Vegeta’s sacrifice against Buu was not his coming of age moment

While Vegeta’s “Final Atonement” is a sea change in his character arc, his acknowledgment of Goku’s strength is the true mark of his maturation.

One of the most memorable scenes in Dragon Ball Z It does not belong to its main protagonist Goku but to his arch-rival Vegeta. In the “Majin Buu” arc scene, Vegeta sacrifices himself to save his friends and family. It’s touching for two reasons: it’s the first time in the series that viewers see Vegeta fighting for someone other than himself, and it’s also an act inspired by Vegeta seeing Goku earlier in the “Cell” arc.

The effect Goku’s sacrifice has on Vegeta, as well as the changes in his life, signal a profound change in the character. This is reinforced by Vegeta’s acknowledgment of his own crimes during this arc. With these together, Vegeta’s heroic sacrifice would seem to indicate the culmination of his character’s arc: an inspired and selfless act that atones for his previous crimes and illustrates his transition from a ruthless and self-serving fighter to a father, friend, and “true warrior.” .” However, this is not really the case.

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Beyond the simple fact that Vegeta is returning to take on even more prominent roles in the following Dragon Ball series, there is a moment from another story that describes a more lasting and significant change. While Vegeta’s sacrifice is a sea change in character for him, his acknowledgment of Goku’s strength in the following “Kid Buu” arc is the true mark of his dramatic maturation over the course of the series.

There are no excuses

Vegeta gives Goku the thumbs up.

What makes Vegeta such a fascinating and relatable character is that his greatest source of strength, his pride, is also the source of his greatest weakness. With this admission, Vegeta finally begins to wear down this internal handicap and begins the proper restoration of his wounded fighting spirit. Vegeta had previously made countless excuses to downplay Goku’s obvious strength, attributing it to some technique, some quirk of Goku’s lineage, his devotion to protecting family and friends from him, anything other than the simple truth. What’s different at this point is that, for the first time, Vegeta willingly admits that Goku is the stronger of the two, and more importantly, he offers no ego-saving excuses to mitigate this fact.

Contrary to the pattern of Dragon Ball, which emphasizes external changes, Vegeta’s change is internal. What is most significant about this scene, however, is what follows this admission: as Vegeta’s trademark self-loathing and self-delusion fades, his determination suddenly returns as clarity comes into focus on the ultimate goal. Although this seems paradoxical at first, it speaks to the character of internal change.

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Earlier, in the “Majin Buu”, “Cell” and even “Frieza” sagas, the lengths Vegeta went to in misrepresenting the source of Goku’s strength actually worked against his ability to match Goku’s power. This patchwork of excuses always led to dead ends that never acknowledged Goku’s innate fighting spirit and, in turn, never directed Vegeta towards healing and cultivating his own. However, with the clarity that this admission brings, Vegeta is finally able to accept the truth that his wounded ego had kept from him and finally begins the difficult task of becoming stronger, which he continues on. Super.

“What does not kill you makes you stronger”

Vegeta describes Ultra Ego.

While it is true that Akira Toriyama tentatively programmed Dragon Ball Z To end the “Buu” saga, subsequent series have continued to grow Vegeta’s character. In this extended arch, the clarity provided by the admission of it plays a fundamental role. On Super, Vegeta’s rivalry with Goku changes; the effect of admitting him is not fatal to Vegeta’s self, but instead encourages his development. No longer resentful of or emulating Goku, Vegeta’s newfound clarity and self-acceptance allows him to find his own path, a change illustrated by “Ultra Ego”. More than just another step along the way, Vegeta’s Ultra-Ego truly rivals Goku’s power and accomplishes what his admission at the end of the “Buu” saga begins: reconciliation of the self.

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