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Old 10-03-2008, 11:39 PM   #1
Cory
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Default The 'race' issue...

I read on the front page (thread??? is that what that **** is where people yell FIRST!!!! for some reason?) people complaining about too many white people, and goku is white...

i mean, to me, Goku could be any earth race really. he is an alien. a sayan. so it could be portrayed by any race on earth. to me, white is the best choice for goku, compared to the show. i mean its obvious in the show that Chi Chi is supposed to be more asian ( i say more asian because its not blatant, but is insinuated bc of her hair). now i know this is an iffy tight rope im walking on here... but whats the deal? what do you think about the race issue...should goku be asian? should the movie have more asians than whites?

IMO, i think they got the casting right on, race wise. bc goku could be any race, and these days 'white' is 'generic' so to speak.

i dont feel the casting is, in any way, a injustice, or a problem. but apparently other people think so....Im not hating on those people, just wanna know what the real deal/scoop is...

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Old 10-03-2008, 11:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

..oh no

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Old 10-03-2008, 11:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

Second!!!!!!

yeah but goku i have no prob with him being white...he was never asian.

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Old 10-04-2008, 01:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

here is how i feel about the whole race issue. bare with me, it's quite a rant...hehe

first let me start off by saying that i'm a Filipino American. depending on who you ask i would be considered Asian or Pacific Islander. i have Chinese blood in me somewhere but i was born and raised (mostly) in America. so obviously this is a biased opinion, but i try to be practical about my views even though it's a tough balance between practicality and art.

which brings me to the beginning of anime early last century. many people don't know this but a lot of styles from early anime resembled early american cartoons like looney toons and disney. from this sprung the popular and cliche'd big eye look that's so popular in most anime since then. a lot of people think that the Japanese draw big eyes in cartoons because of some sort of envy complex, but it's really because big eyes just work better with expressing emotions.

anyway, anime kept evolving until eventually Akira Toriyama came up with the idea of Dragon Ball. he took a trip to China and read an old Chinese folk tale called "A Journey to the West" and when he returned home he was inspired to make a manga based on that folk tale. Akira took Sun Wukong, the monkey king from Journey to the West, and made him the main character, Son Goku, for Dragon Ball. he also took the idea of sutras and refashioned them into dragon balls. so he based his manga on an old Chinese folk tale.

that being said, i think it's clear that Akira originally intended Goku to have Asian-ish features. i would even go so far as to say that he DID have Asian features. in his normal form Goku's hair is long, straight and black. his eyes are black also. his NAME is a Japanese name and his gi is shaolin (Chinese) inspired. not only that but he published the manga under the Japanese magazine, the Weekly Shonen Jump. it eventually got so popular that it spread to the rest Asia and helped start a new trend in Asian hairstyles. in the mid 90's it reached American television. so basically Goku was made by a Japanese, inspired by a Chinese folk tale, published in a Japanese magazine, originally aimed towards Japanese and Asian readers.

with all that in mind, i never expected Hollywood to make an adaptation of Dragon Ball with an Asian (or even half Asian) as the lead role even though i thought it would be a great opportunity to catapult an Asian with the potential of becoming leading man material into stardom. i tried to keep realistic expectations so i didn't think they'd cast an Asian for Goku and i knew there were going to be a lot of changes, most of which would probably do more harm than good. so i was at LEAST hoping for whoever were to play Goku to look and act like him, regardless of race. however, my want for an Asian actor to play Goku comes from the fact that i have Asian ancestors, know the origins of Dragon Ball, and most of all.....i believe that if a film adaptation is to be done, that you should ALWAYS goto the source material for inspiration and guidance. in this case, that would be the original Dragon Ball cartoons and manga.

