November 18, 2017 : Bulma And Her Relevance

There was some sad news reported this week – the Japanese voice actor who portrayed Bulma passed away. I never knew of her (although it looks like she had quite the career, including Meryl Stryfe from Trigun); and this doesn’t really impact the version of DBZ that I watch, but it’s still a bummer nonetheless.

The news actually got me thinking of the character of Bulma, and her role in the Dragon Ball franchise. Nowadays, she’s relegated to comic relief or Filler Material (and has been for quite some time). However, she did play a much more important role when Dragon Ball first started. She was the connecting character that framed Goku’s unbelievable skills, helping enfold the world of Dragon Ball.

She became less relevant when the tournament Sagas began. As DBZ moved on, she stayed around to help advance the story through her technological prowess (allowing for space travel and quick Dragon Ball hunting). Her knowledge of Dr. Gero sped along the faster moving plot of the Android and Cell Saga. However after that, she remained on the show mostly to be an incubator for half Saiyans. Although one could argue she also acts as an anchor for Vegeta.

Overall, Dragon Ball does a good job of ‘discarding’ obsolete characters. They will do an occasional call back for nostalgia sake, but they don’t let them bog things down. Bulma seems to be the exception. She seems to still sticks around, probably for the reasons mentioned above.

It’s easy to dismiss Bulma. She doesn’t have any powers, which is what DBZ became and the focus of Dragon Ball Super – and we had to endure her dealings with Frog Captain Ginyu (insert shudder here). However, the more I think about it, Bulma is the strongest female character in the franchise. She might be annoying at times, but you can also say that about what Gohan has became after the Cell Saga.

So for that, I think I have a new found respect for Bulma. She was (and still is… sorta) an important character. More so than Krillin. Although, every time he dies, it angers a Saiyan – and the aftermath of that is pretty cool to watch.

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:40 pm

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