The Vegeta Fan – Monica

dragon ball z fan monica

Dragon Ball has millions of fans, but not much has been written about the fandom. Without the actual fans that keep the series going, Dragon Ball would not be the worldwide phenomenon that it is today. The fans themselves are the real wonder of Dragon Ball, yet we know so little about them.

Today I introduce a new series called Dragon Ball Fan Focus, where one lucky Dragon Ball fan is interviewed and featured on The Dao of Dragon Ball.

My guest for the very first Dragon Ball Fan Focus is Monica, a young film student from Michigan who believes that she can win a debate against any other Dragon Ball fan, including the boys!

Is that a lofty claim, or can she really walk the walk? And what is it like for her to be a fan of a series made for young boys?

Let’s dive right in to the interview and find out what makes Monica such a unique Dragon Ball fan.

Dragon Ball Fandom Lives Eternal

goku statue dragon ball z

Before our interview, Monica shared a bit about herself on the Dragon Ball Z sub-Reddit forum on Reddit.com, called r/dbz. It’s a fun community of like minded (and sometimes not so like minded) Dragon Ball fans from all over the world.

She told enough to make me intrigued and now here we are.

Derek: Hi Monica. Thanks for being the first Dragon Ball fan to be featured on The Dao of Dragon Ball.

You are from Michigan, right? Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Monica: I’m from Plymouth, Michigan but I haven’t lived here my whole life. I grew up around here and moved to South America when I was really little. That was the first place I started watching Dragon Ball, it was in Spanish.

Derek: You speak Spanish? I don’t know very much about the South American dub.

Monica: Yeah, fluently. It’s pretty good. I’ve been to South America a couple times and they have a lot of anime there. It’s all dubbed really well and they translate the theme songs, which they don’t do in the US, they make up their own theme songs here, which is stupid.

Derek: Which dub do you prefer?

Monica: I usually watch the English version, and I have a reason for that too. I’ve watched some of the Japanese version, but I watch the English version because they add in some things, certain character developments that I like. They do a good job with it.

Derek: Sometimes they fill in the characters personality, especially with Vegeta.

Monica: Yeah, and he’s my favorite character!

vegeta fight recoome dbz

Derek: When did you start reading The Dao of Dragon Ball website and what do you think of the idea behind it?

Monica: I think it’s an interesting idea to go into the back stories, because there are a lot of things in Dragon Ball based on something else, like the Rabbit in the Moon article.

Derek: Have you learned anything from the site?

Monica: I read a lot of Dragon Ball Z in Shonen Jump, and they put history things into there, about that stuff, which led me to look into more of it. So I’ve looked at some of the Japanese history myself, and being interested in anime I’m like, “Hey, that’s in Dragon Ball!”

Derek: Right! You can see the correlations. That’s how the project started.

When you first told your story on Reddit you mentioned that when you were a child you used to wake up on Saturday mornings and watch the show with your little brother, but your dad decided it was too violent to watch. Can you tell me that story?

vegeta kills burter dragon ball z

Monica: We were right in the Ginyu Saga when Vegeta kills Burter and Recoome, who aren’t dead yet, and my dad saw that and was like, “Oh, he just broke his neck!” Haha, and he decided that wasn’t appropriate for us, since I think I was still in 4th grade.

But I still had some friends who watched it and they would all tell me the stories. I was amazed to hear that Krillin had hair!

Derek: So you didn’t get to the see the rest of the show until you grew up, you said about 8 years later?

Monica: I had dabbled in it a little since then because I had friends who liked it, but I had never seen it all the way to the end until I was much older, in high school.

Derek: Then a friend bought you the first and second seasons and rekindled your repressed love for the series. What happened then?

Monica: Right. I watched the entire thing on a straight marathon, all the way through! With all of the filler and long power up sequences it’s perfect to sit down and watch while you do homework. Every time I was doing something else I’d turn it on. As soon as Season 2 [aff] was over I was like, crap, I’ve got to get the next one. Haha.

Vegeta, Confidence and Pride

vegeta pride saiyan dbz

Derek: Why does Dragon Ball hook you? What’s your favorite aspect?

