So I’ve loved DBZ for ages and I developed a fair amount of headcanons about saiyans with Saiyan Kids Broly Songoku Vegeta Mature Water Reflection Shirt, their culture, and Frieza’s influence on them. All of these snowballed from one specific idea I had about saiyans and then got out of control. I’ve never had a good opportunity to share my thoughts and hear what others think. So please share your thoughts back if you have the patience to sit through this wall of text. The assumption I made about Saiyans that started my whole thought process was simple. There are more men born than women. This made sense to me because whenever you see groups of Saiyans there was always just one or two women among the men. Since Saiyans value strength and everyone is a warrior I doubt that women were kept in the back so to speak. I remember one of the oldest flashbacks they show when Saiyans were still primitive had a woman front and center surrounded by men.
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So going off this it would make sense that less children are born as a result. This also seemed likely because the Saiyan planet was smaller than average. So they’d never be able to sustain the population of Earth for example. Now Frieza enters the picture. He introduces technology to Saiyans and in return they fight in his army. Through this technology babies begin to be born primarily through incubation pods. I recall thinking this while watching the Bardock movie. It seemed that Goku was in a pod before he was ‘born.’ I’d rewatch the movie if my copy wasn’t so old it’s on vhs but regardless let’s assume this is the case.
So more Saiyan babies can be born but it removes an essential biological component to birth. Saiyans no longer are as attached to their offspring as the used to be pre-tech. If babies were low in number it would make sense that Saiyans would find them valuable and be protective of them. Except by the time the planet is destroyed they are shooting their babies into space to random planets without care. Part of what makes Saiyans do this is the class system. A system I would say is manufactured by Frieza. After all classism is a very effective way to control a population. It makes little sense to me that this idea of being born powerful would have occurred naturally. It’s a well known fact among Saiyans that they get stronger by fighting. So why would they judge the ultimate potential of a Saiyan based on power levels at birth?
So with more children being born and being born removed from any parental influence Saiyans essentially lost their natural biological urge to care for their offspring. So a system of classing Saiyans on power levels alone develops and further scatters the population. However this had an unintended side effective for Frieza. Since babies are being born at an unnatural rate and Frieza obviously underestimates the hardiness of Saiyans there is a population boom. So Frieza’s ultimate decision of blowing up the planet came from thinking Saiyans were too strong. But it was less about individual strength of a select few and more a fear of their strength in numbers. As the population grew and the constant fighting made them strong it would eventually occur to Frieza that Saiyans would outgrow him so to speak. Then as we know he blows up the planet.
I really wish Future Bulma and Vegeta could have met at least once. The only Vegeta she ever knew was angry and arrogant and disinterested in everything other than getting stronger. He didn’t care about Bulma or Trunks at all. So when Trunks told her about how the Vegeta in the present timeline went wild after seeing him die, Bulma was shocked. That was totally out of character for the man she knew. And I just wonder how she would react to how Vegeta is now: a man who puts his family before training, who knows how to change diapers (he totally read some parenting books), who genuinely loves his wife and kids. Who trains not just for the sake of getting stronger or surpassing Goku, but also for protecting his family and the life he built on earth. Future Bulma deserves to know that Vegeta. She deserves the closure.
I see a lot of people say it’s a Saiyan trait, and to a degree it is, but what I find the most interesting is how Goku’s love for it differs from the others of his species, as it’s actually a rather amusing and interesting spin on the true philosophy behind martial arts, in that the Saiyans abuse it to dominate, seize power and go after those weaker than themselves. Goku uses it as a tool of personal improvement and defense, a means to know himself better.
The Saiyan love of battle really isn’t a love for Battle itself, but rather a chance to show off their power, to crush those beneath them and revel in their supremacy. They want to kill, crush, destroy those weaker than themselves to prove their dominance. They have no use for beings who can’t fight or are weak, hence why any Saiyan born as such is either relegated to lowly positions in life and/or forced to EARN the ability to come home by subjugating a weak race. It’s why Vegeta killed Nappa too; Goku snapped his back. Nappa was basically crippled. Vegeta no longer saw value in him, neither as a partner nor even as a being, a Saiyan. It’s also why Vegeta, upon hearing the weakling Raditz was killed, didn’t really care. Raditz was always the weakest, had the least value, and then proved as much when he was killed on a planet full of weaklings. Why waste time or tears on him, right?
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Now the thing about Goku is that he has a love for battle, but it’s for the exact opposite reasons. Goku wants to learn. He wants to become the ultimate warrior, to push himself to be the absolute best he can ever possibly be. Learn new techniques, new ways to train, new philosophies. He’s a learning sponge, soaking all this in, and he loves and lives to be able to test himself and what he’s learned, as well as see how much further he can go. He learns from every fight, even those where his life is on the line, and lacks the desire to crush his opponent, or simply cast them aside when done. He values each of them as a fighter and genuinely wants to see what they can do.
The best contrast for this can probably be seen in Goku and Vegeta’s respective actions both in their fight with each other and their fights on Namek. On Namek, Goku keeps giving the Ginyu Force ample opportunity to walk away and leave. He knows he’s stronger than they are. He knows there’s no real value in fighting them right now. His son and friends are more important than this, and there’s no point in just needlessly crushing these guys right now. Vegeta, however, really only actively seeks them for battle when he realizes he can win when he faces one of them who’s weaker than himself. The same Ginyu he fled from facing before is the one he’s now dying to take a crack at once he realizes that Giyu can’t fight effectively in Goku’s body. Whereas he trembled at the thought of facing the Ginyu Force before, he revels in Jeice’s fear as he closes in on him, knowing he can’t lose. But an even greater contrast is in seeing them face opponents far stronger than themselves.
When Vegeta sees Goku able to hurt him, someone who’s supposed to be so low-class as to have almost no worth actually drawing blood from him, it sends him into a psychotic rage. He cannot, will not, have his worldview and philosophy questioned. He will NOT allow even the IDEA that he’s not the greatest warrior who has ever lived. And later, when facing Freeza, when realizing that Freeza is so much stronger than he ever imagined after all, realizing that he’d been right to hide from him and avoid this battle, realizing even that even if he’d gotten his immortality, he’s still in no position to so much as even SCRATCH this monster… Vegeta freezes in fear and shock. He loses his drive and will to fight, eventually simply surrendering himself to the loss and allowing Freeza to mercilessly pummel him without so much as an attempt to fight back. Vegeta’s finally found himself on the other ends of that scale, and for a time simply accepts that fate he feels comes with it.
Goku, however, in both cases… is excited by this. He loves it. He WANTS to face opponents stronger than himself, he LOVES seeing people who can so thoroughly outclass him, so much so that even under the very real threat of impending doom, that excitement wells up in him. This means that he can potentially reach this height one day, after all. This level of strength exists, you can buy more Saiyan Kids Broly Songoku Vegeta Mature Water Reflection Shirt at Moteefe. It’s possible to get there, there’s a reason for him to keep pushing and not become complacent now! And while yes, he has to win no matter what, it does sadden him on some level to see this level of skill and strength have to be killed, wasted. Hence his wish Buu could one day return as a good guy so that they could have a rematch someday without the whole “risking the entire universe” deal. It’s a potential stepping stone to pushing himself to be even better, to know himself and his capabilities more thoroughly. It’s where his purity of heart stems from.