I disappeared for quite a while again haven’t I? Sorry things have been getting hectic on my end. But I was finally able to start up my new project “If They Were REAL”. I had a really hard time figuring out which character I should choose for the very first video. Seeing as I mainly focused on girls all the time, I figured that I should start it off with a man this time. But even then, who?
That’s when I started to go through nostalgia and looked through a handbag where I happen to have my the early drawings (well most of them) I have accumulated since I was a child. That’s when I remembered my original idea of not only doing renditions of current anime characters but to also bring some of my favorites from my childhood. Despite that I still could not come up with a character that told me, this is the one.
But eventually I just decided to start off with Dragon Ball, pretty much the anime most kids grow up with (even now). Although I do not have a problem at all with Dragon Ball Z, in my mind it will never compare to the original Dragon Ball story. I feel that Akira Toriyama was really forcing himself on the series since the end of the Piccolo saga. I’m sure some of you have heard that although Akira Toriyama wanted to end Dragon Ball fans did not allow it, not once but several times (I hear he wanted to end it all at the end of the Freeza saga), and then kill off Goku at the Cell saga (something that did not pan out yet again). Though despite all this, he created something that even to this day has become a phenomenon that we all know and love. Yes despite liking the original series more (even as a child) I won’t deny that Dragon Ball Z was awesome. And seeing Goku transcend everyone on Earth and eventually the universe was inspiring.
Now lets move on to the drawing and the reason I decided to draw him as he is. As most of you know (I hope), Dragon ball is very loosely based on the story of “Journey to the West” or “Monkey”. In short, a monk and a couple of heroes (Sun Wukong/ Son Goku included) go on a journey to retrieve sutras. Like in Dragon Ball, Sun Wukong is the strongest of the group just like Goku. In an case let’s go back to Goku. Many people have been “debating” on whether Goku comes from Asia or whether he should be any other ethnicity (although most who argue this point want Goku to be white, more on that later). But since Dragon Ball is extremely influenced by Chinese cultural themes (as well as Japanese of course), and “Journey to the West” starts on China, or at least on the mainland of Asia. I can easily say that Son Goku is not white. And since Dragon Ball was a Japanese story, I’m sure the author wanted to not only entertain the audience but also to some degree (as it is with most shonen manga-ka’s) inspire it’s readers. So I’m sure he had a Japanese boy in mind (who was crossed with a monkey…).
Later in the series (when the Dragon Ball Z series began), it was quickly revealed that Goku was not of this world. Instead of being an Earthling and somewhat a freak of nature (I don’t mean that in a bad way), Goku was instead an alien from the planet Vegeta. Many Western fans like to use this fact to say that Goku is white. But lets not forget that this was only added because Goku was far too strong to fight anyone on Earth. So it would really get boring if he had to fight the same people over and over. The obvious solution was to expand the field of possibilities. I’d say there were only two options. Fight in the heavens or in space. Of course as the story progresses both options are actually used, but Space enemies seemed to be the main focus.
Sorry for sidetracking a little. Even assuming that Dragon Ball was started right when Raditz showed up on Earth, what? All aliens have to be white right off the bat? There can’t be other aliens that look like any other ethnicity? Then if Goku could not be “Asian” then why not have him be Mexican instead (that would have been cool by the way)? I’d like think that planet Vegeta much like Earth, has many different variations on it’s inhabitants much like Earth. But because the story was not even meant to be this way in the original I still believe that Goku is of the main land of Asia, most likely China (if not Japanese, since it is a Japanese story, written by a Japanese manga-ka). I really don’t see why many fans try to argue that all characters are white because they “look white”. Instead just get their personal background and make decisions that way. I’ts not like there aren’t many foreign characters in the many anime’s that exist to this day any way.
This statement is of course not to say that if someone wants to cosplay as a character they should not be allowed to do it. No, cosplay is for fun. Do some people better fit the character? Well, YES. But that should still not give the right for people to prohibit others from doing it. I really don’t understand these wars that are going over the internet. What I’m trying to say is, don’t try to change the ethnicity and nationality of a character just because of the way YOU see things. And don’t try to stop someone from cosplaying or admiring someone just because they happen to not be of the same ethnicity or nationality.
That was rather long I know, but I was hoping to only write this once (at least extensively). Going back to the drawing, I’m sure that some of you if not most have seen Goku in this pose before, if not here it is:
I had others in mind, but in the end I went with this one.
I feel that I should probably get memorable and easy to identify poses (usually from the creators original work). If you guys have read or seen the manga/anime starting from the beginning and skipping right to about the end, you will notice that Akira Toriyama’s style changed quite a bit. For instance, later in the series the characters have somewhat longer faces compared to the original more round ones (which I personally prefer). So with that in mind, I used the original art style and made Goku quite cheeky and a bit chubby as well as short. What came out was an extremely young looking Goku (I’d say it was the cheeks that gave him such a young look). But that was a characteristic used widely in the story, which is why many didn’t take him so seriously at the beginning. I could have changed his hairstyle a bit, but I felt that I should try and make it look in the same iconic way we know and love, while still trying to give it a sense of realism. Sadly the picture I took made some light areas look much brighter than they should so you can’t see the actual drawing I have in my sketch book. But you should get the idea of the final drawing.
This has been the first installment, I really hope you enjoyed it, and if you have read through the whole thing. THANK YOU.
Hope you enjoy it,