Monica: I think people seriously underestimate the story of it. Everybody gets involved with the long power up sequences and muscle bound characters and they forget that there’s an actual storyline going on, and the characters are quite involved in the story.

The reason Vegeta is my favorite is because I think he has the best character development. He’s the one that drew me into it. The first time Vegeta dies I was like, “Oh my god… that’s so sad.”

Derek: Yeah, it was tragic. Is he your favorite character because of how he changes or do you identify with Vegeta?

Monica: I like his character development and how he changes, but also how true they stay to his character. I know Akira Toriyama didn’t really intend for him to be a main character. He just threw him in and then kept him going.

Derek: Right, because the fans liked Vegeta and wanted him to stay.

Monica: Yeah, because of Akira Toriyama not liking him very much, he remains a bad guy all the way through to the end. I really like that because it’s something you don’t usually see. He’s the reluctant good guy the entire time. He hates everyone! Haha.

I like the tenacity of his character and I do identify with him a lot. My favorite thing about him is that he’s not always the best, but he’s always trying to be.

Derek: Do you feel that way about yourself?

Monica: I play hockey and I like to compete. Being a girl in a men’s sport I kind of feel that no matter what I do I’ll never be good enough, so I can relate to that.

Derek: So you’re always pushing yourself to be better?

Monica: Yeah. I said in my submission that I wanted to get a tattoo of the Saiyan crest. I’m a film student and a lot of my teachers are telling me “You’re not confident enough,” and Vegeta is a really confident character, so I feel like if I had that it would remind me to be more confident.

dragon ball z fan monica saiyan crest tattoo vegeta goku shirt

Monica shows off a drawing of the Royal Saiyan Crest tattoo

Derek: I see. I was going to ask what that symbol meant to you and now I understand.

You mentioned that you’re a woman playing hockey in a men’s sport. Dragon Ball also has a reputation for being geared toward young men. It is the quintessential example of a Shonen (Young Boys) manga and anime. And according to my 2012 reader survey, 91% of the readers of this website are male. What do you think of that? Is Dragon Ball a boy’s club, or is it universal?

Monica: It’s geared a lot towards guys. All of the main characters are guys. There are a couple female characters but they don’t do much, except maybe Bulma. Chi-Chi is just Chi-Chi. Haha. They don’t glorify them very much. 18 is really the only, oh and Videl is pretty cool too I guess. But they don’t glorify the women, which I guess I should have a chip on my shoulder about but I really don’t because it’s Dragon Ball Z!

I know a lot of girls who like it, like my roommate in college, she loves it now too. As a Shonen show it’s geared toward guys for a reason. I can understand why there aren’t a lot of girls who like it, but I feel like there’s a whole genre of girls who would, if they give it a chance.

Derek: I agree. You said that you’re a hardcore fan, you’ve got the Majin Vegeta hat, the Goku clothes and everything. Are boys ever surprised to find out that they’ve been talking to a girl about Dragon Ball, and especially when they’re proven wrong in debates or specific points of trivia online?

Monica: I try to point out that I’m a girl on r/dbz as much as I can.

I’m really proud that I’m a girl and know this much about Dragon Ball Z, even if it is a little nerdy!

But people don’t seem to like when I point out that I’m a girl because they seem to think I’m doing it for attention. They’re surprised, not because I’m a girl, but more so because I’m pointing it out!

Derek: You said that Vegeta is your favorite character and he inspires you to push yourself harder. Has Dragon Ball changed your life in any other way?

Monica: I think that’s probably the biggest way.

I guess it makes me want to be healthier when I watch it. Whenever I watch Dragon Ball Z and there’s these huge muscle bound guys I’m like, “Crap, I’ve got to work out!”

You can’t sit there and watch these guys go through all this stuff and then continue to watch television. I watch a couple episodes of Dragon Ball Z and then go to the gym.

Derek: I hear ya. I was religious about working out when I was really into watching the show. I was doing Kung Fu training for 3 hours a day, sparring and Tai Ji. Then I’d come home, shower, eat, and then watch DBZ on Adult Swim and work out again. It was mad.

