These are my thoughts on the characters in Dragon Ball Z: The Forgotten, ranging from what prompted their creation to how and why I implemented them into the story the way I did:
- 1 Characters
- 1.1 King Vegeta
- 1.2 Frieza
- 1.3 Layeeck
- 1.4 Ledas
- 1.5 Prince Vegeta
- 1.6 Nappa
- 1.7 The Benefactor
- 1.8 Zarbon
- 1.9 Lascon
- 1.10 Other Saiyans/Frieza's Soldiers
- 1.11 Cooler's Soldiers
- 1.12 Payar
- 1.13 Meloon
- 1.14 Aprido
- 1.15 Banas
- 1.16 Lieme
- 1.17 Guva
- 1.18 Cooler
- 1.19 Planet Trade Organization Rebels
- 1.20 Lauto
- 1.21 Planet Cooler 92 Natives
- 1.22 Ledas' Saibamen
- 1.23 Lenomi
- 1.24 Digranite
- 1.25 Nepar
- 1.26 Grif
- 1.27 Mullpy
- 1.28 Konatsu
- 1.29 Anango
- 1.30 Sika and Sarpack
- 1.31 Humans
- 1.32 Mrs. Fanshi
- 1.33 Mr. Kyokatoshi
- 1.34 Ryori
- 1.35 Miki
- 1.36 Piccolo
- 1.37 Vegeta (adult)
- 1.38 Shoekki
- 1.39 The Briefs Family
- 1.40 Police Chief Nagamo
- 1.41 Cardinal
- 1.42 Supreme General Silver
- 1.43 New Red Ribbon Army
- 1.44 Kindler
- 1.45 Dewberry
- 1.46 File
- 1.47 Korin
- 1.48 Yajirobe
- 1.49 Captain Green
- 1.50 Private Wisconsin
- 1.51 Goku
- 1.52 Goten
- 1.53 Trunks
- 1.54 Krillin
- 1.55 Android 18
- 1.56 Tien
- 1.57 Chiaotzu
- 1.58 Gohan
- 1.59 Yamcha
- 1.60 King Furry
- 1.61 Nurse Yorokobi
- 1.62 Screechers
- 1.63 Verlate
- 1.64 Verlate's Tentacles
- 1.65 Lurker
- 1.66 Tournament Announcer
- 1.67 Master Loriphim
- 1.68 Nico
- 1.69 Igear
- 1.70 The Benefactor's Mother
- 1.71 Ayale
- 1.72 Judge Sertung
- 1.73 Damani Delegate
- 1.74 The Kai
- 1.75 Forty-three
- 1.76 Savage
- 1.77 Little Purple
- 2 Deleted Characters
Little of King Vegeta was known from canon. We all know that he challenged Frieza for taking his son and died for that rebellion. My interest, in this saga, was showing how he got to that point. He's essentially a blank slate character, even though he's canon. I had to essentially create his character from scratch. One of the things about the Prince Vegeta Saga is that, due to his age, Ledas doesn't drive the plot. He's the protagonist, yeah, but he's not really the a protagonist in the traditional sense. The more traditional protagonist of the saga is King Vegeta. His struggle to free his species is one of personal desire, of pride, and of necessity to protect his people. I had to show this from an early point, so that is why the prologue was written how it was. For King Vegeta, Prince Vegeta and Ledas are just two kids who can perhaps fulfill the legend of the Super Saiyan and help him liberate his species.
King Vegeta struggles with thoughts of inadequacy himself, because his own power level isn't that high. Now it is higher than his son's until basically the last couple of chapters of the first saga, so he doesn't have that much to feel bad about. But the fact that he does feel bad was me trying to characterize him.
He's involved in conspiracies to get rid of Frieza, too. He's the main driver of the plot of the first saga to get Vegeta as strong as possible - his end goal is to have Frieza killed and his species liberated. So King Vegeta is the main plotter of this saga, much of it going on in secret, and that is not something I really did on purpose. The plot worked out like that, but I wasn't planning the saga out thinking that King Vegeta should be driving almost all of it. That is a consequence of Ledas' age and the Saiyans' place as being slaves under Frieza's regime. This results in King Vegeta being pretty much the protagonist of the first saga, and it's quite interesting that he dies - he doesn't succeed against the main villain in any capacity. This brings up shades of Game of Thrones and Ned Stark's fate in the first season of that tv show, though when I wrote this saga (even the final edits), I had never seen nor heard of that tv show yet.
King Vegeta is interesting because he really doesn't have much power, politically-speaking. He may be a king, but that title is as empty as they come. So his struggle is one for agency, at least how I portray it. Like his son, he doesn't like to emote openly (though he is better at doing so than the prince). Thus, him wanting to rescue his son at the end of the first saga is about as emotional as King Vegeta ever gets. My goal was to build up to that moment - for King Vegeta is not acting normally in that moment. The payoff of his character is that he, like his son, begins to emote. The fact that his emoting, that him standing up for his son and for his species, results in nothing good happening for the Saiyans is almost beside the point. King Vegeta's arc was one of agency and finding himself, which is a character arc oft seen in TF (and in most stories ever published, to be fair).
Frieza is a very memorable character in DBZ, and his personality of being this refined, psychotic, intelligent warrior is really cool. He's the strongest one around, and he knows it. This leads him to not respecting anyone else, though he does sometimes get fond of people. His fondness for kid Vegeta is based in canon, both from the Namek Arc of DBZ and from the Bardock special. The way he treated kid Vegeta in both of those canon things greatly influenced this story. The unfolding of the plot of the first saga was based around the fact that Frieza was fond of kid Vegeta and his burgeoning strength. It was important for me to show that he's fond of Vegeta. He doesn't so much care about Ledas, though he does see the value in having Ledas around.
Lots of Frieza's dialogue in this story is based on how he talks in canon, so there isn't much else to say there. Frieza has an air about him that brings others fear, though, and that was something I focused on showing. It wasn't exactly easy to do. Frieza's interactions with King Vegeta were fun to do, because we all know what the endpoint of their relationship is and how much stronger Frieza is than King Vegeta. He puts pressure on other characters because of his overwhelming power, and his power level is a goal for others because of that. Both Ledas and Prince Vegeta dream of becoming strong enough to kill Frieza and liberate their species.
Frieza's role as a villain in the first saga was therefore written in a very atypical way. He's idealized. His role on for the plot and everything is mostly thematic. He isn't defeated in the story or truly challenged at all before disappearing. Because of his massive strength and the way his personality is, he's separated from everyone else. He doesn't let anyone get close to him. So that's why him wanting to basically take kid Vegeta to be his new warrior - almost like a son - is greatly significant. This is a canon idea, but I tried to flesh it out in a fanon way to make it understandable and thematically interesting.
Like several other characters from this saga (including Cooler from the next saga), Frieza's death is not shown. This is because his death is known from DBZ, so I didn't just put it in this story for closure purposes. Again, a bit of The Sopranos' influence on me can be seen with such a decision. It would have done terrible things with the pacing of the story had I shown his death, though, I think.
Layeeck's arc is much like King Vegeta's. It's basically what I would do with King Vegeta if I had complete control over his character. Layeeck lacks the power, physically and politically, that King Vegeta has (and King Vegeta doesn't have much, remember). He is desperate and scared and ashamed of his own power level. His grows paranoid as the story goes on, for he doesn't really know what King Vegeta is planning and fears for his son. And yet, at the same time he's jealous of his son's superior power level. Layeeck's arc is actually also like Guva's arc. He starts out powerful, noble, cool. And his character degrades over time. His is a slow ruination, one brought on primarily by his own thoughts and actions.
Layeeck wants to be like King Vegeta. He wants to be like Lascon. He wants to be like Ledas. He does not compare to any of them, in terms of the various things they are good at (political power, being a teacher, having a high power level), so he falls into a bit of psychosis because he doesn't know how to deal with his worsening position. One thing that is interesting is that his relationship with Ledas gets worse as Ledas gets stronger. He promises to take Ledas on a mission together, just the two of them, and yet he never fulfills this promise because he feels like Ledas could humiliate him, in the latter half of the saga. He puts his own pride before his relationship with his son. I don't know why I wrote Layeeck like this. I didn't sit down and plan it - it's just how it turned out. And it's weird, because it's not based on personal experience or anything like that (my dad is great).
It was important for me to have Layeeck redeem himself thematically at the end of the saga. He's one of the last Saiyans killed in the Genocide of the Saiyans, and he is certainly killed in the most brutal, horrific way possible. But he does muster up some courage and some honor and fight for his son even if he's no better off than any other Saiyan. Like King Vegeta, his arc resolves in a positive way, even though he dies. It's the idea that he was trying to exert his agency, trying to redeem his character, that ultimately results in his redemption. He wasn't able to defeat Frieza or The Benefactor, but that is not really the important part.
It was also important for The Benefactor to kill Layeeck, since that would mean that TB killed Ledas' father. I knew that such a fact would become important later in the story, though the way I actually used it in the final edits of the Fulfillment Saga was not something I had expected or really tried to set up. It turned out brilliantly - TB calling Layeeck a coward was a big reason Ledas went Super Saiyan 2 and beat that alien - but it wasn't planned to go that way. I knew that there could be an emotional outburst or some plot payoff for Ledas learning about his father's death later, and that is how my writing normally goes. I set things up, leave them open, without much of a plan of how I will resolve them. Certainly when I wrote Layeeck's death, I didn't think it would later influence the most dramatic moment in the entire story.
Layeeck's name is a pun on "leek". I came up with this after I came up with Ledas' name, and I knew that I wanted the boy's dad's name to be based on a vegetable related to lettuce as well as one starting with the letter "L". So that's how I settled on "leek".
So when I originally came up with Ledas, I merely had the thought that he would be a Saiyan who survives the Genocide of the Saiyans, like any other fan fiction writer on this site. To explain his survival, I had him end up somehow in Cooler's region. Then, he was going to spend years training on a Cooler outpost (specifically on the moon base of a place called Planet Cooler 92), before unlocking SS1, SS2, SS3, and SS4. Then he was going to set off to Earth with his army of Appule and Cui aliens to fight Goku and Vegeta and use the Dragon Balls to wish for immortality. That was my initial thought. Unlike most writers on this site, I didn't immediately post my first thought. I thought it over for a while and worked on the character. What eventually happened was that I began to develop the character of Ledas. The process of fleshing out his plot also allowed me to flesh out his character, though this was not something I was aware of at the time. As a result, TF was born, and I began working on not only Ledas' survival of the Genocide of the Saiyans, but what led up to that. Since I really like kid Vegeta, I got the idea to have Ledas be training partners with him. And that idea became the first saga.
I never wanted Ledas to outshine Prince Vegeta. It just seemed unrealistic and disrespectful to the universe. So I specifically kept him weaker than Vegeta. Still, he had to be born with a high power level so that he would be picked to be the prince's training partner over other Saiyans. Since Prince Vegeta is my favorite character in the Dragon Ball universe, it was fun to be able to explore his history with my fanon character. It was like I was there myself with him.
The major thing of the first saga was developing Ledas' and Prince Vegeta's friendship. This was something I worked on in all drafts of TF, though I don't think I really did well with it until the final draft of the Prince Vegeta Saga. The main thought with their friendship was that it would develop slowly. Prince Vegeta wouldn't open himself up to Ledas (which is consistent with his personality); Ledas would have to earn Vegeta's respect. This happens throughout the first saga in several major scenes - when Ledas helps Vegeta in chapter 4, when he helps him take out the Saibamen in chapter 3, when they do well to take out Zarbon's team in chapter 6. The fact that Ledas grows in power at roughly the same pace as Prince Vegeta also makes the prince gain some respect for him. This is a slow process, and Prince Vegeta doesn't really consider Ledas to be his good friend until more than halfway through the saga. To not cheapen their friendship, I had to develop it slowly.
Ledas is more childish than Prince Vegeta, and this was a specific consideration I had. I wanted Ledas to be the more kid-like of the two so that their personalities could serve as foils to one another. And also, by being around opposite personalities, each of them could develop more complex, nuanced personalities as the saga goes on. Prince Vegeta's pride makes him seem distant and makes him not want to get close to Ledas for fear of being hurt or rejected. He is hurt at the end of the saga, though it's not Ledas' fault, and that shapes his development for the rest of his life.
Ledas' relationship with his father was meant to be complicated and stressful so that his time with Prince Vegeta would be an escape from the drama at home. Ledas is quite innocent - perhaps too innocent - so he doesn't realize why his father has become more hostile and won't take him on missions anymore. Layeeck's jealousy of his son's power is something Ledas never learns about because I thought it would break his heart to know that his father was like that.
Another thing I tried to do was have Ledas gain battle experience in this first saga that would stick with him throughout the story. His sparring match with Lascon is critical in the boy's fighting development, both physically and philosophically. He learns not to underestimate his opponents from a young age and learns from Lascon that a weaker, smarter fighter can sometimes win against a stronger, more arrogant fighter. Ledas uses this idea in many fights in the following sagas. I wanted to show Ledas' development - I didn't just want him to suddenly have these thoughts on his own. Not making Ledas a Gary Stu was a big consideration of mine.
And one of the major ways I prevented him from being a Gary Stu was having him be in the shadow of Prince Vegeta in the first saga. He never has any glorious moments that Prince Vegeta does not have, and he never outshines his training partner. This is a radical notion, for most writers like to elevate their fanon characters beyond canon characters. But I chose not to. And I think that's a big part of why TF is so popular and why Ledas is one of the best characters on this wiki.
So a remnant of my original idea for Ledas can be seen with how I have him survive the Genocide of the Saiyans. I still wanted him to be a part of the PTO, to be able to gain strength, after the first saga. I did flesh out his time in Cooler's region, though. The big thing that changed from the original concept to the final draft was that Ledas essentially became a slave on Planet Cooler 92 - he was a body to be used by Guva and The Plantains how they wished. Ledas had enjoyed lots of freedom in the previous saga, so going in the opposite direction in saga 2 allowed for some nice character development. The theme of being a slave was made more complex with the Planet Cooler 92 natives, whom Ledas identified with on some level.
Ledas' struggle for individuality and agency is on full display in the second saga. He tries to fight The Plantains, but being so much weaker than them means that he can't overcome them. He's stubborn and willful, but he's too weak to bring his plans to reality. I wanted to show that since he's so young, he doesn't always make the right decisions. And at the same time, he's not a hero. This becomes clear in the second saga and even clearer in the following sagas. But Ledas is just a Saiyan boy who's trying to survive. Some of his moral beliefs are different from what a standard hero's would be. He does kill some natives and does have problems with authority. He's a grey character.
I also had Ledas learn a lot while he was on Planet Cooler 92. His various fights helped him grow as a warrior, and he learned to sense ki from Lieme. That was an idea I had as soon as I came up with Lieme - I didn't want Ledas to learn how to sense ki randomly or have to use a scouter his entire life. The way he learns to sense ki is drawn out and realistic to prevent it from being a Gary Stu moment. He also learns new techniques and fighting forms in his various fights against The Plantains, and he learns that his Great Ape form is too slow to be useful in the future. That is the primary reason why he only uses it one more time in the entire story.
The Saibamen that Ledas gets as pets was a plot point I came up with for the final version of the story. I thought it would be thematically interesting that the training devices Ledas and Prince Vegeta killed by the scores in the previous saga were now Ledas' only comfort. This is him clinging to the past, trying to reclaim the good times from his mind. The Saibamaen are like Pokemon - they are like sentient pets that Ledas uses to comfort himself, for he is quite lonely on Planet Cooler 92 - the isolation is physical as well as mental. Another thing is that Ledas is shown to have a great tactical mind when he leads his Saibamen against the PTO rebels. He is the only member of The Plantains to have his Saibamen survive the conflict, showing that he is perhaps a better battle commander than Meloon, Payar, and Lieme. Of course he doesn't think this himself. He is rather humble about it. Even though he is the one who finds and kills Lenomi, he doesn't brag about his accomplishments. That's not in Ledas' nature. Still he does have some extraordinary victories in the Lauto Saga, showing his growth not only mentally but in terms of being a fighter.
The stuff with Lauto's cave was an idea I had early on. When I began writing TF, I realized that I liked writing for Ledas as a kid. I didn't want him to get older. I didn't want him to turn into a man like Vegeta. It just wouldn't be as fun to write - believe me, I tried to, and it just didn't work. Keeping Ledas as a kid makes him a unique fanon Saiyan on this site. Of course the way I had him stay a kid changed in all three versions of TF; in the final version, Ledas accidentally absorbs a large amount of energy all at once, and this stops his physical aging process. It also slightly prolonged his life since he absorbed some life force from a former Supreme Kai. The randomness of this was one of the key aspects of that moment. Ledas didn't ask for that to happen to him, and he doesn't even realize it happened until after the end of the Stomping Grounds Saga (though others, like Lieme, noticed earlier). There's a Peter Pan quality to this, of a boy who doesn't want to let go of the past - Ledas is all about the past and his old friendship with Vegeta. That sustains him and it's reflected in his physical appearance. Thematically, the stuff related to Ledas' lack of aging is very much tied to the themes of Peter Pan. Ledas' conversation with the hallucinations in Lauto's cave characterizes him in a subtle way. It's like a mental conversation made public; that is pretty much the only way to do that in a non-prose story.
Another thing is that Ledas gets a Semi Super Saiyan form in Lauto's cave. This is a foreshadowing form, meant to show that he's close to getting Super Saiyan, but he hasn't had the emotional explosion yet to unlock it. This foreshadowing form was mainly done to prevent Ledas from getting Super Saiyan randomly or stupidly. I didn't want him to be a Gary Stu like so many characters on this wiki (and Goten and Trunks in canon, to be fair). This idea was developed heavily in the Stomping Grounds Saga, building up to Ledas' Super Saiyan transformation at the end of the saga. I like build up, for it makes the payoff that much more epic.
The Lauto Saga ends with Banas serving Ledas with an injustice, and that is just how it is on Planet Cooler 92. I wanted to show that Ledas isn't in control. He's a slave and he lacks any agency. This is something Ledas knows and tries to overcome, but just can't. He runs from Cooler and the others at the start of the Stomping Grounds Saga because he's deathly afraid of dying or being tortured. He tries to argue for his innocence, but as soon as he sees that his guilt has already been determined, he knows the only person who can save him at that point is himself.
Ledas' bravery is on full display in the Stomping Grounds Saga, and many of his actions in that saga were based on Vegeta's plot in the Namek Arc of DBZ. Vegeta's courage in that arc was breathtaking to me, and something I tried to mimic to some degree with Ledas. This makes sense, of course, since Ledas tries to mimic his opponents' techniques and fighting styles throughout TF. That is primarily how he grows and develops his fighting forms. Ledas fighting Cooler, knowing that he will probably die, is quite a cool moment. He refuses to admit he's a rebel even when faced with death. He'd rather die, as much as that scares him, than admit that he's something he's not. That is a core tenant of Ledas' personality. He likes the truth and justice and hates bullshit and lies.
Ledas lacks awareness too, and he sometimes doesn't understand when people are joking or making fun of him. This is mainly due to how he grew up (in a warrior culture where jokes are not oft seen) and due to his young age. Grif and Mullpy, amongst others, make fun of Ledas without him really realizing it. Their actions serve to characterize him and highlight how unaware of things Ledas can be.
Ledas doesn't win all of his fights because he's not a Gary Stu. This is especially apparent in the Stomping Grounds Saga, where it seems like he loses a fight for every one he wins. It's luck, to some degree, that keeps him alive through the saga. His courage and will to survive are very important traits during that time. The way he comes back against Nepar is emblematic of his fighting spirit. And against Digranite, Ledas doesn't back down, even though he knows he likely won't win. Ledas' struggle against Digranite is a struggle for his freedom. It's not just a battle. By that point, he's done being a slave of the PTO. He's fighting for his freedom as much as he is fighting to defeat Digranite. This also explains why he quickly leaves PC92 after returning to it in chapter 10 of SGS. He learned that he cannot live as a slave anymore during his time on the stomping grounds. Sure he gained a lot of power on that planet, but the realization that he cannot allow himself to be a slave anymore also came out of the arcs on that planet.
Ledas' Super Saiyan transformation was built up for quite a while, and it was foreshadowed heavily, especially in SGS. It's quite extraordinary that it took 35 chapters for Ledas to get that form. I'm actually quite proud of that. Most writers would be impatient and have their fanon Saiyans become Super Saiyans earlier - and that's bad writing. The way Ledas becomes a Super Saiyan is morally complex - he partially sympathizes with the natives, but at the same time it's all about him. He doesn't really feel like liberating the natives. He sees himself as one of them, but he doesn't look at the bigger picture and realize that if they are like him, they also need their agency restored. That Ledas doesn't save them explains why he doesn't fit into the classical hero archetype. I was more interested in portraying realistic characters whose actions are explained by their cultural upbringing and by the events in their lives; it was not as interesting to me to just fit characters into literary archetypes that often ignore the nuances and complexities of living beings. The end of the Stomping Grounds Saga is a personal triumph for Ledas. It's him regaining his agency and freedom and destroying those who have wronged him (for the most part). Still, the saga does not end on a wholly good note, since the natives aren't set free.
So why is there such a big gap, timeline-wise, from the Stomping Grounds Saga to the Planet Earth Saga? Simply put, I needed to give Ledas several years to train to become much stronger. He ended SGS too weak. He needed to be stronger by the next arc to fight the Z Fighters and The Benefactor. He doesn't get as strong as Vegeta or the others during the years he spends searching for Earth, but he does get close enough to be able to actually fight them and perhaps sometimes win if things go right for him. Of course, once he gets on Earth, I planned on having him get even stronger - primarily through zenkais, though through training as well.
The Planet Earth arc was basically a reset for Ledas. There's a lot going on in the early part of the saga that sets up his character for the rest of the arc. Him meeting Mrs. Fanshi was done so that someone could be there to teach him Earth culture and take care of him, in a way. Mrs. Fanshi is a mother figure in Ledas' life in the fourth saga. She teaches him how to use chopsticks and makes him a little less wild. I wanted Ledas to have alien qualities about him on Earth, but certain things, like being able to eat with chopsticks, seemed good to teach him. He still has an alien perspective, but he does absorb some of the culture of Earth - and this is very much like how it worked with Vegeta in canon.
Ryori was a character who helped Ledas recover from the events of the PTO arc. In that arc, Ledas didn't have any friends and was very lonely. Ryori became his friend in the Planet Earth Saga (mostly due to Ledas' Saiyan capabilities), and this helped both of them deal with the bad shit in their lives. I'm sure Ledas didn't know this; it was an intuitive feeling that he needed a friend to spend time with. He needed to forget the horrors of his past, and Ryori helped him start on that healing process.
The other big thing in the Planet Earth Saga was that Ledas was able to sense Vegeta on the planet and realized he was too weak to confront Vegeta immediately. He's embarrassed that he's so weak, so he wants to train a little more before meeting Vegeta. This was done so that the Earth arc isn't resolved in like 2 chapters. And much of the plot of the saga is Ledas trying to get stronger to meet Vegeta. He knows he has a problem with his strength, but that doesn't put him in a depression. It just makes him want to get better.
Now Ledas earned his freedom at the end of the Stomping Grounds Saga. He doesn't want to ever be bossed around again, and that begins to happen with Mr. Kyokatoshi. Ledas then begins to act out (ultimately resulting in a conflict with Piccolo), and this is also due to The Benefactor's energy inside him driving him to be more genocidal in his tendencies. There are moral complexities here, since Ledas destroys an entire town of people (and kills humans in other chapters as well). Ledas has some villainous qualities in the Planet Earth Saga; this is a natural progression of his character due to all he's going through. He's not a hero or a villain. He's a person who happens to be the protagonist of this story. I wasn't interested in portraying Ledas as a good guy along the lines of Goku or Gohan.
At the same time, Ledas is seeing hallucinations of his father during the Planet Earth Saga (and briefly in the Reunion Saga), showing how mentally damaged he is. He's been shell-shocked. He probably has PTSD, and he has no way to really deal with that. Despite Ledas defeating all of his enemies at the end of the PTO arc of TF, he still ends up quite broken and damaged, and the consequences of that bleed into the Earth arc.
I also had Ledas meet Korin and Yajirobe in the Earth arc because they are two of my favorite characters in Dragon Ball. The way Yajirobe meets Ledas was written to specifically parallel Yajirobe's first meeting with Vegeta. Over the rest of the story, Ledas gets closer to Yajirobe, and by the end of TF, I'd like to think they are friends, though their bonding is mostly over food. Ledas' relationship with Korin is subtler. Though I didn't want Korin to overtly say he was going to be Ledas' teacher, he does teach the boy at several points in the story in ways that Ledas doesn't even notice Korin is teaching him. Korin is very important to Ledas, for he gives the boy senzu beans that save his life twice (and Vegeta's once) and is responsible for Verlate's mind prison eventually sucking The Benefactor inside it. Ledas does ask for Korin to train him at the end of the story, but Korin refuses so that his personality could remain consistent with canon (and he has nothing he could teach Ledas anyways, in terms of fighting). This also is another example of how Ledas is not a Gary Stu. He does not get everything he wants.
So as we get to the Reunion Saga, Ledas' character had several more interesting developments. The first was that he was forced to reveal his true self to Ryori in the gravity training unit when he killed Kindler and Dewberry. This greatly affected their relationship, for Ryori had no idea that Ledas was a superpowerful alien before that. Of course, Ryori does accept Ledas for who he is, but it does change things. Ledas also tells Ryori about what happened to Shoekki at that time and then flees before he has to deal with the consequences of what he said. It's clear that Ledas didn't have time to grieve with Ryori and perhaps didn't know how to open himself up to a human like that. There are shades of Vegeta's kid personality in Ledas here.
Ledas has a reduced role in the Reunion Saga, due to the Z Fighters' introductions. I thought it would be interesting to show how the story goes on even when Ledas doesn't have as much to do. I thought that Ledas' entire arc should be related to Vegeta once he leaves the gravity training unit, so that meant there wasn't a lot of him to do. His arc was character-based in the fifth saga, and this was aided by the fact that the entire saga (discounting flashbacks) takes place in a single day.
As I've mentioned in Vegeta's adult section below, Ledas' encounter with Vegeta in the fifth arc was very hard to write. I wasn't sure exactly how Vegeta should react to seeing Ledas. That took a long time to develop. When I figured that Vegeta would refuse to believe Ledas is real or who he says he is, that influenced how Ledas' arc then developed. Ledas' struggle in the fifth saga is an existential one to some degree. To have someone say to you that you aren't real is about as bad as it gets. This influences Ledas to act out, to let his rage consume him. There's a bit of the "Ledas villain" idea with this character development. The Benefactor's energy inside of Ledas also influenced him to attack Vegeta and start acting like he did. He was crushed inside to be rejected by Vegeta the way he was. And he's not one to mope, so rage was the most logical emotion for him to feel.
