Dragonball (2): Super Saiyan-jin
One of the most prominent themes in the Dragonball Saga is the legendary warrior Super Saiyan-jin which all Saiyans (Goku’s original race) can transform into. The origins of this transformation have a little history: it is rumoured that Saiyans get awakened and turned into the legendary warrior at moments of epiphany which take them far beyond their physical limits to the status of godlike capabilities (it is also said that only one in a thousand Saiyans is capable of making it, although in later parts of the story all Saiyans become Super Saiyans, even the little sons of Goku and Vegeta (Goten and baby Trunks)…!). This is indeed the case with the early transformations we see in Goku, Vegeta, Trunks and Gohan, all of whom discover their Super-Saiyan capabilities through total and utter pain and anger, to the extent that their inner energies burst out and they discover their true potential. Goku and Gohan’s transformation and subsequent defeat of their enemies (Freeza and Cell respectively) are iconic moments in the Dragonball franchise and both are huge fan-favourites (myself included, and I count Goku’s dramatic transformations into Super Saiyan 3 and 4 into the picture too), but Vegeta and Trunks’ respective ascensions to Super Saiyan are in many ways more tragic and emotional than Goku and Gohan’s as they reach the depths of their potential through sheer boundless anguish and distress: Trunks transforms after he discovers that Future Gohan, his only friend in the future wasteland, is dead, and Vegeta does it when he reaches the limit of his frustration at not being able to surpass Goku, his nemesis. Both episodes are filled with blood and thunder, and if you can feel their pain, they might jerk some tears from you. I mentioned before that at times of pain and disappointment our dark energy comes in useful in propelling ourselves forward, especially if we channel that energy and pain carefully, it may take us to a whole new level which we would not have reached otherwise. In this regard, the Super Saiyan-jin legend is utterly inspirational, since it shows that spectacular and transcendental growth is only possible through penetrating and excruciating pain, and rather than letting our pain get the better of us, we should let it get the best out of us. May we all use our anger and frustration constructively and transform into the Super Saiyans that lie within us.