Why do you think that 15 years after the series concluded in 1997, that there are still so many Dragon Ball fans, and it is still so successful?

Monica: It really is one of those cult shows. It has iconic things going on, the Kamehameha and stuff. People still make jokes about it, and when someone makes a Kamehameha joke, then everybody goes, “Oh yeah, Dragon Ball, I’m going to go back and watch that.”

Because it’s such a long running series and there are so many things to joke about and relate to, it has stood the test of time.

Derek: I think it’s something a lot of young adults grew up with and now it’s a language that we all speak and understand. When you mention Dragon Ball or one of those simple things like the Kamehameha, you instantly understand each other. “Oh, you grew up with Dragon Ball, too?” There’s a connection formed and then you can laugh about it.

If there were one question you’d like answered about Dragon Ball, what would it be?

Monica: I would like to ask Akira Toriyama why he shit’s on Vegeta so much in the Buu Saga!

Derek: Haha. Any idea what he might say?

Monica: I think he would say that he was never a huge fan of Vegeta and that was probably his reasoning for it. Vegeta just gets thrown around so much more than you think he should against Buu.

majin buu kicks vegeta dbz

Derek: You’re right, he does take a pretty hard beating. But seeing Goku fight against him and win is the catalyst for his ultimate admittance that Goku is #1. It’s the ending of his character.

Monica: Right, but it was Vegeta’s idea of how to beat Buu.

vegeta punches majin buu dbzDerek: True. The universe would have died without Vegeta. That’s a fact.

Monica: Haha.

A Hardcore Dragon Ball Fan

dbz fan monica find dragon ball

Derek: There are these terms, “hardcore” or “true” fan. Do you believe in those terms, and if so, what do you think they mean?

Monica: Yeah, I do. I’ve had a lot of seriously philosophical discussions with fans. I haven’t met a single fan that I haven’t been able to talk into a corner about Dragon Ball Z, because I watch it all the time. They’re all guys, too.

If you’re a real, hardcore fan, then you can do that, you can have a serious, honest discussion about Dragon Ball.

Would Majin Vegeta be able to beat Super Saiyan 3 Goku? Why, why not? If you can seriously lay your arguments out and have a hardcore, bloodthirsty discussion about stuff like that, then you’re a hardcore fan.

If you’re like, “Oh right, I saw him that one time when he had the “M” on his head,” it’s like, “Get out of here, you’re bush league.”

Derek: Haha. That was all of my questions, Monica. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?

Monica: I saw you had the ebook online. Is the book going to be published physically?

Derek: Yes. First as an ebook so I can generate the funding for the physical book. The people who pre-order the ebook now will get the 3 bonus chapters for free plus a physical copy signed by me when its published, as an incentive to pre-order it and support the project.

I just got another pre-order today from a person named “Majin.” So that’s pretty cool.

majin vegeta drawing dbz

I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me and answer so honestly. I think a lot of people are excited about this series and this was a great way to start.

Monica: Thanks for interviewing me. I told all of my friends I was going to be interviewed on a website!

Derek: Yeah, please share the link to the page with your friends.

Monica: Thanks. Bye!

Focusing on the Fans

dragon ball fan focus cell tenshinhan tri beam

What a fun way to start the series!

What do you think of Monica’s story? Her father wouldn’t let her watch Dragon Ball, but years later she received the first two seasons as a gift and fell in love with DBZ all over again!

She seems like a pretty big fan, wouldn’t you say?

Are you a huge fan of Dragon Ball? If so, what’s your story?

Leave a short version in the comments below. If I decide to feature you, then we’ll set up a time to talk.

Tell the world why you’re a Dragon Ball fan and become the next guest on Dragon Ball Fan Focus!



42 responses to “The Vegeta Fan – Monica”

  1. Sam S says:

    I remember seeing the first ads for DBZ on Toonami and thinking that it looked like the dumbest show ever. I wondered why Cartoon Network would even bother with it. Then I met a friend in 6th grade that was really into anime. I mean REALLY into it. She initially got me into Dragonball, then I watched DBZ later. Most of my other friends thought it was weird at the time. I actually remember one friend that got so fed up of me talking her ear off about it one day that she would walk away every time I mentioned it.

