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Frieza, the greatest character in the Dragon Ball universe, or the summit of the artistic talent of Akira Toriyama
on July 13, 2012
Dragon Ball has become a manga bestseller and a champion with audiences around the world. The executives at Toei Animation, which financed the TV show, motivated by this, kind of forced the author, Akira Toriyama, to continue producing new sagas, new characters and new storylines. Thus, Dragon Ball franchise has a very uneven quality: there are some brilliant moments in the series, and there are moments that are real disasters.
But if there is a time in the series when it reached an really high artistic level it was in the Frieza saga. Frieza is by far the greatest villain of the entire universe of Dragon Ball, and is the culmination of the creative talent of Toriyama. Frieza is a psychologically complex villain, and the construction of his character is extremely rich. We are facing a character of great aesthetic value; Frieza may well be among the great characters of universal literature and cinema. I doubt there is any fan of Dragon ball that has not Frieza among his favorite characters.
Unlike many Japanese series, Dragon Ball usually spends chapters and more chapters dealing with only one villain; the fights are extremely lengthy and detailed, and the series progresses slowly. This feature allows a great detailing of the characters: villains, for example, do not arise in a chapter only to be soon defeated and killed. Their story will spread slowly: there will be a overture and growth of action, a climax, and finally an epilogue.
With plenty of time, Toryama is free to build the psyche of Frieza. Something tells me that Frieza was also his favorite villain, after all is struggling with this universal gangster that Goku transforms for the first time into a super saiyan. I believe that in Frieza Toryama spilled the details that he thought to be the more epic in evil minds: the most characteristic marks of a true villain. His success was immense: Frieza is far superior to all the other villains of Dragon Ball in the matter of realism, in its ability to attract the viewer. But what makes him so captivating?
It's hard to tell. But there are some details: 1) Frieza is not an animalistic and brute villain, some kind of coarse beast; in the contrary, he is extremely elegant and refined, a true gentleman; 2) Frieza is a kind of gangster, a Don Corleone from space , the head of a huge criminal organization, whom everyone fears and respect; 3) Frieza has interesting habits, characteristic of a true lord: he sits quietly in a floating chair, and, without making any effort, orders his men to fulfill his ordes; sometimes we can even contemplate him calmly drinking a chalice of wine; 4) Frieza is a feared dictator in the universe, and, as some kind of Hitler, has the mind infested with racist views: he is always making fun of other races, especially the saiyans, treating them as inferior (this mentality, similar to the historical villains of the twentieth century, makes Frieza become even more complex in the eyes of the spectators); 5) Frieza is a genocidal: he destroys an entire planet with great pleasure, laughing hysterically while millions of men, women and children are incinerated by a gigantic supernova explosion; 6) Frieza has a polite, respectful and gentlemanly way of speaking (this becomes somewhat ironic when we realize that behind this gentle mask there is an extremely evil and cold being, which seems to amuse himself by showing a false aura of kindness to its victims); 7) Frieza tortures his victims: he rips of arms (the namek warrior Neo), pierce flesh with his horns (Krillin), beats and punches torsos till the internal organs almost dissolve (Vegeta), and all with a gentle and ironic smile on his lips; 8) Frieza is arrogant and proud, and thinks himself to be the greatest wonder of the universe; if he was weak, this would be pathetic, but as he is actually the strongest creature in the cosmos (even King Kai is terrified by him), his arrogance seems to match him: he is like a biblical god who punishes those who do not know how to honor and fear him as he desires.
In addition to the features above, the appearance of Frieza (especially in his first and last forms) is something wonderfully confusing. He appears to be an androgynous creature: a mixture of masculine and feminine characteristics. His features are soft, with shades of purple and pink, his lips seem to be painted with black lipstick. He is like a silver lizard, with a body modeled of snow or metal. His appearance does not create fear: it seems to invoke the image of some of the angels at once beautiful and terrible of the Old Testament (creatures of light, but also ministers of god's wrath and of his terrors). This ambiguity between the frail and feminine appearance of Frieza and his monstrous and extremely wild and violent ego never fails to confuse one who sees the show for the first time.
Another wonder in Frieza are the scenes in which he, always so calm and serene, always so sure of himself, always in control of his emotions, explodes in rage and ferocity. One of such moments, where Frieza is about to kill Goku, but is hit (when distracted) by the blows of Krillin and Gohan (the existence of which he had even forgotten) is priceless. He looks at them from far away, with their hands still fuming after launching their attacks, and, with an indescribable facial expression (smiling in a manner at once full of irony and hate), pressing his hands with such force that makes them bleed, with dilated veins in his forehead and pulsing eyes, burns and flames himself from the cool and controlled calmness to the bestial rage, screaming threats and promising to blow up the entire planet (this is the moment when he is going to be hit by the Genki Dama).
Frieza is the culmination of Dragon Ball, and it is natural that it is in this battle that Goku transforms for the first time into a Super Saiyan (after witnessing the extremely cruel death of Krilin, who explodes from the inside out, screaming the name of Goku in pain and despair). After this battle, the series focuses mainly on the saiyans (in its various and endless transformations), and loses much of its quality. Never another character from Dragon Ball will be as fascinating as Frieza.
a) DO NOT SEE THE SERIES IN ENGLISH - THE VOICE OF FRIEZA IN ENGLISH IS A CRIME AGAINST THE CHARACTER; THE JAPANESE VERSION IS INFINITELY BETTER.
b) Please, forgive me for my bad english. I am brazilian, and my native language is portuguese.