“Gohan, let it go. It is not a sin to fight for the right cause. There are those who words alone will not reach.”
Android 16, Dragon Ball Z
A Limit Break For The Ages
If this isn’t your first visit to this site then you know how much I love Dragon Ball, the show/manga about muscly men getting stronger by screaming at each other. Today I’m gonna talk about perhaps the coolest moment in cartoon/anime history.
It was the year 2000 and me and my brother were watching the final episodes of the Cell Games, a tournament to seal the fate of the world in Dragon Ball Z. Our heroes seem to be at their limits and all seems lost. The supposed hero of this story, Gohan, doesn’t seem capable or even willing to finish the fight. That is until the disembodied head of an android is tossed at his feet.
Android #16 was created to destroy Goku but during the events of this arc he develops a love for the Earth and all the creatures that inhabit it. After an attempt to defeat Cell (the villain of the arc) he ends up in the state you see above. He asks another character to throw him near Gohan and it is here that #16 gives Gohan the motivation he needs to let go and fight to protect the Earth.
What follows are three different versions of the speech:
“Gohan, let it go. It is not a sin to fight for the right cause. There are those who words alone will not reach. Cell is such a being. You are gentle. You do not like to hurt. I know because I too have learned these feelings. But it is because you cherish life that you must protect it. Please drop your restraints. Protect the life I loved. You have the strength, my scanners sensed it. Just… let it go.”
“Gohan. Listen to me. There are some foes who cannot be reasoned with. You are allowed to fight on the side of justice. Seize upon your anger. Wield it like a weapon. I understand your reluctance, but holding it in is pointless. Gohan, I love the animals and everything about nature. Protect them. For me.”
“Gohan. Grow up. You act like you are the only one suffering, but I believe that Trunks has some stories for you. And I can assume they all end with ‘And then he died too.’ And before you start whining about your father again — and I get it — take a moment to consider that my father made me a soulless killing machine to kill your father. And that doesn’t even come close to the complete tragedy of fatherhood that is Vegeta. Cell was right. You think you’re better than everyone else, but there you stand: the good man doing nothing. And while evil triumphs and your rigid pacifism crumbles into bloodstained dust, the only victory afforded to you is that you stuck true to your guns. You are a coward, to your last whimper. Of fear and love, I fear not that I will die, but that I have come to love: the birds, and the things that are not birds, will perish with me. So please, Gohan, stop holding back.”
After the end of his speech #16 is killed in one of the brutal moments of the entire show.
After listening to #16’s please and witnessing his death, Gohan finally lets go and transforms into Super Saiyan 2! (below is the original version because it’s the one I witnessed as a kid).
It’s the tears during the transformation that really sell it for me. And when they fade away as his face turns to anger, you know someone’s about to have their head kicked in.
At the time I remember thinking that this was the coolest thing I had ever seen in a cartoon, to this day I still haven’t been proven wrong.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all next time. Until then, remember to take care of yourselves. Peace.
A phenomenal cover of the song that played when Gohan underwent this transformation.