Still, Ledas' compassion works for him in the end, for when he uses his last senzu bean to save both himself and Vegeta, he shows his true colors to his old friend. No matter what has happened in this saga, Ledas cannot forget the Vegeta he knew in the past, and he is willing to believe that Vegeta still exists, even if it costs him his life. This then leads to Vegeta protecting Ledas from The Benefactor and ascending to Super Saiyan 3. Great moment of friendship payoff there. See again, though, that Ledas lost pretty much every fight that he fought in the Reunion Saga. This was not his saga for glory. He lost to The Benefactor at the end, when it looked like he was set to have his big moment. That big moment was given to Vegeta instead. Even here, so late in the story, Ledas was written to be in the shadow of Vegeta.
It's also interesting to see how Ledas acts around The Benefactor. He's scared of the alien, repulsed by him, but at the same time, he has Saiyan pride and spirit and won't back down from a fight. He refuses to give TB back the energy he accidentally took from him all those years ago - and he's absolutely horrified when he realizes that's what happened - for he is the master of his own body. If TB was weak enough to lose his energy, tough shit. That's Ledas' perspective, and it's quite a courageous one. It says a lot about his character.
In the Fulfillment Saga, Ledas is forced to fight for his life to an extent he never had to before. He watches Vegeta get taken out and feels guilty that he's not as strong as Vegeta to protect his friend like his friend protected him. And then he cannot defeat The Benefactor. The Benefactor captures him early in the saga and begins to enact what he tried to do throughout most of the previous saga. Ledas is once again robbed of his agency and is nearly killed, save for the fact that The Benefactor didn't account for how much it would hurt to reabsorb his stolen energy. When TB gets heavily wounded by trying that, Ledas' quick thinking and battle intellect becomes apparent when he takes out The Benefactor's eyes. Notice how throughout the fight, Ledas insults The Benefactor; he's confident, but never arrogant. Another non-Stu moment can be seen when Ledas almost gets a senzu bean but TB takes it away from him before he can eat it.
He expects more of Yajirobe during that scene, especially when he's getting sucked into the mind prison, but there's not much Yajirobe could have done (he really went above and beyond what was expected of him anyways). Also, the fact that Yajirobe's sword gets sucked into the mind prison with Ledas is logical, but I mainly put that in because I liked the image of Ledas holding his sword and knew I could use it to great effect inside the mind prison.
So inside the mind prison, a lot of the choices I made for Ledas' journey were aesthetic and symbolic. He changes the clothes he wears (Verlate is responsible for this) several times in those first two chapters in the mind prison to represent his journey through life. The clothes he wears belonged to individuals who were very important to him and his journey. And what happens to him while he wears each set of clothes is not random - it is symbolically tied to what he is wearing.
Ledas' desire for agency and freedom can be seen in his conversations with Verlate. He wants to be free and tries to be free. This is a marked difference from how he acted in the early sagas. I wanted to show that his past had consequences, that it affected his mindset and the evolution of his character. By this point, he can no longer think of anything without considering his freedom. Of course, Ledas was weaker than The Benefactor at the time, so Verlate did try to switch places with him. And this is something that would have worked had the mind prison allowed for it. But not even Verlate knew that it wouldn't work. Ledas lucked out there. He was unable to really hold an intellectual conversation with Verlate like The Benefactor was, due to his age and his lower intellect. He also didn't get the answer to his riddle in the final version of this story right (he did in previous versions), because I thought it would be more realistic if he got it wrong, and it would be a good anti-Stu moment as well.
Ledas and The Benefactor then had to battle in Verlate's mind prison after she committed suicide. This was the big one, the big battle I decided to put in the story for the final edits to give Ledas a better fulfillment to his arc. I wanted him to be responsible for him winning in a very Saiyan-like way. This of course means it had to be resolved in a battle.
The battle was set up in two stages - I wanted Ledas to lose the first one and win the second one. He puts everything he can into the first battle, but it's just not enough. TB had been weakened by all the battles he participated in up to that point, but it still wasn't enough. The second battle only happens because The Benefactor taunts Ledas and tells him about how he killed Layeeck. He then notes that Ledas has the same coward's blood in him that Layeeck did (this was payoff from the final chapter of the first saga), which angers Ledas immensely. He doesn't want the memory of his father to be tarnished; he also doesn't like being called a coward himself when he knows he isn't. Ledas' anger comes from the fact that he never properly grieved for his parents - this was seen when Ledas confronted Lenomi in the Lauto Saga, as well - he just buried those emotions deep down inside so he wouldn't have to confront that pain. Luckily for him, those buried emotions surface in his last battle with The Benefactor and that works out well for Ledas.
The Benefactor just does this because he was humiliated by Ledas when the boy absorbed his power and then took out his eyes. The Benefactor wants to make Ledas feel the pain he felt. And that was his mistake. Making Ledas feel that pain allowed the boy to reach the emotional point required to unlock Super Saiyan 2. Then, he was much stronger than The Benefactor. He wisely did not kill the alien for he knew doing so would cause himself to be trapped in the mind prison. So he simply quickly defeated TB, didn't gloat, and then left. That is one of the best qualities of Ledas, in my opinion - he is humble. He doesn't brag or ask people to congratulate him when he does great stuff. He saved the world in the Fulfillment Saga, yet never wanted recognition for that. He's one of the forgotten for many reasons, and the one I just mentioned is one of the reasons Ledas made himself one of the forgotten.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, the scene with Yajirobe and Ledas at the end of chapter 9 of the Fulfillment Saga is a subtle scene, meant to show the budding friendship between the two. I don't know why, but it is one of the most emotionally-affecting scenes in the story, in my opinion. Maybe it's the fact that in that scene Ledas finally realizes that he will have a chance to live a happy, free life.
Thereafter, Ledas shows his will and how much he cares about Ryori when he forces Cardinal to right the wrongs he did in previous sagas by financing Ryori and buying him a new house. Ledas decided to live with Ryori then, showing how much he values Ryori's friendship. And he did choose to have the house be in West City, very close to Capsule Corp., so that he could visit Vegeta whenever he wanted. The foresight of Ledas here is not to be underestimated.
Another valuable moment of character development is when I had Ledas give Ryori advice about how to grieve in chapter 11 of FS. This is a marked difference from Ledas in earlier chapters (notably in chapter 3 of the Reunion Saga when he refused to discuss Shoekki with Ryori). All that Ledas has gone through has given him a good perspective on these kinds of things; it's one broken kid talking to another and helping them both cope with the horrible shit that has happened in their lives. This shows a great maturation of character for Ledas.
Ledas doesn't immediately go see Vegeta after he defeats The Benefactor because he's ashamed of how much weaker than the Saiyan prince he is. He saw Vegeta go SS3 earlier in the story, and that meant that, at the very least, Vegeta is four times as strong as him (and it's really quite a bit more than that). So Ledas wants to spend a while training before he goes back to Vegeta. This is a pride thing, for both of them know each other is on the planet at this time, but they won't go to see each other (I've detailed why Vegeta won't in his adult section below). Cardinal's invitation to a tournament brings structure to this, forcing Ledas to only train for a week or so before being reunited with Vegeta. Otherwise, he might've spent months training before he went back to Vegeta. Ledas was actually quite excited to be invited to fight Vegeta in Cardinal's tournament, showing that he does want to see Vegeta again - it's just his embarrassment that's kept him from doing so already.
Ledas anxiety as he waits to see Vegeta in the last chapter speaks to how much Vegeta has meant to Ledas. When he fights Trunks, he's sort of out of the fight because he wasn't expecting to fight anyone before Vegeta. And he doesn't really pay attention to the fights that go on afterwards. Even the night before, he didn't party with Ryori because he was so anxious. As he's waiting for Vegeta, Ledas starts to physically shake - I used that moment to show exactly how much properly reuniting with Vegeta means to Ledas. The boy has never been shown this nervous before in the history of TF, and he's been in quite a few dicey situations before. It's amazing that this situation rises above all the other ones in that regard.
When Ledas meets Vegeta in the last chapter, a lot of the scene is filled with nostalgia and callbacks to old times. They share some memories and then say the first words they ever said to each other again - and this was meant to show how different they've become, since the two of them are no longer as they were in that third chapter of TF when they first met. Their ensuing battle is the main way they reconnect. They tell each other about how their lives went since they last saw each other in the fight, through the fighting. I thought this was appropriate for two Saiyans - it felt like something right out of Saiyan culture. Additionally, I had the Z Fighters comment on the fight to make a bit of that more apparent to the readers. Vegeta had to win the fight, though. He's stronger than Ledas, so it would have been a horrible idea to have Ledas miraculously win or have Vegeta throw the match. This again shows how Ledas isn't a Stu, for he loses the last fight of the story.
After that, I wanted to show that life was sort of returning to normal, that Ledas was trying to return to normalcy. He doesn't forgive Cardinal - in fact he mostly ignores him - but he doesn't go out of his way to berate the man. He focuses on things that bring him pleasure. And that's training with Vegeta and playing games and going to school with Ryori. Ledas walks the line between these two realms, just as Vegeta does. He doesn't become friends with Vegeta again to the extent that they were friends in the Prince Vegeta Saga - not by the time this story ends - but he gets close to that by the end of TF. I would like to think that they got back to how they once were within a few years after the end of TF, but it's not an immediate thing. Old wounds need time to heal. But them becoming friends is beneficial, for it will allow Ledas to get stronger again, to get closer in power to Vegeta the more he trains with his prince. I'm sure Vegeta also appreciates having his old training partner back, for that will help him gain power faster, too.
The closing montage also shows how life has gotten good for Ledas - he's got his best friend back, and he's living with another good friend. He's got his Saibabuddies. He's got a place to train. It's all good. This is a remarkably optimstic ending for a story of mine. I usually don't do this, but I felt like doing it for Ledas' story. It's just how the plot unfolded. Of course, Ledas does still have The Benefactor trapped in Verlate's mind prison, so there is that lurking threat. Of course, that is resolved to some degree in Cold Vengeance, but perhaps not.
Now the question becomes what happens to Ledas after TF and if I will do more with his character. I did show what happens to him immediately after TF in Cold Vengeance, and there's also a cameo for him in In Requiem. But then he's not seen again until The Last Saiyan, so there is a big gap. I will do at least one more major story with Ledas that will span roughly after the end of TF (some of it taking place before Cold Vengeance, no less) and ending perhaps before Tarble's special. I will also be doing a one-shot about Ledas and Tarble. As to what happens to Ledas after the Tarble special, I'd like to think that he raised his daughter Chari (he got Chaiva pregnant in the second deleted scene of Cold Vengeance) and continued to train with Vegeta and travel the universe on occasion. He might've fought some enemies with the Z Fighters too. Who knows. I'll have to see how Dragon Ball: Super goes to see if I can keep Ledas on Earth or if I will have to remove him (maybe he could go to Mrov for a while) to keep his story canon. Anyways, I don't have much planned for Ledas after his future one-shot and before The Last Saiyan. But that may change in the future. I do actually have a plan for a short story involving Ledas and Nir's mother, but since it's so sexually graphic, it will certainly not be published on this site. But yeah, more will be done with Ledas, since he's my favorite character and my defining character on this wiki.
Ledas' name is a pun on "lettuce". I specifically chose that vegetable to pun his name on (and the way that his name is pronounced) to make it sound like my own middle name.
So after I watched the Bardock special in 2010, I was struck by how cool kid Vegeta is. That fact led to this story being created, to me joining this wiki, to my chosen username on this wiki... So yeah, kid Vegeta is my favorite Dragon Ball character. Even though he was barely ever shown, every scene he was in is amongst the best scenes in Dragon Ball history. So I wanted to capture this epicness in a story of my own. The excuse to do so was to create my own fanon Saiyan to train with Vegeta, to show Vegeta as much as possible. It was important for me to keep Prince Vegeta as accurate as possible, in terms of his personality. That meant making him arrogant, aloof, and not quick to change.
Lots of Prince Vegeta's personality had to be based on his adult personality. However, a key quote from Vegeta during the Namek Arc of DBZ, where he notes that Frieza made him the way he turned out by the early sagas of DBZ, made me work back from that point. So I looked at Vegeta and wondered how he got to where he was - how much of his personality was Frieza's doing, and how much was inherent. I had a little to work with from the Bardock special - but as we know, he only appears for roughly 5 minutes in that special. There are a few very quick scenes of kid Vegeta elsewhere, in the anime and in Battle of Gods, but nothing significant enough to take too much from, personality-wise. I had to create his personality to an extent. Him being arrogant and aloof is key - these are staple emotions that he's always had, even as a kid. So I built up his character around those two. I figured that his "evilness", his penchant for being the bad guy was what came from being in Frieza's army, as did his inferiority complex and other stuff like that. So this resulted in me making him an arrogant, aloof kid who doesn't want to become friends with Ledas but sees the value in training with the boy to become stronger himself. He's bold - he wants to kill Frieza (something mentioned by him in the Bardock special, as well), and he's not afraid of anything. He's not evil at this point. He's individualistic, and will kill aliens to become stronger, but he doesn't have a definitive concept of good and evil and doesn't seem to care about such distinctions. That becomes more important to him after his planet's destruction.
The big thing with Prince Vegeta is his relationship with Ledas. Their growing friendship was good, conceptually, in all versions of TF. The execution wasn't as good in the first two drafts, though, leading to a few people noting in reviews that the two became friends too quickly. During my final edits, I changed the story to have them become friends slower. Vegeta is cautious and not open to gaining a friend - unless Ledas can prove himself. So Ledas has to prove himself on several occasions, eventually leading Vegeta to openly consider Ledas his friend. This friendship is significant to both characters. It's what drives Ledas for the rest of TF after the first saga, to find Vegeta and return to their old, happy ways. This is also a significant thing for Vegeta, for when he loses Ledas, he feels like he has nothing left, and he feels isolated on Frieza's spaceship. That isn't shown in this story, but it is shown in His Majesty's Pet.
Lots of Vegeta's actions in the last three sagas of TF are based on his friendship with Ledas and all the pain it caused him to lose Ledas at the end of the first saga. Vegeta isn't quick to open himself up, so when he loses the one person he did open up to, that isolates him mentally and physically, and makes him feel terribly alone. And that goes back to the "Frieza made me who I am" quote by Vegeta in DBZ. Part of the reason Frieza was able to do that is because Vegeta was emotionally broken after the Genocide of the Saiyans, though he didn't make that known, due to his pride. So notice how I tried to use fanon characterization, built on canon characterization, to explain things for kid Vegeta as logically and accurately as possible. I think my characterization of kid Vegeta is the best characterization of any canon character I have written for, since I've spent a lot of time analyzing his character, and I think I know quite a lot about him to be able to work in both the overt fanon personality stuff, but also the subtler stuff. The blending of fanon and canon with his character is not really apparent. He looks and sounds like the canon kid Vegeta, and that is something I'm proud of being able to do.
Nappa's a character I've always liked, so I had a lot of fun putting him in the first saga of TF. I had him involved in a lot of comedy as well, because that's how his character was in canon. The mixture of comedy/badass moments with Nappa is something I tried to execute, for to me those are two hallmark traits of the best Saiyans. Nappa's role in the saga was heavily influenced by the canon Bardock special, where Nappa was Prince Vegeta's trainer. Particularly in the scene with Prince Vegeta and the Saibamen, where Nappa watches casually, not doing much, but somewhat boasting about how strong Vegeta is to a PTO alien, is something I took to heart when writing for Nappa in this saga. I had to come with a lot of his personality, though, for very little of him actually training Vegeta is shown in canon. And in DBZ, Vegeta has grown up, so their relationship has changed by that point.
Nappa was a required character for TF. After watching the Bardock special, I knew I couldn't omit him. He's too heavily involved in Prince Vegeta's early life. So even when I was first forming my ideas about TF, I knew Nappa would be a major character, at least in the first saga. As it turns out, that's the only saga he appears in, and we don't get a resolution to his character (since that occurs in canon, anyway).
Nappa's brutality went well with Ledas' growth and for the themes of the first saga. He was the first one who really made Ledas work, made the boy sweat. Yet, Nappa is still rather respectful to Prince Vegeta and Ledas. He's the start down the road for Ledas dealing with powerful, scary trainers, though he doesn't reach the extremes seen in the Lauto Saga and Stomping Grounds Saga, for Nappa's position keeps him in line. Nappa has some really funny conversations with Ledas and Vegeta too, with lots of unintentional comedy. Both of the boys make fun of Nappa too, for how he acts, and this is in-line with how Vegeta treated Nappa in DBZ.
There is a divide between Nappa and Ledas/Prince Vegeta, due to the age difference, personality difference, and power level difference. This becomes especially striking at the end of the first saga, when Prince Vegeta realizes that Ledas may be dead. At that point, Nappa takes on the role of Ledas, to a degree (we don't get to see much of that in TF, but it is an important factor in my other story, His Majesty's Pet), and the fact that Nappa has to take on that role is a big reason why Prince Vegeta isn't able to cope with Ledas' supposed death very well.
In the first concept of The Forgotten, I did not have this character. As a consequence, I did not have a "main villain" for the story. This led me to consider making Ledas the main villain once he gets to Earth, with numerous other characters serving that role in the Planet Trade Organization arc. Indeed, even after I joined this wiki, I had not yet created The Benefactor. A few chapters of the Prince Vegeta Saga were posted before I got the idea for him. I distinctly remember coming up with The Benefactor. I was playing Halo: Reach and as I was playing, the thought just came to me that I should add in a guy named "The Benefactor" who is an alien who will later become a powerful threat. At this moment I didn't have much of anything planned about him, but TB existed from that moment forward.
It was lucky that I came up with The Benefactor when I did, for Frieza had not yet been introduced to Ledas and Prince Vegeta in the first saga. That allowed me to make The Benefactor one of Frieza's soldiers, and this was an idea that got me very excited. Even as work for the first saga was being done, I was thinking about what to do with The Benefactor, and I had the idea, even then, that he would serve as the main villain of the Earth arc - at least one of them (Cardinal became another major Earth arc villain). What I was really trying to do in the first saga was have The Benefactor just barely be there - he disturbs Ledas to the point where the boy takes special notice of him, but he doesn't do much else. I had him get "executed" at the end of the saga so that he could leave the Planet Trade Organization for consistency purposes. The way he was taken out by Frieza was changed in all drafts; in the final draft, The Benefactor is assumed dead after Frieza "executes" him, and he's taken out with the bodies of the dead Saiyans (King Vegeta's and Layeeck's bodies are there). It should go without saying that that is thematically significant.
So after the Prince Vegeta Saga got going, I decided to make a special about The Benefactor to flesh out his character and backstory. As I've already detailed in this anthology, that special was re-written for the final edits. I won't go over the old version of that here. In the final version of that story, I wanted to show that The Benefactor grew up in a bad situation with death and authoritarian pressures all around him. He earned his power and became fascinated with blood in a weird way because of a genetic mutation (which also was an influence on how he gained power). The loss of a mother figure explains why he became so genocidal and dark-natured. His dark path is much like Ledas' - the two characters have as many parallels as they have differences. The difference is that The Benefactor chose to become the villain, to genocide and rampage through the world that brought him so much pain. Ledas internalizes his pain and likes to either forget it or no longer be around those who have caused him pain. He sometimes kill those who have wronged him, but he's not as revenge-oriented as The Benefactor. This is seen when TB kills Ayale and Loriphim in a very horrifying way. That is another thing about him - he tends to kill his foes in horrific ways, more so than anyone else in TF. That's a defining aspect of his character that I came up with when I made him a hunter/predator.
It should be mentioned that I didn't know where The Benefactor got his name from when I first created his character. That was something I had to work out in Outbreak. It was a major consideration of that story and as you can see I built up the second and third chapters to get to the point where Frieza gives The Benefactor his title. His name is ironic on some level, perhaps to an extent that I had not anticipated when I came up with that plot point.
So The Benefactor ends the Prince Vegeta Saga wanting to get revenge on Frieza by killing Ledas and Prince Vegeta. His revenge eats him alive and causes him to crash on Lauto's planet and become the Kai's prisoner. This is related to the theme of revenge in the story overall, which is also seen with Guva and Ryori - their arcs end in a similar way as The Benefactor's. No good comes of mind-consuming thoughts of revenge.
In Lauto's cave, I was able to characterize The Benefactor with the hallucinations - that he would still be thinking about his mother all these years later is a major part of his character development. Also the fact that both he and Lauto are villainous characters allowed them to hone their ferocity on one another. As well, in previous drafts, The Benefactor gave his power to Ledas willingly in Lauto's cave - not so in the final draft. I figured that he would never do that, if I wanted to be consistent with his character, so I made it an accident. The Benefactor probably saw that a being absorbed his power when it happened - he probably didn't recognize that it was Ledas, though. He was too weak to challenge Ledas at the time, though, so he wisely attacked Lauto instead.
The fact that he knew a being stole his power, though, allowed for the motivation for The Benefactor to look for and then try to take out Ledas, which, in previous drafts, was not well-written. One of my major edits during the final edits was to improve The Benefactor's motivations (and his character as a whole). What I sought to do was to make them more natural and less idealistic. He's just out to get his energy back, to get revenge on the person who humiliated him. It's a pride thing. It's an emotional thing - and that's why The Benefactor continued on his mission to find Ledas after the Lauto Saga, for such emotions never die. The Benefactor fears his image being lessened, being humiliated. This was also seen in Outbreak.
The Benefactor's life and death struggle in Lauto's cave did not change him though. It did not give him a new perspective on life. This was done to show that death means nothing to him. He's not afraid of dying. He's afraid of feeling pain, though. Mental pain matters more than physical pain. When Lauto brought up the hallucination of TB's mother, that was the thing that really made The Benefactor go after Lauto. He doesn't want to feel mental pain because there's too much there. Since he's the main villain, I also realized that there wouldn't be too many moments of triumph for him, so I allowed him to kill Lauto to give him some glory too. I didn't want the main villain to just always lose in every encounter he was in.
After The Benefactor killed Lauto, I only showed one more scene with him searching for the being who stole his power. That scene was meant to give the readers an idea of what The Benefactor was doing pretty much until he is seen again halfway through the Reunion Saga. I chose not to show his journey at that point because I figured it would be repetitive and boring. The other stuff I did show was later shown in a flashback after his dramatic re-emergence in the Reunion Saga, and that was done to preserve the big moment when he reveals that he's back, that's he's used Guva as bait to draw Ledas to him on Earth. It's just like what a hunter would do. The Benefactor's perspective in life is that of the hunter, who hunts, who takes out weaker beings. This implies he has arrogant world view as well.
The Benefactor doesn't just account for Ledas - he also considers that the Z Fighters could give him some trouble, so he comes up with a plan to deal with them. This is because he knows that he cannot beat SS3 Goku or probably even Ultimate Gohan or Vegeta. That's where the Locke's Ruse technique came into play. I needed a way for him to defeat these stronger opponents, and yet at the same time, get damaged by them to the point where Ledas would be able to defeat a weakened Benefactor. All of this was considered as I plotted out the Reunion Saga - the order the Z Fighters fought in, the way to get Ledas and Vegeta outside of the range of Locke's Ruse so they wouldn't be affected.
The Benefactor's no-bullshit approach to life also can be seen in the Reunion Saga, for he tries not to prolong fights or conversations (remember how he dealt with Guva as soon as the governor lost his use (which itself was a reference to Locke from Lost)). I could have easily had TB vs. the Z Fighters go on for 40 chapters, but DBZ-style pacing is not my style. I want better pacing than that, so TB's personality was developed to make sure that did not happen. At the same time, though, The Benefactor tends to underestimates his foes, and this led to Vegeta's Super Saiyan 3 transformation at the end of the fifth saga, preventing TB from getting to Ledas in that saga.
In the Fulfillment Saga, I wanted to show that The Benefactor was quickly losing patience. This is seen in his fight against Vegeta, which quite frankly, he was lucky to win. And it's also seen with how he fights Ledas, Yajirobe, and Krillin later on. Notice how he does everything very fast - he doesn't pause to gloat or ramble on - he just gets to the point and starts sucking out Ledas' energy. When he realizes that that won't work - that reabsorbing his old energy is causing him an unbelievable amount of pain - that is when The Benefactor becomes unhinged. I needed him to become unhinged so that Ledas would find an opening to take out The Benefactor's eyes. The Benefactor losing his eyes is symbolically related to his role as a hunter/predator.
Inside Verlate's mind prison, The Benefactor does not take crap from Verlate like Ledas does. This is a good place where the divergent personalities of the two can be seen. In the mind prison, I had The Benefactor try to influence Verlate into switching spots with Ledas, not him. He doesn't want to be stuck in the mind prison at any cost - being alone with his thoughts for eternity is a fate worse than death, in The Benefactor's opinion. Notice that just like with Lauto, The Benefactor does not back down against Verlate. He doesn't care about her power or position or place as a former god. He's already killed a god. He's not afraid of anything other than his past.
The Benefactor's fight against Ledas in chapter 9 of the Fulfillment Saga was predicated on the fact that The Benefactor was heavily wounded many times up to that point. Him losing his eyes, losing lots of power in the fights against the Z Fighters, and taking a pounding from Verlate's Lurker were all things I did to weaken The Benefactor just enough so that he would be stronger than SS1 Ledas but weaker than SS2 Ledas. This then allowed me to have The Benefactor dig his own grave in that battle.
The Benefactor easily beats Ledas the first time they fight in Verlate's mind prison. At that point, he knows that he will never see Ledas again if he escapes. He also knows that he cannot get his energy back. So he wants to make Ledas feel pain for humiliating him. And this is The Benefactor's last major error of the story. He wants to make Ledas hurt, mentally and physically, so he boasts about killing his father (he also killed Ledas' grandfather in order for me to make it seem like it's Ledas' destiny to get killed by that Iyxan as well). He also boasts about how cowardly Layeeck was and how Layeeck's "coward blood" runs in Ledas' veins. This is a foolish thing for The Benefactor to say, but from his standpoint, it seems perfectly fine - and indeed, it's well within his personality to do so. No one has made him hurt, physically and emotionally, as much as Ledas has, so TB wants revenge. And revenge never goes as planned. I wanted to show that TB won, that he could have escaped from the mind prison and destroyed the Earth. But he chose not to, in order to satisfy his desires. And that came back to bite him in the end; this is a classic villain trope, one that I was acutely aware of as I wrote Ledas' SS2 transformation scene. There was no coincidence there.
The Benefactor is stuck in the mind prison thereafter, and just before Ledas leaves, TB calls him by his name for the first and only time in TF. That is significant because it shows how shocked The Benefactor is; he's pleading, in his own way - in the only way he can. He doesn't want to be trapped in the mind prison. And yet he is. He loses much like Bojack lost (to the Kais). He wasn't able to be killed, but he was defeated. Ledas could have killed him if he had wanted to, though, but he didn't so that he wouldn't have gotten trapped inside the mind prison himself. I wanted a sense of completion for the story, so TB had to be defeated, but I also wanted to leave open the possibility for The Benefactor to return in a future story.