    I found some people in high school that were into anime as well, though not into Dragonball like I was. After high school I sort of became disinterested with anime in general, until an old boyfriend showed me Dragonball Z Abridged by Team Four Star. We watched all 13 episodes that had been done at the time, and I don’t think I ever stopped laughing. I have since re-watched most of DBZ just so that I can follow the abridged version. It’s really the one anime that has stuck with me. I think I’ll still be busting out the DVDs when I’m 40, though at that point I may be letting my kids watch it with me.

    P.S. – I’m a girl too.
    P.P.S. – HI MONICA!!

    • Derek Padula says:

      Hi Sam, that’s a great story. I’m sure a lot of people can relate.

      And Dragon Ball Z Abridged has such a big following now. It’s shocking, really. There are so many Dragon Ball fans across the world who can enjoy that parody series because of what they grew up watching, the universal language we all speak, and the subtle jokes we all understand.

      It’s really astounding that the series and the fandom has lasted so long it can now be shared across generations. I wonder if the same will be said for Naruto, Bleach and other shonen series. Something tells me those just won’t have the same magical feeling that Dragon Ball does.

      • PostedB4 says:

        After about 140 episodes, Naruto enters into a really horrid filler saga that’s several years long, plus N.S., well, not to spoil it but there’s one character that kind of ruins it for lots of people.

        I’d say probably no. One Piece might have that inspiration, but it’s more of a cult show compared to other popular SJ series among American fans.

        • Derek Padula says:

          I agree.

          I’ve watched just about every episode of Naruto, including the fillers. Although I did take a year off before Shippuden started because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Who’s the one character that kind of ruins it? [name deleted by request]?

          Not to pull the thread away from DBZ, but personally I think the Naruto manga is amazing and the anime completely lowered the overall quality level by adding so much filler. Even in the canon episodes they pad a lot of the content with flash backs. It’s a shame they keep doing that.

          DBZ had a lot of filler, but at least it continued the canon storyline and kept the action up. Most of the Naruto filler is pointless and poorly written. I prefer the DBZ model because you can just tune it out for a while or skip ahead to the good parts.

          • PB4 says:

            Didn’t mention his name since I didn’t want to spoil anything.

            But yeah, that’s him. That one plotline has gotten past annoying and has been going on for faaarrr too long. People fuss about Freeza and Planet Namek, but the Emo Saga is at least 5-10 times longer. Plus Freeza was a lot cooler. He’s Scrappy Doo with a wizard’s wand.

          • PB4 says:

            May want to alter his name you mentioned. Judging from that recent One Piece topic on Reddit, people can -really- flip about spoilers sometimes. (even if they don’t post and voice their objections)

          • Derek Padula says:

            I don’t think it’s a spoiler [text deleted by reader request]. It’s the entire underlying plot of the manga. Every other plot is built on top of that and only exists because of that, so it’s naturally going to last as long as the manga takes to finish.

            If people flip out about the main plot of the manga, then I don’t think they would like reading the manga anyway.

          • PB4 says:

            It doesn’t happen til over 100 episodes in and it’s a big shocker when people first find out about it and see it happen.

            I know most of your readers probably keep up with Naruto so it ain’t a spoiler, but there’s always going to be a few who don’t. (I once had a great shonen series spoiled for me, so I’m pretty sensitive regarding spoilers)

          • Derek Padula says:

            You’re right. I’d hate for that to happen to anybody, so I deleted the name. Thanks, PB4.

  2. Monica says:

    HI SAM S!!! I love DBZ abridged! Its nice to hear the story of another female fan!

  3. Biba Sen'nin says:

    I first saw Dragon Ball Z when I was 9 years old, I think. I didn’t like it, I thought the art style was ripping off Sailor Moon (hilarious now, when you think about it). That was when both shows were on network syndication. Couple years later, both shows wound up on Toonami, and though I was reluctant to like it, I soon found myself hooked. I must have rewatched those early Saban episodes and Pioneer movies hundreds of times, and when FUNi released the Freeza Saga, I eagerly bought the Ginyu Saga VHS tapes.

