Hello everyone, Justin here and welcome to the Otaku Mind. Sometime ago I posted a blog naming my top 11 saddest anime deaths and the first one I mention was Vegeta’s first death in DBZ. Well some of you were a little upset that I didn’t put down his second death in the series and wanted to know if I had something against his second death. My answer is I have nothing against his second death. If anything I think it’s one of the greatest anime deaths of all time but just because something is great doesn’t automatically make it the saddest as well. So then why did I pick Vegeta’s first death over his second death? Well allow me to explain.
To understand these two deaths, we first need to understand the man that is Vegeta. Vegeta is arguably the best character in DBZ. He has the most character, development, and story than anybody in the series. At a young age Vegeta was seen as prodigy, he was praised by everyone around him and at a young age he had his whole life planned out and everything. He was gonna rule the galaxy side by side with his father as the two strongest beings the universe has ever known. But life rarely goes as we plan and Vegata’s life was no exception. His planet gets invaded by Freiza where his dad gets killed and in order to protect his home planet he has no choice but to swear loyalty to Freiza only for Freiza to go back on his word and destroy Vegeta (as in the planet. Although he did kill Vegeta as well. And by Vegeta I mean Vegeta’s father who was also named Vegeta but Vegeta also gets killed by Freiza later on- oh forget it, I’m starting to confuse myself) wiping out the Saiyan race with only a handful of Saiyans surviving. Wanting revenge for his race, Vegeta stays low slowly getting stronger for the day when he believes he’s strong enough to defeat Freiza and take his revenge. The day finally comes on Namek where Vegeta takes on Freiza believing he’s descendent to the level that is the legendary super Saiyan only to lose and get killed off. Of course death doesn’t last long in DBZ and Vegeta gets wished back to life and has to watch from the sidelines as Goku his rival and the man who defeated him beats Freiza and becomes a super Saiyan in the process.
With Freiza dead and no longer having any purpose in his life, Vegeta resigns himself to living on Earth and finds himself following the same path as Goku. He marries Bulma and has a half-Saiyan baby. Not only that but he constantly finds himself coming to the aid of Goku and his allies and even teaming up with them to fight off those that threaten the Earth. From an outsider’s perspective this was the best thing for Vegeta. He went from being an enemy to a powerful ally who has a life that some would actually be jealous of (no offence but I’ll take Bulma over Chichi any day of the week) but for Vegeta it’s the worst thing imaginable. This life was not the life that Vegeta wanted and not the life he saw himself having. He’s not the feared Prince of Saiyans we once saw on Namek, he’s just a man who spends his time pointlessly training and has to live with the fact that Goku is stronger than him. No longer able to stand it, he allows himself to become the underling of an evil space wizard for power and kills a crowd of people to force Goku into one final fight where he wins but in the process awakens Majin Buu the most dangerous creature the universe has ever known. Coming back to his senses and realizing what he’s done, Vegeta goes to make amends for his actions by giving his life to destroy Majin Buu where before facing the creature he hugs his son Trunks for the first time, knocks him out, and asks Piccolo to get him to safety. Vegeta than goes to face Majin Buu where he sacrifices his life an in effort to destroy Majin Buu only for it to fail and Majin Buu begins wreaking havoc on Earth until he and Goku return to defeat Majin Buu and Vegeta is finally able to let go of his grudge and accept Goku as both a rival and friend.
So, what makes Vegeta’s second death so great? Well for starters it’s the end of Vegeta’s journey. This is where Vegeta’s story has come full circle. For the longest time he was fighting against his new life on Earth, refusing to accept that the man he wanted to be is impossible at this point, and living in the past while constantly comparing himself to everyone around him and feeling inferior to some of them. Here, Vegeta is at peace with himself and has accepted his life finding purpose in it and dying happy. Vegeta’s second death shows us that despite life not going as well as we had planned or going in the opposite direction of what we wanted, we can still find a sense of purpose in that new plan or direction that makes us happy. That’s some pretty heavy shit to put in a show aimed towards kids and young adults but at the same time it’s a good lesson to learn. It’s like my grandpa used to say, if you keep looking towards the past and retracing old footsteps you’ll miss what’s in front of you and never make new footsteps. I’m currently not in a position I thought I would be in. I’ve been out of college for some time now and working a job that I don’t hate but I feel is beneath me. Yet despite this setback I’m at peace with my life because I know that I’m gonna find me a job that’s right for me and I have a lot to be proud of as of right now. I bought a new TV, a second car for work, a new bed set, new furniture for my man cave, paid off all my student loans all by myself, bought a Switch and PS4 with my own money, and I run a successful anime blogging site which gets over 200 or more visitors a week from around the world. I may not have gone down the road I had planned but I keep finding a new sense of purpose down this new road.
Alright, so the second death is great and inspirational so why didn’t I put it on the list? Well like I said before just because something is great doesn’t mean it’s also the saddest. Vegeta’s first death is still the saddest in my opinion for two reasons. First off, Vegeta’s story wasn’t complete yet. If anything this was the start of Vegeta’s story as we were finally seeing what was driving Vegeta to keep going despite losing everyone and everything he cared about to some degree. We were finally starting to see past his Prince of Saiyans persona and see the man simply known as Vegeta, a man who is proud of his heritage, wears it like a badge of honor, and will do anything to avenge his fallen race. Second, this is where we see Vegeta at his lowest point in the series. It is at this point that Vegeta is at his lowest point throughout the whole series. He’s been defeated by the one man who took everything away from him. Despite all his years of planning and training he’s still no match for Freiza and gets killed by him. In a way it’s like studying hard for a test or exam you’re required to pass in order to pass the course only to fail in the end and have to take the course all over again. To make his situation worst he’s forced to swallow his pride and beg Goku, his rival, to succeed where he failed and not only does Goku succeed but he becomes a super Saiyan, the thing that Vegeta was trying to become but never could. Vegeta is forced to make the realization that Goku, a Saiyan born from common blood is not only stronger than him but has more potential than him, a Saiyan who was born of royal blood, an heir to the throne, and seen as a child prodigy. For me, that’s what makes Vegeta’s first death so much sadder. Everything that could possibly go wrong for him goes wrong for him in this situation. It’s sad and frustrating to be hit with all these failures one after another and force yourself to get back up.
So, in the end I think the second death is greater than the first death but the first death in my opinion will always be seen as the saddest for the reasons I listed above. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.
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