Welcome back to Plastic Love! Today I’m breaking the streak of looking at Good Smile stuff to look at Japan’s even bigger toy giant, Bandai. The SH Figuarts line—it stands for “Simple style and Heroic action”—is Bandai’s standard action figure line for adults. Though it specializes in and excels at superheroes, the line has no particular genre focus: anime idols, Marvel movie heroes, and real-life superheroes like Bruce Lee have all been produced. And of course, there is an army of Figuarts of the characters from the immortal Dragon Ball series.
21-year old Atlanta rapper SahBabii had a predictable, ultra-relatable journey into otakudom. It began, as all things do, with Bleach reruns, which dovetailed neatly into the feudal warfronts and ramen lunches of Naruto. To him, anime is all about the vibes—the serene, blue-sky hypnosis that can be summoned up by Miyazaki food scenes, or sepia Watanabe panoramics, or endless episodes of Shippuden on a bedroom carpet.
Dragon Ball is a franchise defined by extremes, and its setting is no exception to that. The Earth is home to futuristic technology, magic, and futuristic technology that might as well be magic. At the same time, dinosaurs are still around, the King of Earth is a dog, and the God of Earth is a green alien. Given the original manga author Akira Toriyama’s off-the-cuff writing style, it’s safe to assume the world wasn’t meticulously detailed in advance, and instead formed from his whims on any given week. But one dynamic Dragon Ball does explore from the very beginning is the sharp divide between the rich and the poor.
When I was a kid, there were few responsibilities I took as seriously as my daily obligation to join Toonami Tom and watch the newest decade-late rerun of Dragon Ball Z. It didn’t matter if I’d seen the episode a million times—the battles fought by Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, and all their friends against countless colorful foes lit up the dopamine centers of my adolescent brain like a Christmas tree.
I love Dragon Ball Z. I always have, and I always will. But I have a confession to make:
I don’t give a crap about the super powerful, never-give-up, unwaveringly-cheerful main character of the series. I don’t care about Goku.
As anime fans, we know that our favorite shows can inspire us to stay strong, improve ourselves, and work toward our dreams. Very few people know that better than Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Daniels. And in a new documentary produced by Crunchyroll, he shares his love of and exuberance for anime with all of us.