    But the internet changed things. The internet told me on many websites that the dub was not the way to go – that there was a better show waiting for me, in Japanese, if I could only find it. And I did (or my older brother did) on the International Channel. It was the ending of the Freeza Saga, the episode where Freeza is hoist with his own petard. And with the FUNimation in-house dub coming to Toonami, I followed the series simultaneously in Japanese (raw) and English (dubbed, edited for TV), with the Japanese episodes always slightly ahead of the English.

    That carried on through Dragon Ball premiering on Toonami, up until DBGT, when I began to lose interest. But it wasn’t long before I started revisiting the original DB on DVD and manga (which I had watched on VHS of the original dub while the Saban DBZ episodes were airing on Toonami – and later came to love more than DBZ once FUNimation released the Mystical Adventure feature). And it became a thing I’d do. Whenever I was suffering from the clinical depression that manifested itself in my late teen years, Goku was my escape, and my strength. Even my Dragon Blog was started as self medication.

    –Biba

    PS Monica – in response to "I haven’t met a single fan that I haven’t been able to talk into a corner about Dragon Ball Z", I say, http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m4amn6NeVw1r0jb

    • monica says:

      HaHa, i dont doubt there are fans on the internet that could lay me out on DBZ facts. I have yet to meet any one in PERSON that can compare to my DBZ knowledge, but on r/dbz i feel right at home. But if thats a "hey lets talk DBZ!" then find me on reddit! 45stillalive

      • Alejo says:

        Trust me Im that guy ! Alejandro from Spain , is not human been that knows more about Bola de Drac than i do!

  4. Derek Padula says:

    Biba, your story is very similar to my own, except I was captivated by DBZ the moment I saw it. I also spent countless hours on the internet looking for information and clips on the original Japanese, and watched a bit on the international channel.

    Thanks for being candid about your depression, and in revealing the origins of your blog.

    I think your story would be great to share with others in more detail, if you’re up for it. What do you say?

  5. exz says:

    Hey here’s a dance tribute to dragon ball. check it out!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suh3QPMI3bA&fe

    • Derek Padula says:

      This has absolutely nothing to do with the article, but I’m going to allow it because it’s DBZ related and may be interesting to readers. And it’s fun.

      Please submit things like this to my Facebook page or Tweet it to me and I’ll put it in the right spot. Thank you.

    • Monica says:

      That was sweet as F***

  6. Monica's Dad says:

    I’m Monica’s father. And that is a true story. I’m proud of her faithfulness to my rule… and her ingenuity in following the story through oral history from her friends. Not bad parenting if a say so myself. Oh, and Happy birthday Moni… Love U. v;D

  7. LRA says:

    It seems a lot of people get into Martial Arts or Anime or whatever because of Dragonball. For me it was the other way around. I’m a Pokemon-era kid, so I was really into that. One of my friends watched it, and she was always talking about it, so I tried to watch it. And I think it was in the Buu saga so I couldn’t follow the story. And it was on cartoon network, which had adverts just about every 5 seconds.

    When I was older I started watching Naruto, and I slowly got into Anime as a whole. I liked martial arts anime because I was doing Karate, but I still haven’t watched all of it, so I guess I’m one of these "bush level" people Monica was talking about! I love this blog because it points out the references to religious concepts, which are mainly buddhist, but I can also relate a lot of things to my own religion, Hinduism, and I’m studying Philosophy and Theology, so that makes it even more interesting! So your blog really made me want to watch dragonball more, because it has so many of the themes I like.

    • Biba Sen'nin says:

      If you’re not already, I wholehearted recommend you start with DB over DBZ. And if you don’t mind reading, definitely watch it subbed. There’s a lot more substance and emotional impact if you go from the start, in its proper form!

    • Derek Padula says:

      Thanks, LRA. I’m glad you like the blog!

      Yes, there are a lot of correlations between Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism in Dragon Ball. I have an article in progress called "Buddha’s, Dao’s and God’s in Dragon Ball," that talks about all of the ways in which these beings manifest in Akira Toriyama’s martial arts epic.

