Monday, 24 October 2011

Top 10 Reformed Villains - #1

Okay, this took a little longer than I thought to complete, thanks to an absolutely insane schedule last week. However, I'm back now and ready to reveal the #1 Reformed Villain!

1. Vegeta - Probably my favourite ongoing storyline thoughout Dragon Ball Z and GT is that of Vegeta.  When we first meet him, he is evil incarnate; he kills his own partner, Nappa, because he disobeyed an order.  Later, on Planet Namek, Vegeta is forced to work together with the heroes to stop a greater evil, but he makes it very clear he is still serving his own agenda.  Vegeta is humbled by Frieza, and finds himself on Earth with the rest of the survivors from Planet Namek. 

Due to his actions on the doomed planet, some of the cast, most notably Bulma, seem willing to give Vegeta the benefit of the doubt and try to accept him.  Vegeta wants none of their companionship but only to train to surpass Goku.  He helps the Z Fighters against the android menace and Cell, not because he wants to save the earth, but because he wants to prove he's the biggest badass around.  However, it is at this point that Vegeta has had a son with Bulma, even if he doesn't really acknowledge his existence.

Vegeta has begun to mellow, but he still cannot accept that Goku is a stronger fighter than he is.  As such, he actually allows himself to be enslaved by the wizard Babidi so he can return to his evil roots, feeling he has gone soft, and to gain the power to best Goku.  But even under the influence of Babidi Vegeta is no longer the evil villain he once was, as he sacrifices himself to try and save the planet.

All throughout the series, with the exception of his initial appearance, Vegeta has lagged behind Goku in power but has been close enough to keep it close.  By the end of the series though, Vegeta accepts that Goku is the more powerful, and the two work together to defeat Buu.  It really was fun to watch these two finally, truly work together, instead of their old "Stand aside, I want to fight him!" approach to "teamwork".

In Dragon Ball GT, Goku has made the gap even wider between them, and it is so great that Vegeta regains his fire to stay even or surpass Goku, and in the end he does seem to finally match him again.  One thing that comics have gotten right is making sure that even the top dog hero has peers who are able to challenge him (Thor has Hulk and the Silver Surfer, Superman has Martian Manhunter and Captain Marvel), and the world of Dragon Ball sometimes forgets that and leaves Goku clearly at the top of the mountain unchallenged.  Seeing Vegeta regain his share of that summit was great to see.

The best villain reformations are ones that are done gradually over time, and Vegeta's was a slow burn that evolved organically that lead to a satisfying conclusion.  The story of Vegeta is, I think, the best part of Dragon Ball Z and GT.  Sorry Goku!

That's it, that's the list!  There are some omissions that may seem criminal (you have Harmony and not Spike or Angel?!!), but later this week I'll lay out why I disqualified certain characters from making the list.  That being said, are there characters you think I missed?

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