I considered having TB come back in The Last Saiyan, but I probably won't do that now. Wepeel was never going to be The Benefactor, despite popular belief. He was intended to be the other figure, aside from Ledas, in the prologue of TLS, though. I probably will change that to being someone else, though. In terms of Cold Vengeance, where it appeared that The Benefactor escaped from the mind prison, all I can say is that he probably did, but it's unclear how he could have gotten off the planet. So maybe Ledas killed him when he blew up Niflheim. Who knows. From a literary standpoint, it would be really cool if The Benefactor's life ended in such a sad, random way. It wouldn't be notable at all. But that has its charm to it; there's a certain bit of stark reality in that notion that I like. I am not currently planning on doing anything more with The Benefactor, but I will probably eventually give some closure to his character. Part of the reason I haven't done so already or have had much to say about it here is that I haven't decided what to do to his character. Should he live or die? I don't know. Not yet, anyways. If he does get free, he would want to hunt down Ledas again, and I don't want to rehash that story again, so it does limit what I could do with him if I brought him back. Anyways, I think that success of The Benefactor comes from his ferocity and his willingness to kill his foes any way he can and the way his personality has developed from his horrible childhood, and that's pretty much run its course. So we shall see (or perhaps not) if he ever appears again.
With Zarbon, his role grew a bit in the final edits of TF, but he was never a major character in any version of the story. Zarbon is interesting, though, because his role in the first saga is to mainly be a bit of a bother to The Benefactor. He also functions as the guy who gives Ledas and Prince Vegeta missions, sometimes. To that end, he is written based on how he acted in the Bardock special, in particular. He fawns over Frieza, and yet he hates Prince Vegeta and The Benefactor. He's a remarkably petty and jealous man.
In the final version, it became more clear that the aliens Ledas and Prince Vegeta fight in chapter 6 of the Prince Vegeta Saga are Zarbon's first team. He apparently doesn't know they were going to be used to test the boys, so this angers him greatly when he learns about it. Of course, they all die, so Zarbon blames The Benefactor for that. Zarbon is crucial in helping Frieza see that The Benefactor is dangerous and is a big reason why Frieza ultimately "executes" the alien. So even though The Benefactor gets the better of Zarbon at first, he does get Zarbon a new team (who are then used in the earliest saga of Hyper Zergling's fanon). He tries to amend things with Zarbon, but Zarbon will have none of that. He hates TB; he's jealous that TB is stronger than him and may be gaining Frieza's favor. So he does everything he can to quell that relationship. He ultimately succeeds, though it's not his doing. Zarbon's role in TB's fall was severely reduced in the final version of this story, and I did that mainly because I didn't think Zarbon should have much power over The Benefactor, physically speaking. It's fine if he has power over him in other ways, though, and that's how I changed his character in the final draft.
In Outbreak, Zarbon is quite jealous of the unnamed captain, just as he is jealous of The Benefactor in the first saga. Zarbon's jealousy gets the other captain killed and helps get him promoted. This, however, leads to Frieza finding The Benefactor, so that doesn't exactly go good for Zarbon. What I really wanted to portray with Zarbon in Outbreak was how petty and vain he was, not to mention the sheer level of desperation he has with nearly every action he takes. I'm not fond of Zarbon, so I did focus more on his negative attributes, but everything I did with him in Outbreak and in the Prince Vegeta Saga was based on and is accurate to his canon personality.
I originally came up with Lascon, then named Noscal, for the early drafts of the Reunion Saga, where he would be featured in a flashback chapter helping Prince Vegeta and Ledas become conscious in their Great Ape forms. His role was similar to Nappa's and Layeeck's, though it was slightly different because he is not as insane as either of those two. Now Nappa and Layeeck have some problems, in different ways, but I won't be going into that here. Lascon is steadfast; he doesn't let his emotions guide him. He's a very straightforward teacher and this distinction allows him to impact Ledas in a different way than the aforementioned men. He's a more mature version of Layeeck (and also Nappa), with more experience and more to teach Ledas. It's also worth noting that even in the Reunion Saga flashback, he seemed to connect better with Ledas than Layeeck did. They had a better relationship because of Lascon's personality. As well, Lascon had a nice relationship with Layeeck in that flashback, where he played the role of the parent to his son. It's one of the few times where Layeeck's madness and egotism was checked by someone above him, so Lascon fills many roles and purposes in TF, even though he's only in featured in three scenes in the entire story.
I later added Lascon to the Prince Vegeta Saga as I did the final edits for that saga. He had basically just one scene with Ledas, which was a fight scene. This scene set up the flashback scene in the Reunion Saga, but more importantly, I used this scene to teach Ledas a lot about fighting. Lascon is a knowledgeable dude, so this allowed me to give Ledas some good battle info without making him a Stu. Lascon teaches him to not underestimate his opponents (for Ledas did that in their battle and lost to his grandfather, even though Lascon was much weaker than him), and this is a lesson that stays with Ledas for the rest of the story. It helps him develop his fighting form, his fighting philosophy and his personality. So the single scene with Lascon helps Ledas grow to a tremendous degree, and that's all because I portrayed Lascon as this knowledgeable and calm but stern individual. He breaks the mold of being a Saiyan somewhat, but his foundation of battle knowledge is certainly Saiyan-like and quite beneficial for his grandson.
Lascon's name is a pun on "scallion". He was originally named "Noscal" by Destructivedisk, but after some time, I flipped the name (almost completely) and called him "Lascon" because I wanted all of the males in Ledas' bloodline to have their names start with "L".
So with these guys, my influence from the anime is evident in how they talk, particularly with Layeeck's team seen in chapter 2 of the Prince Vegeta Saga. How the soldiers talk, how they interact with the main characters, was all written basically to mimic how lesser PTO characters interacted with one another and with others in canon. Layeeck's team in particular is interesting, for they were based on Bardock's team to a degree. All of these characters fulfilled roles on their own - they don't exist just to exist - and yet, their main purposes are to characterize the main characters. This is seen with how Layeeck's team comments on how Ledas performs on his first mission. Of course, for them in particular, there would be no reason not to have them - it's more logical to have them, actually. It softens the interactions between Ledas and Layeeck, having others there.
For lesser soldiers who are not Saiyans, there are not too many of them, so I won't be devoting too much time to them. These soldiers are mainly seen, but not heard, in this saga. This was not something I did on purpose - for the lesser characters have far more to say in Cooler's region - it's just how it turned out. One character I want to mention is the Saiyan Pod Commander, whose purpose is to try to reign in Ledas' attempt to just do whatever he wants. In the first saga, Ledas kills the Saiyan Pod Commander for annoying him, and this leads up to him being basically enslaved in the next few sagas. The Saiyan Pod Commander is a stern authoritative figure, but he was not strong enough to actually subdue Ledas, which characters in the second and third sagas were able to do.
Additionally, there was an alien captain in Outbreak who was a bit of a rival to Zarbon. I based him on the various Frieza soldiers seen in the Namek arc, who tried to over-exert themselves, which led to their deaths at Frieza's hands. That guy was textbook Frieza soldier. Zarbon's team in chapter 6 of the first saga were based on Dodoria's team in the Bardock special, to a degree. They were rough, arrogant, and loud, which is how many villains in DB and DBZ often are. So they were pretty standard.
Nothing really new with these characters. They function much as Frieza's soldiers did. There is a bit of a difference though, since the stuff in Cooler's region take place on military outposts. Because of that, soldiers were more common in Cooler's region - in the Prince Vegeta Saga, there weren't really too many soldiers fighting alongside the protagonists (or against them). That was changed in the second and third sagas, with many more regular soldiers being featured. They still rarely had dialogue, though. Their main purpose was to provide entertainment in fight sequences and add some unexpected wrinkles to how those fights played out.
There were two times where I really had soldiers shine, though. The first was in the opening sequence of the Lauto Saga with all of those soldiers watching Ledas' space pod land on Planet Cooler 92. The dialogue in that section was based on the dialogue of various Frieza soldiers post-Saiyan Saga (but before anyone got to Namek). The second scene was during the trek to Lauto's planet. Admittedly, the soldiers having so much dialogue in chapter 11 of the second saga is because that was written in the first draft of TF, back in 2010, and wasn't changed much in subsequent drafts. Had I written that chapter from scratch now, I might not have had the soldiers speak so much. Them speaking does build up the suspense of the chapter, and it does give the whole place an eerie feel to it. I'm sure this was based on the early sequences of the movie Aliens, though I didn't realize that influence on me at the time of writing the scene. Again, much like the Frieza soldiers (and really any group of minor characters), these soldiers do not have arcs - they are there to serve the plot and tone of the story (like condiments in a meal) more so than the more important characters. They are treated with much less care, because they are expendable. They aren't given character arcs because that would ruin the pacing of the story.
In the Stomping Grounds Saga, this is much the same, though the soldiers in that saga are better warriors than those featured in the previous two sagas. So that led me to have more elaborate battle sequences with them, but that is the only thing about them that is distinct.
Payar is a strange character, and I'm not sure where the inspiration for him came from. As I have mentioned elsewhere, he's a character I can't visualize. I can pretty much visualize (roughly) what every other character in TF looks like. I do not have a good idea of what this dude looks like, in my mind's eye. A shorter version of Neiz is probably the closest possible look, although even that is not very accurate. Anyway, Payar is quite the unique guy. I knew even when I was forming the character list for TF (before writing any of the story) that I wanted one PTO soldier who could not use ki attacks. I wanted each Plantain to be unique, and so this was Payar's main thing. Of course, his personality and appearance is also unique, but his inability to use ki attacks is a defining trait. That fact gives Payar a subtle inferiority complex around those who can use ki attacks.
So Payar's sadistic tendencies developed around the early themes related to Planet Cooler 92's native species. Originally, there was an extended arc in the Lauto Saga about them and Ledas trying to free them (themes of colonialism, the "One vs. Other" debate, and stuff like that being centerfold in that plot). Payar being so cruel with them helped Ledas see the injustice of their position, see how he's not better off than them, and use his own agency and power to free them and himself. In the final draft of TF, this plot was mostly removed, though I kept Payar's sadism. It felt right for his character, and I didn't want to re-write him.
As he exists now, his bloodthirsty ways are used for other purposes, thematically and for the plot. But it's not just random that he is so cold-hearted. I worked it into the plot and themes of the story. For example, the way Payar treats Ledas in the latter half of the Lauto Saga really furthers the idea of Ledas seeing himself as no better than a slave and wanting to gain his freedom. This leads to an interesting confrontation in Lauto's cave between the two, with Payar's status for 10 chapters after that being left in doubt (the way the story's plot unfolded, Payar's anger at not being the captain of The Plantains and what that meant for the relationship he had with his governor is not resolved on-screen, and that leaves much of Payar's character arc and the resolution of his conflict with Guva up to the readers' imaginations). Again, this was me trying to differentiate the various Plantain members. I wanted them to be unique and distinguishable. They could not have the same exact history or personality. One of the more successful aspects of the Ginyu Force was that they were all so unique. And so I tried that with Payar. He certainly has the oddest arc of any of the Plantains, and this is reinforced by how he dies.
Payar also holds a grudge with Ledas from the start of the Lauto Saga and is particularly mean to the boy for as long as they are together. I put this into the story to add some interesting character dynamics and keep the drama constant on PC92. I never wanted there to be a sense of downtime on that planet. Ledas' safety - his well-being - had to always be in flux, and his rivalry with Payar was one of many ways I did that. Additionally, though the two do not get along well, Payar does act as a sort of teacher to Ledas. The way he teaches the boy is much different than the way Lieme does so, though. It's also interesting that Payar is a medic (this is shown in chapter 3 of the Lauto Saga), given his bloodthirsty inclinations and desire to kill many natives all the time. Him saving Ledas in chapter 3 of the Lauto Saga is quite the ironic moment, I must say.
Now the final thing of interest as it relates to Payar is that he has a weird relationship with Guva. Guva and him both like the gladiator matches and like seeing the natives die and get tortured. Yet, Guva miscalculated how loyal Payar was to him, so when he named Lieme the new captain of The Plantains after Banas was suspended, Payar's mood changed. He became much quieter, much more filled with rage. He was much more dangerous in the latter half of the Lauto Saga because of this. That is a big reason why his fight with Ledas on Lauto's planet broke out - it probably wouldn't have had Payar been the captain. But he felt betrayed. He is weaker than Lieme, and not as intelligent, and he can't use ki, so it's easy to understand why Guva promoted Lieme instead. Still, Payar took that as a slight, and that says a lot about his personality: he is prideful, insecure, desirous of agency, just like so many others. He may be a maniac and a genocider by nature, but at the same time, he shares many personality traits with others. The condition of trying to live and trying to deal with pain is universal, and that's what I was trying to show with Payar.
And I should also mention that Payar is killed in a very interesting way. Ledas mortally wounds him and then presents him to the PC92 natives, who then proceed to brutally murder Payar. This is perhaps the last bit of justice for the natives, the last hint of a plot for them resulting in their freedom. Now, they aren't freed anymore in the final version of TF, but being allowed to kill their chief tormentor like they do is perhaps a small comfort. Payar was always killed like this in all versions of TF, but with the removed natives' plotline in the final version, that gives this last scene between Ledas and the natives more weight. It's a conflicted scene, a complex scene, and not one that leads to full resolution for the natives. They do get their revenge, but in the end, they are not set free, and this leads to their disastrous revolt, which takes place between the third and fourth sagas. It's more brutal this way, but more realistic, and Payar's death is tonally in-line with his character arc and the themes of revenge and agency in TF. I have a high sense of justice, perhaps to a fault, and Payar's death was my own moral viewpoint influencing the plot and character arc of this alien in a specific way.
Payar's name is a pun on "papaya".
Meloon was based on both Dodoria and Recoome. I wanted him to be slow and stupid, but powerful. He fulfills the role of the big, fat, slow, clumsy guy on The Plantains, which is a team slightly based on the Ginyu Force. He's archetypal in that sense - pretty much every saga of DB and DBZ has a warrior like Meloon. And, in DB/DBZ tradition, Meloon isn't as strong as he appears (he's the weakest Plantain). There wasn't a lot to Meloon in terms of personality. He presented a physical challenge to Ledas from the start of the Lauto Saga. He's symbolic of the PTO threat that the boy has to eventually deal with. One of the cool things about Meloon is that he serves as reference point for Ledas' growing strength. As he fights Ledas several times in the second and third sagas, this allowed me to show how Ledas gets stronger and stronger in each fight, until, in the final one, he easily dominates and kills Meloon.
Meloon's actual personality was left deliberately underdeveloped, when compared to all other named PTO soldiers on Planet Cooler 92. His big thing is that he likes to fight. He also likes to eat and likes to overestimate himself and underestimate his foes (this allows Ledas to use what his grandfather taught him when he fights Meloon in their two major fights of the Lauto Saga). Another thing I added in during the final edits was showing how he has to inject himself with a chemical solution every now and then to help his breathing. This gave him a unique, alien appearance that I am quite happy with.
Ledas' arc, in relation to Meloon, is one of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. At the start of the Lauto Saga, Meloon looms as this hulking, scary beast - one that Ledas has no hope of besting. And so when Ledas, after all his years of training, finally does overcome Meloon, that is a great, satisfying moment of character development for him. Meloon's death (and really, all of The Plantains') was based on this scene from the movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (particularly the moment where Sam takes on and defeats those Uruk-hai in an emotional moment of willpower and bravery).
Meloon's name is a pun on "melon". I specifically used that fruit for Meloon because a melon is big and round and Meloon is big and fat. I actually considered having Meloon be the name of the Payar character in the very earliest stages of TF, but once I realized that a melon gives a sense of a fat thing, I made Meloon the name of the big fat member of The Plantains.
Aprido was created simply because I love Appule from DBZ and wanted another alien of that species for my own story. Originally, in the very earliest concepts of TF, I considered giving Ledas 10 Cui-race aliens and 10 Appule-race aliens to be his warriors. That was pretty much abandoned by the time I began to seriously plot out the story, though Aprido is the last remnant of that idea. He's a unique alien on Planet Cooler 92, because he's stronger than the regular soldiers, but he cannot compare to Ledas, Guva, or The Plantains. He's in that middle ground with perhaps a few others (though no one else of Aprido's level is shown in the story).
I developed Aprido's character on instinct. He has an inferiority complex and doesn't get along well with Ledas, yet he lives in the same room with the boy. There is a bit of a rivalry between them, though it is mostly Aprido's doing. For the final edits of TF, I focused Aprido's character more on Ledas, and pretty much every scene he's in has him trying to fuck up Ledas somehow. The last scene, of course, in the Stomping Grounds, leads to Aprido's death and Ledas' Super Saiyan transformation. And while Aprido is petty and vain and jealous, he's not a horrible person. He does kill the natives on occasion, but in terms of the various people on Planet Cooler 92, he's one of the more tame ones.
In the Stomping Grounds Saga, I developed an idea that he would want to replace Ledas' position on The Plantains, but he lacked the power to do so. For all of the years that Ledas had been gone, Aprido had been trying to get stronger and trying to get on that illustrious team for glory's sake. He was never successful, so when Ledas returned to the outpost, he became horrified that the boy was going to take the one thing that he was working towards. Taking that into account, Aprido's actions in that saga are rather straightforward and understandable.
It is interesting though that Banas valued Aprido - he didn't want Ledas to kill him under any circumstances, and when Ledas did, that was enough to make Banas want to kill the Saiyan boy. It's quite interesting, considering the fact that Aprido was never strong enough to get a spot on The Plantains, but he was able to endear Banas to him. This implies that Aprido has some other worth to the captain. That was more apparent in the earlier drafts of TF, but even in the final draft, it is somewhat clear that Aprido was working as a spy and/or scout for Banas, helping the captain watch Guva and learn about the conspiracies and gossip permeating through the outpost. So while Aprido had worth to the outpost and to various characters in this story, his role was highly complicated and a bit contradictory.
Aprido's name is a pun on "apricot".
Banas was created to be a bit like Captain Ginyu, although the comedy involving him is a bit more in my style instead of Toriyama's. He's cheeky, irreverent, casual, and lazy - all things I value in a leader. Early in the process of creating TF I came up with the idea that Banas and Guva would have conflict - and this fueled much of the plot of the Lauto Saga. Of course, I considered this to be like King Vegeta's plot in the first saga. At the time I originally created Banas and Guva, I did not know where their conflict would take them, but I soon got an idea for that as I began to write out scenes for the Lauto Saga.
So early in the creation of Banas, I was considering making either him or Guva female. But after I developed their rivalry a bit, I realized that there would be sexual implications in their rivalry if one of them was female, and I didn't want that. So they were both made males as a result. Banas in particular was based on my own sense of comedy and my distaste for authoritative figures ruling my life. He's the anti-PTO officer, to many degrees. Part of this was based on the fact that Banas is located on a distant PTO outpost, and thus his "professionalism" at the edge of the empire is not required as much as it would be in a world closer to the center of Cooler's empire. Banas' struggle is that of the individual against society, to a degree, and that was an interesting struggle to portray from his perspective, not Ledas'. Banas is part of the establishment he is annoyed so much by.
Banas does have an inferiority complex, and he struggles with the fact that Guva is the governor of Planet Cooler 92, not him. This is particularly seen in the early section of the Lauto Saga, or when Banas faces off against the rebels in chapter 8 of the Lauto Saga (when he calls PC92 his planet). He desperately wanted to be the governor, but since he's weaker than Guva and lost out to Guva in the trials to win the governorship of the planet, he does have some resentment.
Banas' backstory with Guva was more pronounced in previous versions of TF, with flashbacks to before Ledas arrived on the planet and more scenes with the two of them. There was also a planned special to show Guva's and Banas' struggles to win the governorship of Planet Cooler 92. That special was deleted, as were most of the flashbacks with the two and some of their scenes together. The thing I tried to do with Banas and Guva's relationship in the final version of the story was to portray it subtly, leaving much to the readers' imaginations. Their relationship is portrayed in gentle strokes now, as opposed to the poorly-written, heavy-handedness of the early drafts. Every scene they are in together now has more weight, because there are fewer such scenes.
So Banas' big thing is his friendship with Guva; this also has certain parallels to Ledas' friendship with Prince Vegeta, thematically. Banas considers Guva his friend, and perhaps Guva did at once - they certainly had a past together that hints at that. But the past is not the important part. It's the contrast between the past and the present, shown solely from the perspective of the present, that is important. Guva, as of this story, does not consider Banas his friend. He doesn't like the dude anymore. This is a stunning deterioration of their friendship, for Guva originally chose to make Banas his installation captain after becoming governor of the planet. He didn't have to do that, but he chose to do it. Now, he would like nothing more than Banas to die. This is tied to Guva's own personality and his growing paranoia. Guva becomes scared that Banas wants to kill him and take over the planet, which of course is not true (though Banas resents not being the governor, he would never kill Guva to take over the role - that's just not the kind of guy he is). This paranoia and the political maneuvering of the two as a result of Guva's belief is a major plot point in the Lauto Saga, and also in the last three chapters of the Stomping Grounds Saga. A lot of this stuff was just me having fun with the characters, doing what I wanted to do. However, after I developed this rift between the two, knowing that I could have all this paranoia and conspiracy stuff going on, I developed the plot around it.
Banas is closer to Ledas, even though Ledas prefers Guva, because Ledas was put on his team. So Ledas develops his fighting form more based on Banas. I formed Banas' fighting form, with his razor blasts and random fighting style so that I could have Ledas use aspects of that as he grows as a fighter himself. This of course is contrasted by Guva's calm, elegant fighting style.
Banas' plot arc was mostly improvised - him getting removed as the captain after it comes out that he met with rebels many years earlier and later orchestrating the plot to frame Ledas for his supposed misdeeds was all improvised based upon his character. I like to develop plot based on the natural unfolding of a character's motives, and that should be very apparent with Banas. Like his personality, Banas' plot is random, unexpected, and a bit humorous.
Banas' relationship with Guva takes a dark turn once he learns that Guva was trying to use Ledas and some of The Plantains to kill him. At that point, Banas finally accepts what he had not believed could possibly be true - that Guva is no longer his friend. Thus, his fight with Guva in the Stomping Grounds Saga as well as their conflicts in the Planet Earth Saga, is more than just an existential conflict - it's one built around their lost friendship. I wrote Banas to want to rekindle that friendship in PES. He went into that saga hoping that the two could become friends again, hoping that if he beat Guva, things would return to how they were. Unfortunately, that never happened, and he died in the ensuing battle. That is thematically significant in and of itself - the good guy or the good idea does not always rule the day.
Still, it is important to note that Banas goes out like a hero, in some sense. He goes out optimistic and happy that he still considers Guva a friend. Guva is villainized by killing Banas, even though both of them were villainous forces in previous sagas (to Ledas, specifically). Guva's death, of course, is contrasted by Banas' - Banas goes out like a man and retains his honor in death, while Guva decays and dies pathetically. So even though Guva beats him, Banas gets the last laugh. Banas is the more complex character of the two - his moral compass can point any direction on any given day - but in the end, he dies more like a traditional hero.
Banas' name is a pun on "banana". As a note, the fighting force he leads, The Plantains, is also related to this pun.
Like the other members of The Plantains, Lieme fulfills a vague archetype. He's the "brainiac" of The Plantains. He has a distinct way of speaking that was influenced by Jun from Halo: Reach. I wanted Lieme to be very different from Meloon and Payar. Both of those two aren't very smart and are driven by their desires (though Payar is smarter than Meloon and is more obsessive). Lieme was going to be unlike them, to make him unique. He was going to be hyper-intelligent. Now, it's quite hard to write hyper-intelligence, so I had to be very careful with his dialogue. Notably, Lieme makes many observations in his dialogue, and this observational awareness is what I consider to the basis of any intelligent being (this idea, related to awareness, is also seen in Spindlerun: The Tale of Yajirobe). Much of his intelligence is based on awareness, though some of it is understated in his actions and dialogue.
The big thing with Lieme is that he can sense power levels and can raise and lower his power level at will. Early in the conceptualization of TF, I realized I needed a way for Ledas to learn how to sense power levels - scouters just wouldn't do beyond the first saga or so. Even from this early point, I realized that just giving Ledas the ability to sense power levels felt cheap. I didn't really know about Gary Stus when I came up with Lieme, but his effect is, in essence, a counter to a Gary Stu move. He teaches Ledas how to sense energy in a logical, fluid way so that Ledas earns this new ability. He isn't just given it. Ledas' adaptability as a Saiyan (based in part on his Zenkai ability) allowed him to quickly surpass Lieme, in terms of quickly lowering and raising his power level, though.
Lieme is also a character who assists others, like Banas and Guva, with a logical perspective on things. He is the most logical being in TF, so his advice is invaluable to them. Considering how irrational and emotionally-driven the characters in TF can be, Lieme is quite the voice of clarity... to an extent. He still has his own biases. He is threatened by Ledas' rising power level and by the boy's growing battle intellect. He is disturbed by what goes on on Lauto's planet, and also might've talked with Lenomi telepathically about Ledas. So there are some things about Lieme that make him not that straightforward of a character. He has internal contradictions, which makes him more realistic.
Still, there's an air about him that distances Lieme from the others. He has odd interactions with everyone, even Banas and Guva. He treats them, subtly, like they are his inferiors, even if he does show them lots of respect. He doesn't seem to really care about the gladiator matches, and the politics of the planet don't really concern him (notice how he doesn't seem to say anything about being named temporary captain by Guva, whereas Payar can't shut up about that; this is also seen when he refuses to stand down when Guva orders him to in chapter 12 of the Stomping Grounds Saga - politics and authority figures don't matter to him much - he does what he wants to do). It is notable that such a character is the one who connects with Ledas the most - even though Ledas doesn't really get along with anyone on Planet Cooler 92, he does get some inadvertent training from Lieme. Lieme isn't as hostile to Ledas as everyone else is. That is a consequence of Lieme's personality and of course the need for him to teach Ledas how to sense energy (that's pretty much the whole reason I created him, but after he was created, I then expanded his character and gave him an arc and made him thematically relevant and all that jazz (or so I hope)).
There are two other things I want to mention: one, Lieme's death was culmination of his character arc, just as it was for the other Plantains - the way he dies is the resolution of his character, so the way he dies should give a hint as to what the resolution is (as well as the build up to it); two, I'd like to think that Lieme only got to be temporary captain of The Plantains because he was secretly Guva's lover. Can't confirm that, though it's an intriguing thought I've had since the final edits of the Lauto Saga, where I saw a possibility for such. It was never written or expanded upon in the text of TF, but it's not like it couldn't have happened. I never wrote a deleted scene featuring them because that's gross as fuck, but I'm sure they could've been the subjects of such a scene had I really wanted to go down that path. As it stands, it's just vague why Guva chose Lieme to be the temporary captain instead of Payar (though, as I mentioned in Payar's section above, there are logical arguments for Lieme being picked), and I doubt I will ever get any more specific than that, as it doesn't interest me to.
