As to my reading (I’ve read the entire series half a dozen of times), it appeared that one could address a number of elements that support the theory mentioned by the medias (always nimble to denigrate what appeals to the youth because old-timers are better financers) that Dragon Ball defends Nazi ideas.
What gave them a tip is that Saiyans (or « space warriors », the « race » of Goku and his friends) become blond with blue eyes when they reveal their full power (how shocking!).
If you really want to, you can actually spot a large number of other details that support this “nazi” idea.
These Super Saiyans (or « Super Sayazu » in Japanese) have “SS” as their initials. They come from a planet that has been dominated and annihilated by a mestizo tribe (the troops of the tyrant Frieza consist of creatures of any kind).
Nevertheless they are « super warriors » convinced of their genetic superiority (Vegeta and Nappa do not hide their conviction on that matter, when they first arrive on Earth).
Drawing a parallel with the history of the Saiyans, we see that the Nameks (wise and uni-racial people) have suffered the wrath of the multi-racial troops of Frieza as well.
One might add that, when God is embodied for the World Martial Arts Tournament, he chose a human who wears a coquettish Hitler-style mustache as a host (not to mention that, with a little more imagination, this guy is the spitting image of Hirohito, Emperor of Japan at the time of World War II).
I would add that one of the few black characters in the manga is Mr Popo, who works as a servant (the servant of God but still), and that the Red Ribbon Army that Goku undermines isn’t without reminding the Red-communist army. His members are supposedly all gays and it is she who will eventually kill Goku at the end of the story, since Cell is nothing else than the result of a cloning project which was initiated by Professor Gero, who was working for the Red Ribbon…
Besides (Well, well!) it is a black characters who overthrow the Chief of the Red Ribbon Army when he proves himself not to be ambitious (devilish?) enough. This black dude was formerly his servant… (!)
You will all understand the many parallels with World War II, including the triumph of the communists (the wicked) on the Nazis (the gentiles).
Let’s also remember that the king of the world, in Dragon Ball, is a dog, which, no doubt, speaks volumes about the political opinions of Mr. Toriyama (except that since it’s a nice dog, negative interpretations become increasingly difficult for the review…).
All these elements lead to the following question: Does Dragon Ball delivers a Nazi or racist message?
Well… not at all. Goku, the hero, is a model of simplicity (purity?) who doesn’t give a shoe about appearances.
He is the defender of Earth and its half-blood population (which includes a large amount of talking animals).
Moreover, Gohan, his mestizo son, is more powerful than his father. Vegeta himself admits that the mix between humans and Saiyans gives very good results.
If Saiyans are clearly presented as a racist and domineering nation from an historical point of view, Goku expresses his own position very clearly (at the time he meets with his brother Raditz): he considers himself as an inhabitant of Earth by adoption.
There are many lessons of tolerance that are given through Dragon Ball (Goku and his friends refuse to attack Dr. Gero before he commits his crime even though they know he will be guilty with certainty, thanks to Trunks who arrived from the future to warn them; Goku always spare his opponents’ life if he can of if they request so; Goku does not have any preconceived ideas about races, species or genders – that he can barely distinguish -).
Nevertheless, the main message conveyed by Dragon Ball, for me, is not “tolerance”, neither “friendship” (as opposed to Saint Seiya), it is that one must live his passion. This is what Son Goku does until he dies, not without putting several worlds at risk on his way.
This credo would be resumed later, in a more obvious way, by Monkey D. Luffy, through the episodes of One Piece. But if it’s a delight in reading the adventures of his crew, when I look at Luffy, it is Goku I see.
Dragon Ball, a major work of the late twentieth century? Yes! There are many things to say about this masterpiece, but the best, still, is to read it!
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