that brings me to the culture clash, where many Americans think that Goku is supposed to look like a white guy despite the Asian inspired settings. Goku is raised by someone who's basically Chinese, has a Japanese name, and Asian clothing but for some reason many Westerners think he's supposed to look white. sure it's stereotypical for an Asian person to have an Asian name, wear Asian clothes and have Asian mentors but it honestly wouldn't be stereotypical if it weren't so common and true. the more you take away from a culture, the more generic it feels and that makes having a white guy play Goku seem less legit in my eyes. a Caucasian ninja doesn't feel as authentic as an Asian ninja and i feel that a white actor as Goku doesn't feel as authentic to the Asian inspired surroundings and themes of Dragon Ball.


to wrap it all up...again, i never expected Hollywood to cast an Asian as Goku nor did i really have a problem with it. i honestly just wanted a capable actor, but i feel that Goku was always meant to look like an Asian based on the fact that he is a character with Asian features, ideals, and most importantly...origins.

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Old 10-04-2008, 01:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

I'm white and I definitely don't approve casting Justin Chatwin as Goku. I personally don't care if Goku is white or Asian, but they could have found someone better, imo.

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Old 10-04-2008, 02:03 AM   #6
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

before this goes any further, i havent read the replies so far, but i want to state in no way is this a racist post. just curiosity,

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Old 10-04-2008, 02:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DorkyFresh View Post
here is how i feel about the whole race issue. bare with me, it's quite a rant...hehe

first let me start off by saying that i'm a Filipino American. depending on who you ask i would be considered Asian or Pacific Islander. i have Chinese blood in me somewhere but i was born and raised (mostly) in America. so obviously this is a biased opinion, but i try to be practical about my views even though it's a tough balance between practicality and art.

which brings me to the beginning of anime early last century. many people don't know this but a lot of styles from early anime resembled early american cartoons like looney toons and disney. from this sprung the popular and clich'ed big eye look that's so popular in most anime since then. a lot of people think that the Japanese draw big eyes in cartoons because of some sort of envy complex, but it's really because big eyes just work better with expressing emotions.

anyway, anime kept evolving until eventually Akira Toriyama came up with the idea of Dragon Ball. he took a trip to China and read an old Chinese folk tale called "A Journey to the West" and when he returned home he was inspired to make a manga based on that folk tale. Akira took Sun Wukong, the monkey king from Journey to the West, and made him the main character, Son Goku, for Dragon Ball. he also took the idea of sutras and refashioned them into dragon balls. so he based his manga on an old Chinese folk tale.

that being said, i think it's clear that Akira originally intended Goku to have Asian-ish features. i would even go so far as to say that he DID have Asian features. in his normal form Goku's hair is long, straight and black. his eyes are black also. his NAME is a Japanese name and his gi is shaolin (Chinese) inspired. not only that but he published the manga under the Japanese magazine, the Weekly Shonen Jump. it eventually got so popular that it spread to the rest Asia and helped start a new trend in Asian hairstyles. in the mid 90's it reached American television. so basically Goku was made by a Japanese, inspired by a Chinese folk tale, published in a Japanese magazine, originally aimed towards Japanese and Asian readers.

with all that in mind, i never expected Hollywood to make an adaptation of Dragon Ball with an Asian (or even half Asian) as the lead role even though i thought it would be a great opportunity to catapult an Asian with the potential of becoming leading man material into stardom. i tried to keep realistic expectations so i didn't think they'd cast an Asian for Goku and i knew there were going to be a lot of changes, most of which would probably do more harm than good. so i was at LEAST hoping for whoever were to play Goku to look and act like him, regardless of race. however, my want for an Asian actor to play Goku comes from the fact that i have Asian ancestors, know the origins of Dragon Ball, and most of all.....i believe that if a film adaptation is to be done, that you should ALWAYS goto the source material for inspiration and guidance. in this case, that would be the original Dragon Ball cartoons and manga.

that brings me to the culture clash, where many Americans think that Goku is supposed to look like a white guy despite the Asian inspired settings. Goku is raised by someone who's basically Chinese, has a Japanese name, and Asian clothing but for some reason many Westerners think he's supposed to look white. sure it's stereotypical for an Asian person to have an Asian name, wear Asian clothes and have Asian mentors but it honestly wouldn't be stereotypical if it weren't so common and true. the more you take away from a culture, the more generic it feels and that makes having a white guy play Goku seem less legit in my eyes. a Caucasian ninja doesn't feel as authentic as an Asian ninja and i feel that a white actor as Goku doesn't feel as authentic to the Asian inspired surroundings and themes of Dragon Ball.