Lieme's name is a pun on "lime". Incidentally enough, his skin color and general appearance were based on the fact that I used that fruit to pun his name on. Had I used a different fruit, he would have looked markedly different.
Guva is a traditionalist PTO soldier, similar to Zarbon or Cui. He has a certain elegance to him that was based on my own sense of quality - I specifically made his sense of elegance different from Zarbon's (which I don't consider to be that notable). Guva was always going to the be the ruler of Planet Cooler 92, even when I just had a list of names for the various PTO soldiers - the name itself seems like the name of the guy who rules the place, in my opinion. When I originally created Guva, I wanted him to be a Cooler-like force, albeit with less authority and power and presence.
I won't talk about the "Rise of Guva" special that was deleted or the flashback scenes in older versions of the Lauto Saga too much here, as I touched on most of that stuff in Banas' section above. The one thing I do want to mention about it, though, was that in those flashbacks and in that special, I was going to portray Guva as being more carefree, more chummy with Banas. He was happier then. Becoming governor, despite being a desire of his, is not something that positively impacted his personality and emotions.
As I mentioned in earlier sections, I briefly considered making Guva a girl, but after realizing that I was going to go all-in with his conflict with Banas, I decided against it, for I didn't want their rivalry/friendship to be sexual in nature. I developed the two to have pretty much opposite personalities so that their conflicting ways would be more apparent and easier to write. Banas is carefree, random, and irreverent. Guva is calm, elegant, traditional, and no fun. He was slightly based on the old 1950s archetype of these stuck up rich dudes who have lots of political power and are elitist as fuck. Of course, Guva's power is not just political - he is physically the strongest being on Planet Cooler 92 until chapter 9 of the Stomping Grounds Saga.
Guva was meant to be a contrast to Banas as a teacher to Ledas, as well. He teaches Ledas conflicting fighting philosophies and life lessons, compared to Banas. He also is the one who forces Ledas to take part in the conspiracy to kill Banas. Guva erroneously thinks that Banas wants to kill him and become the new governor of Planet Cooler 92 - while Banas would like to be governor and resents that he lost that title to Guva, he would never kill Guva for it. The fact that Guva doesn't know this shows how little he knows about his former friend. Guva's paranoia is definitely a knock against him. I wanted to show, subtly, how his paranoia is not based in reality and how this reflects on Guva's own sense of jealous and inner fears.
So Guva was this looming presence in the Lauto Saga. I held back with him, never having him fight until the rebels come to the planet. Then, he effortlessly defeats them, showcasing just how strong he is to The Plantains and Ledas (who struggled to fight off the rebels). Like Cooler and Frieza, Guva's power is vague, though it is accepted that he is unbelievably strong. He doesn't fight, he doesn't spoil his image, like Banas does. He only reveals his power in rare circumstances, resulting in awesome, dramatic displays of power. Restraint is the key with Guva, both in personality and execution as it relates to plot - at least in the first two sagas he's in.
Guva somewhat takes on a "father" figure for Ledas while the boy is on Planet Cooler 92. This greatly influences Ledas' fighting style and a bit of his development as a person as well. Note that after he leaves PC92, he keeps Guva's left arm guard with him. This is a physical reminder of his time on PC92, though it has symbolic meaning as it relates to their relationship too.
Guva is a static character in the Lauto Saga, but he breaks the mold in the Stomping Grounds Saga (very few characters are static in one saga and dynamic in others - it's usually one or the other for their entire time in the story) when he saves Ledas from Digranite. Guva does a risky move there, and it pays off for him down the road. This is the first evolution of his character. It's the first hint that maybe he can change. So he commits treason to save Ledas, and this is greatly ironic and hypocritical on Guva's part (he suspended Banas because of suspected treason - which wasn't even true! - and yet he commits actual treason in the Stomping Grounds Saga).
Guva of course is irrational. For all of his elegance and restraint, his hatred and fear of Banas is irrational. Thematically, I wanted to show how irrationality can drive stuff - notice how Guva's desire to kill Banas forces much of the last three chapters of SGS to happen. Banas' rationality and Ledas' rationality did not force this stuff to happen. It was primarily Guva's irrationality. And when we let the madmen be in charge, many bad things will happen. That is what I wanted to show with Guva's character at that point.
Guva's later battle with Banas in the Planet Earth Saga is focused on symbolism and thematic stuff, as I mentioned in Banas' section above this one. I won't repeat most of what I said there. As it relates to Guva, that fight is illustrative of how unaware of things he is. He didn't know that Banas still considered him a friend, wanted to rekindle their friendship. When he kills Banas in cold blood, that really makes Guva fall. It's interesting, since both of them have gone from being the villain to the hero (and in Guva's case, back to the villain). This is emblematic of me portraying the characters as grey characters - not defined black-or-white guys. Realistically, they both have good and bad things about them. Although, I must say Guva killing Banas after Banas says that he still considers Guva his friend is quite horrible. Though Guva won that fight (he had to, as he was physically stronger than Banas throughout TF), he lost in the end. I wanted Banas to go out nobly. Guva does not.
Immediately after the fight, he is captured by The Benefactor, and that begins the slow descent into madness for him. Guva becomes his slave to highlight his fall. He was once a powerful governor, but he loses all of his soldiers, the worth of his outpost, and his own freedom, after he kills Banas. It is no accident that after he completes his life's goal, his life collapses. I tried very hard to show how pathetic he's become in the Reunion Saga - even his death is pathetic. He's this major character, and yet his death is out-of-the-way, and written pretty much only to re-introduce The Benefactor. Notice how Banas' death (and most major characters' deaths) was the focus of the last chapter he was in, whereas Guva's death was not. Guva dies as the slave he tried to make Ledas into as Ledas watches him, as a free person.
Lastly, it is significant that in the Planet Earth Saga and Reunion Saga, Guva is physically wrecked in the fights he takes part in. This is a contrast from his clean, distant image in the Lauto Saga, where he refused to get involved in fights. He was once very noble and powerful, but him getting involved in so many fights, as well as getting heavily wounded in all of them, highlights his fall. As well, the fact that Guva is basically defeated by Yamcha and Chiaotzu and Tien in the Reunion Saga highlights how pathetic he is, since they are the three weakest Z Fighters (by far).
Guva's name is a pun on "guava". Part of the reason I chose him to be the leader of PC92 is because I love guavas.
Cooler serves much the same role in saga 2 that Frieza did in saga 1, though Cooler is more laid-back than his brother. He has the same threatening persona, but he's a cooler dude. He has more awareness of how he can induce fear in others and seems to savor how he can subtly troll them. This is seen in chapter 2 of the Lauto Saga. I was very deliberate with his dialogue, and his line "tell me governor" is one I've had with me since the earliest point of TF. It's something that he would say and I built his entire scene with Guva around that quote alone.
In the Stomping Grounds Saga, I expanded Cooler's role during the final edits just because I thought it would be cool for Ledas to fight him. Of course, this was a bit difficult since Cooler is so much more powerful than Ledas at that time, but I found a way to make it work. During this scene, I continued on the earlier theme of having Cooler be very deliberate with his movements and be very "cool". That is seen with how he finds Ledas in chapter 2 of the third saga. I based his personality on how he acts in his canon movie, and I didn't deviate from that too much. Like Frieza, Cooler is a static character. The way he deals with the PTO rebellion, though, is interesting. It seems to be wearing on him, and the way he pursues Ledas (and even has Ledas come to the stomping grounds) shows that he's desperate to get this rebellion over with. He's scared for the future of the PTO. This is subtly portrayed in this story, though it is far more overt in my other story, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Planet Trade Organization (the PTO rebellion is finally defeated in chapter 17 of that story's first volume).
One thing I tried to do with the rebels was to show how they aren't much different from the regular PTO soldiers. Their dialogue, mannerisms, and fighting styles are all pretty much the same as the PTO soldiers'. Indeed, I didn't change much of anything when I wrote for them. The only difference is that these guys don't want to be slaves anymore. To that end, they are the most enlightened of the soldiers, though they die as easily as any of the loyal ones. Thematically, that contrast is important. I had fun with them in chapter 3 of the Lauto Saga, where several soldiers have an extended conversation with Banas. Those guys served a foreshadowing role as well as an expositionary one. They were not developed on their own, since they are so minor and that's not important for the story. As such, minor characters in general (and these guys in chapter 3 of LS are the best example of that) serve to move the plot forward, without an emphasis on character development.
In the original two versions of TF, Lauto was a mysterious presence. Almost nothing was known about him, and indeed, I myself knew very little about him. I didn't know what or who he was, and his reasons for giving Ledas power (or, in the case of the 2012 draft, The Benefactor's power) was not well-thought out. So during the final edits I sought to create a distinct character for Lauto. What immediately came to my mind was that he could be a fallen Supreme Kai. This was slightly based on SSWerty's story, Dragon Ball ST: Origins of Serroli. But for the most part I just wanted to write about a Kai, and the idea of it got me thinking and got me excited, and thus Lauto was born.
I came up with an extensive backstory for Lauto, some of which is in KidVegeta's Theogony: From Silence to the Greater Kais and some of which is presented in TF based merely on my own fancies. I didn't base Lauto on anyone or anything in particular. The idea of this fallen, powerful god-like being works well to foreshadow Verlate and also serves the themes of this story quite well. Lauto is actually quite a bit like Verlate - the extent of his villainy is vague, and it's not clear if he is truly bad. He needs to get a new body to live, so can you blame him for wanting to continue to persist? Everyone's goal in life, primarily, is to remain alive. However, he does subvert another being to do so, which is villainous.
The cool thing about Lauto is that he's a villain in conflict with another villain. His stuff with TB makes it hard to pick sides, since both of them are bad dudes who want to do bad things (maybe). Their struggle is as much a physical one as it is a philosophical one. With Lauto, I wanted to show that I could quickly and carefully construct a complex character. His monologues reveal much about his past and what kind of person he is; this is pretty much the same idea I used for quickly characterizing Verlate, too. And he has all these thoughts and actions that show that he's not entirely good, not entirely bad. He's out for himself. Depending on one's moral views, that's can be a good or a bad thing.
Lauto is also quite elitist, even after he's defeated by The Benefactor. The way his hallucinations turned on him at the end was also done to give him a little more backstory in a unique way. The fact that he was the last Grand Supreme Kai to be demoted before Majin Buu appeared is a cool little tidbit that actually says a lot about his character. He's like Verlate and the Daman to an extent - they tried to play at being gods, though Lauto took it to an extreme. I certainly considered the parallel between the Daman and the Kais (specifically Lauto) during the final edits, when I made Lauto into who he is now. The past repeats itself, and people never change. These two ideas were important building blocks for Lauto's character.
Lauto's name is a pun on "old man" or something similar (perhaps even wizard or magician) in Japanese or Chinese. I can't find the word I punned his name on, but I'm pretty sure it was based on one of those aforementioned words.
As I've mentioned several times already, the stuff with the Planet Cooler 92 natives in the Lauto Saga was once one of the most important plotlines of the story. I changed that during the final edits, reducing the natives' role in the story significantly because I didn't like how their stuff was in previous versions of TF. However, the role of the natives is not tremendously different now than it was back when they were in a lot more chapters. Basically, the natives are slaves to the PTO, and they lack the power to defend themselves from the cruelty of those aliens, particularly Payar. Part of Ledas' arc in the Lauto Saga is him realizing that he's a slave just like them, and this makes him both sad and angry. These characters are pretty much faceless, and they have symbolic worth instead of individualistic worth within the confines of the story.
Nothing goes good for the natives, just as very little goes good for Ledas - though I would say Ledas has it much easier on PC92 than the natives do. There are moral grey areas with them, such as when Ledas has to fight them in the gladiator match, when he chooses to kill Aprido for killing some, when he eventually goes Super Saiyan at the goading of Payar... all of this is basically written to make the original themes on colonialism, agency, and individuality more nuanced in the final story. These themes existed in the previous versions of TF, but they took up too many words in those versions. I streamlined the plot and themes as it relates to the native in the final version of TF, and thus the natives' arc is actually still quite similar to how it originally was, even though everything is portrayed more subtly.
Another thing of note is that Ledas doesn't save the natives. In previous versions, I considered doing that, but in the final version, it is specifically noted that he does not save them. He does kill The Plantains and leaves Banas for dead, but he leaves Guva and the regular soldiers for the natives to deal with. He doesn't seem interested in helping them find the personal liberation he sought himself. This is part of Ledas' arc and his portrayal as a grey character (he's not good or evil, but he does do both good and bad things). The natives later rebel, and they actually win because of their overwhelming numbers. They manage to kill all soldiers on PC92 aside from Guva, and when Guva finds out, he basically eradicates them (though a very small population of them persisted beyond the end of TF, though they may go extinct some time after the story's end, due to how low their numbers were). The natives are one of the "the forgotten" because of how they are treated by all characters in TF and how their arc concludes.
I don't remember exactly how I got the ideas for these guys, but I remember that once I had the idea, I was very excited. These Saibamen were essentially like Pokemon for Ledas - a little more intelligent and dangerous than mere pets. And that seemed really cool to me. It would give him a small measure of comfort on PC92 for the short while he had them while he was on that planet. They were his only friends there, so Ledas bonded with them well. It's no accident that only he out of all of The Plantains had his Saibamen survive the battle against the rebels on the vanadium mining facility. He saw value in them to give him comfort at his loneliest point. So beyond the mere coolness of him having pet Saibamen, Ledas did use the Saibamen to comfort him and to grow as a character. It's telling that he treated them well, despite how he was being treated by those above him. It is thematically significant that the training "devices" Ledas and Prince Vegeta used in the Prince Vegeta Saga, which they did not care about very much and killed by the scores to become stronger, turned out to be Ledas' pets/friends in the next saga. And to that end, his Saibamen also helped him grow stronger, though not physically.
These Saibamen like to have fun, fight, and be raucous. They are like little kids with perhaps slightly more awareness. Their one scene in the Planet Earth Saga where they talk (in Saiba-speak, to be sure) reveals a lot about their personalities. The respect Ledas showed them was mostly reciprocated (at least by Wilde, Carawa, Ses, and Ame), and that's a cool character-building moment for them. That was actually based on the episode of Pokemon where Ash and Misty and Brock lose their Pokemon, leading the Pokemon to be the protagonists for the episode. That episode provided good insight and characterization of those Pokemon, and I tried to do the same with the Saibamen scene in PES.
The scene with Sonfla redeeming himself in the Planet Earth Saga is based on his guilt for disappointing Ledas. He wanted to repay his master's kindness and loyalty with the ultimate sacrifice, and it's a very moving moment to me personally, though I expect most readers don't care that much about him.
Aside from that, there's little else to say. I'm not sure to what capacity these Saibamen will appear in future stories, but they probably will appear in some way and get some resolution (that probably means dying, to be fair). I find the various "levels" of Saibamen fascinating - like what colors they turn when they get stronger, and that was a fun issue to tackle in this story. I may do more of that in future Ledas stories.
Lenomi didn't exist until the final version of TF. Because of that, I was able to look over the entire story and see what types of characters were missing from it that I wanted to add. In this case, I saw a role for a female PTO warrior. Lenomi's character was then created around the PTO rebels, and this gave her a unique personality. She's a rebel, yes, but she's not fanatical. She calmly and logically explains to Ledas how the PTO is just a massive slaving operation and how she will not allow herself to be a part of that. This explanation is influential on Ledas, for it gets him thinking more about how he's really a slave (which later leads to his Super Saiyan transformation). Lenomi is a static character, because she's only in one chapter of TF, but her role is to educate and influence Ledas, even if he doesn't understand he's being influenced by her. In fact, he overtly rejects her rebellion (and ultimately kills her), but subconsciously, he lets her words influence him, and that gives Lenomi significant worth beyond her single-chapter appearance.
Also, one other thing I want to mention is that Lenomi is the same race as Lieme, and their species can communicate with one another telepathically. During the two chapters where The Plantains are infiltrating her base, it is implied that Lenomi and Lieme are in communication with one another. What their communication is, and if they knew each other from a long time ago, is not stated. However, I would think that Lieme, like Ledas and Banas, rejected her offer to join the PTO rebels.
Lenomi's role is also based on the themes of the story, particularly the one related to the PTO rebels that not everything in life is resolved neatly - that's just not realistic. Lenomi is a mid-ranking member of the PTO. She's not its leader or even one of the higher ranking members. So when she dies, the PTO rebels are not defeated, even though they take a major blow. Thus, I created Lenomi's character to serve a highly thematic role. This is again the influence of The Sopranos on my writing, for that philosophy is a hallmark of that series.
Lenomi's name is a pun on "lemon". I chose that fruit in particular because she's the same race as Lieme, and his name is based on "lime".
Digranite was based on the Armored Kantus from the Gears of War series and the Skirmisher from the Halo series. The concept behind this guy was that I wanted to make the baddest motherfucker this side of the space Mississippi. The PTO soldiers in the Prince Vegeta Saga and Lauto Saga were pretty cool, and some of them had some nice, epic moments. But none of them were as intense as I wanted this guy to be. I knew that there would be one big bad guy for Ledas to fight in the Stomping Grounds Saga, and it wasn't going to be Cooler. So I wanted to make a memorable villain who is unlike any of the other PTO soldiers in TF, and yet is cooler than all of them.
Digranite is intense, but he has a sense of confidence perhaps unmatched by anyone outside of Cooler or Frieza in the PTO arc of this story. He's also not arrogant, like most warriors in this universe are. The difference between confidence and arrogance is a small thing, but it's what separates Digranite from everyone else. He is a natural-born leader, unlike many of the other villains of this story, such as The Benefactor, Verlate, and Lauto. He's a ruthless, yet adaptable fighter. He's also very loyal to Cooler and to the PTO cause, even to the end, which is shown by the last beam struggle before his death. As can be seen, there's a somewhat odd combination of personality traits that I came up with for Digranite, and that is no accident. I wanted him to be a memorable guy.
Digranite's dialogue was difficult for me to write. It's not that hard to write one or two badass quotes - anyone can come up with a line within the vague archetypes of what is badass. But I needed like a dozen lines. I remember it being a struggle to write for him. He has to be badass, but there has to be restraint there. He can't be too cheesy. Now, being a little cheesy is fine, since most villains are like that, even the ones who take themselves far too seriously. But I wanted his dialogue to be amongst the best of any character, so that was a struggle. I think it worked out great in the end, but it's never really for the author to judge.
I spent a lot of time working on the fight scenes with Digranite and his foes, and that is due to his status of being a big bad guy - a final boss, if you will. His battles are amongst the most dramatic and memorable in the series because his conflict with Ledas is the climax of a massive plot arc and a characterization arc for Ledas. Digranite is a character I was very careful with. I built him up and foreshadowed his importance in several scenes in earlier chapters before he meets Ledas.
Digranite's character fills a tonal void in TF as the intensity of him and his fights harken back to the times of Goku vs. Frieza in the Namek Arc, when things really got serious in that series. The fights he has with Ledas and Guva are tonally different from the fights that came before them, and they are the precursors to Ledas vs. The Benefactor in the Fulfillment Saga, as well as SS3 Vegeta vs. The Benefactor, amongst others.
Digranite's name is a pun on "pomegranite". I knew as soon as I came up with that name, out of the list of 8 alien names I came up with when I prepared to create the Stomping Grounds Saga, that it was going to be the name of the leader of the aliens whom Ledas would have to face in that saga. Sometimes I just know with a name: how it looks, how it sounds, etc. (this was also true with Guva). So yeah, that was the case here.
Nepar was one of those guys I made just to see how radical I could get with character design. I was sick of creating so many alien bipeds, so I went a different route with him. His appearance was influenced by this Magic the Gathering card. That was just a starting point, and I made Nepar a good deal more interesting than that dragon looks. His smokey, dark, demon-like appearance was a slight precursor to the Screechers seen in the Fulfillment Saga. I'm an aesthetic at heart, so it should come as no surprise that some of my ideas for what looks cool would be similar to one another. His appearance was set up so that I could have a different way for Ledas to combat him than he normally used to fight most bipeds. This also allowed me to have a cool battle with Great Ape Ledas and Nepar. His Great Ape form would be quite ineffective against smaller, faster beings, so this was the best foe to have Ledas use that form against.
Aside from that, I decided to not make Nepar sentient. He's an animal - basically, a guard dog or pet owned by Cooler. This fact made the encounters between Nepar and Ledas unique, and of course, since Nepar can't talk, I was forced to have Ledas think out loud quite a bit, when he was around Nepar. Nepar's overall purpose was to create some really awesome fights, and I think I accomplished that in part because of how unique his body is.
Nepar's name is a pun on "pear".
Grif was fucking rad to write for. He's another comedic PTO character, and his comedy is amongst my favorite I've ever written. His sarcasm and laziness was based on Grif from Red vs. Blue, to an extent, although much of his sarcasm is my own style of humor as well. His laziness and general "I don't give a fuck" personality was something based on me, and his dialogue was very easy to write as a result. I liked the idea of Ledas facing a type of foe he had never encountered before, especially one physically weaker than him. Then, the fact that he actually loses to Grif makes it all that much funnier to me. Because I like to mix drama with comedy, in traditional Toriyama style, I had several expansive scenes with Grif. Remember that around the Grif scenes were scenes with Mullpy and Cooler, so Grif's presence really holds the first arc of the Stomping Grounds Saga like glue. His comedy was really fun to do, and considering all the dramatic scenes I knew would be in the Stomping Grounds Saga, I wanted to use Grif to his maximum potential to balance the comedy and drama as closely as possible.
The way I had Grif die basically symbolizes his entire life, though it's interesting that he's the only named character in SGS whom Ledas does not kill. Grif's entire arc is one of sheer laziness and ineptitude. It's lucky he's even on that planet to begin with (I'd speculate he was a vermin on one of the space ships coming to the stomping grounds and then got marooned there). There are certain deliberate parallels between the luck he has in life and the luck Ledas has.
Grif's name is a pun on "fig", and it's also a reference to Dexter Grif from RVB, mentioned above.
Mullpy is a weird fellow, with surprising (yet, at the same time, disappointing) strength, and he's unintentionally comedic. He's really a "Toriyama-style" PTO villain, and if you don't know what that means, then you need to re-watch DB and DBZ. As I've said before, I wanted to make true "alien" characters for the Stomping Grounds Saga and Mullpy being a floating octopus-like alien was one way to do that. His physicality is a big part of his character.
Mullpy is not in much of the story, which is why I had to use his mannerisms and dialogue to quickly characterize him. I don't think he ever knew what hit him, given by how he acts around Ledas. Also, I'd like to think that Mullpy's silliness explains why Grif is the way he is (since Grif is Mullpy's soldier).
Konatsu was my attempt to make a cool villain - a vicious, fearsome warrior. Like many other aliens on the stomping grounds, he looks quite weird, physically . Again, this is me trying to make the aliens on the stomping grounds appear a little more wild and a little more "alien" than those on Planet Cooler 92. He's got four arms and is furry and has a weird appendage on his face, and it's rad. On a side note, the Malik picture of Konatsu irritates me because it looks nothing like what he actually looks like. He's not a furry, cuddly yeti. He's a sleek, feral space tiger. He looks quite different from Malik's interpretation of him.
The main inspiration for him was a tiger - although I wanted him to be a water tiger. Obviously, there are no water scenes on the stomping grounds, so he's a fish out of water, so to speak. But the concept of his character remains. The ferocity of a big predator, like a tiger, was an influence on how Konatsu talks. He's very threatening and very calm. He's Digranite lite. He's the archetype of what I would like to see most PTO officers be like.
To further this idea of Konatsu being based on a tiger, I had his whole arc with Ledas be a cat-and-mouse chase with the hunter becoming the hunted near the end of it. Because of this, I built up the last confrontation into a nice bait-and-switch moment where Ledas gets the better of Konatsu by outsmarting him. Indeed, Konatsu is powerful and ferocious, but he's not that smart, and he's outwitted more than once in the two chapters he's in. The last time costs him his life, when he thinks he has Ledas cornered and lets the boy get away and then kill him with a ki sword. What's also interesting is that Konatsu is very patient (just like any true tiger), and he was patient to a fault in chapter 5 of the Stomping Grounds Saga when he called for Anango's help. It's not clear if he actually needed help to defeat Ledas. And by calling in Anango, the whole cat-and-mouse chase began, resulting in both Anango's and Konatsu's deaths. So Konatsu may have poor judgement, which is quite the personality deficiency for someone of his rank.
Konatsu's name is a pun on "coconut".
Anango's a nerd, yo. He's less intelligent than Lieme and a bit more stuck up. He doesn't have that much of a defined personality, since he's only in a chapter or two, but what he does reveal about himself is interesting - he knows the Saiyans' tail weakness and some nice tactical fighting techniques. He's also way too confident, based on the readings his scouter gives him. He relies too much on technology, and he pays the price for doing so, in the end. He does not anticpate that Ledas could lower his power level to fool the scouter's readings. And that shows that Anango is not quite as intelligent as Lieme, even if he is smarter than the average alien. Anango is an amalgamation of various PTO traits (the thing with the Saiyan tail was based on Piccolo, though); he's the prototypical PTO officer, and as such, he's easily taken out by Ledas, who is not prototypical in the slightest.
Anango's appearance is atypical as well. Though he's a biped, the way his legs are situated and the structure of his face were all deliberate choices on my part to make him look "alien" and fearsome - this is a re-ocurring theme with the stomping grounds aliens. Though he has four arms, like Konatsu, this is a coincidence - I came up with their appearances at different times (I think weeks apart), and only realized I had made them both four-armed creatures after I began writing Anango's scenes in the Stomping Grounds Saga. That said, they don't really look alike. Anango is a good deal more grotesque, while Konatsu is a fine beauty.
Anango's name is a pun on "mango".
Sika and Sarpack were written to be Digranite's hot bodyguards. They were based on female Twi'leks, somewhat. I wanted them to be fearsome and sexy. Knowing they are twins, that meant they weren't going to be that distinct from each other. I did try to make them a little different in their dialogue, and that can be seen with the energy the two put into what they say. Sika's a bit more laid-back and logical, whereas Sarpack is a bit more impulsive and bloodthirsty. These differences are very minor, though. Overall, the two are quite similar. I wanted them to be seductive and loyal. I wanted it to be clear to the readers that they aren't Digranite's bodyguards for protection purposes - he is far stronger than their combined strengths, of course. Their primary purpose is to keep Digranite company and provide him with sexual pleasure.
On a related note, I considered writing a deleted scene involving these two. I didn't know if it was just going to be between them, or if it would feature Digranite or Ledas. Suffice to say I didn't see a good opportunity to make one with Ledas, and I didn't feel like writing one with these two and Digranite, so the scene was never done. A Ledas scene with the two of them could be pretty cool, but it would have to be alternate universe, and I'm not interested in things that don't actually happen.
