Friday, March 31, 2017

The Titanic Tournament (Rivals Standing Their Ground!) (Viz/Shueisha)
Dragon Ball Vol. 15 When: May 2004
Why: Akira Toriyama How: Akira Toriyama

The Story So Far...
The time has come for the next Strongest Under the Heavens world martial arts tournament -- the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai!

The greatest fighters in the world have converged on the event to test their might against a promising field of powerful opponents. Last year's runner-up Son Goku will be one of the surefire favourites to go all the way at this year's tournament, but first he must answer the challenge of a surly Quarter Final mystery opponent!

Entered as Name-Withheld-Upon-Request: the mysterious woman has a clear grudge against Goku -- but he doesn't even know who she is! Her identity holds a secret that will change the course of Goku's life! He'll have to fight to get answers, even though he has no true desire to bring harm to his opponent!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Son Goku 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Draw 2 (Average)
Speed: Son Goku 6 (Mach Speed)
Stamina: Son Goku 6 (Generator)
Agility: Draw 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Son Goku 7 (Living Weapon)
Energy: Son Goku 6 (Mass Destruction)
Total: Son Goku 36 (Cosmic)

We return to the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai for the next tournament match!

A mysterious challenger announced as Name-Withheld-Upon-Request has entered the event to collect on an outstanding debt! If you haven't figured it out already: she's Chi-Chi - The Ox Princess!

When Chi-Chi was a little girl she lived in a castle on Pleasant Mountain with her father Gyūmaō (Ox-King). When the fire that protected their castle grew out of control, Chi-Chi was sent on a quest to retrieve a powerful fan from Master Muten Roshi. On her journey she made the acquaintance of a little boy with a tail, and magical cloud he could ride. Chi-Chi fell in love with the boy and planned to marry him, but he was taken away by the looming threat of The Red Ribbon Army.

The boy in question was Son Goku: An unusually powerful, high-spirited young boy, whose incredible strength, durability, and lust for a challenge could be attributed to his unknown Saiya-jin (Saiyan) heritage!

Goku had been sent to Earth from the planet Vegeta as an infant. His destiny was to lay waste to the world when the Earth's full moon would trigger his natural transformation into a giant ape! The planet would then be ripe for collection and sale by the evil Lord Frieza.

Instead, Goku was found by a kind old man named Son Gohan, who did his best to raise the boy well. Goku was a raucous, ill tempered baby, but a simple bump on the head changed his life (and temperament) for good! Good nature and a positive attitude would follow Goku into adulthood as he developed into an uncanny martial artist -- and one of Earth's greatest heroes!

One day, Son Goku will fulfill the legend of the golden-haired Super Saiya-jin! He'll go on to unlock multiple tiers of the transformation that will grant him energy powerful enough to shatter worlds! When he reaches this peak, Goku will become one of the greatest fighters in the known universe!

At the time of the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai, Goku is only on the cusp of coming into his full powers. His strength, speed, and durability are drastically greater than normal, as is his mastery of ki attacks, including the Kamehameha energy wave. However, he hasn't yet learnt the boku-jutsu technique (flying), or other high-level attacks he'll come to be associated with in later iterations.

Chi-Chi may not be vying for the title of Strongest Under the Heavens, but she shouldn't be taken lightly, either! Her father granted a basic education in the fighting arts, and if properly motivated she can be quite the spitfire! Aggression is one of her greatest strengths, and with Goku oblivious to her belief that they were to be wed -- this is a match the young hero could in fact lose!

The Tape: Son Goku Ranking: Draw (Not Ranked)

What Went Down...
As the two combatants face-off for their Quarter Final match, Goku wonders why his mysterious opponent always seems so mad. She angrily compels him to ask his own heart. They confirm she has the right man - and the fight begins!

A fast thrusting kick catches Goku by surprise!

Still in disbelief; Goku quizzes the furious fighter on their past acquaintance whilst dodging a flurry of deadly hand strikes! There's no doubt in the determined young lady's response -- packaged with a rapid rising knee!

Goku just barely dodges the knee with a backward leap. As he makes his landing on the tiles -- his opponent is already dashing into her next attack!

