Vegeta and Goku’s fight in the early stage of the Majin Buu Arc was an iconic moment in Dragon Ball Z, but what about the conflict that preceded it?
Could this tense moment before the fight give us more insight into their personalities than the fight itself? How does this scene show their similarities and the way they respect one another?
To summarize the scene; Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, and the Supreme Kai are teleported back to the 25th World Martial Arts Tournament stage by the evil sorcerer Babidi. At this point, Vegeta allowed himself to have his body possessed by Babidi in order to unlock his dormant power, but much to the surprise of Babidi, it becomes clear that Vegeta retained control of his mind.
Vegeta knows that Goku will only be alive for a single day for the rest of eternity, and that if he doesn’t fight him now, he’ll never have another chance.
He tells Goku it’s time for them to battle once again, but Goku refuses. Vegeta then fires an energy blast at him in order to provoke him with violence.
Goku is forced to block the blast due to the stadium full of people that surrounds them. The blast knocks Goku out of the way and hits the stands, killing everyone in that section.
Vegeta repeats his demand, and then fires another blast into the stands to pressure Goku into fighting with him. Seeing that Vegeta is out for blood, Goku realizes he has no choice but to fight, and despite Gohan and the Supreme Kai trying to interject and interfere, Goku asks Babidi to teleport them elsewhere so he can fight Vegeta.
The similarities and understanding between the two full-blooded Saiyans are highlighted in the dialogue of this scene. Especially when you look at how Goku reacted to Vegeta’s behavior compared to how Gohan and the Supreme Kai did.
Goku, knowing Vegeta, asks if his motive is from Babidi’s orders or because of the two’s longtime rivalry. Gohan questions the relevance of that, to which Vegeta retorts, “Not to you Gohan, but to a warrior it matters greatly.”
There’s a disrespect to Gohan here, describing him as less than a warrior. But at the same time, Vegeta is paying respect to Goku and putting the two of them on the same level.
When you listen to his tone, Vegeta sounds like he enjoys how Goku responds to the moment, and shows excitement for what now seems inevitable.
Goku then shows mutual respect. When Vegeta confirms that this fight is about their rivalry, Supreme Kai calls it a meaningless squabble. This triggers Vegeta into a long and vindictive rant, which terrifies the Supreme Kai. He describes how the Saiyan race was ruled by another, had only a few survivors after his home planet was destroyed, the way Goku surpassed him, and how he even saved his life.
Through this speech, at no point did Goku try to debate with Vegeta’s argument or say anything that suggested he was being unreasonable. Instead, he accepted what had to happen.
This impending fight is different from their first fight when Vegeta arrived on Earth, because this time it runs the risk of Majin Buu being awakened. In addition, the two people best suited to fight him would have been occupied with their own fight at the time he was free, magnifying the danger. On top of that, their battle would contribute energy to Buu being awakened. Yet Vegeta demanded a fight all the same.
With full knowledge of these dangers, the Supreme Kai tells Goku that if he wants to fight Vegeta he’ll have to go through him first. Goku gives one warning to the Kai before raising his hand up to the Kai’s face and preparing an energy blast that would kill him. This shocks the Supreme Kai, Gohan, and even Vegeta. Keep in mind, the Supreme Kai can read intentions, so when he showed fear it’s because he knew Goku wasn’t bluffing.
Goku never shows this type of behavior outside of this one moment. To threaten to kill someone who is pure-hearted, and in this case divine?
If Goku had killed the Kai, then plenty of things would have changed as a result. Gohan would not have been saved by the Kai and taken to the Kai’s Planet, which eventually sees him power up later in the arc after the Eldar Kai is introduced.
Said Eldar Kai would never have given his life to Goku, allowing him to return to fight.
In-turn, Goku would never have traveled to the Kai’s Planet, where the final battle with Majin Buu would take place after the Earth was destroyed.
Another big change would occur to the modern day plotline in Dragon Ball Super that adds further relevance. Beerus, the God of Destruction, whom nobody besides the Supreme Kai knows exists, is linked in life to the Kai. This means that if Goku killed the Supreme Kai, he would have also killed Beerus—something that Goku even jokes about after he learns of this connection.
A majority of Super’s plot is linked to Beerus and his growing role in the series, which would have been cut off before it ever started.
So while the fight may take the plaudits in the hearts of fans, this confrontation is a moment unlike any other between the two rivals.
Besides when they literally fused bodies, they had never conducted themselves so similarly and with such respect, no matter how hidden.
In a show where action stands out, does any non-fighting scene come close to this one’s tension and importance? To such a level of mutual understanding?
Is this Goku and Vegeta’s closest moment?