So aside from that, these characters are pretty straightforward. They look sexy, but their main plot purpose is to introduce Digranite. After Digranite is introduced, they are killed off pretty quickly. These two are some of the strongest fighters in the PTO as well (probably in the top 5%, if not top 2%), and Guva takes them out easily. The way they die symbolizes their purpose not only to the plot, but to Digranite himself.
Sika's name is a pun on "watermelon" (in Japanese). Sarpack's name is a pun on "satsuma". Incidentally enough, when I created these two names, I thought that there was a good possibility they could be related aliens. This was when I had just the 8 stomping grounds aliens' names, and didn't have any of their personalities or roles figured out yet. But, the names sounded similar enough to me, so I knew even before I had much of an idea of where to take the Stomping Grounds Saga plot or its alien characters that I wanted these two to be related.
I based the mannerisms of the regular human bystanders and pedestrians of TF on those seen in DB and DBZ. The scene with Ledas and the two thugs in the Planet Earth Saga in particular was DBZ-influenced. Although I did make it a little more morally grey with Ledas killing them; if that scene had happened in DBZ, those thugs would not have died. I also scaled back the degree to which I portrayed the students at Ledas' school in the final version of TF. The other students and teachers are seen only in passing, or in very short scenes (such as the panty raid scene). They aren't really the focus, though I did put a few hints that Ledas was bonding with several students, along with Ryori. It just felt like focusing on these other characters would slow up the plot too much and focus on irrelevancy. It was hard enough to create a relevant plot for Ryori, so doing so for other students would be asking too much.
The humans seen in the first arc of the Fulfillment Saga are based on the panicking humans seen in the Majin Buu Saga of DBZ. Nothing too major there. There were more minor humans in the previous drafts of TF, and during the final edits, most of them were removed. I didn't specifically plan on doing that - it just happened naturally as I was editing. The guards and other humans seen in Cardinal's tournament in the last chapter of TF were based on several guard and tournament attendant characters primarily from Dragon Ball (though perhaps a few of them were influenced from the guys in Dragon Ball Z - all of the canon tournaments sort of blur together for me).
Mrs. Fanshi was introduced to be a mother figure for Ledas in the Planet Earth Saga. After coming to the planet, he needed somewhere to go, someone to stay with. It made sense, for me, for him to stay with an older woman so that motherly/caretaker archetype would be apparent to the readers. Also, since I was staying with my grandmother around the time I began writing TF, I'm sure that was an unconscious influence on me at the time.
Fanshi is important in teaching Earth culture to Ledas - and this is most notably seen in how she teaches him to eat with chopsticks. Ledas has to become acculturated to Earth, to some degree, just like Vegeta was before him, if he wants to live there. This was important for me, because I didn't want Ledas to be too alien in his mannerisms - though a little bit of alien tendencies and awkwardness is great. Fanshi kind of helps him in this regard. The weeks she spends with him helps him become more "normal", like Vegeta. Vegeta will never be fully normal, be fully "human-like"; Ledas won't be either. And that's fine.
Fanshi does punish Ledas sometimes and act somewhat distant, which was based on my grandmother. Her getting killed how she does is thematically relevant, just like Nagamo's death, but not really plot relevant, as she is revived along with much of the rest of humankind after Buu's defeat. She is never seen in the series after her death, but she is definitely revived, and I'm sure Ledas did go back to see her at least one last time to tell her he was moving away and to thank her for all she's done for him. She really did a lot in adopting him, to prevent him from being put in a shelter or abandoned (in her mind). She basically just adopted him off the street on a whim. That says a lot about her character. On another note, I'm sure Ledas had no idea she ever died.
I don't believe I based Mrs. Fanshi's name off of anything, but it's also not a Japanese name either. It was a pure creation for this story with no inspiration from anything that I am aware of.
Mr. Kyokatoshi was based on several teachers I had when I was younger. I despised many of my teachers for I really don't do well with authority. Even so, many of them were unprofessional and perhaps even abusive. None were as bad as Mr. Kyokatoshi, though. He was dramatized to the max for the story's sake. Him hitting the students is quite awful, as is him keeping a gun on him in the classroom. I wanted the cultural divide between Ledas and the humans to be most apparent with his interactions with Mr. Kyokatoshi. Mr. Kyokatoshi assumes Ledas is like any regular human - and he has no reason not to. There is nothing particularly evil about him getting mad at Ledas for saying he can't read or being unable to answer a question. Students have obligations, just like teachers do. I wanted to show how the situation with Ledas in the classroom was just one big misunderstanding where no one was totally to blame and no one was totally innocent.
At the same time, Kyokatoshi is a callback to the past, to Guva and Banas and Cooler and Frieza, when Ledas was forced to be a slave to others. At least from Ledas' perspective, Kyokatoshi is just like them. Ledas doesn't want to return to being a slave - he worked so hard for his freedom. So that's why he doesn't put up with Kyokatoshi and eventually kills the man. It's a pity that Kyokatoshi was born a human, since he might've been able to reign in Ledas had he been stronger than the boy. And yet, the first authoritarian that Ledas meets after gaining his freedom is much weaker than the boy. And thus, Kyokatoshi is dealt with rather quickly.
Kyokatoshi's death used to have much bigger implications in the plot - it was going to be the thing that led to Ledas' Super Saiyan 2 transformation and be the season finale of the Planet Earth Saga. Then Cardinal and Ishida and the others were going to come in and look for who killed Kyokatoshi in the "Kyokatshi Saga", which was going to be a long, drawn-out thriller. That saga was eventually scrapped, and the importance of Kyokatoshi was scaled back. Still, his death does bring Cardinal and the others much closer to finding Ledas (and it is the fact that Kyokatoshi was killed while Ledas was in detention that the New Red Ribbon Army eventually found Ledas).
That said, Kyokatoshi is harsh in detentions, something Ryori notes at one point (he even goes so far as wishing Mr. Kyokatoshi was dead). And Mr. Kyokatoshi is the classic teacher archetype of a small man who wants to bully his students to make himself feel better. He's pathetic, in that regard. I've had enough teachers like that that I felt like portraying it in this story. I guess having Ledas kill Kyokatoshi was me being able to work through a bit of my anger in writing. Kyokatoshi primarily gets the gun because Ledas freaks him out and looks like an alien. He wouldn't have shot him otherwise. Still, he would have abused Ledas, and that's no good. I don't think Mr. Kyokatoshi is an evil person, but I think he's messed up inside and he's definitely not a good dude. It should come as no surprise that he wasn't revived when the Earth was brought back after Buu's defeat.
Mr. Kyokatoshi's name is a pun on "teacher" and "vulgar" in Japanese. In earlier drafts of TF, he was known as "Mr. Kyokatshi". When I realized that such a name is not possible in Japanese (they don't have any kana that end in "t"), I changed his name slightly. This was done because he, like all other human characters in TF, is a Japanese-like dude (culturally-speaking - not so much in regards to his appearance).
Ryori was originally created for a much different purpose than he ultimately served in TF. He was going to be involved in the stuff on Earth, primarily Cardinal's and Ishida's investigation of Ledas. He was going to have a sister. He was going to have parents. There were going to be many more scenes with him in school, being the alpha male he boasts he is to Ledas in chapter 3 of the Planet Earth Saga. His character was going to be based around keeping secrets, around the pressure of choosing to help Ishida or to remain loyal to his friend. Very little of this concept of Ryori remains.
Ryori is an interesting character to me. He shows remnants of the old TF plots and ideas for the Earth arc with his personality and backstory, and yet, much of his arc, both personality-wise and plot-wise, in the final version of TF is amongst the most radical and unexpected stuff I wrote for that story. He's a character who could have easily been deleted when I realized I didn't want to do the "Kyokatshi Saga". His sister was. The students around him were. Hell, even Ishida, one of the main characters who was going to go up against Ryori, was. So the big question is why did I keep him. And the answer to this is at the heart of why Ryori is who he is, and why I portrayed him how I did. I think, primarily, Ryori is the Krillin to Ledas' Goku. Obviously the comparison isn't 100% accurate, since Ryori is not a fighter himself (though... he does kill Silver), but I think the comparison should be pretty clear in terms of what Ryori's role is not only to the story but to Ledas. Ryori is the first friend Ledas gets since being separated from Prince Vegeta. Ledas spent so many years in isolation, in torture, being a slave. Nobody liked him on Planet Cooler 92 or on the stomping grounds. So it was crucial in his development as a character, and his mental healing after he gains his freedom, that when he comes to a new planet, one of the first people he meets is someone who he becomes friends with.
Ryori is an alpha character. He's the leader of his schoolmates - and this fact would have been more obvious in the "Kyokatshi Saga", but it's still obvious in the chapter "Hazing" of the Planet Earth Saga, as well as the montage that happens at the beginning of chapter 7 of that saga. It's most curious, therefore, that he seems to not have any close friends. He's putting on a front, just like Ledas. He's damaged, somehow, but he doesn't want to get into that. He's living with his older brother, whom he loves, but Shoekki embarrasses and mistreats Ryori at several points in the story. And at the same time, Shoekki's love for Ryori and Ryori's love for Shoekki are both obvious personality traits of the two. So their relationship is complicated. But the point of this all is that I wanted to subtly hint that Ryori is damaged, that he is not as perfect as his public persona makes him appear. This was rather hard to portray in the format of TF - it would have been easier to do in prose, I think. So the reason that Ryori becomes friends with Ledas is not very obvious, and it has a massive impact on not only Ledas' emotional development, but on Ryori's too. Ryori needed a friend just as badly as Ledas did. Ryori helps Ledas a lot, not only with his friendship, but with being one of the people to ease Ledas into Earth culture in an organic way (as opposed to the more strict, teaching ways of Mrs. Fanshi). Ryori helps Ledas become human-like. He helps the Saiyan find a home on Earth, find a place where he's wanted. In turn, Ledas provides Ryori with friendship and also makes him feel wanted.
Now Ryori is one of the most dynamic characters in TF, and I didn't just sit down and plan that - it's just how things worked out. A lot of this stuff with the character development and thematic content was not stuff I planned out in advance, it was just a natural progression of the writing or it was intuitive. So I am struck by how dynamic Ryori is, now that I'm really looking at his character. He becomes quite different in each saga he's in, due to the circumstances around him.
Obviously, Shoekki's death had a major impact on Ryori. That was an easy influence for his Reunion Saga plot. The theme of revenge and the cost of it, both physically and mentally, is a recurring theme throughout TF, and it is integrally tied to Ryori's Reunion Saga arc. The struggle with Ryori was keeping him relevant - I wanted him to sort of be like Bulma. He was going to be an important character who is not physically powerful. However, many of Bulma's (and other characters like her, such as Master Roshi, Oolong, and Kami/Mr. Popo in DBZ) plots were superfluous - they were irrelevant to the greater plot of DBZ and nothing would have changed had they been omitted. I wanted to make sure the same thing did not happen with Ryori. There is inherent worth to his journey from a thematic/characterization standpoint, but I wanted him to have worth as it relates to the plot as well. So that's why I had his arc culminate with him killing Silver in RS, and that sets up his arc in the Fulfillment Saga, which is also plot-significant.
In the Reunion Saga in particular, Ryori stands in contrast to the other humans in that his power, unlike theirs, does not wane. In fact, his power grows. He finds agency and gets revenge without losing too much. The story of the Planet Earth arc, in many ways, is the story of human futility, and Ryori is the chief counterexample to that. This is significant in and of itself, since Ryori is just a young boy, whereas the humans who fail are adults, warriors, soldiers, people of stature and power and worth. Ryori is an insignificant student. So the fact that he succeeds instead of those who are expected to was an important thematic consideration.
I had Ryori achieve his revenge in the Reunion Saga so I could spend a whole saga seeing where that leaves him - most other characters end their last saga with the revenge stuff, so this was a way to explore what happens beyond that. Ryori's stuff with Cardinal is understandable, and considering he's just a 12 year old boy, it makes sense that he not want to make peace with Cardinal, but go at him emotionally and illogically. He's lucky Ledas was there to save him from getting put in juvenile hall. The thing I wanted to show was how revenge was not the answer - Ryori would not be able to replace Shoekki by killing those who were responsible for Shoekki's death. Shoekki will still be gone, no matter what happens (except, perhaps, if the Dragon Balls are used). Ryori's path in the Fulfillment Saga is the fulfillment of his revenge arc. It's a self-destructing arc that will lead him nowhere good if he continues down it. Luckily, Yorokobi, the police, and Ledas are able to stop him from ruining himself.
After The Benefactor is defeated, Ledas is reunited with Ryori, and a Ryori's character gets its most nuanced development in the story. At this point, I thought it would be realistic for him to hate Cardinal and not trust the man - but he's not actively trying to kill him anymore (the fact that Ryori, a mere boy of 12 years, was going around trying to kill people, speaks to how broken he has become after the Planet Earth Saga - this is like (but not based on) the character Arya from A Song of Ice and Fire). Ryori's development is a slow maturation at this point - he realizes he can't be the vigilante justice-maker of the world and has to accept that people like Cardinal are going to live and not be punished for what they have done.
Ryori then asks for Ledas' advice on how to get over the grief and despair he's feeling. This is interesting, because both Ledas and Ryori have been broken - in much different ways, mind you. Ledas is able to help Ryori get through his grief at losing Shoekki and move on a bit. Ryori then adopts an overly-hedonistic personality to try to cope with his emotions - the cracks in that persona can be seen at various points in the last chapter of TF. But at the same time, Ryori does end up pretty well off. He gets a new house, has Cardinal financing his life, and gets to live with his good friend, Ledas. Shoekki died, and that sucks, but not everything ends poorly for Ryori.
I think what I was primarily trying to do with Ryori was to show how someone can go through hell and come out okay - not completely whole, but not completely broken, either. This may be an unconscious look at my own life, but I'm not sure. I'm too close to that to comment on it accurately. Ryori, in many ways, is like Ledas without all the power and ki abilities. He is more revenge-oriented than Ledas, but he still goes through hell and has a lot of terrible stuff happen to him. And yet, at the end of it all, his arc ends on an optimistic note. That's a bit odd, for I don't usually do that with my characters. I'm not exactly sure why I did that with Ryori. But he's a cool character. He's definitely in my top 5 characters of TF due to his dynamic character growth and all of the heavy, heartbreaking stuff he goes through. Much of it is because of him deciding to become friends with Ledas, but he is better off knowing Ledas, and Ledas is better off knowing him. As I said in my remarks about why Ryori is in my top 10 favorite fanon characters in TF, "Not every good character is a super-powerful warrior. Ryori is the reemergence of the human element, of a character without power; he is my attempt to show that I can do pretty good characterization without relying on fighting and ki battles and whatnot." I think that sums up Ryori rather succinctly.
Ryori's name is a pun on "cooking" in Japanese.
Miki's personality isn't defined too much in TF or in the two deleted scenes she's in. She was written to be older than Ledas, since I prefer that image of him being with older, more experienced females. She's also sexually experienced, where he isn't (at least when they first meet). However, she is a virgin, just like him, and she refuses to let him take her virginity. That is part of her morality and was a way for me to keep Ledas a virgin until he has sex with Chaiva in "Bedtime" in Cold Vengeance. Other than that, there's not much to say about Miki. She's pretty much a normal girl, probably not too popular or too unpopular in school. She's probably the closest thing to a girlfriend Ledas has in the story, and considering the two of them sometimes hung out with other students in and out of school, that might've even been official (though it's never stated one way or the other in the story). I think she and Ledas had at least a dozen "fun times" together before Ledas moved to West City with Ryori. After that, I do not think they kept in contact any longer, and she probably got married a few years after, had kids, and lived the life of any normal girl, having no inclination that when she was younger, she used to mess around with a superpowerful alien from outer space.
Miki's name is a real Japanese name. I did give her name a deliberate kanji pairing, though. Her name is somewhat a reference to the protagonist of Miki Falls.
I like Piccolo. There's a cool awareness with him, an inherent badassery, that makes him unlike any other Z Fighter. So I wanted him to have an encounter with Ledas in the Planet Earth Saga. Back when I was coming up with Ledas' "villainy" in the Planet Earth Saga, I realized that the Z Fighters would be able to sense what he was up to, and it would make sense for him to have at least one fight with them. Then the question became who he would fight. He already fought Vegeta earlier, so that eliminated him. I also removed all of the human Z Fighters from consideration, due to none of them being very strong. Goten and Trunks also didn't make much sense. That left me with really only three options - Piccolo, Gohan, and Android 18 (I could have also done Android 17, but he's not really a Z Fighter and doesn't seem to be a protector of Earth like them). Gohan was a bit too strong as well, so I didn't go with him. Piccolo, though, seemed right because he was a former guardian of Earth, so it would make sense that now with Goku gone, he would be one of the chief protectors of the world. He would be meditating, feeling the heartstrings of the world, as Ledas goes on his little tirade. Thus, Piccolo is the most logical person for Ledas to fight after he destroys that town. I'm sure other Z Fighters sensed it as well, though, and had the fight gone on much longer, a few of them might've shown up to see what was going on (indeed, some of them might've anyways, and found Piccolo beaten up).
So the fight with Piccolo and Ledas was based on this scene from Saving Private Ryan. I wanted a unique fight scene for this saga, for PES doesn't have many fight scenes in it overall. This was going to be a big one. I wanted there to be an intimacy and desperation that is not seen in other fights in the story as well. Piccolo's badass image enhanced this, tonally, for the fight. I don't resolve what happens to Piccolo after the fight because it wasn't my concern - Piccolo's story is not the story of TF. And it's bad writing to just follow every plot point to complete resolution. Again, this is The Sopranos influencing my writing. I'm sure Piccolo did try to look for Ledas thereafter, but with Buu soon showing up, his priorities shifted.
During the final edits, I modified Piccolo's character in the Reunion Saga and Fulfillment Saga to recognize Ledas. In previous drafts, he didn't seem to recognize the boy. But he does now, and yet he doesn't say anything. That's classic Piccolo. His inner thoughts about forgetting the past in the final chapter of TF say a lot about him - he remembers being a villain himself, and he sees that Ledas really isn't all that villainous, so he doesn't bring up his fight with Ledas to the others. Everyone has done bad things in the past, and Piccolo is the first to recognize that in Ledas and forgive the boy.
In terms of fighting, Piccolo was too strong to fight Guva and too weak to be a match for The Benefactor, so he was dealt with quickly in the Reunion Saga. He fought with Gohan, for old time's sake - and that is the same reason he fought Gohan in Cardinal's tournament in the last chapter of TF. Piccolo's skill and intelligence in battle is a big reason why I had him make so many comments while the Z Fighters watched Ledas and Vegeta fight in the last chapter of The Forgotten.
Vegeta is a changed man by the time Ledas meets him again in the Earth arc of TF. Due to their divergent paths in life, the two of them have developed much differently. Much of Vegeta's development came after he was killed by Frieza, though. I do think Vegeta became softer after the Namek arc, and I was somewhat disappointed by his character development after that arc. I had Ledas make fun of this several times in TF (he oft called Vegeta soft while they were not on good terms). So in many ways, Vegeta and Ledas are meeting for the first time in the Earth arc. I'm sure Ledas did not expect Vegeta to turn out how he did. I mean, the core personality traits of Vegeta are still there - his arrogance, his drive to train and become the best there ever was, his lack of emoting openly, etc. - but he is definitely not the Saiyan prince whom Ledas grew up with.
I kept Vegeta on the periphery of the Planet Earth Saga, having him in only a few scenes. This was explained away because Ledas didn't want to confront Vegeta until he became stronger (he was embarrassed by how much weaker than Vegeta he was - a fact he could sense since Vegeta openly trained at his maximum on Earth). And it's a logical thing. Especially for Saiyans, to whom fighting is the most important thing, it makes sense that Ledas would want to get stronger before reuniting with Vegeta. Vegeta does have the one fight with Ledas in PES, and that was mostly a teaser for the next few sagas, when they actually do reunite. I'm sure Vegeta suspected something was off when he fought the kid Super Saiyan and when that kid used the Playful Galick attack (an attack only he and Ledas knew), but due to Buu soon appearing, Vegeta didn't have much time to investigate if that was truly Ledas.
One other thing I did with Vegeta that was atypical is that I showed his second canon death at the end of PES (when he self-destructs to take out Buu). I did this mainly to contrast the arcs of Ledas and Vegeta not only in that saga but in their lives in general. Of course, I didn't explain how he got revived, since any fan of DBZ should know that, and such a little detail is not necessary for Ledas' own story.
The main idea of the Reunion Saga was for Ledas to really reunite with Vegeta in a legitimate way. There are other reunions in that saga, but that is the main one. And aside from reuniting with Ledas, Vegeta has some other cool scenes in that saga - like when he berates Yamcha for wanting to impress Bulma, and the way he treats Guva (a very important man, to be sure) with utter indifference. These actions were all based on Vegeta's canon personality, so I didn't really go out on a limb with anything. All of his actions in TF in general were based on the thought that I wanted him act like he would in canon.
Ledas spent all of sagas 2, 3, and 4 trying to find Vegeta, and it takes him until the end of the fifth chapter of the Reunion Saga for him to finally get a face-to-face meeting with Vegeta. This was one of the hardest things I wrote for TF - Ledas' reunion with Vegeta. It was hard to guess how Vegeta would act in such a situation, and I wasn't perfectly comfortable writing their interactions. It did feel like, to some degree, that was beyond my writing capabilities.
I finally came to the conclusion that Vegeta wouldn't believe Ledas - that he would think that Ledas is a trick from The Benefactor. This is logical to an extent, for Ledas appears as a child and the Ledas Vegeta knew should only be one year younger than him. At the same time, Ledas doesn't really act like a vision - and when he attacks Vegeta, that should clue the Saiyan prince into the fact that Ledas is real. Still, Vegeta has his Saiyan pride and he's stubborn as fuck. Part of the reason he has trouble accepting that Ledas is real is that losing Ledas all those years ago affected him greatly. He was so lonely on Frieza's ship, so isolated, and part of the reason why Frieza was able to make him into who he became (which he stated in the Namek arc of DBZ) was because he lost his best friend. So he doesn't want to bring up those bad memories that he buried deep inside. He thinks Ledas is likely to be a trick or a hallucination of some sort, so that's why he doesn't want to even think about Ledas. This produced an interesting plot with Ledas and Vegeta in the Reunion Saga. The Benefactor's energy inside of Ledas also corrupted his thoughts a bit and made him act irrationally, which did not help the situation at all.
And after The Benefactor defeats Vegeta, Ledas saves him with half of his last senzu bean. This was the moment where Vegeta realized Ledas was real - had Ledas not been or been an agent of The Benefactor, he would have instead let Vegeta die (and Ledas was also in bad shape himself, so by giving Vegeta half of his last senzu bean, he was sacrificing his own safety and comfort as well). And of course this all led to Vegeta's dramatic Super Saiyan 3 transformation. I left it deliberately vague as to if he unlocked that form from seeing Ledas get defeated (and realizing that Ledas was real - that his best friend was in fact still alive) or if he had it beforehand. Either way, it's a big moment of character development for him when he fights The Benefactor for that second time in order to save Ledas. It's a big departure from where he was at, mentally, for most of the Reunion Saga. Notice that I did give Vegeta more glory than the other Z Fighters, especially Goku. But that's because Vegeta matters more to Ledas than the others, so it matters more to the story than Vegeta is the last one to stand up and try to protect Ledas. Of course, he eventually fails, and that is due to his inexperience in the Super Saiyan 3 form (he doesn't properly account for how much energy it costs to maintain the form). So he too is defeated. He doesn't get the glory, though he was the one who came the closest to beating The Benefactor at full strength (Goku would have been close too had Locke's Ruse not sapped much of his strength before he challenged TB).
Now what happens after this is most curious. Vegeta knows Ledas is real. He believes Ledas by this point. And yet, after The Benefactor and Ledas are sucked into the mind prison, he goes back to his regular life. He goes back to Capsule Corp. and trains. He doesn't know what happens to Ledas and doesn't go looking. This was an idea I had based on his pride - he wouldn't want to go looking for Ledas because that would show that he cares. He wants Ledas to come to him. Ledas eventually does, after taking a few more weeks to train (after he saw Vegeta's Super Saiyan 3 form at the start of the Fulfillment Saga, Ledas realized that Vegeta was even stronger than he had previously thought). It's funny and very Saiyan-like that the two know each other are on Earth in those last few chapters of FS, but don't go to see each other due to their pride.
I didn't do much with Vegeta after TB was defeated, though I did have a comedic scene with him and a mailman for thematic and expositionary purposes. He later appears at Cardinal's tournament, and his fight is against Goku. This is the big one, the most wondered-about fight for Dragon Ball fans. Who would win? Who is stronger? These are some of the most popular questions in the fandom, and ones I deftly avoided answering. I showed that their fight, from Ledas' perspective, did not matter. He only half paid attention to their fight, and he did not see the conclusion of it, so no one will ever know who won that battle. This was a deliberate decision of mine to toy with the readers a bit. The fact that Ledas didn't pay attention to such a monumental fight also has greater symbolic implications for Ledas and The Forgotten.
So Ledas' reunion with Vegeta happens at the end of the last chapter of TF and is the last major plot point to be resolved in the story. I wanted this moment to be quiet and personal, and there's a sense of nostalgia in it. When they go to fight, they specifically say the same lines they said before the first time they fought. These lines are nostalgic, but they are meant to sound a little out-of-place to show how the two characters have grown since the third TF chapter. I worked a lot of characterization into the last part of the last chapter, and much of it is done through the fight scene, through the fighting itself. I thought this would be the best way for Vegeta and Ledas to communicate with one another. It felt appropriate for two Saiyan warriors. The Z Fighters who were watching this fight also commented on it, to reveal some stuff about what was going on, more specifically. Tien's and Piccolo's comments were particularly useful for showing the characterization of Ledas and Vegeta in that scene.
The story ends with Vegeta becoming friends with Ledas again, though the two aren't as close as they were in the Prince Vegeta Saga - they may get there eventually, though. It just didn't happen within a few days after their reunion (which is where TF ends). I wanted to show that Vegeta values Ledas being alive and is happy to reunite with his old friend. He also was very happy to get a new training partner to help both of them gain strength quickly. Of course Ledas is weaker than Vegeta, but he will grow to get closer in strength to Vegeta the more they train together, just as he did in the Prince Vegeta Saga. Vegeta's friendship with Ledas does matter more to Ledas, but it also matters greatly to Vegeta. Vegeta is set in life - he has a wife and kids and is very powerful. He's basically living the good life now, and reuniting with Ledas is that cherry on top for him. It's more integral for Ledas, though.