to wrap it all up...again, i never expected Hollywood to cast an Asian as Goku nor did i really have a problem with it. i honestly just wanted a capable actor, but i feel that Goku was always meant to look like an Asian based on the fact that he is a character with Asian features, ideals, and most importantly...origins.
Awesome post.

i dig what your saying. just in the sense of making this more in depth, what about super saiyans. you pointed out great characteristics, but when i saw a super saiyan i immediately thought russian, so im wondering how the writer/writers saw this. IMO they dont just make something the way it is just because. theres something that made them do it ya know what im saying? is a super saiyan a mix of all races? this is where things can get stereotypical, and mods be aware. but stereotyping aside, to me it looks as if Goku is originally meant as an asian, an american, hell whatever u want. but when he turns into a super saiyan, to me again, it looks like the writers making an ultimate race. which is said throughout by vegeta. there is deeper meaning than people see.

hah sorry if this is too in depth for some, but ive been giving it some thought in the little free time i have in the midst of a new marriage

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Old 10-04-2008, 02:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

on super saiyans, i never really thought about the blonde hair and green eyes as a change in looks as far as ethnicity is concerned. when Goku first went super saiyan i just thought of it as an alternate form. same base, but different hair basically.

when Goku went super saiyan this is when Akira Toriyama started to take the series in a more futuristic direction based less on Chinese culture. he stopped basing characters on Asian ideals and started going sci fi/fantasy with it. that's totally cool and all but i've never seen Goku's origins as anything but Asian inspired.

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Old 10-04-2008, 03:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DorkyFresh View Post
here is how i feel about the whole race issue. bare with me, it's quite a rant...hehe

first let me start off by saying that i'm a Filipino American. depending on who you ask i would be considered Asian or Pacific Islander. i have Chinese blood in me somewhere but i was born and raised (mostly) in America. so obviously this is a biased opinion, but i try to be practical about my views even though it's a tough balance between practicality and art.

which brings me to the beginning of anime early last century. many people don't know this but a lot of styles from early anime resembled early american cartoons like looney toons and disney. from this sprung the popular and clich'ed big eye look that's so popular in most anime since then. a lot of people think that the Japanese draw big eyes in cartoons because of some sort of envy complex, but it's really because big eyes just work better with expressing emotions.

anyway, anime kept evolving until eventually Akira Toriyama came up with the idea of Dragon Ball. he took a trip to China and read an old Chinese folk tale called "A Journey to the West" and when he returned home he was inspired to make a manga based on that folk tale. Akira took Sun Wukong, the monkey king from Journey to the West, and made him the main character, Son Goku, for Dragon Ball. he also took the idea of sutras and refashioned them into dragon balls. so he based his manga on an old Chinese folk tale.

that being said, i think it's clear that Akira originally intended Goku to have Asian-ish features. i would even go so far as to say that he DID have Asian features. in his normal form Goku's hair is long, straight and black. his eyes are black also. his NAME is a Japanese name and his gi is shaolin (Chinese) inspired. not only that but he published the manga under the Japanese magazine, the Weekly Shonen Jump. it eventually got so popular that it spread to the rest Asia and helped start a new trend in Asian hairstyles. in the mid 90's it reached American television. so basically Goku was made by a Japanese, inspired by a Chinese folk tale, published in a Japanese magazine, originally aimed towards Japanese and Asian readers.

with all that in mind, i never expected Hollywood to make an adaptation of Dragon Ball with an Asian (or even half Asian) as the lead role even though i thought it would be a great opportunity to catapult an Asian with the potential of becoming leading man material into stardom. i tried to keep realistic expectations so i didn't think they'd cast an Asian for Goku and i knew there were going to be a lot of changes, most of which would probably do more harm than good. so i was at LEAST hoping for whoever were to play Goku to look and act like him, regardless of race. however, my want for an Asian actor to play Goku comes from the fact that i have Asian ancestors, know the origins of Dragon Ball, and most of all.....i believe that if a film adaptation is to be done, that you should ALWAYS goto the source material for inspiration and guidance. in this case, that would be the original Dragon Ball cartoons and manga.

