future Trunks' timeline. Let's also not forget that notable characters such as Yamcha and Roshi would be gone for good once Buu decides to turn the palace's occupants into pastries for his consumption. It would all bring to attention the need for better safeguarding what population that still remains. After all, they only get one do-over. If things panned out similarly up to Vegeta's sacrifice against Buu then the only ones left to protect the planet are Goku (assuming he's brought back via Elder Kaioshin's life transference), Gohan, Gotenks, and Piccolo.


      • #4
        I don't think it would've made the manga/show better. For most of the series, Toriyama was pretty good at coming up with ways of briefly taking the Dragon Balls out of comission, so they weren't as much of a narrative crutch as people make them out to be. In the Piccolo arc, the first one where characters are dying left and right, Piccolo kills Shenlong and, at least for the duration of that arc, things seem pretty hopeless. In the Saiyan arc, Piccolo dies and God and the Dragon Balls go with him, so once again, there's a reasonable amount of tension. In the Namek arc, acquiring the new Dragon Balls is the entire challenge.

        This pattern is broken in the Cell arc. At first, it seems Toriyama had managed to get rid of the Dragon Balls again when Piccolo merges with God, but Dende just sorta appearing again and making new Dragon Balls robs the "stakes" of the story entirely for the first time. It's at that point that things start seemingly awfully convenient. They also have another set of Dragon Balls just waiting in Namek.

        But even then, I don't think it made things worse. These days, I think Dragon Ball is less about "stakes" and more about pure spectacle. It's true that the story is usually better when the Dragon Balls aren't just readily available, but if the "spectacle" is good enough (which, admittedly, it often isn't, specially in Super), then the story has more or less fulfilled its mission. The Broly movie is a good example. Zero stakes; it's a movie, so you know nothing of true relevance can happen to any of the characters but, for the first time since the manga, the action, which is the centrepiece of the story, feels good enough in its own right to justify itself without the need for narrative additives. It's about the action, entirely tailored around the action, and the action is good.

        Having Dragon Balls that are only able to ressurect once would certainly make things more grim, so if you think more grim equals better, then you'd probably like it. But I don't think that's necessarily the case. With very rare exceptions (the Trunks TV special), Dragon Ball and a grim tone don't go very well together. A truly grimdark Dragon Ball that's commited to a dark tone would be impossible to take seriously. It's a fighting comic/cartoon for pre-teens.
        Last edited by Topographic Oceans; 23-05-2019, 07:35 PM.