Shoekki was based on my older brother. He's a conflicted guy, who does drugs and is sometimes mean to Ryori, but he does love his little brother, and he is taking care of him. Shoekki raising his younger brother must be hard on him, but he never brings it up. That's noble of him. He's Ryori's caretaker, much like Mrs. Fanshi is Ledas'. I was considering giving him a larger role in the story, if the Kyokatshi Saga would have occurred. But once it didn't, I scaled back his character somewhat and got the idea to involve him in Cardinal's plot to find Ledas. I don't think when he originally began dating File that File thought he was a way to find Ledas. That's just one of those coincidences in life. I also primarily made Shoekki homophobic because that was the best way for him to kill File, and of course that gave the scene he killed File in some nice thematic worth.
Shoekki doing drugs and getting drunk is based on my brother, but his motorcycle was not. That was just a way for Ledas to learn about capsules (so he could get his gravity training unit). And it should be said that though Shoekki is taking care of Ryori, their house is run-down and it looks like they are just on the edge of falling into total ruin. He's not really actively being a parent to Ryori, which might've also affected Ryori's development.
Shoekki getting involved in the NRRA plot was something I was happy to come up with. It seems so obvious now, but it really was a "eureka" moment when I saw it. Of course, he became even more involved with that plot once Cardinal and the others ID'd Ledas and realized that Shoekki's younger brother was in the same class as him. Shoekki's character arc seems natural, but it really wasn't. It took a lot of effort to get to that point.
Shoekki's arc is similar to Layeeck's, although it's a bit subtler since he's a more minor character. I had to show that Cardinal is actually quite evil, since through most of the Planet Earth Saga, he was a villain, but his motives and whatnot were not so clear. He was greyer then. When he forces Shoekki to kill himself, that is a big moment for all characters involved, as well as Ryori and Ledas, who are not involved directly. Shoekki's love for his brother becomes quite apparent when he sacrifices himself to keep Ryori safe. Of course, though he committed suicide, Cardinal is the one to blame, and both Ledas and Ryori assume it was Cardinal's doing. Shoekki's death later leads to a nice bonding moment between Ledas and Ryori in the Reunion Saga, when Ledas tells Ryori what happened to Shoekki. And of course that leads to Ryori's plot for most of the rest of the story, where he tries to get revenge on the NRRA for killing his brother. So Shoekki does live on beyond his death, in a way. He mattered quite a bit to Ryori and he was a stable point for Ryori - with their parents missing, Shoekki was all Ryori had. Thus when he loses Shoekki, Ryori is thrown into a crisis of security and identity.
As a note, I'm not quite sure if Shoekki would get revived by the Dragon Balls bringing everyone back after Buu destroyed the Earth. So far I've been thinking no - he's too conflicted of a character to be "good", although he's probably more of a "good" person than Vegeta... still, Vegeta did have his moment of redemption and doesn't seem to be the guy he was before, and Shoekki did kill File as one of his last actions. He never was remorseful for that. So that's probably why he was never revived. On that subject, though, when Ledas and Ryori learn about the Dragon Balls (probably shortly after the end of Cold Vengeance), they may wish Shoekki back. This is something I'm not sure about. While it would make sense for them to do so - Ryori in particular would want to revive Shoekki no matter what - it does perhaps lessen the literary worth of Shoekki's sacrifice. So I will have to consider these things in the future. This will likely be resolved in the first couple of chapters of my Raimie/Haimaru story that also features Ledas and Ryori quite a bit. I am leaning towards bringing him back, as of this moment. It makes more sense, even if it's not as "literarily cool".
Shoekki's name is a pun on "dinnerware" in Japanese.
Dr. Briefs' role in this story was to give Ledas a gravity training unit. The gravity training unit allowed me to have Ledas train in secret and be able to train at the vigorous pace Vegeta himself is training at. Without it, he wouldn't have been able to get as strong as he did as fast as he did. I actually had a lot of fun coming up with the newest model of gravity training unit and having Dr. Briefs explain it to Ledas and all that stuff.
Bulma was portrayed how she was portrayed in the Namek arc of DBZ, for the most part. The way she freaks out when she sees Ledas comes from her scenes in that arc. Also, I just thought it would be cool for Bulma to see Ledas and for Ledas to be around Vegeta's family before the boy reunites with Vegeta. He doesn't even realize that he's around Vegeta's Earth family at the time, which is pretty cool. Bulma seeing Ledas was also a good way for her to "sic" Vegeta on Ledas (had Bulma not been there, it would not have been logical for Vegeta and Ledas to have encountered one another in the Planet Earth Saga).
Of course Ledas also sees Vegeta's family again in the closing montage of the last chapter of TF. A lot of that was just me tying up loose ends and having some fun (such as with Dr. Briefs not really recognizing Ledas but having a suspicion that he's met the boy before).
Nagamo was originally created to be the "local" guy who is going to help Cardinal. He would have had a larger role than he does now had I done the Kyokatshi Saga. As it is, he is a pretty minor character. The big thing about Nagamo is that he's the buffer between the New Red Ribbon Army and the town he is the police chief of. He tries to both help Cardinal and protect his people. And those two things are not always the same. Cardinal wanting to unleash Great Ape Ledas on the town just to get an ID on the kid is very risky and could have resulted in many deaths had things gone wrong. But of course that plot did eventually happen because Nagamo knew that he could not and should not stop it. Nagamo is morally conflicted, because he knows he has a duty to his town, but he also knows that finding and capturing Ledas as quickly as possible, even if it results in some deaths in Nagamo's town, will be more beneficial to Earth. He's a realist and a passive guy, so Cardinal is able to walk all over him for the most part. Nagamo is still a "good" guy, though, as opposed to the members of the New Red Ribbon Army. This can be seen in his actions and thoughts, and also in the fact that he was revived after Buu destroyed the world, whereas no members of the New Red Ribbon Army were.
Nagamo was always going to die a second time in the Fulfillment Saga. In older drafts, The Benefactor killed him when he and a bunch of police officers confronted the man. I changed his death to being a random thing that Wisconsin does in the first chapter of the Fulfillment Saga mostly on a whim. It seemed thematically cool to me that he dies in such a shocking, random way. He's been at odds with the NRRA for so long, and just when it looks like they've been defeated, the last soldier in the entire army kills Nagamo. It's quite the bad break for a dude who just got revived. The chaos of it is emblematic of the chaos of that entire saga, though. And it felt fitting for such a character to die in the opening chapter of the saga. It's unjustified, of course, and it shows the psychopathic mindset Wisconsin is in as well. Nagamo's death does not affect the plot, but it is quite significant in terms of the emerging themes of TF, and particularly those developed in the Fulfillment Saga.
Police Chief Nagamo's name is a real Japanese name. He is one of the few fanon characters in TF whose name is not a pun on anything.
Cardinal was written to be a shrewd mastermind, a political genius, and a formidable villain who lacks physical power. His power comes from his mind, primarily. He's a different kind of villain for Ledas. As soon as I created his character, I expected him to be a major force against Ledas in the entire Earth arc. Cardinal was originally created for another story of mine, Death Note: Our Truths. He's a "Death Note" kind of character through-and-through, and yet I did not delete him like I deleted Ishida and some others because he serves many purposes in the story. Just being a weak villain who uses his mental powers was something attractive to me, for it makes Cardinal unique not only in TF, but in the Dragon Ball universe as a whole.
Cardinal's personality was one I developed first for Our Truths. He's very smart, and he's quite clever as well. He has practical knowledge due to being a political juggernaut. Because he doesn't have a way to overpower Ledas physically, the struggle was to write him taking out Ledas almost entirely with his mind. The plotline of the second half of the Planet Earth Saga involving Cardinal is a scaled-back version of the "Kyokatshi Saga". I still wanted there to be some thriller aspects to the story and have Cardinal hunt down Ledas, for that's the whole point of his character. He eventually finds and defeats Ledas at the end of that saga. Things would have gone much differently had Buu not appeared right at that time, though. Cardinal does suffer from bad luck throughout the story.
I wanted Cardinal to appear like he's the leader of Earth's government, being one of the people just below King Furry. The extent of his power and where exactly he came from are left shrouded in mystery to enhance the mystique of his character. As well, he is very careful and very deliberate with every word he says - he never reveals anything about himself and tries to manipulate everyone he talks to any chance he gets. There are negative personality traits with him as well - he is addicted to M99 and painkillers; he seems to be a pathological liar; he underestimates Ledas' capabilities at several points. Still, he didn't get in the position he did on accident. His combination of being personable and manipulative and smart is a deadly one. Notice how he walks over the inexperienced Police Chief Nagamo in the Planet Earth Saga. The disparity between their political skills is evident in every scene they are in together.
Cardinal likes to think of the "greater good" whenever he plans stuff. That is why he risks setting Great Ape Ledas loose on the town - even if a few people are killed in the process, his team will be able to ID Ledas and perhaps capture him. He believes that capturing Ledas as soon as possible will save more people. He's not entirely evil, either. He could probably be considered evil in classic interpretations, but I don't think he is. He's just a man who wants to do what he wants to do. And he has the power to do whatever he wants. There's no one, save for King Furry, who can check his power. And King Furry never does that. So this allows Cardinal to go on ego trips throughout the first two sagas he's in.
His plot to capture Ledas is rather ingenious, though. I had to have it be like that in order for his intellect to be unquestionable. The way he abducts Ryori and then enlists Shoekki's help in finding Ledas is pure villainy, as is the way he captures Ledas and forces Shoekki to kill himself. While Cardinal is a grey character, he does many horrible acts to make it clear that he's a major villain in the story. His depravity would have been on par with Frieza's had he been physically stronger.
In the Reunion Saga, I wanted to begin showing the long, slow fall of Cardinal. This began with him losing almost all of his associates and soldiers. Even as he's trying to take on Ledas, he knows that there's only a very small chance that he will win. He goes after the boy for pride's sake. This is his planet, after all. He can't let anyone mess with him. Such pride leads to his son's death and the end of the New Red Ribbon Army, though.
And then of course he meets with King Furry. This meeting changes Cardinal - it enlightens him to how the world really works, which is quite funny, considering he's supposed to be one of the most worldly characters in TF. King Furry telling Cardinal about the Z Fighters and all that jazz helps humble Cardinal; it makes him aware of how out of control so much of the stuff going on the world is. He simply will never be able to control the Z Fighters. Cardinal adopts a new persona after his meeting with King Furry - he starts down the path of being reformed, somewhat. It's a pity that it was too late for him to save Silver and the other soldiers.
He fears that Silver dies after that and then tries to go see him in the Fulfillment Saga. Due to Vegeta's and The Benefactor's fight in the city at the time, Cardinal is caught up in a building collapse and is gravely wounded. Of course he finds Ryori at this time and Wisconsin too. He kills Wisconsin after the soldier is injured, and this is symbolic not only of the NRRA's destruction but of Cardinal's willingness to play a part in that. Cardinal's plot thereafter is him trying to survive Ryori's vengeance - deserved vengeance, to be sure. At this point, Cardinal is reduced to a much weaker role. He was once one of the most fearsome villains in the story and now he needs nurses to prevent a 12 year old boy from killing him.
Cardinal is one of the humans who symbolizes the fall human power in TF. His fall is perhaps the most notable and unexpected. At the end of it all, he is forced to listen to Ledas' demands and drop all charges against Ryori (who attacked Cardinal). He is not in control anymore - he's gone far in the other direction. His growing addiction and isolation is due to him losing his son and his army and his associates, though he could be blamed for a lot of what happened to him.
Cardinal then holds a tournament at the end of the story to sort of "make up" for his actions. He isn't totally contrite, but he knows he has to do that, because he's a politician. Still, the story ends with him alone and broken and politically weaker than he's been in a very long time. Him trying to make up for what he did doesn't totally work - and it doesn't work in the way he wants it to. He may get a moral victory or an emotional maturation of character that is quite commendable, but in the end, he's still alone and his son's still dead and he will never be as politically strong as he was before. So I tried to reform Cardinal a bit. I tried to make him less of a villain by the end of the story because I never felt like killing him off, but he doesn't get out of it unharmed. Cardinal is an interesting case study because he survives his fall and defeat.
Cardinal's name came from the fact that in Our Truths, he had a Catholic leaning (he has religious tattoos in that story, and perhaps even in this one). I wanted to give him a title, like The Benefactor got a title instead of a name. That said, Cardinal's first name, Johan, is revealed in the second-to-last chapter of TF - though his last name is not. This is because I never came up with his last name and want to be able to keep that a secret for now, for full names are important pieces of information in the Death Note universe.
When I watched through Dragon Ball, after I had written much of the concept of TF out (this was also after I had written several sagas of TF, if I remember correctly), I was struck by how much I liked the Red Ribbon Army. In fact, several of my favorite characters in all of the Dragon Ball universe, I realized, where Red Ribbon Army officers. I thus felt like putting a plot like that in TF, and the Fulfillment Saga was the only place to do so, for much of the rest of the story was already written by the time I got that idea.
I preferred General Blue over Colonel Silver, but Blue's death was confirmed, and there was nothing I could do about that. Colonel Silver, on the other hand, had a very ambiguous ending, even to the point where Dragon Ball Wiki itself, the notoriously biased site that it is, stated that it was never confirmed that he died. I like Silver quite a bit - he is actually in my top 20 characters in the Dragon Ball universe as of writing this commentary - so I felt like putting him in the story. In the 2011 and 2012 drafts of the Fulfillment Saga, Silver was mostly known as Airgead (an Irish word for "silver" - I chose this because Silver looked like an Irish dude to me). In the 2011 draft, Silver was an M99 addict who was isolated from the rest of the world. In the 2012 draft, I updated his character so that he was now the leader of the New Red Ribbon Army. He was still isolated underground at the time, so in the final draft, I brought the New Red Ribbon Army above ground and made Silver an integral part of Cardinal's team.
I came up with the idea that Silver could be Cardinal's son, and due to Cardinal's political power, that would explain how he prevented his son from being executed. Silver is one of the forgotten due to him coming back from the dead, in a way. And it's pretty cool that he outlasted the organization that tried to kill him and then became the leader of the newest iteration of that army. I wanted Silver's New Red Ribbon Army to be different from Commander Red's, though. It's a more disciplined unit, with less soldiers. It is a streamlined organization; its main goal is to enforce Cardinal's political power through intimidation and small-scale battles. This army is valuable since there aren't many armies in the world, aside from the Earth's Defense Force, so Cardinal's New Red Ribbon Army is one of the most powerful organizations on Earth. Silver is able to lead it effectively because of his experience. However, it should be noted that he doesn't run the NRRA like the RRA much at all.
Silver's personality was rather subdued in TF. He is an experienced, careful individual. I still had him addicted to M99, which is a vestige of his old personality in older TF drafts. Because he's a military man, I didn't have him involved that much in the search for Ledas. He alone of Cardinal's group is cynical about their chances to find Ledas. I had him involved in the plot with the Saibamen mostly to give him something to do in the Planet Earth Saga. I wanted to show that even though he's weak, he does have a good military mind and drive, and had his foes been mere humans, he would have likely done much better.
In the Reunion Saga, I had Silver be one of the characters symbolic of the fall of humanity. He's one of those guys searching for agency and power and yet he just can't compare to Ledas and the other powerful warriors. He tries his best to take on Ledas, but no matter how motivated he is, he simply lacks the power. Him being killed by Ryori at the end of the saga symbolizes the two characters' divergent paths - Ryori is the counterexample to the fall of humanity, while Silver is the best example of it. He tries to do everything in his power to please his father, to bring the NRRA victory, but it's not going to happen. It's futile. He got a second chance after being spared from execution in Dragon Ball, and yet it seems like, perhaps, it would have been better for him to die there, for he doesn't seem to have been able to do anything notable since then. I like Silver, but this thematic stuff was more important to show than how much I like him. Him getting a second chance did not turn him into a good person, it just prolonged the inevitable.
So these soldiers weren't given much on-screen time. They were shown guarding Cardinal a lot, getting butchered by Ledas' Saibamen, getting wrecked by Ledas in the gravity training unit, and getting destroyed by Ledas' Lightning Strike. They did not fare too well. Private Wisconsin was my attempt to humanize these soldiers, to give their perspective in the story. Suffice to say, these soldiers were based on the old Red Ribbon Army soldiers to a large degree - disciplined, if not useless, harsh, and overconfident. They are a bit more ruthless than the old soldiers in the Red Ribbon Army, and I think that's because of Cardinal's leadership. Additionally, there are far fewer of them than those in the old Red Ribbon Army, so I think it's likely they got better, more personal training from Green, Silver, and Cardinal. I tried to portray them as mercenary-like - they are a small army and well-disciplined, after all. The New Red Ribbon Army is basically an army that Cardinal bought with his vast sums of money. It's likely at least a few of these dudes were former soldiers in the Red Ribbon Army, but I think most of them are new recruits carefully screened and handpicked by Cardinal to enforce his political position.
The other branch of the New Red Ribbon Army, aside from the soldiers, are the scientist. Several of these guys survived TF, meaning that only they, Mr. Satan, and Ryori survived Buu's destruction of Earth. These guys developed the poison bullets that almost took out Ledas, and it can be inferred that they created the helmet device that kept Ledas from powering up after Cardinal captured him. I'd like to think that there were 10 or so of them who survived TF - most of them were killed when Sonfla blew himself up, but otherwise, these guys were never in harm's way. These scientists remained as associates of Cardinal even after the New Red Ribbon Army was formally dissolved. I think at least a few of them became his new Kindlers and Dewberrys. These guys are kept in the shadows - the extent of their capabilities are left vague to keep the full extent of Cardinal's empire (and the New Red Ribbon Army in particular) unknown.
Kindler was Cardinal's chief associate, and a guy who replaced the Ishida role a bit once I decided not to do the "Kyokatshi Saga". He's calm, collected, sophisticated, and intelligent. He was somewhat based on Destructivedisk. A lot of Kindler's dialogue was based on Destructivedisk's speaking mannerisms at the time I wrote the first draft of TF (so 2010-2011). Destructivedisk's distaste for guns was a personality trait given to Kindler (though it's an issue DD seems to no longer care about), and this affected the plot significantly. Much of the themes related to guns, their worth and whatnot, was developed because I learned this about DD. Kindler's conversation with Dewberry about guns in the final chapter of the Planet Earth Saga was based on this. Other than that, Kindler was a well-composed dude, and he would have been Cardinal's successor, I think, had he survived TF. He was well-groomed by Cardinal to be a political juggernaut. And it's a bit of a shame that a man with such promise was cut down in his prime.
Of course, he's not a good guy - he's a villain in the story, and he tries to kill Ledas. But there is a moral ambiguity to Kindler. He was willing to disobey Cardinal to set Ryori free. He had the awareness to see that though Ledas could be considered a threat, Ryori was definitely not one. So he does have a strong will. Him shooting Ledas was a big moral choice for him, just like Verlate's choice to kill herself. It was one that weighed heavily on him. He accidentally shot Ledas, though he did mean to shoot him anyways. The distinction is only thematically relevant. Afterwards, notice how Kindler becomes chipper - he becomes happier. This is no accident. Though he didn't want to shoot Ledas, after Ledas is shot, there is nothing Kindler can do about it, so he refuses to let himself get down about it. Kindler is much like Ishida in that he has big moral decisions to make at various points in the story - sometimes he goes along with Cardinal and sometimes he doesn't. I didn't want him to be absolutely sycophantic or absolutely rebellious. He's a grey character in morality and action.
Kindler's name is based on Destructivedisk's real name. As a note, I once presented a story about Kindler in a creative writing class I was in, and my teacher noted that Kindler's name is related to "kindness" and that his action of letting Ryori free (which was shown in that story) is perhaps foreshadowed in his name. I don't know about that, but it's what my teacher said.
Dewberry was roughly based on Supersaiyian11, though the extent to which he was based on that user was much less than that of Kindler being based on Destructivedisk. So with Dewberry, I had a concept of a big fat guy who other members of Cardinal's team tolerate but don't really respect (this is ss11 in a nutshell). He's not that good at much, but he is a good pilot and a decent helper. He's not very smart. Dewberry riding in the side car of Kindler's motorcycle in the last chapter of the Planet Earth Saga symbolizes his worth to Cardinal's team.
Dewberry's subservient role in the Planet Earth Saga is due to Supersaiyian11's online interactions with Destructivedisk on this very wiki several years ago. In the Reunion Saga, I expanded on his character a bit, making him interested in aliens and being a fanatical fan of the SyFy channel. I don't remember if this was based on Supersaiyian11, but I think it probably was. It also goes well with the thematic content of Subterranean Homesick Alien by Radiohead. His stuff with Guva was high comedy, in my opinion, though their scene together served to characterize both of them in interesting ways too.
Other than that, Dewberry is involved with the themes on guns in TF, for he accidentally kills Mrs. Fanshi (and has an argument with Kindler about the worth of guns) and then tries to kill Ryori with one. He's too fat and slow, though, and Ledas is able to go Super Saiyan and easily take out Dewberry. It is notable that Dewberry dies after Kindler, after Ledas gets free, for it implies that he's much less of a threat to Ledas and Ryori than Kindler was.
Dewberry's name is a reference to Dewberry, a contestant in Hell's Kitchen (season 1). That names is ridiculous, and the Dewberry on that show was slow and fat and funny as fuck. He was a great influence on the Dewberry character in TF.
I don't know where my inspiration for this character came from. It all seems rather random now that I look back on it, and I can't pinpoint something I referenced or something I saw that inspired me to make File. Regardless, File is a transgender individual. She's really a male, biologically-speaking, and that fact is what makes Shoekki kill her when he finds out (this means, of course, that he hasn't had sex with her in TF (though she used her mouth or hands to give him some pleasure, probably)). I needed a way for Shoekki to get on Cardinal's bad side to make Cardinal want him to commit suicide, and Shoekki killing File seemed like a nice, simple way to do that. I mean, it is bad that Cardinal wants him to do that, but at the same time Shoekki murdered someone, so that is a morally-grey issue (and it's the primary reason Shoekki wasn't revived when the world was wished back after Buu's defeat).
File is a good investigator and a good tracker, so her involvement with Shoekki does prevent her from helping find Ledas, which does weaken the New Red Ribbon Army somewhat. Her character is thematically tied to the idea of duty vs. desire. She is a better associate of Cardinal than Dewberry (and she outranks him), so her early death is very impactful. Cardinal calls her his beloved implying that he has had a sexual relationship with her. However, this is not true - Cardinal is definitely heterosexual (it's on my sexuality list for TF, yo), so that must mean something else. Perhaps File is related to Cardinal. As well, it should be mentioned that File herself is heterosexual since she identifies as a female.
One last thing I want to say is that File being transgender was conceptualized and written before all of that stuff got into mainstream social politics. I didn't really want to comment on that kind of stuff in TF anyways - her being transgendered doesn't matter to her and it is not the dominating thought of her, as well it shouldn't be. She's a person just like anyone else. I just thought it would be interesting to have a different type of person, and I didn't specifically write any social commentary or political thoughts in regards to her character.
File is the only one of Cardinal's associates who was not based on a user on Dragon Ball Fanon Wiki. File's name is not a pun on anything, as far as I'm aware. I don't remember why I picked her name to be what it was - she does fill up the "F" slot in the list of Cardinal's associates, though.
I had a lot of fun with Korin in this story. He's one of my favorite characters, so I knew exactly what I wanted to do with him. Notice how there are many long scenes with Korin in TF, and this is because I like having long comedic scenes with him and Yajirobe or others. It's just fun for me, and it makes this story tonally similar to DBZ. Korin has a nice wit to him that not many other characters in the story do, so it was fun to have him make all these sarcastic remarks to the other characters he encounters. Despite him refusing to be the teacher of Ledas in the Fulfillment Saga, he does give Ledas some subtle advice throughout the story and is a significant mover of the plot as well. It is he who supplies Ledas with the senzu beans that save his life twice (and Vegeta's once); it is he who throws Verlate's mind prison in Yajirobe's hover car, knowing that it is likely to be opened in the battle against The Benefactor; and it is he who orders Yajirobe to take the trip to the Z Fighters to give them senzu beans in the Fulfillment Saga. So Korin is very important to the overall plot, all joking aside. He's really cool because not only is he involved in all these comedic moments, but he's very important to the more serious sections of the Earth arc.
As in canon, Korin is a very atypical teacher. Since he's one of my favorite characters, I wanted him to be a teacher to Ledas - and he does serve that role, albeit not in the way Ledas expects. He is not a strength or fighting teacher for the boy simply because Ledas is far too powerful for Korin to be able to teach him anything in that realm. But he's still very useful to Ledas in other ways, and that is something I tried very hard to show.
Korin is also a teacher in Forever Alone. His role in that story is to teach Verlate riddles. This is cool because he's basically enlightening a god figure about something, which says a lot about Korin's own mind and potential. The third chapter of Forever Alone also served to show how Korin got Verlate's mind prison (he found it in the sand in a desert), and it explains why he knew to send it with Yajirobe against The Benefactor. He's been inside it, so he knows the power of the mind prison. I'm sure Korin wanted The Benefactor to get stuck in there, perhaps with Verlate getting set free in the process. He never brought that up to Ledas though. I guess he figured that if Verlate was free, she would have been with Ledas or come to see him shortly after. Since she doesn't do that, Korin must expect Verlate is dead.
I've always loved Yajirobe. He's one of my favorite characters in the Dragon Ball universe (third favorite, as of writing this commentary). That's the main reason he's in this story. So the way I first got him into the story was with a long conversation with Korin that characterizes both of them in a comedic way. I wanted to show that the reason Yajirobe runs into Ledas in the Planet Earth Saga is quite random, and yet at the same time it seems like their destiny. Notice that Yajirobe's first encounter with Ledas is much like his legendary encounter with Vegeta in the Saiyan Saga of DBZ. He finds Ledas in the boy's Great Ape form and cuts off his tail, just like he does for Vegeta. This parallel was written deliberately. Ain't no coincidences here, yo.
Yajirobe isn't exactly friends with Ledas in the Planet Earth Saga, but since they go get food together after the mishap of Yajirobe taking off the boy's tail, they do get on friendly terms - well, as friendly of terms as is possible with ol' Yajirobe. Yajirobe serves as a way to bring Ledas to Korin in the latter half of PES so that the boy can get senzu beans and so that he can go missing so Cardinal can abduct Ryori and enlist Shoekki in helping him find Ledas.
In the Reunion Saga, Yajirobe takes a backseat role. He is eventually tasked with bringing the Z Fighters some senzu beans at the end of the saga, and this is a curious place to end his character arc in the saga. Him flying off to give them senzus doesn't seem like it's that important of a moment... and yet, Korin tricked Yajirobe. He put Verlate's mind prison in the samurai's car, knowing that it would surely get opened in the ensuing battle that Yajirobe would surely witness if not take part in. So there's a lot of foreshadowing going on with Yajirobe's last scene of that saga, and such foreshadowing in the season finale hints at the later importance of Verlate's mind prison.
