I like to complain because it’s fun. There’s nothing quite like whipping myself into a righteous fury and listing all the reasons why something is terrible. I did that a few weeks ago, when I went on a voice rant in my friends and I’s group chat about how Bardock has been changed for the worse by the previous arc of Dragon Ball Super. My friends enjoyed the rant so much that, despite not being nearly as into Dragon Ball as I am, they encouraged me to post the rant as a kind of mini-podcast.
I’ve certainly complained about Dragon Ball Super on this blog before, but alot has changed for me in the years since the anime stopped airing. I still enjoy wailing on things I don’t like with my friends, but I don’t want to do it publicly anymore. I’ve realized that it’s much, much easier to criticize other people’s creative efforts than it is to create something myself (without getting into the whole “isn’t criticism creative” argument- I mean creating stories). I don’t want to tear down the work of other writers and artists. I don’t have to like it, but I also don’t have to trash it.
So I decided against posting the rant. A few weeks later another friend came to me with the idea of doing a regular podcast, but again I demurred. I was afraid that when the tape started rolling, I would default to my usual hyper-criticalness and start doing exactly what I don’t want to. I brought the issue to my brother with a question: how do I maintain positivity when discussing media?
“That’s easy,” he said. “You just have to stop engaging with media that you hate.”
That answer hit me like a ton of bricks. While it may be too strong to say I hate Dragon Ball Super, I certainly don’t enjoy it. I admit there’s a small part of me that hate watches it, but mostly my feelings are divided between unwavering loyalty to the Dragon Ball franchise (which, no joke, is foundational to my personality) and the continued hope that the newest iteration will eventually turn the corner and become as good as the anime I fell in love with 30 years ago.
But the reality is that I’m not enjoying this latest version, and that’s okay. It’s also okay to give up. Other people enjoy it, so there’s no reason for me to continue trashing it. What am I doing, trying to convince them not to like it? What good would that do? And as my brother helped me realize, I’m being negative because I keep forcing myself to talk about something I don’t like. I know that’s obvious, but I really didn’t understand how deep I was in a misery spiral.
Dragon Ball will always have a special place in my heart as one of the most important pieces of media in my life- the old Dragon Ball, that is. Now, it’s time to move on from Dragon Ball Super. It’s not for me, and as much as I want to like it, I don’t. I’ve picked up reading One Piece again, because I’ve literally never heard anyone say something negative about it (except that it’s long, but for the people who enjoy it that’s hardly a complaint). It’s going to be a new experience to be engaged with a franchise that I can look forward to saying good things about.