that brings me to the culture clash, where many Americans think that Goku is supposed to look like a white guy despite the Asian inspired settings. Goku is raised by someone who's basically Chinese, has a Japanese name, and Asian clothing but for some reason many Westerners think he's supposed to look white. sure it's stereotypical for an Asian person to have an Asian name, wear Asian clothes and have Asian mentors but it honestly wouldn't be stereotypical if it weren't so common and true. the more you take away from a culture, the more generic it feels and that makes having a white guy play Goku seem less legit in my eyes. a Caucasian ninja doesn't feel as authentic as an Asian ninja and i feel that a white actor as Goku doesn't feel as authentic to the Asian inspired surroundings and themes of Dragon Ball.


to wrap it all up...again, i never expected Hollywood to cast an Asian as Goku nor did i really have a problem with it. i honestly just wanted a capable actor, but i feel that Goku was always meant to look like an Asian based on the fact that he is a character with Asian features, ideals, and most importantly...origins.
Amen.

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Old 10-04-2008, 03:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

Oh no [2]...

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Old 10-04-2008, 03:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

Excellent post Dorky

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Old 10-04-2008, 03:53 AM   #12
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

thanks guys. i will say that despite my strong opinion that Goku should have been played by an Asian actor, i also understand that my life isn't the same as anyone else's and people have different points of views....and those views are always welcome as long as there's no disrespect.

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Old 10-04-2008, 04:21 AM   #13
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

I agree with everything Dorky said and my Asian ancestry (Chinese) also comes into play when seeing something like this done. (I am not full Asian) I would also be willing for another race to play Goku but overall I think he was just miscast.


It really makes me think of Prince of Persia and how they cast Jake Gyllenhal...sigh..

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Old 10-04-2008, 04:21 AM   #14
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

yeah...a mid '70's- early 80's jackie chan would have been perfect...i saw some of his older movies(when he was like in his 20's) and i actually noticed that his acting and attitude were perfect for a goku role...if nowadays they could find someone close to that, i would be thrilled....(ok, i know lots of people had sugggested that j.c. should play goku in this movie...but he's not that young anymore and he wouldn't fit to a naive character like that...but if he was 25 years younger,though....things would be so great and the movie- a masterpiece)

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Old 10-04-2008, 04:22 AM   #15
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Stephen Chow could have been a cool older Goku since he has a comedic and serious side but ya... I guess Leo DeCaprio might have time to be older Goku..

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Old 10-04-2008, 04:23 AM   #16
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yeah...a mid '70's- early 80's jackie chan would have been perfect...i saw some of his older movies(when he was like in his 20's) and i actually noticed that his acting and attitude were perfect for a goku role...if nowadays they could find someone close to that, i would be thrilled....(ok, i know lots of people had sugggested that j.c. should play goku in this movie...but he's not that young anymore and he wouldn't fit to a naive character like that...but if he was 25 years younger,though....things would be so great and the movie- a masterpiece)
Also yes, J.C. has that really wide smile and goofy attitude that can turn quickly into pure seriousness.

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Old 10-04-2008, 04:47 AM   #17
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

watch drunken master-it has everything-comedy, serious training and 2 fights with the same villain(first time j.c. gets to be humiliated...bet the second time he gets to be tryumphant)--that's so like db

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Old 10-04-2008, 11:58 AM   #18
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

Its Hollywood of course they are not gonna cast an asian actor in a starring role of a potential franchise. You only have to read interviews with Jackie Chan and Jet Li about their hollywood films to know how they view the western industry and how the western industry views them.

I understand why alot of Hong Kong and asian stars in general don't come over to Hollywood and its because they know they would never get the roles they enjoy in the asia in hollywood movies.

