Schediaphilia – or – “How Deep Is Your Love?”

Now, in this post I’m really going to start showing off my nerd guns because, well, not only am I a huge nerd so of course that fits my personality, but also because I feel compelled to.

I’m a huge anime fan.  Now, when I say huge I don’t mean: oh – I occasionally watch some Japanese anime and I do like the style of the animation and some of the characters appeal to me.  No, what I mean is that I generally enjoy a goodly amount of it, I watch it on a fairly regular basis (it’s usually on my t.v. as I fall asleep at night), and I am at least familiar with more than twenty anime series even if I happen not to be a fan of every single one.

That being said, let’s take a look at this guy:

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That’s Vegeta, and he’s a bad-ass m effer who would probably rip your face off if you irritated him enough.  Now, when most people look at that picture they may think: “So?”  Perhaps rightly, but let’s break down the basics shall we?

Dragon Ball, a manga written and illustrated by celebrated Japanese mangaka (comic book author) Akira Toriyama, is one of the most celebrated and popular manga of all time, both in Japan and the United States (as well as several other countries in Europe, South America and Asia, where it has had significant exposure).  Dragon Ball was split into two series for the anime (or animated series) called Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z.  The bad ass above you first appeared in an early story arc of Dragon Ball Z.  Without getting too much into the general plot of the manga/anime, let’s suffice it to say this:

Vegeta (or Vejiita, which is closer to the actual romanization of his name, though not completely accurate) is the lost prince of an alien race of space warriors called Saiyans (Saiya-jin in the Japanese), who originally took over a planet full of peaceful people to reign over them, and then subsequently began working for a powerful, galactic overlord to purge planets and sell them to the highest bidder as members of the Planet Trade Organization.  Sci-fi at its potential best, right?  Well, maybe…  If you’re a fan fiction writer like me and tend to expand on this portion of Vegeta’s (previously displayed BAMF) past, or alternate universe expansions of the story line.  But let’s take a break from that.

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According to Urban Dictionary, the term “schediaphilia” refers to the sexual attraction or love of a cartoon or animated character.  Now, in this definition we see the words “exclusive sexual attraction”, which I would like to tone down a bit by saying I know several people with this supposed attraction who still feel normal attraction to REAL human beings.  I include myself in this group of people.  There are women I know who are completely in love with the idea of Vegeta (again, the BAMF you see above), who are married or have long-term boyfriends and lead normal lives.  Again, including me.

My fan fiction is linked in this blog, and if you or anyone you know suffers from schediaphilia relating to Prince Vegeta and his smirky psychosis, feel free to go read to your heart’s content.  There are also links to several amazing other fan fictions involving his character on my page there.

So now that we know what a schediaphile is, let’s talk more about Vegeta.  Yep, this guy:

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As I said, without going into too much detail about the plot line or Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z, I think a lot about his character in a literary sense that I’m sure Akira Toriyama never intended.  He might even be a bit disturbed by how deeply I discuss Vegeta’s character with some of my other DBZ fan friends.  Toriyama-sensei has admitted on several interview occasions that he “hated” Vegeta’s character, which astounds me.

Vegeta’s personal struggle in Dragonball Z was always (and still remains) of great interest to me.  Fans and critics alike tend to devalue the progression of his character from psychotic, megalomaniac villain in the beginning of the show, to self-sacrificing and somewhat self-effacing (though never truly, hah!) hero at the end of the show.  Of course, critics of the show tend to devalue DB in general as a meaningless and “boring” action cartoon, but that’s a whole other rant.

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Anyway, for Vegeta, he attains a dynamic that isn’t seen in most of the characters in the entire Dragon Ball universe, with the exception of maybe Piccolo.  Goku is the same character from the beginning to the end, and in fact – the dude leaves his family more than he’s with them just so he can get stronger and protect the Earth, and we are meant to believe that he is a caring and ‘softhearted’ Saiyan Warrior, who forgot his mission to destroy Earth.  Maybe, but he sure didn’t forget his reason for existing in the first place, which was of course to be an ultimate fighting machine.

Toriyama drew and wrote in Vegeta’s character so well that, by the middle of the Majin/World Tournament Arc I’m left with a deep feeling of sadness and empathy for Vegeta as I’d never felt, even during the Cell Saga (since he was such a colossal prick in that saga).  But one can see WHY he was, one can even speculate on it, and THAT’S why all of my fan fiction centers on his character.  What happened to him between the ages of 5 and 30ish (when he first came to Earth)?  For 25 years Vegeta was subjected to a life of subjugation by someone he hated with all his being (Frieza).  During the entire Namek Story Arc we see this obsession Vegeta has with obtaining the Dragon Balls and eternal life so that he can DESTROY Frieza, the little overlord I mentioned earlier who stole Vegeta’s throne from him and exterminated the rest of the Saiyan species.  In fact, if one were to watch the entire Namek Arc, and then the short but intense battle sequence between Vegeta and Frieza, followed by the former’s subsequent ass-beating and death, one can see the internal struggle his character has just by looking at the poor guy moments before his demise.  Witness:

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See that?  Those are tears of friggin anger, betrayal and outright sorrow that he could not attain his self-proclaimed right to destroy his tormentor.

The possibilities are endless and I love, absolutely adore, his character and his development.  The guy starts the show, and enters the manga, with a vicious obsession to obtain eternal life, and a personality disorder that may even be hard to diagnose using the DSM.  By the end, he’s got two children by an Earthling named Bulma (who is another fabulous female character who doesn’t get enough attention) and has been risen from the dead, given another chance at life because he didn’t have an “evil soul”.  Now, I’ve been writing fan fiction on and off for nearly 13 years, and if you count the fan fiction I wrote in high school with my friends involving Gavin Rossdale, then I suppose you could say I’ve been writing it for about 17 years. :face palm:  Don’t tell him that.

Original fiction well, you could say I’ve been writing that for about 20 years, and being that I’m only 32, well… you see what I mean.

All of this noted, no one has ever piqued my interest as much as Vegeta (or at least, no one has stoked my muse as much, let’s put it that way).  Spike Spiegel piqued my interest plenty, as well as Vash the Stampede, Domon Kasshu, Yuji Kaido and Marlene Angel.  For anyone not familiar with anime (and you should be, damn it), the above are main characters in the animes, respectively: Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Mobile Fighter G Gundam and Blue Gender.  All fabulous and all interesting, if you’re not into beefed up aliens beating the crap out of one another, like I am, but are also huge sci-fi nerds.

I think this may end my nerd rant.  How deep is my love?  Vegeta, I heart you.  Don’t let the lizard-man get you down, and keep truckin’ warrior-soul.  Keep truckin’.

Wait, isn’t the show over?

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