In the Fulfillment Saga, Yajirobe and Krillin are the only Z Fighters there to help Ledas (after Vegeta is defeated). He is portrayed as cowardly during this saga - he doesn't want to help Krillin help Ledas and just wants to sit there cowering in the background. This is Yajirobe's canon personality, but it was specifically taken from how he acts in the Saiyan Saga of DBZ. The culmination of Yajirobe's arc is when he musters up the courage to throw Verlate's mind prison at The Benefactor. He probably only partly knew what he was doing, but still he saved the world with that action. And nobody knew. This is why Yajirobe can be considered one of the forgotten in TF. He has a nice arc, one where he briefly overcomes his cowardice to help Ledas out. Of course Ledas is sucked in the mind prison too, but it all works out in the end.
The scene at the end of "When Time And Life Shook Hands And Said Goodbye" is a good example of how Ledas and Yajirobe have become friends. Their friendship in that scene is understated, but it's there, and it's one of the most emotionally-affecting scenes in the story, in my opinion. Yajirobe thereafter has only one more scene - where he cuts up Korin's cat tower with his katana after the two have an argument. This was meant to show how some things never change. Yajirobe can be noble one moment and like a petulant child the next. Such is life; people aren't perfect. Though I like Yajirobe, not even I think he's a good guy most of the time. But I'd like to think that due to the events of TF, he became friends with Ledas and that the Saiyan boy sometimes came to visit him on Korin Tower thereafter, with many a tale and many a bag of food to share.
Captain Green had a much larger role in the 2012 draft of this story. As the story is now, he's a bit of a remnant character. Still, it was important to show that the New Red Ribbon Army has a structure to it. I'm sure there are other officers in it aside from Green, but he is the most notable one. He's loyal, no-nonsense, brutal - pretty standard for an evil military guy. In the current TF, he's not really that notable. His worth is mostly in the world building aspect of TF, in the fact that he merely exists. Green is like many of the officers in the old Red Ribbon Army, although perhaps he's slightly more disciplined due to the influence of Silver and Cardinal.
Wisconsin is the epitome of a regular soldier in the New Red Ribbon Army. I chose to focus on him because I thought a soldier like him would look cool in the story. In the Reunion Saga, I didn't do much with Wisconsin - he's just a loyal servant of Silver. His whole role in that saga is mainly build up for his role in the Fulfillment Saga.
In the Fulfillment Saga, I did some thematic stuff with Wisconsin that might've seemed unexpected because of his lack of a major role before that saga. Still, I did do some minor foreshadowing to what Wisconsin was going to do with Ryori. Wisconsin is the last vestige of the New Red Ribbon Army, physically and philosophically. He is the only one who still wants to go after Ledas, who still wants to win. Everyone else is dead, save for Cardinal, who has, by the Fulfillment Saga, realized the hopelessness of the NRRA's cause. As such, Wisconsin serves as a plot point for Cardinal's own arc - Cardinal killing him signifies the end of the NRRA and of Cardinal's resistance against Ledas. Killing him is like killing his own ambitions, like killing the demon in his thoughts.
Wisconsin symbolizes the NRRA in another way - when he kills Nagamo, he reveals his true colors. He is loyal and appears to be rather good-natured in the Reunion Saga, but as soon as things go poorly for him, he becomes psychopathic and murderous. He has a dark nature, just like most of those in the NRRA. It's rather petulant, but devious too. The way he traps Ryori off-screen just after Ryori's finest moment, is one of those infuriating moments in the story. But his emotional turn is just like how various Red Ribbon Army soldiers had emotional swings in Dragon Ball when Goku went up against them. So I was drawing off canon history with Wisconsin's character as well.
Wisconsin's name is a reference to the character Agent Wisconsin from Red vs. Blue, but his actual character and the plot he is involved is not influenced by Agent Wisconsin or his plot whatsoever.
So Goku's role is a bit interesting in TF. Considering he's the protagonist of the Dragon Ball universe, it would make sense that I'd give him a big role, wouldn't it? Well, I'm not a big fan of Goku. He's not one of my favorite characters, but he's also not one of my least favorite characters. He's just kind of... there. He is a boring dude. There's nothing particularly notable about his personality. And his history is pretty much defined, so I have rarely written about him in anything other than a very minor role in my stories (he's prominent in two of them, though: Glory and Dragon Ball Z: In Requiem). Even here, he's given the backseat role. Goku is a hero figure, but he's not the hero of this story. I couldn't let that happen.
Goku does try to inject himself and his alpha persona a bit early on in the Reunion Saga. But once the fighting gets going, I held Goku back so that he wouldn't face The Benefactor until everyone aside from Vegeta and Ledas (and, unknown to him, Krillin) was defeated. He also tries to inject himself into the Ledas/Vegeta feud at certain points in the saga, but never does so to great success; this highlights his diminished role in this story. Had this story been portrayed in DBZ, Goku would have been far more important and had far more to do. But since I'm in charge, I decided to give him a break for once.
Now this is not to say that Goku doesn't get his epic moment - he does. I specifically wrote his SS3 encounter with The Benefactor near the end of the Reunion Saga to be a really badass fight scene. And I hope it turned out that way. While I didn't want Goku to shine in this story - and I did take a few humorous shots at his "protagonist" role in the process - I still didn't want to disrespect him. I gave him a scene for him to be that hero, that protector of Earth, that we are all so familiar with. It just so happens that The Benefactor's strategy was enough to counter and defeat Goku. Symbolically, this was a passing of the torch, and it was also me reminding the readers that this is not Goku's story. Goku's not going to come in and fix everything. Goku is deus ex machina in that regard (if that would have happened), and that wouldn't have served the story at all for him to do that. It would have ruined the drama and the character development of Ledas. So Goku had to get defeated. It's certainly weird seeing him defeated with others still active. He's usually the last one to go down, if he goes down at all. But my story is different. This is Ledas' story, and I had to focus on him and the people important to him. That's why Vegeta also outlasted Goku in the fight against The Benefactor.
Goku's role in the Fulfillment Saga is very meta. He's shown fighting Vegeta in Cardinal's tournament, but I didn't show who won that fight. That is the ultimate fight - the big one that every fan of DBZ thinks about and hypothesizes about who would win. It was fun showing just a bit of that fight, from Ledas' perspective, but not showing its conclusion. From Ledas' perspective - from this story's perspective - that kind of rivalry isn't important, even if it's a hallmark of DBZ. I thought that was a really cool, subtle way to portray how Ledas is separate from the most of the main plots and cool moments of the Dragon Ball universe, not to mention the Z Fighters. Everyone wants to know who would win in the Goku vs. Vegeta fight, and yet the answer to that is something I deliberately didn't get into because it didn't matter to this story. Elsewise, Goku is not very important in this saga. He does have a few funny lines as he and the other Z Fighters watch Ledas and Vegeta fight. These lines highlight his diminished role and are tonally important, for having a scene with all of the Z Fighters speaking with their canon voices was important for tying this story to DBZ, tonally.
Like Trunks, Goten has a very small role in the Reunion Saga. He's only present in that saga because it would not be logical for him to be absent. It felt like it was in the "Dragon Ball spirit" for Goten and all of the Z Fighters to be there when Guva calls for them by raising his power level. Like Goten, Gotenks is dealt with very quickly, which was not always the case - in previous versions of TF, Gotenks (and Goten and Trunks) were much more important characters in this story. As I edited the story and improved upon the plot, I no longer cared for making them prominent, so their roles were reduced to token roles in the Reunion Saga, much like Piccolo's, Gohan's, and Android 18's were.
Goten fights Android 18 in the tournament during the final chapter of TF to call back to when he and Trunks fought her on a tournament stage in canon. He does have one line in the Fulfillment Saga, much like many of the other Z Fighters. It's not an arc-creating line - Goten is too minor a character to have a character arc in this story. This isn't his story, after all. But I did try to give him at least a few lines that showed that I knew how to write for his canon personality, and I think that's evident with his Fulfillment Saga line in particular. Goten is like many of the other minor Z Fighters in that his dialogue was mainly done so that he wouldn't be entirely forgotten and so that he'd get a line that would be canon-like to make the tone of TF DBZ-like.
Trunks has a very minimal role in the battle against The Benefactor. He's there because of necessity and he's dealt with quickly, as are the other unimportant Z Fighters (for that fight). He fuses with Goten into Gotenks and fights The Benefactor for a short while before getting defeated (mostly due to the effects of Locke's Ruse, in truth). In previous drafts of TF, Trunks and Gotenks were both far more important to the story, and they fought The Benefactor in a more dramatic moment, but that's no longer the case. Gotenks and Trunks and Goten are really not tremendously important to Ledas' story, and I didn't want them to get any good hits on The Benefactor - I wanted thematically important characters to hold more prominence. So Gotenks was defeated very quickly in the final version of the Reunion Saga (note that in older versions of the Fulfillment Saga, Gotenks spent more than a chapter fighting The Benefactor, even having an entire chapter named after him because of how important their fight is - but their fight, as it is now, is not nearly as notable).
Trunks does later fight Ledas in a highly entertaining fight in the last chapter of TF, though. I mainly had him be Ledas' opponent during Cardinal's tournament because it felt like there was something important in the fact that Ledas was fighting Vegeta's son at the end of all things, just before getting reunited with his childhood friend. The concept of what Trunks was was more important in that scene than Trunks himself. He put up a good fight though and there were nice parallels between him and Ledas that I'm sure would have also existed with Goten - it's just that it's more significant for Ledas to be compared to Vegeta's son than Goku's son. Like most other minor canon characters, Trunks doesn't have a character arc, though I did try to portray arrogance in him to show to Ledas that such a trait does run in the bloodline. Him getting somewhat sarcastically consoled by the Z Fighters later on, as they watched Ledas and Vegeta fight, was written for comedic purposes. Trunks can be a little too full of himself; he's no Prince Vegeta after all.
Krillin's a cool cat. I don't like him that much, but I have grown to appreciate him over the years, particularly in my last watch through of DBZ through the death of Mecha Frieza and King Cold to prepare for His Majesty's Pet. I gave Krillin a large role in all versions of TF because he's Destructivedisk's favorite character. So that was done for ol' DD's sake. In the final version of this story, I streamlined his plot a bit. He no longer fights The Benefactor much at all, when he tried to do so more in older drafts of the Fulfillment Saga (which led to my alternate ending of the story). Still, he's one of the most significant Z Fighters in the story (behind only Vegeta and Yajirobe, I think).
So, I thought it was necessary for at least one Z Fighter to survive the fight against The Benefactor without getting too wounded so that someone could go get Dende or senzu beans to heal everyone else. That someone is Krillin. I didn't want the "survivor" to be someone too strong, nor someone too boring (like Yamcha), so that role fell to Krillin. Krillin is a classic Dragon Ball character, and I did enjoy writing for him. Lots of little references and callbacks to his canon stuff in TF. His scene with Yajirobe is really funny. He does well with comedic moments, so that was another consideration with making him so prominent in the story. It felt tonally right for him to take on the larger role he did in the Fulfillment Saga.
The way Krillin helps Ledas in the Fulfillment Saga is pretty cool. Unlike the other humans, Krillin is really elevated in TF. There's not a definitive reason for that - it's due to a number of things. Of course, him being DD's favorite character was a consideration, as was the worth in having a comedic character around. Krillin being able to use the highly useful Solar Flare and Destructo Disk attacks made me pick him as the "survivor".
I am quite proud of Krillin's dialogue in the final chapter of TF. I think it's a good, accurate portrayal of him, and it has some comedic/thematic worth as well. He's one of the few canon characters in TF, aside from Korin and Yajirobe, who can pull off that combo with his dialogue, so that was fun to write.
Android 18 has a very minimal role in TF. She had to come to see Guva, since he raised his power level to call all of the Z Fighters to him, but I didn't have much of a role for her. Like Gohan and Piccolo, she's in that power level range that puts her way above Guva and really not much of a challenge to The Benefactor. This is why she was ultimately defeated so quickly by The Benefactor. She is important primarily as an impetus for Krillin to want to go get senzu beans and help Ledas, later on, though. Of course, he would have still likely done both of those things had she not been knocked unconscious, but the fact that she was made Krillin that much more desperate (and, in my opinion, made his scenes in the Fulfillment Saga much more interesting as a result).
She has a nice little character moment with Krillin in the last chapter of TF, but other than that, I don't believe she has any dialogue in the story. That moment was just to give her a little moment with her husband and to try to portray the two as canon-like as possible. I wanted that whole scene in the last chapter of TF with all the Z Fighters to feel like it came right out of the anime. She does fight Goten during the last chapter's tournament, and I had her be his foe since Ledas had to fight Trunks. That left Goten without a true partner. I gave him 18 to fight since they fought in canon in a tournament setting (though, admittedly, Goten had Trunks to help him in that fight).
Destructivedisk loves Tien, so I featured Tien heavily in the fifth saga of this story. This is a theme with most of the human Z Fighters in TF. Had Destructivedisk preferred Gohan or Piccolo, they would have probably been featured more heavily in this saga. DD's my good buddy so I wanted to make this saga entertaining for him. Certain plot points, such as giving Tien more of a role, was me trying to do that.
I don't hate Tien, but I don't find him a particularly compelling dude. He's technically interesting as a fighter, but not interesting as a human. As such, he's more interesting in DB, when he could actually fight. Tien's big thing in DBZ is getting angry when Chiaotzu gets hurt. Thus, that happens in TF. It should be apparent in the text of the Reunion Saga, that I am satirizing all of the various Z Fighters at various points in that saga. Tien is no different, though I really did a lot of jokes with him (even going so far as to reference how he always fights without a shirt on).
I respect Tien, so I was careful with how I portrayed his fights against Guva and The Benefactor. He beats Guva (though he's not the one who kills the poor governor) and puts up a respectable effort against The Benefactor, but it's not enough. He goes out trying his hardest, but he's a human, and he just can't compete with main villains in a post-Buu world. This was a subtle theme in TF, one of the deterioration of human potential on their own homeworld. It's a sad theme, one that I don't like having to write about. It would be cool if Tien or Krillin could reclaim their past glory and get back to being peers with Goku and Vegeta... but that just doesn't seem possible. So while I had Tien put up a respectable effort in his fight against The Benefactor, I couldn't ignore the reality of the situation. He had to be defeated like all the others. Tien fighting to avenge Chiaotzu's honor is emotionally compelling to me, even if I don't like Chiaoztu much. I guess it says a lot about who Tien is that he would risk his life to avenge Chiaotzu. That is a classic personality trait of Tien, and one I made sure I put in this story.
In the Fulfillment Saga, I didn't feature Tien much (I even mentioned how his tourney fight against Chiaotzu was the most boring of all the fights in the last chapter of that saga). However, he does make a few important comments about Ledas and Vegeta as he watches them fight in the TF finale. Tien is a skilled, disciplined fighter, so I chose to have him make these observations to give the observations more weight. Piccolo is another one who could make such comments, due to his canon personality. Regardless, I chose to have Tien note that Vegeta and Ledas have similar fighting styles (a clue that they grew up together) to show that I know Tien's canon personality and can write for him. That comment is just like something he would say in DBZ, in my opinion. And his comment aids the readers in understanding the relationship between Ledas and Vegeta.
The extent to which I loathe Chiaotzu cannot be put into words. He is, quite simply, worthless. He has never impacted the plot or had anything meaningful to say in DB or DBZ. He is a character who Toriyama or his editors should have noted, during the writing and editing process, had no purpose. He should have been cut. But he wasn't. And thus, he had to be in this story. Because Guva made his presence known on Earth, all of the Z Fighters came to see what was up; that included Chiaotzu.
Now, I highlighted Chiaotzu in the early fight against Guva for two reasons. The first reason is that he's one of the few characters weak enough to fight Guva without being able to instantly defeat the governor. The second reason is I wanted to see Chiaotzu get beaten to hell. Chiaotzu wanting to help Yamcha fight Guva, though, is a nice character moment. Just because I don't like the guy doesn't mean I can't give him some legitimately good scenes. I definitely tried to do that. I didn't let my bias about him get in the way of creating a good story.
Destructivedisk, for some unknown reason, likes Chiaotzu. That was partly why I had him featured so heavily in the opening fights of the Reunion Saga. Another reason was that I wanted to mimic the Saiyan Saga of DBZ to some degree, and I liked the way that Nappa and Vegeta systematically took out the Z Fighters in that saga, so I tried to do something similar here. It was great to show Guva destroying Chiaotzu, to show how pathetically weak Chiaotzu was. He double-teamed Guva with Yamcha helping him, and he was still largely ineffective. Chiaotzu's defeat of course led to Tien stepping in and attacking Guva, which was not a random unfolding of events. Tien was the next-weakest guy active, after Yamcha and Chiaotzu were taken out, so I wanted him to go out next (of course, he was too strong for Guva, but The Benefactor dealt with Tien quickly). So Chiaotzu fighting and losing to Guva early in the Reunion Saga was not just me hating on the clown. It had significant impacts to the plot and pacing of the story, all of which I considered when I was writing that saga.
In the Fulfillment Saga, I mainly used Chiaotzu as the butt of several jokes - most notably the one with Ryori unintentionally dressing up as him. Since I don't care for Chiaotzu, it felt fitting to have the last stuff about him in TF be jokes about his appearance and lack of power and worth.
I don't particularly like Gohan. His character development, by Toriyama, is the laziest of all character in the history of DBZ. His "hidden potential" crap is one of the worst ideas Toriyama ever came up with - it's an easy excuse to make Gohan superpowerful without him needing to train. This is a horrible idea. It lessens the worth of others earning their power, of training ceaselessly for years just to become stronger. It's dreadful writing. I didn't mind Gohan as a kid, even though he had these stupid power boosts even then. It's when he becomes an "adult" (he's only 16 when he's considered an adult though) that Gohan truly goes off the rails. His character development from that point on turns him into one of the worst characters in DBZ. As a consequence, I was not happy to write for him in TF. He had to be in it, due to Guva calling everyone to him. All of the Z Fighters were present for that simple fact. The challenge for me became how I was supposed to deal with the characters I didn't want to write for.
I believe Gohan had a larger role in previous drafts of TF. In the final draft, I reduced his role because it's really not fun writing for him. I had him fight The Benefactor in a short scene, with Piccolo helping him, and that was it. They fought together (I did this because Gohan's friendship with Piccolo is one of the few good things about him), and lost relatively quickly. Gohan was later shown in the finale of the Fulfillment Saga fighting against Piccolo in the tournament, simply because I wanted to focus on the best parts about those two and nothing else. Gohan is a forgettable character after Cell. He is pretty much worthless. I took a similar mindset with him in TF. He's powerful, yes, but this story is not about him. The plot unfolded in a convenient way for him to be dealt with quickly. As such, he doesn't have much impact in the story. Though do note that I didn't remove him from the story, as that would be illogical. He had to be in TF - it's just how the plot unfolded. He had to be there when Guva and The Benefactor appeared. But that didn't mean that I had to keep him around for a long time or have him be a major player in the plot.
Yamcha can be very arrogant, despite his weak nature. It's almost a trope in DBZ for Yamcha to die or get removed from battle at a pathetically early point. Such was the case in TF as well. I wanted to portray him at his most arrogant because, in his mind, he was trying to win back Bulma during his fight against Guva. There's some rivalry between him in Vegeta throughout the Planet Earth arc because of that. Also, Destructivedisk loves Yamcha. I don't particularly like the dude. So it was fun for me to showcase him, to entertain Destructivedisk, and then have the fight run to its logical conclusion - Yamcha losing to the first guy he fights in brutal fashion. Yamcha losing to Guva is pretty pathetic, considering he had Chiaotzu helping him. Even double-teaming the weak governor was not enough to take him out. This shows how pathetically weak both Yamcha and Chiaotzu are. I did give Yamcha some glory. He has some nice dialogue in the chapters he's in, in the Reunion Saga, and his entrance is undeniably badass. But he goes out as he should. And this is also true during the the Fulfillment Saga, for he loses his tournament battle in the last chapter of that saga just as he lost to Guva in the Reunion Saga. Yamcha is a great character study of how I tried to balance DD's love of a character with my own disinterest of them (and also the reality of that character's power).
King Furry's main purpose was to give a bit more structure to the universe and to reign in Cardinal a bit. Cardinal has seemingly been the guy in charge for most of the Planet Earth arc of TF, so it was nice to show someone who outranks him, politically-speaking, and who can give Cardinal advice and orders. King Furry was pretty much the only person who could enlighten Cardinal to the fact that there are superpowerful humans and aliens on Earth who protect the planet from other superpowerful beings, all of whom are far beyond the power of regular humans, thus making them impossible to control. King Furry's meeting with Cardinal in the Reunion Saga served to open Cardinal's eyes, giving him some much-needed character development. King Furry himself is a canon character, so I kept him static. It wasn't my place to give him character development. Having King Furry in only one scene meant that wasn't feasible anyways. He's a steadfast dude, and he helps the rapidly unraveling Cardinal to regain a bit of his own composure. King Furry's meeting with Cardinal directly leads to the tournament at the end of the story, and it would have saved Silver and the other New Red Ribbon Army soldiers had it taken place a few minutes earlier (it's bad luck for Cardinal that Silver and the remaining NRRA soldiers were killed as he was speaking with King Furry).
The nurse is a classical sexual archetype, so that's the main reason Yorokobi originally existed. She is based on Nurse Joy from the original series of the Pokemon anime (she looks similar to Nurse Joy, has the same profession as her, and also has pink hair). I developed her to be sexually aroused primarily by young, pubescent boys. She is a hebephile, and is a woman, so that is an atypical combination shown in literature. This was an easy excuse to get her interested in Ryori and Ledas. What she does to Ryori and Ledas could legally be considered rape, but I don't consider it to be so - reality always trumps legality, in my view. The reality of the situation is that both of them wanted it. Her main purpose was to give both of them sexual pleasure, but not take Ledas' virginity (I wanted him to lose his virginity to a pure-blooded Saiyan - and that turned out to be Chaiva). Her dialogue and all that jazz in the deleted scene was not meant to do much other than further the sexual fantasy - she does not develop as a character; she is a static girl.
In the final edits of TF, I did put Yorokobi in several scenes in the Fulfillment Saga to build up her role a bit. Her hebephilia is on display in all of these scenes, showing how her sexual orientation, like anyone else's, does drive many of her actions in life. She is a professional, though, as is seen with how she deals with Cardinal and Ryori medically. However, she's not "perfect", for she takes a bribe from Cardinal to give him more meds. I personally don't have a moral issue with that, but some people would. I think she's just a person. She doesn't fit an archetype of good or evil, as pretty much no one does. She does what she thinks is best for her, and that is a normal thing. Due to her position, though, the fact that she can be selfish may give some readers pause. Still, I think she is quite good at her job and doesn't let her sexual orientation or sense of morality get in the way of that.
Yorokobi's name is a pun on "joy" in Japanese. This is again a reference to Nurse Joy from Pokemon.
The Screechers were mere fancies of mine, not really based on anything in particular. I liked the image of these little, sharp-featured, black-colored demon-like creatures, and so they were put into the story. They are emblematic of Verlate's insanity, and of her more devious side. She does not let herself descend into deep emotion during the first couple of chapters of her arc (when the Screechers are around), and lets her emotions be released within these creatures. Remember how, after she revealed herself to The Benefactor and Ledas, Verlate at one point conjures up a Screecher as she is having a debate and squeezes on it, hurting it greatly - this is a metaphor for how her wild, emotive side (the Screecher) is at odds with her preferred state-of-being (the calm visage of Verlate herself). This is even seen in the name "Screechers". They like to screech, to let themselves be known. For Verlate, who is forgotten and quiet and logical, this is at odds with her normal personality. She later descends into ranting form in the latter half of her arc, but she mostly rants to herself and doesn't let The Benefactor and Ledas know what is going on. So taking that in mind, it is most curious that the Screechers let themselves and their intentions be known (by screaming) rather plainly.
The Screechers are certainly odd and seem to be like Gremlins, in a way. I think that reference was unconscious, though. The Screechers can be restrained when they want to be, and can go absolutely crazy and be quite vicious when they want to. They are at Verlate's mercy. I thought it was more fitting for Ledas to fight them, instead of The Benefactor, for it looked cooler to have Ledas fight them, in my mind's eye. As well, they are closer in size to him. The way they attack Ledas in "Ye Mighty", as well as they way they just act in that chapter (with them sitting in the dead trees, then screeching, then attacking The Benefactor and Ledas when the two try to attack each other) sets the tone for Verlate's mind prison, so they are crucially important to the story, beyond their purpose of just fighting Ledas (and sometimes The Benefactor). Like the Lurker and Verlate's tentacles, they are not real things - they are figments of Verlate's mind, so they cease to exist when she does.
In her special, Forever Alone, I wanted to show Verlate going through troubling times that were beyond her control. Despite her power and her position as a "mortal god", she is unable to save the Kais or herself. This feeling of helplessness directly leads to her being "forgotten" by the time of the sagas of TF. I wanted to give her a personality that makes her seem alien to the readers. The way she speaks, acts, and holds herself is not how a human would do any of those things. More so than with the other alien characters in TF, this was important for her, for Verlate is thematically isolated as well as physically isolated from the rest of the universe. I also wanted to humble her, for she is rather arrogant and elitist. This is seen with her losing to the Kais and also learning about riddles from Korin - despite her intelligence and arrogance, Verlate doesn't know about riddles and has to be taught about them by Korin. In the third chapter of Forever Alone, Verlate takes a subverted role intellectually, whereas in the previous two chapters, she was being subverted physically and philosophically. So the main arc of her character in that special was to subvert her and make her be forgotten. It's a striking fall for someone of such power, intelligence, and worth in the universe.
I originally was going to make Verlate a male, but after I thought about it a bit, I realized there weren't enough female characters in TF, so I changed her to a female. This impacted how I portrayed her character, I'm sure, but I'm not sure to what capacity, for I never wrote about Verlate as a male.
In TF, much of Verlate's characterization occurred during the final edits. The first two chapters she is in were completely written for the final edits. While those chapters were greatly influenced by my own aesthetic inclinations, I also wanted to characterize Verlate as someone who's become insane during her time in the mind prison. All those millions of years of isolation have made her a bit crazy, and she's become impatient since meeting Korin - she wants to get out of the mind prison more than anything. I wanted to show that she no longer considers her punishment in Forever Alone fair. In that story, she willingly went into her mind prison. She had no concept of the hell the mind prison actually was. That development of her character mostly happened off-screen.
Verlate was Shakespearean in nature, which perhaps only Lauto had any hint of, of the other characters in TF. Her character is thus unique. She likes to monologue in eloquent fashion. This hints at her educated, god-like upbringing, but it also serves to show how her character has been changed by the mind prison. She's significantly different as a person in Forever Alone and in the Fulfillment Saga. Her monologues serve to characterize her quickly in the Fulfillment Saga, primarily. Since her actual "real" self exists in only two chapters of the saga (roughly), it was important for me to get through her arc quickly and coherently. Having her monologue, emoting her thoughts openly, was a good way to do that. The fact that she is doing that shows the burden of the mind prison - she is no longer able to keep her feelings and thoughts inside her.
