The third time Furious saw Lemon Crush, he was at the front of the hospital, talking to El Crow and Pedolo about the lack of character development for Goku in the Dragon Ball Z series. He had brought this point up with his own clients on numerous occasions to emphasize the importance of having supportive, loving relationships toward not just minimizing the symptoms of mental health and substance use disorders, but toward increasing feelings of well-being and happiness in general. Most of his clients had never actually seen a signle episode of Dragon Ball Z or its affiliate series, and therefore had not a speck of dust of a clue of which he spoke. But the gist of his point was thus:
That Goku, the protagonist of the series, was basically of the same personality and character during the nearly 30 years and more than 600 episodes of the series which consisted of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super (And, perhaps, maybe, Dragon Ball GT, but who knows?). He is still the good-natured, loyal, but oblivious, naive, self-centered dolt he’s always been. On the other hand, the character of Vegeta, the one-time antagonist of the series, but current secondary protagonist, has gone from being a violent, genocidal psychopathic villain to a genuine family man and defender of life. Furious attributed Vegeta’s evolution to his, Vegeta’s, relationships with his wife Bulma and children, Trunks and Bulla, all of which are supportive and loving relationships with people whom, perhaps most importantly, wholly accept Vegeta for who he is–which is a surly, defensive, insecure, egotistical little man. Paradoxically, however, by accepting such traits, they have slowly worn the edges of those traits, while cultivating the loyalty, friendliness, pride and protectiveness that were also inherent in Vegeta’s character. In short, the character has changed and grown through the dynamics of his relationships. Goku, conversely, is married to Chi Chi who, while not a bad person by any means, does not accept Goku as he is and who is always trying to forcefully change his character traits. In response, Goku, as any person would, resists the push to change, and thus stagnates as a character and a person.
Such dynamics are as true for Japanese cartoon characters as they are for human beings, as anyone who has ever tried to change someone can attest to.
Furious was explaining this theory to El Crow and Pedolo as Lemon just happened to walk by.
“What are you guys talking about?” Lemon asked with a chuckle and friendly, curious tone (as opposed to an intrusive, nosey one).
Holy shit, Furious thought. He was too engaged in the topic of conversation and had missed the shudders of his Lemon Crush sixth sens trying to alert him of her presence. Instead, she had seemingly materialized from the depths of the ether. He was shell-shocked, as if he had bitten down unexpectedly on a fork.
He stared at her dumbly, uncertain of how to direct either his thoughts or his tongue.
El Crow looked at her dumbly and with sheer incredulity. How dare she intrude so rudely on this intimate discussion?
Pedolo looked at her dumbly, because that’s pretty much the only look he has.
“Okkk…” she said, rasiing her eyebrows and pursing her lips.
“Hub..a..da,” Furious managed to mumble. Stupid fucking word virus. The only consistent antidote is the presence of someone you find painfully attractive. “Dragon Ball Z”
“Isn’t that a cartoon?” Lemon asked.
“Anime,” El Crow corrected her.
“Anime. That’s Chinese right?”
“Japanese.” Pedolo’s head wound corrected her.
“You got all of that from watching a Japanese cartoon?” She asked. “That’s so interesting.”
“Hub…a..da,” Furious replied. The word virus now nearing full remission.
“You wouldn’t understand,” El Crow said, dismissively.
“Well, maybe I would. I’ll check it out and let you guys know what I think,” she said. “Besides, sounds like something my son might enjoy. Thanks.”
With that, she ambled away, walking in that jolly, swaying way that annoyingly content human beings have a tendency to do.
After several beats, El Crow and Pedolo returned their attention to Manny Furious. With Lemon now removed from his presence, the word virus began to reboot itself in his CNS, but that took a lot of his body’s attention, and he stayed frozen, watching Lemon get smaller down the hallway, before turning down another hallway and disappearing completely.
“What the hell are you doing?” Pedolo’s headwound asked.
Furious didn’t respond.
“Yeah, what the fuck is your problem?” El Crow said.
Furious’s attention returned to the present moment.
“What?” he asked.
“Why are you leaning like that?” Pedolo asked.
Furious looked down at himself, and noticed he was still leaning heavily toward the direction where Lemon left to. He looked like a bent straw, and his lower back began to seize.
“Oh, huh. I don’t–”
He straightened up, wiped something imaginary from the front of his shirt. And the three went back to talking about despite his lack of character development, Goku’s biggest asset is his good-heartedness, which is so pure and unadulterated, it has allowed him, throughout the series to change other characters, generally villains who he has fought against, into friends who fight with him.