The Tenkaichi Budokai
One of the most infuriating things about the Buu saga, at least for me, is how it treated the Tenkaichi Budokai. The three arcs focused on this tournament in the original Dragon Ball were my favorite in the entire series! When I heard they were bringing it back, I was super excited! But then they just brushed it off and immediately went off to fight Buu! Never in my life have I been so disappointed and angry at the same time!
So I’m gonna fix it!
After their reunion, Gohan, Goku, and the others make their way into the tournament grounds. They all sign up, get dressed, and head off to the preliminaries! Here’s where the big changes are going to start happening!
In the original, the participants were decided via these weird punching machines. That’s fucking stupid, so I’m gonna change it back to the classic preliminary matches. The pools are huge, as they’re deciding who is going to participate in a sixteen-man tourney. But we’re still going to go through it quickly.
Gohan, Goku, Vegeta, Krillin, Piccolo, 18, and Videl all make it through with relative ease. Along the way, however, they notice numerous strange and powerful people. The first one, which immediately sets Gohan and Videl on edge, is Spopovitch, marked with the familiar M on his forehead (there was another guy in the original, but I’m going to merge them into one character for the sake of expediency). Next are Shen and Kibito, who know more about Goku then any stranger should and give off an air of mystery. These two are noticeably afraid of the next entrant: Dabura, also marked with the strange M. Gohan, immediately realizing the mysterious demon’s power, thinks that he must be the man in charge. At Dabura’s side is a strange creature claiming to be his coach: Babidi. Mixed in there are four normal people who will be less important to the plot.
With that, we have our roster. After our sixteen participants are decided, we get into the matchups themselves. They go as follows.
- Krillin VS Normal Dude 1
- Piccolo VS Shen
- Videl VS Spopovitch
- Gohan VS Kibito
- Normal Dude 2 VS Vegeta
- Normal Dude 3 VS Dabura
- Normal Dude 4 VS Goku
- 18 VS Mr. Satan
This may seem slapped together at first glance. But I assure you, each and every placement here has a purpose in the story.
The first fight goes exactly as you’d expect. Krillin quickly wipes the floor with his opponent and moves on to the next round. Shen and Kibito seem relieved; meanwhile, Babidi, who is holding one of the jars from before, seems highly disappointed. Both Gohan and Videl take note of their behavior and trade notes, but they can’t quite crack the case.
The Piccolo VS Shen fight goes the same as it does in the show. Piccolo steps up to plate, but he quickly steps down when he figures out who Shen is. Again, Babidi’s disappointment is clearly visible.
Round three, Videl VS Spopovitch, also goes as it did in the original. The only real difference being that Babidi is the one to order the bruiser down. This makes one thing clear to Gohan: Dabura isn’t the one in charge.
Eager to avenge Videl, Gohan goes to fight Kibito, Shen’s right-hand man. Just like in the original, Kibito demands that Gohan unleash his full power. No longer caring for his secret identity, Gohan does so. Unlike the original, however, the fight isn’t cut short by Babidi’s goons. Instead, the wizard looks on with delight as the two trade blows.
Gohan is surprised by Kibito’s strength, finding himself struggling against his power. What he believed would be a one-sided beat down in his favor quickly turns into an intense struggle. In fact, it’s only when Shen orders Kibito down that the fight ends and Gohan is declared the victor.
Goku praises Gohan when he gets back, telling him that the fight was a very impressive warm-up. Gohan and Vegeta are both surprised by this. When they ask what he means, Goku simply looks at them in confusion. Thus, we’ve planted an important hint as to how powerful Goku has become.
Rounds five, six, and seven go by in a flash. Vegeta and Goku easily defeat their opponents while Dabura brutalizes his with no issue. Gohan notices Shen and Kibito watching intently, nodding approvingly at Goku and Vegeta’s displays while watching Dabura’s with a nervous tension.
The final round, 18 VS Mr. Satan, also goes exactly as it does in the original. Partially because it’s hilarious. Partially because it’s totally in line with both characters. But most importantly: because it pits Mr. Satan against Goku in the next round.
But that will have to wait for later.
At this point, the tournament organizers call for a break. In this time, Shen and Kibito pull our heroes aside. They tell them that they’ve been observing them closely and have decided that they can be trusted. They reveal their true identities and intent; Shen is the Supreme Kai, Babidi and his goons are out to revive Majin Buu, so on and so forth. You all know how it goes.