It turns out it's Goku's lapse in memory that is the very source of the woman's scorn! She's been waiting years for his return - but the adventuring hero forgot all about her! She unleashes her frustration in a 5-hit fist & knee combo!

Goku scrambles to catch his opponent's strikes - simultaneously searching for a memory of the promise he supposedly made to her!

He tries to buy himself some time, leaping backward into the sky, but his mysteriously motivated opponent won't back down! She jumps skyward right after him with a pointed flying kick!

Watching from the crowd, Muten Roshi begins to sense something similar to his own style in the unknown woman's attack. He and Goku's friends are all bowled over when she reveals a stunning revelation: Goku said he'd ask for her hand!

Still an innocent at heart, Goku doesn't understand the turn of phrase. Fellow competitors Kuririn and Yamcha communicate from the sidelines, filling him in on the life-long vow of taking a woman's hand in marriage. He can't quite grasp why he'd ask somebody he doesn't know to live with him forever, but she promises to reveal her identity if he manages to defeat her. A guarantee in the mind of the great fighter, even though she has no intention to lose!

Enthused by the promise of a conclusion, Goku does his best to warn his fair opponent of his coming attack. He then gathers his ki and compels it forward!

Goku's awesome aura slams into his opponent like an invisible wall!

Though without contact - the energy attack is still powerful enough to send the woman hurtling uncontrollably through the air! She flies across the battlefield, leaving the perimeter of the arena to slam into its surrounding bespoke wall!

The stunned announcer declares Goku winner as the good natured hero shows concern over the unintended force of his winning attack.

The Hammer...
We might make debate of whether or not a tournament ring-out meets the terms of our definition for victory. Fortunately for the sake of clarity, it hardly matters in this instance. In misjudging his own strength: Goku struck a definitive winning blow!

As noted in The Tale of The Tape [above]: "Name-Withheld-Upon-Request" was none other than Ox Princess Chi-Chi.

She's all grown up and one tough cookie! With the terms of her challenge met: Chi-Chi reveals her identity, and Goku just sort of accepts that he did promise to marry her (with the help of a couple of class DB panels as memories). Of course, as a young boy, Goku thought he was actually promising to come back for some sort of exotic meal.

In classic Goku style, he takes his mistake in stride and stays true to his word. With that, the Quarter Final victory in the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai is the scene of their engagement to be wed! If you know your Dragon Ball Z: you know they'll go on to live a long and mostly happy life together.

In the next few years Son Gohan will be born to the couple, and father & son will learn more about their origins as Saiya-jin alien warriors as they fight to protect the Earth. Chi-Chi will be a doting mother obsessed with her son's education. Goku will be his usual flighty self, getting the kid into all kinds of trouble as he follows in his father's footsteps as a great martial artist!

With any luck we'll eventually get to those DBZ years, but for now we focus our attentions on their prelude at the Strongest Under the Heavens tournament!

Goku's win means he advances to the Semi Final where old rival Tenshinhan will await thanks to his prior victory! Their match will be of particular interest given Tenshinhan won the 22nd Tenkaichi Budokai by defeating Goku in the final!

There are still two more Quarter Final matches to complete before we get to that exciting rematch! I can't tell you when that will be, but with Dragon Ball FighterZ in development to reinvent the series in side-to-side fighting games -- and Dragon Ball Super creating all new adventures within the original DBZ timeline -- I'm sure we'll have plenty of reasons to return to Dragon Ball!

Today's feature fight is brought to you thanks to the release of Iron Fist on Netflix! Our massive month of martial arts mayhem in March officially ends here! As always, if you want to get more action like this you should check out the links provided, and follow along via Facebook & Twitter.

You can also dive in to the Secret Archive to find hundreds of previous battles in order of publisher, series, and issue! You can support the site by sharing your favourite fights with friends, or by using the Amazon purchase link next to this text to pick yourself up a copy of Dragon Ball Vol. 15! Amazon will pay it forward at no additional cost to you!

Dragon Ball Vol. 15 was originally published by Shueisha in December, 1988. This edition collects chapters 169 through 180, originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump. The Viz reprint was published May, 2004 with English localization by Gerard Jones and Mari Morimoto.

Winner: Son Goku
#305 (new) Son Goku
#828 (new) Chi-Chi

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