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Old 10-04-2008, 12:20 PM   #19
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

I'm black/white/native american and I definelty looked at the casting of Goku and was like who is this white boy. I showed it to my roomate who was from Jamacia he said the same thing as followed by my other friends of different races and ethnic backgrounds.

I can not stand when Hollywood does the whole whitewash thing exp. 21. I'm also sick of the whole American being trained by an Asian master for like 2 days then becoming even greater than the master. Dragonball was the perfect stepping stone for Asian actors but it didnt happen. I can believe an Asian flying shooting energy out of their hands over any other race.(joke)

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Old 10-04-2008, 12:29 PM   #20
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

In the Ben Ramsey script was their an explanation how Goku got his name? Or did Ben Ramsey anticipate the role of Goku going to an Asian actor?

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Old 10-04-2008, 03:41 PM   #21
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I'm black/white/native american and I definelty looked at the casting of Goku and was like who is this white boy. I showed it to my roomate who was from Jamacia he said the same thing as followed by my other friends of different races and ethnic backgrounds.

I can not stand when Hollywood does the whole whitewash thing exp. 21. I'm also sick of the whole American being trained by an Asian master for like 2 days then becoming even greater than the master. Dragonball was the perfect stepping stone for Asian actors but it didnt happen. I can believe an Asian flying shooting energy out of their hands over any other race.(joke)
Same. I understand why they do it, but doesn't mean I have to like it. All of my friends from different ethnic backgrounds have pretty much agreed that Goku just was miscast.

Hell I got over him being white, but Chadwin? I mean come on!(last part ment to be said like Gob)

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Old 10-04-2008, 04:43 PM   #22
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

i still dont understand where people got the idea that goku ISNT asian..he had black hair, dark eyes, wears asian clothes, eats a lot of rice and noodles, his son does well in school, his wife is a bad driver, how can goku not be asian? i don't get it.


and about super saiyans, i read in some interview that toriyama wanted to make the main characters look like bad guys. it's kind of like the same idea with batman...taking the evil image of a bat, and using it as a force of good, justice, and order. i dont think super saiyans are supposed to resemble any race...they have pale skin, glowing green eyes, and really crazy long spiky golden hair(it's gold, not blonde).

so to me, goku is asian. probably chinese(based on son wukong), or japanese(toriyama's background). and super saiyan is purely sci-fi.

i dont care that goku's being played by chatwin, but i think we're gonna be missing the fast noodle eating. do you guys remember jackie chan eating all that food in drunken master? that was SO goku. no white kid could eat like that with chop sticks. lol.

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Old 10-04-2008, 04:58 PM   #23
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

Goku isn't Asian, he's a Saiyan. It's not clear if he LOOKS Asian or if he's just drawn that way.

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Old 10-04-2008, 05:24 PM   #24
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Quote:
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i still dont understand where people got the idea that goku ISNT asian..he had black hair, dark eyes, wears asian clothes, eats a lot of rice and noodles, his son does well in school, his wife is a bad driver, how can goku not be asian? i don't get it.
Let's see... black hair, dark eyes... maybe Goku is latino, and his real name is Martínez!!

Seriously now. The fact is, as Dragon Ball develops and the characters end up in farther parts of the planet, we see that pretty much everyone is more or less the same: some of them eat rice, wear Asian clothes, read and/or use Asian writing, etc, etc. Does that mean that in Toriyama's universe, China and/or Japan cover the whole friggin' planet?


Come on. Goku is an alien and, though outwardly human except for maybe the tail (which, in itself, is far less strange than so many other anthropomorphic individuals in that world), there's just no particular reason why he should be interpreted by an Asian actor. Just about any actor remotely resembling Goku's basic looks could've done, whether Asian or not.

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Old 10-04-2008, 06:30 PM   #25
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Default Re: The 'race' issue...

"Goku isn't asian he's an alien, he can look like anything"... it's funny the length people will go to be able to imagine themselves as their favorite characters.

God forbid if Piccolo isn't the right shade of green though...funny how bias works..

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