Despite being in only five chapters of the Fulfillment Saga, Verlate has one of the most cohesive arcs of any character in TF. The resolution to her arc is also quite unique - she settles on the idea of suicide primarily as a way to fulfill her character. It's not a rash, emotional decision to escape the pain of life. She realizes that there's no escape from the mind prison. Her arc fulfilled itself when she agreed to be punished millions of years ago. She's persisted beyond thought and time, being one of the "forgotten" who has actually survived beyond her legacy. Obviously, her arc is tied to the themes of the story because of that, and that was something I considered heavily when I wrote for her. I wanted to show that her decision to commit suicide was a rational, calm one. She has all this emotional, loud, obnoxious stuff before she decides to do that. But when she finally decides to kill herself, to give in to mortality, Verlate is numb and calm. She has moved beyond her emotionally-charged personality seen in earlier scenes. Thus, the suicide is the fulfillment of her character arc.
One last thing that is important to note about Verlate is that though I made her a villain of the Fulfillment Saga, she's not overtly good or overtly evil. She doesn't really care about the morality of Ledas and The Benefactor; she doesn't take sides in their conflict, and even when she dies, she doesn't care which one of them will get stuck in the mind prison after she's gone. I specifically made Verlate one of the greyest characters in TF because she was a former god - so her sense of morality is one that matters. Even in her mind prison, she's the god lording over The Benefactor and Ledas. Still, her lack of a traditional sense of morality is thematically relevant and perhaps shows a bit of the Damani ruling mindset (albeit corrupted to an unknown degree). Verlate's struggle is one of agency and of finding freedom. She wants to atone for her sins, but she doesn't want to be stuck in the mind prison forever. She tries to do anything to get out. Morality is not something that matters to her in the mind prison, though it did seem to matter to her somewhat in Forever Alone (though even in that story, she was mostly amoral). Verlate's lack of conventional morality is not a good or bad thing; her actions were mostly forced upon her.
Verlate's name is a pun on "Verlaten", an island in the Krakatoa island chain. Why have all these puns and references to Krakatoa with the Daman characters? Well, The Daman in general are based off of the Rakata species from the Star Wars universe, and that species' name is a reference to one of the islands of Krakatoa.
These characters come from Hermaeus Mora's realm of Apocrypha in Skyrim's Dragonborn dlc. As I was playing that game around the time I wrote the final edits for the Verlate arc of the Fulfillment Saga, I was influenced to put the tentacles into this story. These guys do a bit of damage to The Benefactor and show the darker side of Verlate. As well, their encounter with TB shows how The Benefactor can get himself damaged when he underestimates his foes - and this later becomes important during the last battle between Ledas and The Benefactor. These tentacles ultimately aren't very important - they are by far the least important of the three creatures Verlate creates in her arc - and yet, they do have value in foreshadowing later events. They also set a creepy tone for the inside of Verlate's mind prison and show how she's become somewhat insane. I'm certain a sane Verlate would not have created masses of tentacles springing out from cracks in stone in a water-logged ruin to attack The Benefactor.
The Lurker was influenced by the Lurker enemies in Skyrim's Dragonborn dlc. I wanted there to be a huge, "final boss" kind of character for The Benefactor to face in Verlate's mind prison, and I also wanted him and Ledas to face different enemies so that their divergent storylines in the mind prison wouldn't be repetitive. I was playing a lot of Skyrim around the time I was writing the final edits for the stuff in Verlate's mind prison, so that's why I referenced a mighty foe from that game. I wanted a big baddie for The Benefactor to face, which would put him in a situation he's never been seen in before. As well, I wanted the Lurker to be able to really punish The Benefactor - and this wouldn't be as apparent had he fought a bunch of Screechers - so that Ledas would have a better chance against him in chapter 9 of the Fulfillment Saga (this is also a Skyrim reference, for when I first played Dragonborn, the Lurkers were very difficult for me to fight and beat, and I tried to recreate that with The Benefactor's fight against the Lurker in this story). So the Lurker primarily fulfilled plot desires of mine in this story. His fight against The Benefactor is legit though. I really like how their beam struggle went.
The Tournament Announcer is a classic character, and his role as being the commentator of tournament fights is legendary. He was put in this story, during the tournament fights of the last chapter of the last saga, for nostalgia's sake, mostly. Most of his dialogue comes from his dialogue in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2, word-for-word. I like this guy a lot, and I've featured him significantly in Sink to the Bottom, so I never felt forced putting him in. In fact, to make writing the last chapter a little easier and to make Ledas' fight against Trunks a little more fun for me personally, I decided to add this guy in. Lots of unintentional comedy with him, even in the last scene he's in, when he commentates Ledas' fight with Vegeta, but no one can hear him because his microphone is unplugged. Great stuff there. I didn't develop this guy, for he's a canon character and he only appears in one chapter - so he's a static character, but an entertaining one at that. Him being in the final chapter has tonal implications, for he makes everything a little more lighthearted.
Loriphim takes on the role of the Old Iyxan from the old versions of Outbreak: Paved In Blood. He's somewhat of a fatherly/parental figure for The Benefactor. He's not a good man, and he's not a bad man. He's a grey, complex character, and he's based on one of my teachers whom I never liked very much. The Benefactor learns from Loriphim how to hunt and how to kill, though in the end, he doesn't like how the man treats him, so he kills him. This would be like Ledas killing King Vegeta or Nappa. Loriphim does shape much of The Benefactor's personality, making the boy hate most living beings because of how terrible a man he is. That is The Benefactor's first major test in Outbreak. He exerts his own agency against Loriphim's and forces the man to kill his daughter before committing suicide. This was all done to hurt Loriphim emotionally as well as physically. While Loriphim fulfills much the same role as the Old Iyxan, his more complex personality is a good example of how my writing has grown throughout the years. He is the first major person to oppose The Benefactor, and he pays dearly for that. Loriphim's name was inspired by the Seraphim and Nephilim.
Nico is a foil to The Benefactor, showing how odd and out-of-place TB's bloodlust is. He's a normal kid, and I didn't develop his personality much. The fact that he's so young and relatively well-mannered makes his death that much more horrific, and all of these decisions were made in order to develop The Benefactor's character development and further the tone of Outbreak: Paved In Blood. His name comes from a person on my high school soccer team.
Igear is somewhat indistinguishable from Nico. Both are just boys who serve as foils to The Benefactor, and him killing them has massive character development and tonal consequences for the story. The two do have subtly different ways of talking, though, and I made Igear quieter, humbler, and a better speaker. His death is also more gruesome than Nico's in order to build up The Benefactor's development. I couldn't just have the same kind of death twice in a row - that doesn't show progress. Igear's name comes from a vendor in the Undercity on the planet Taris in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. This name was originally a name for an unused Cardinal lackey, though I re-purposed it for TB's special after I realized I wasn't going to use that Cardinal lackey. It definitely sounds like an Iyxan name to me.
The Benefactor's mother is an interesting character and one of the most enigmatic beings in TF. Because so little is known about her, even from The Benefactor's perspective, she is held in an idealized state of being. She is the ideal of the motherly figure, the missing motherly figure whose lost presence has caused her son to descend into chaos. She appeared to be the only one who could control The Benefactor, and her disappearance/death was the impetus leading to The Benefactor destroying his species.
Everything about her was ambiguous. Why she cut herself is ambiguous. What happened to her husband is ambiguous. Who killed her is ambiguous (was it TB, Frieza, or unnamed Iyxans?). But her influence over The Benefactor is profound. His cut himself up to mimic her and spent almost all of Outbreak looking for her. Indeed, he destroyed his species just looking for her. So that shows how much she mattered to him. In fact, she is the only person whom The Benefactor seems to have cared about. The ideal of her brings out the more emotional side of The Benefactor. But I was careful to never give specific closure to her character, for thematic reasons.
The Benefactor's mother also appears in a hallucinatory form in the Lauto Saga and is mentioned in the Stomping Grounds Saga. This was all done to give The Benefactor character development. Notice too that the main reason he went after Lauto and wanted to kill that disgraced Supreme Kai was that he brought up TB's mother. TB doesn't want to think about his mother. It's the one subject that truly hurts him, to the end of his life. He cared about her so much. He loved her so much. We know so little of her character, so how she has affected her son is the most important quality of The Benefactor's mother. The Benefactor's mother also serves to show how not every question in the universe is answered. She could probably be considered one of the "forgotten" as well. But to think that such a minor person, just a regular female Iyxan, could be the root cause of her species' near extinction, is very cool to me.
Ayale is pretty much just a plot device. I wanted to build up to her having a romantic relationship with The Benefactor but then not paying that off for a twist. Her main purpose is to have Loriphim kill her to truly show the depravity of The Benefactor. It's a dramatic moment when TB uses his powers to force Loriphim to kill his daughter. The Benefactor turning on Loriphim would not have been nearly as dramatic without Ayale there. She's not a likable character, though. I made sure to not have her and TB get along so that the readers wouldn't feel very sad when she dies. It's unclear if she knows that what she tries to feed The Benefactor is poisonous to him. That ambiguity does make her character more complex.
Sertung represents the noble side of the Daman, and is one of the last vestiges of power of that dying species in Forever Alone. He is a dogmatic being, though he abandons his dogma when his species dies. He is one of the most important characters in the history of the Dragon Ball universe, as well, for if it wasn't for him, the Kais would not have gotten the training they needed to assume the mantle of the mortal gods of the universe. He sacrificed a lot at the end of the second chapter of Forever Alone to train them, and he's quite the noble dude, in my opinion. I'd like to think that he taught the Kais about the Spirit Bomb technique as well. Sertung is very nuanced, very subtle, so it's hard for me to really explain what I was doing with him without giving everything about this story's themes away. What I will say though is that Sertung is a god-like figure, both because of his power and intellect, and because of his role as a judge - a judger of worth. Sertung is remarkably steadfast in personality and countenance, and that was a deliberate choice on my part, so that he could assume that authoritative role as well as possible.
Suffice to say, I consider him one of the best characters in the series and think that he's quite the tragic character. There's certainly beauty in the austere desolation of his existence, especially after Verlate is put in her mind prison and most of his peers die. Sertung is one of the last Daman to die, and that was done as a sign of respect on my part. The Daman did not go out with a whimper in that regard. He was one of the greatest Daman in terms of intellect, power, and influence on the universe. I wouldn't put him as the best ever, or perhaps even in the top 5, but he's definitely one of the most significant members of his race, and it's fortuitous for the universe that he was alive at the time his species' empire collapsed... otherwise, the universe would have descended into chaos, had he not stepped in to train the Kais.
Sertung's name is a pun on "Verlaten", an island in the Krakatoa island chain. Sertung's name is a pun off of the same island as Verlate's own name. Why have all these puns and references to Krakatoa? Well, The Daman in general are based off of the Rakata species from the Star Wars universe, and that species' name is a reference to one of the islands of Krakatoa.
These guys were purposefully underdeveloped. I wanted to give just a hint of the old Damani leadership. These are the guys in control of the universe, but they are petty, stupid, and corrupt. And they are dying. Of course, they die by the time Sertung's point-of-view section comes around, further showing their fall. They symbolize the passing of the guard, the fall of the Daman in general, and how the Kais are going to have to replace them. These delegates are a shadow of the former Daman leadership and empire (think of Anaku, who, for all his evilness, was a strong, willful leader - these delegates are neither of those things) The Kais turn out much different than the Daman, and that says as much about them as it does about the Daman, particularly this delegate of old dudes.
This Kai is greatly symbolic in many ways - his meeting with Verlate being one of the elegant, reformed god meeting the base savage. He is also quite a complex character, seen by him getting a whole point-of-view section in chapter two of Forever Alone. That is significant, for he's the only character other than Verlate and Sertung who gets such a perspective. I wanted to show him as just a normal guy, a worker who's not very high up on the social ladder, but got a little lucky with absorbing Verlate's power. He doesn't know what to do with that because he's not a good - not in mind nor body. Later Kais will be considered gods, but this guy was not raised to think he was one. He later tries to get vengeance on Forty-three, one of his inferiors, and fails, leading to his death and to the deaths of nearly every other Kai. The Kai is deeply tied to this theme in TF of revenge and how destructive it is to all involved. But this Kai is not a bad guy. He made some mistakes and perhaps has some morally questionable moves. But even in his point-of-view section, it's clear that he's just a regular dude who got put into bad situation. He isn't innocent in the proceedings - he tried to take Verlate's power. But his end goals were just him trying to gain more agency, more liberty, and that is something I can't get too mad about.
This minor character is just like any fool you have dealt with in life. He's not based on anyone in particular. He's an archetypal character, I suppose. It's certainly maddening that he screwed up the Kai's life and then ultimately stole Verlate's power from that Kai. The fact that Forty-three did that is significant, for it caused the whole planet and most of its population to die not long after. It is not clear if the same thing would have happened had the Kai been able to keep Verlate's power. But yeah, this guy is a bitch and I hate him and his existence shows that there is no justice in the universe.
Savage was unnamed in early versions of Forever Alone. Either Hyper Zergling or Destructivedisk made this a con in their review of the story, being confused by who exactly Savage was. So during the later edits of this story, I gave Savage a name just to please them. The name isn't necessary, but I suppose it does make things a little clearer. He is not one of the previously seen Kais in the story, after all. Savage is representative of what happened to the Kais after Verlate's power was stolen. Savage himself has descended to a near-insane level of consciousness. He's like a drug addict. And his name itself speaks to the themes of colonization and the subversion of "inferior" species by the Daman, which are both hinted at in Forever Alone. Who Savage actually is doesn't matter. He represents what happened to his species after they gained access to power they shouldn't have. It's not all his fault what he does in Forever Alone, but he is also not entirely innocent either. A man chooses, and a slave obeys. Everyone, even Savage, had a choice in their actions, and he chose to give in to the power he got and become a maniac.
Little Purple's name is a reference to Piccolo's name from the AB Groupe dub of DBZ (his name in that dub was "Big Green"). I'd like to think that this little guy is going to be the first Supreme Kai ever. He doesn't have much of a personality, though he does have some cautious, violent tendencies seen with the other primitive Kais to make his personality consistent with them. Little Purple doesn't have much of a personality or role, though he does symbolize the resurgence of the Kais. Him being so young is important, for he is the first one whom Sertung trains to be a new caretaker of the universe. This shows how the focus is primarily on the newest generation of Kais, not the older ones.
These are major characters who were deleted before the final version of The Forgotten. Some never existed in writing, some did, and others were never actually put up on this site.
Detective Ishida was going to be the person called in to find Ledas in the original draft of TF. He was going to work with Cardinal, though he wasn't necessarily politically-aligned with the old man. He was based on L from Death Note. I really loved that series and was watching it around the time I began working on TF, so I wanted to create a "Death Note" saga. This was going to occur after Ledas killed Mr. Kyokatoshi. After the man was found dead, Cardinal and Ishida would be called in and spend a very long saga (like 30+ chapters... it was really ridiculous) hunting down Ledas. I wrote several scenes for this saga and had it in my TF works document in 2010. This was all during the fourth saga of the time, known as the Kyokatshi Saga. It was written in brown text color (a text color later used for earlier drafts of the Fulfillment Saga). I wrote maybe 3-4 scenes involving Ishida in that saga before getting rid of the saga.
So Ishida was going to be this very smart man who was anti-social and didn't exactly get along with Cardinal. He would certainly challenge Cardinal. I wanted his arc to complete with him finding Ledas and then not wanting to go through with getting rid of Ledas. I never came up with what happened to him after that, though. He was supposed to be a good guy, and some of the stuff in his personality was utilized in how I characterized Cardinal in the final version of TF. He was going to interrogate people like Aka, like Ryori, maybe even Ledas himself, but he was never going to be the bad guy. He's like this guy stuck in the system. Part of his arc was going to be him rebelling against Cardinal and struggling with the ethical aspects of what he's doing and the moral responsibility he has to capture Ledas (to protect the world).
I realized rather early on, before I posted any text of the Kyokatshi Saga on this site, that this saga wasn't going to work. The idea of a "Death Note" saga isn't a bad idea, but it's just not one I felt was right for my story. So I eventually got rid of it. Ishida was completely eliminated along with it. He is the most significant character to be deleted from the final version of TF. His stuff was mostly about chasing down Ledas, hunting him down, in a thriller-like way. Ledas is still hunted down in the Planet Earth Saga, but Cardinal and the New Red Ribbon Army now find him within a few chapters. There was no place for Ishida in that final plot. Ishida could only exist if the hunt was stretched out over a saga or so. I think it was good that Ishida was eliminated, for as it stands, there are plenty of characters in the Planet Earth Saga already who have minimal roles. There didn't need to be another repetitive character. That said, I do like Ishida and do miss him a little bit. I think my later story called Spindlerun: The Tale of Yajirobe may have featured a character (named Elijah) who was slightly based on Ishida.
Aka was going to be Ryori's sister. She was also known as Aiko in some early scenes of TF that were never posted on this site. I actually wrote scenes with her and Ledas and other characters on my old Microsoft Works document of TF. I no longer have that document, and probably deleted her scenes on it anyway. So I don't have access to them anymore.
Aka was going to be roughly the same age as Ryori - perhaps even his twin. She was going to be a romantic interest for Ledas. She was also going to be involved in the plot with Cardinal and Detective Ishida trying to find Ledas. One of the scenes I wrote that involved her was actually a scene with Ishida interrogating her. I remember that much. With the removal of the Ishida plotline, though, Aka didn't really have much of a purpose anymore, and as I thought it over more, I didn't want Ledas to get romantically involved with such a young girl (I like it when he's with older females). So she was deleted. This had significant impacts on the plot, notably with Ryori's character development. His character would have been much different had he had a sister. Also, this removed any romantic plotline from TF, which is not something I regret doing. Romanticism was always very low-key in DB and DBZ (think of Goku/Chi Chi or Vegeta/Bulma).
When I realized I didn't want Ledas to end TF with a romantic partner, that made it easier to deleted Aka (as well, in 2010, I was less confident writing for young girls, so it relieved some pressure to remove her from the story). Sexual encounters for Ledas still exist with Nurse Yorokobi and Miki - two women older than Aka. As well, the mother of Nir, a girl I have yet to give a name to (though I do know at least that her name starts with an "A" like Aka's), will be somewhat based on what I originally planned on doing with Aka, although she will be years older than Aka. So even though this character was deleted, she existed spiritually in TF, to some degree, and will kind of be reborn to be the mother of Nir.
In the original concept of TF, Ryori's parents were going to be shown. I removed them as I didn't see a place for them. Now, he still has parents, even in canon, since he's a human being. But his parents are never shown, and it's implied they are dead or gone. Shoekki was taking care of Ryori, and after he died, Ryori was scared he was going to be put in an orphanage. I chose not to delve into what happened to his parents in the text TF, though I imagine it's likely they are dead. They weren't going to be gone in early concepts of the story, and would have been somewhat involved in the Ishida investigation as well. But once that plotline was removed, there was really no reason to have them. It's thematically more interesting to have Ryori have this pain in his past that he doesn't talk about, like Ledas. It also makes Shoekki more interesting, knowing that he's raising his little brother. That's surely not easy and yet he never complains about it. So by removing Ryori's parents from the picture, I was able to give both Ryori and Shoekki some interesting character development.
Ledas' Other Earth Friends
I never named these characters, but they did exist in one or two scenes I wrote for later sagas of TF. One scene featured Ledas taking Ryori, Aka, and the others to Planet Cooler 92 on his space ship. By that point, the outpost is wrecked, but he takes them there primarily to show them where he came from. Additionally, other characters were going to exist in school. None of these characters ever panned out. In many different drafts of TF, various other Earth friends for Ledas existed. Even in the final version of the Fulfillment Saga, I prepared for two chapters to be about Ledas and Ryori at school, and that would have introduced several Earth friends. But those chapters were removed and replaced by other chapters, so that never came to be. Even in earlier drafts of TF, I considered having an expanded plot for Ledas at school. There just wasn't room for it, and as I wrote the story out, I thought having such scenes wouldn't add anything to the story, so these characters were never put in. Now, had the Kyokatshi Saga been written, more human friends would have been introduced. Many would have, probably. But that saga being deleted meant that all of the fluff was removed - all of this extraneous stuff at school wasn't put into the story. There were still of course scenes at school, but those were few and deliberate, so introducing new characters who have no further plot relevance wasn't something I wanted to do. Some of Ledas' and Ryori's other Earth friends may be seen in the first couple of chapters of my (as of writing this commentary) unnamed story about Cooler's children, Raimie and Haimaru, which also heavily features Ledas. But that story won't be written in the near future (I'm writing this commentary in mid January 2016), so I can't promise anything.
This Old Iyxan existed in the old version of Outbreak: Paved In Blood, the special about The Benefactor that was nearly completely re-written during the final edits of TF. And during those final edits, the Old Iyxan was completely removed from the story. He served the role as a parental/guardian figure for The Benefactor, similarly to how Mrs. Fanshi served that function for Ledas. This guy's role was supplanted by Master Loriphim and by The Benefactor's mother, though they both served slightly different roles than this guy. That's just how the story developed during the final edits. He was a bit too static, too soft, to interest me, so I did something different with his successors, though they both died just like he did, in the end.
Genocide Monster (TF Special villain)
I had remarkably little planned for this monster even when I began writing his special. Hell, the main reason I got rid of his special is because I couldn't visualize what he looked like and couldn't think up a good backstory for him. He was supposed to be an animal, though, not a sentient being. I don't think he would be able to talk, either. He was just going to be some clever animal preying on a planet that The Plantains go to in order to see what's going on. When they find him, they battle him, and the rest is history. So the setup for this guy was a lot like any DBZ movie, although I didn't even come up with a backstory for the monster, which even the worst DBZ movies did. I didn't get any inspiration for what he would end up looking like, either, and that prompted the special and this character to be abandoned. In my mind, all I can picture is a sinewy, tentacle-clad, red mass. But I just didn't have the drive to develop him into a more coherent villain, so he was abandoned.
Stomping Grounds Instructor
This guy was going to be somewhat old, harsh, and a little fat. He was going to be a man past his physical prime, and he was based on a math teacher I once had. He would help both Guva and Banas, though, to show his sensitive side. When the Guva special was abandoned, so too was this character. A bit of his harshness and charisma bled over into Digranite's character. I didn't plan much for this character, but he was going to have a complex personality so that he could be a mentor to Guva and Banas and shape their view of life, to an extent. That said, I was planning on having Cooler kill this guy at the end of the special (for a reason I never came up with, for I never wrote the special). He was also going to have purple skin and be balding, though he was not of the same species as Guva. He would have looked like an anthropomorphized plum.
Cardinal's Other Assistants
Shortly after I came up with Dewberry and Kindler and File, I created a list of the other potential associates of Cardinal in a notebook of mine. I do have that notebook still, and if I ever find it, I'll upload a picture of the associates list below. The concept was that each associate would be tied to a letter of the alphabet, though if my memory serves, I don't think I went past the letter "L". Kindler, File, and Dewberry took up three letters, but that leaves quite a few others. The associate for "I" was Igear. This name was later used for the name of an Iyxan child whom The Benefactor killed. Now as to if these characters actually exist, beyond the mythos of just TF, I cannot say. I will consider using them for my Death Note story, though. I did consider that the ones who didn't appear in TF would appear in my Death Note story and vice versa, but I never got that far in the planning to make that happen. There are only three Cardinal assistants in TF. Surely, he had others, and they may appear in my story about Haimaru and Raimie, two children of Cooler, which also features Ledas. In that case, I will adhere to this idea that each assistant's name starts with a different letter. And if I ever write my Death Note story, I will also adhere to this and have his assistants be people whose names start with unused letters, with a priority on letters coming before "L".
Just from the way TF played out, though, there wasn't a need for more assistants than the three who exist. Even File is a bit tenuous as a character. Had there been more of a need, I would have used the aforementioned method to create more of them. I did name Igear, and I may have named one or two others (I seriously do not remember, though), but they were not given personalities or histories or any of that stuff. So if I need anymore for future stories, I will basically need to create them from scratch. I will probably use a different name for the "I" slot as well, since Igear became a name I used for a different character.
Dodoria once existed in the old version of Outbreak: Paved In Blood, though he never had a very large role. He was deleted from it when the special was mostly rewritten during the final edits of TF, for I didn't have any purpose for him. He could have also been in the Prince Vegeta Saga and/or in the flashback chapters of the Reunion Saga. However, I saw no purpose for him in those sagas, either. If I had had a need or place for him, he would have been in the story. I had no need for him, so he was not put in the story. However, Frieza does reference Dodoria a few times, and the scene direction in the Prince Vegeta Saga at one point does hint that he may be just off-screen for one scene. So Dodoria is out of the spotlight of TF, just to the point where he never actually appears. But I'm sure he's "around" Frieza's space ship during the Prince Vegeta Saga. Just, as luck would have it, he was never seen in the flesh.
In one of the (now) deleted versions of the Fulfillment Saga, Android 17 was a major character, and he fought The Benefactor in a very important battle in that saga. He eventually lost the battle and was taken out by Vegeta, who wanted Gotenks to fight The Benefactor instead (and Gotenks was on a time crunch, yo). His personality would have been pretty much the same as it always had been (he only appeared to save his sister), though perhaps he was written to be a bit of a psychotic tryhard. Suffice to say, as the plot of that saga was updated through the various drafts, the place for Android 17 disappeared. Hyper Zergling also hated Android 17's inclusion in this story, citing his seemingly incoherent power increase from his last canon appearance - he went from being on par with Android Saga Piccolo to being stronger than Super Saiyan 3 Goku - as being a terrible idea on my part. My excuse at the time was that I liked 17 and wanted to give him a moment to shine. However, doing so at the expense of logic was unacceptable. That's an example of my bad writing in the old versions of TF, which I tried to fix in subsequent drafts. Also, spending many years writing DB fan fictions on this site also improved my writing capabilities, and I didn't make such basic mistakes thereafter ever again.
Hyper Zergling's argument that 17 shouldn't be strong enough to fight TB essentially caused the character to be deleted from this story. Because 17 is truly unable to challenge The Benefactor, there is no reason for him to appear (he wouldn't appear with the Z Fighters to fight Guva because he's an anti-social loner). Having a pointless battle with TB where he couldn't do anything added nothing to the plot, so he was just completely removed during the final edits of the Fulfillment Saga. He once served an important multi-chapter role, and now he's not in TF in any capacity. That's just how things go. Still, Android 17's fall from importance to irrelevancy is quite striking. While I didn't get to glorify him in this story after all, I did itch that scratch I had for writing about Android 17 in a one-shot called Derelict. And I'm happy with how that turned out, all things considered.
<---- Part 29.8
Part 29.10 ---->