      It will be a while until that one gets published because of some other projects on my plate, but the reason I like it so much is because it’s all present in the series already. It’s just that nobody has taken the time to organize it and reveal it to others in a logical, linear way.

    • Valloy says:

      What about those who get into instumental music performance, where do they fit?

    • Valloy says:

      What about those who get into instumental music performance, where do they fit?

  8. Okinar says:

    This blog is great! . I’m a Pokemon-era kid, so I was really into that.

  9. Rhianne says:

    It’s really interesting reading other f females views of Dragon Ball. It’s great to know you’re not the only one out there (and I realise how stupid that statement is) but it is rare to find another girl as passionate as yourself in the same area code.

    thanks for the great blog. Love reading it since finding it a few months ago! can’t believe I missed it!

    • Derek Padula says:

      That’s great to hear, Rhianne. I’m glad that this interview is reaching the female fanbase. Like you said, you’re just as passionate as the boys, and I think it’s about time you get the spotlight!

      Thank you for the kind words. I’m at Anime Expo in Los Angeles this weekend and met some other female fans dressed up as Vegeta. Before that I met another fem-Vegeta at the AM2 Convention in Anaheim a couple weeks ago. There must be something about Vegeta that the ladies love.

      I’ll post the pictures up soon.

  10. Holly says:

    This is awesome! I love that you’ve given the fans a chance to have some spotlight 🙂 I didn’t know of any other DBZ fans whilst growing up apart from my siblings, so it’s always cool to come to sites like these and discover a ton of people who are just as passionate about it as I am. It’s especially cool to see so many die-hard girls XD Monica, my favourite character’s Vegeta too! Loving your Goku top! 🙂

    • Derek Padula says:

      Thanks, Holly. I’m glad you liked it. I have some more fans lined up for interviews, so I’ll try to deliver more articles like these in the future!

  11. Alejo says:

    She is Right I did Watch Dragon Ball in more than 6 different Languages and the best is the Latin version ! I saw it in Castellian, Catalan , English , Italian and Japanese verssion and of course the English version in the Worst !
    I have been fan of many things that with the time I lost the Interest of it but my friend , Im 22 years old and I still a huge fan of Bola de Drac ! I still watch it any time i can !
    and to prove it I have the tattoo of the Saya jin royalty simbol on my wrist as well !
    by the way how can I comunicate with that girl , Im a film student too!

  12. Alejo says:

    The new Dragon Ball Z Movie may come in December and no in 2013 as the media say , just let you know brother and sisters Sayajins.lol

  13. Warblaze says:

    I find it interesting that some fans prefer the English version over the Japanese. In the scene where Vegeta was killed I preferred the original Japanese version to the English dub. In the Japanese version (and the manga too if I remember correctly) Vegeta’s tears where the result of him hating his life as a slave while living under Frieza. The English dub on the other hand he was crying over the death of his father and implies that Frieza was the reason he was ruthless. I feel that the English version doesn’t portray the Saiyan race’s personality or culture very well. In my opinion I actually found the Japanese version more "touching" (not sure what other word to use here). I think the Japanese version was better in showing how Vegeta had the heart and pride of a warrior, something that I feel speaks to me more than sadness over the death of a family member.

    • Derek Padula says:

      Overall I agree, Warblaze, although the English version does shine in certain scenes. For example, when Vegeta first becomes a Super Saiya-jin. There’s a lot more inner dialogue, which allows you to get deeper into his mind. I also like Vegeta’s Sacrifice and the classic line, "There’s one thing a Saiyan always keeps… His PRIDE!" while resisting Babidi’s spirit possession. Both dubs have strengths and weaknesses, but I’ll always prefer the original Japanese over the FUNimation dub.

  14. Jacob says:

    Dream girl right here

  15. Valloy says:

    Monica says that it is better to act without think it, rather than overthink it. LOL might try it tomorrow with my union.

  16. caroline says:

    hi! my name is caroline i’m french!and i’m a veritable fan of drangon ball z! i’m would like to know can we make knowledge! i’m sorry for my language but i don’t speak english very well!! this is my facebook caroline teboull! bye

  17. caroline says:

    this message is for monica!! 🙂

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