They implore them to help by leaving the tournament to prevent Babidi from gathering energy. However, all three of our Saiyan heroes are against it. Gohan wants payback, Vegeta wants to have at Goku, and Goku is excited by the prospect of fighting such powerful warriors; plus, he still wants to test Gohan. Luckily, Piccolo has a more level-headed plan: they could defeat Babidi and his goons right here. Given the sheer power of our heroes, the task should be fairly easy. While Supreme Kai is still nervous, he does agree to it. However, he does step down from his fight with Krillin to avoid helping Babidi in any way.
After the announcer makes this known, they move right along with the tournament. Up next: Spopovitch VS Gohan. After getting a senzu bean from Korrin/Yajirobe and giving it to Videl, Gohan steps up to fight. Even knowing that Videl is fine now, he’s still furious. Thus, when the match starts, Gohan goes absolutely berserk.
Spopovitch, even with his increased power, doesn’t stand a chance against Gohan. This excites the Supreme Kai, who believes that the fight will be over quickly. Unfortunately for him, Gohan is on a rampage. He refuses to let Spopovitch off easy. In Gohan’s mind, he needs to suffer even more than Videl did. He doesn’t care to hold back; if Spopovitch was basically immortal, then nothing Gohan would do would matter.
A thought process that brings much joy to Babidi, who is collecting a huge amount of energy on the sidelines.
Goku immediately sees what’s going on, remembering Gohan’s battle with Cell. He tries to calm Gohan down, but his efforts are in vain. The only way to stop him would be to interfere with the match, which would result in disqualification and defeat the entire purpose of him coming there. He looks on in frustration, unable to stop his furious son. Everyone starts to panic as Babidi and Dabura only become happier.
Then the healed Videl rushes out and brings Gohan back to his senses. Finally calm, he removes the injured Spopovitch from the ring. The announcer declares Gohan the winner and allows him to continue in the tournament, but only after Gohan makes it clear that he’s come back to his senses. Then, frustrated by his own loss of control, he and Videl make their way out of the ring together.
Remember how their relationship amounted to nothing in the original story? With this scene, I’ve managed to fix it! Not only did it have much more buildup, but it now has an actual payoff! But don’t you worry! They’ll get more drama together later! I’m not done with this thread yet!
Up next, Vegeta VS Dabura. Vegeta immediately powers up to get the match over with, determined to quickly defeat Dabura and earn his match with Kakarot. By doing so, he shows that he’s gone far beyond Gohan in power. Even still, Dabura manages to keep up with him for some time in the match.
However, Dabura notices something during their match. For a good chunk of their fight, Vegeta is barely paying any attention to his opponent. Rather, his gaze is fixed on Goku. That’s when Dabura discovers something even more important: there is a tremendous amount of evil within Vegeta’s heart. With this revelation, he makes a dramatic decision that shocks our heroes and villains alike: he stands down.
Immediately after doing so, Dabura makes his way to Babidi and presents his idea. You all know what I’m talking about. So, excited by new possibilities, Babidi and Dabura ambush Vegeta behind the stage.
With explosive effect, Vegeta falls under Babidi’s spell, becoming Majin Vegeta. Having lost all sense of restraint, he steps onto the stage and demands that Goku fight him. Upon displaying his massive power, Mr. Satan scrambles away. Luckily, everyone in the stands is distracted by the display, giving him a free pass.
This scene plays out just like it did in the original. Vegeta attacks the people in the stands, Goku agrees to fight him, they leave to duke it out, so on and so forth. In our version, however, there are a few cosmetic changes. Gohan and the others rush Babidi down to try and stop Buu’s resurrection, to which Dabura responds by turning Krillin, Piccolo, and Kibito into stone. Meanwhile, Babidi stays near the fighting Goku and Vegeta to harvest their energy, keeping at a safe distance.
Thus, the Tenkaichi Budokai comes to an early end. Gohan and Supreme Kai team up to fight Dabura while Goku fights Majin Vegeta. From here, it goes just like it did in the original (although I’d throw in some hints at Super Saiyan 3 during the fight). In the end, despite their best efforts, Babidi manages to gather enough energy to complete his task. Majin Buu is reborn.
Which is where we’ll pick up next week for part three!