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It’s Over 9000: When Worldviews Collide (spoiler free review)
Everyone and their daddy knows Dragon Ball. It’s a cultural phenom that has existed for over 30 years and I don’t see it ending anytime soon. The newest chapter in the franchise, Dragon Ball Super, confirms this series will last another 30 years. The folks at Toei Animation and Jump will find a way to keep Toriyama’s brain alive after he dies to get more ideas.
<Hidden conversation from the future>
Toei director: So how can we make Goku even stronger?
Tori’s brain: GOD MODE 3
Toei: …how can he be stronger than SSJ4? I mean in GT-
Tori’s Brain: THE F##K’S A GT?!
The premise of Dragon Ball is simple: bad guys try to look for the seven legendary dragon balls to gain immortality and/or cause trouble on earth. Goku and his friends gather together to stop the evil and everything is everything. Obviously, it isn’t THAT simple but for arguments sake, we’ll leave it at that. Besides, true fans know only the saiyans are the ones that stop everything. Krillin’s owned count can only go so high.
One day, I was reading a blog post from pro boxer Ed Latimore. He talked about how people can apply methods of competition from Dragon Ball into real life. I read the comments section and someone brought up this DBZ fan book.
I looked into and almost dismissed it. It’s Over 9000… is the title and I was like “Oh how can you make a thought provoking book based on a meme?”
The meme in reference…
After reading the reviews, I decided to buy the book. I was shocked at how well thought out and detailed it was! I’ve read a lot of fan theories on popular series and a good chunk of them were bunk. This book is NOT bunk.
In addition to explaining the significance of the meme, the author talks about critical events in the show and how they relate to real life. One talking point was explanation of power levels and a device known as a scouter.
Scouters were introduced in Dragon Ball Z. They are devices the aliens use to help determine how strong someone is. Unknown to most viewers, it was also used as a means of discrimination. Not just in terms of strength but in social status.
Other correlations to real life include clashing cultures, spirituality, deserving vs. earning, and losing to gain.
Reading this book helped me expand my mind as to why people in different cultures are the way they are.
Living here in Korea, my mindset on Koreans and other non-American foreigners was slightly narrow. Though I grew up in a multi-cultural neighborhood, I never looked into why my non-American neighbors did things the way they did; I always thought it was normal. Coming to Korea opened my eyes in a way I couldn’t imagine. It wasn’t culture shock but it was something I couldn’t figure out.
When I visited the states after one year, I experienced REVERSE CULTURE SHOCK. I saw 14-year olds with tattoos in the states! My goodness, I said. I can’t imagine kids in Korea with tattoos like this! Their parents would legit take them out!
Traveling the world had me ask things like “Why do people in this culture make these things so damn hard? Why don’t they try it this way?”
I struggled with it until I read this book. It not only answered my questions; it broke down cultural mindsets better than I could ever imagine. Best thing about it, I didn’t expect it!
For example, we get an explanation of how and why Goku and Vegeta operate differently despite being the same species.
The short answer is how they were both raised.
The long answer goes into who and what raised them; the environments they experienced; what they’ve been told and not told, and how they go about getting better.
Dragon Ball Z wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did without Goku and Vegeta complimenting each other. Goku needed Vegeta to learn his roots while Vegeta needed Goku to learn how to be a better fighter.
Vegeta constantly makes claims that he’s the “prince of all saiyans” yet he always plays second fiddle to Goku. On the flipside, Goku had no clue as to who he really was until Vegeta came along.
The author points out various other elements that explain how and why the two main characters are complex yet relatable. It boggled my mind as to why Vegeta has such a giant fanbase and this book answered THAT question as well. It answered it in a manner I didn’t expect it to.
This is what I love about reading this: it’s full of surprises and things no one ever thinks about. It’s like watching an episode of 60 Minutes but it book format.
My positives to this book include it being a short and very easy read; it has great explanations as to who and what the characters are and there are interviews with people that worked in the series and interviews from people that had their lives changed due to Dragon Ball.
My only gripe is the use of the Japanese names. I know some of the Japanese phrases but I had to keep going back just to see the others ones I didn’t. I think something like that would be jarring and downright annoying to a casual viewer of Dragon Ball (or someone that wanted to study up on mindsets).
All in all, I recommend this book to fans and even non-fans of this series. I believe psychology majors could learn a thing or two from reading this and studying the characters. I might even read this again and re-watch the series just to find the key things the author pointed out.
I might just watch Kai instead. It’s shorter.
Buy “It’s Over 9000: When Worldviews Collide” today! $3.99 in Kindle format!