A classic rivalry, explored.
For the record, as many of you may well be aware, I'm a bit of a Vegeta fangirl. We're talking massive amounts of fanfiction, being banned from the school library back in 6th grade for printing 100 pages of Vegeta pictures, and carrying around a hefty portfolio full of said images to ogle during Algebra, which I subsequently failed. Now that I've grown up a bit, keeping my outbursts to small Vegeta keychains and the occasional t-shirt to keep my inner rabid fangirl in check, I look for other outlets to get my Vegeta fix.
It's Over 9000! When Worldviews Collide
Author: Derek Padula
Release date: August 2012
MSRP: $2.99 (Amazon)
I'm not a child anymore, and I don't need to study and interpret Vegeta's actions on my own anymore, nor reasons why he and I should have wed and reproduced instead of Bulma. But that's another article, and I'm not here to digress into a potentially scarring anecdote. I'm here to talk about It's Over 9000! When Worldviews Collide, an intriguing book from the mind of one Derek Padula, released via e-book. He's responsible for the equally exhaustive The Dao of Dragon Ball, a similarly great read for rabid fans.
Having pored over its pages prior to the release of his current work, I knew I'd be in for quite an indulgent ride, at least as far as one of my favorite characters was concerned. And I'm pleased to say I was right. It's a thoroughly engaging piece of literature that examines the origins of the "It's Over 9000!" meme, its relevance to society, and the rivalry between none other than Son Goku and the Prince of Saiyans himself, Vegeta. Be still, my heart.
Regrettably, It's Over 9000 is devoid of images of the good Prince (possibly, I felt, due to copyright concerns) but it's a well-written and well-informed exploration of some of Dragon Ball Z's key moments (Vegeta's self-sacrifice, the way Goku ended up influencing the Prince after their initial meeting) that could only come from someone as passionately in love with the shounen epic as many of us are. Derek Padula has done a stunning service to those looking to turn a scholarly eye to the series to dissect comparisons between the two heroes, their similarities, and key turning points during which we could immediately discern the characters had grown both mentally and physically -- though we all know physically is usually the case when it comes to this screamfest, don't we?
There are some exceedingly relevant points made within the work that highlight resounding suggestions I'd never stopped to think about, such as the way the way appearances are taken to mean that's all one is capable of -- remember how surprised Vegeta was to learn of the power level via Scouter? He certainly wasn't thinking he'd see anything as high as that simply by looking at his opponent, and Padula makes a great argument here comparing the Scouters to human nature to judge solely on appearance. It's a fantastic talking point -- I wish I'd thought of it.
Aside from the cross-examination between the cultivation of both iconic warriors and the views on the whole "9000" meme, there's also discussion regarding the inner workings of the Saiyans after their exposure to human life and values, and what makes each respective warrior tick. Fascinating stuff -- even if you'd consider anything other than Vegeta x Mary Sue smut great writing.
All jokes aside, Derek has compiled a great primer piece for series enthusiasts and newcomers to the series. He's done his research and it certainly shines through that he's just as emotionally invested in this as the everyday fans -- he's a fan himself, and if you're looking for a peek into the more intellectual side of Akira Toriyama's masterwork (at least, that's how I see it) you'd do well to check out It's Over 9000. From one Vegeta fangirl to the hundreds of others out there, you'll find something to love here.
8.0 – Great. Well-written, with a loving attention to detail. Among the best of its genre.
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