Hello everyone, Jechiro here, it's been a while since my last pure good proposal. This time I'm proposing someone I'm not quite sure about, Kami from the Dragon Ball Franchise. For the record, before we get started I want to make something clear, there are quite a few Dragon Ball movies that are ambiguously canon (mostly due to the filler arcs), namely I'm talking about Dead Zone, where Kami plays a major role. Despite the Garlic Jr. Saga seemingly having several callbacks to the movie, I'm going to be treating it as if it's not canon. For this proposal, I'm only going to be using events that happened in the anime. That means I'm including his role during the Garlic Jr. Saga even though it didn't happen in the manga, it's still technically canon to the anime. Without further interruptions, let's continue.
What's The Work?
Dragon Ball, surely by this point needs no introduction. But as I said during my proposal for Pacha, rules are rules. Dragon Ball is a manga and anime franchise created by Akira Toriyama. The series follows the Saiyan warrior, Son Goku as he battles increasingly powerful villains and saves the world countless times. Goku meets many colorful, interesting characters along the way, one of whom is the topic of today's discussion, Kami, the guardian of Earth.
Who is Kami? What has he done?
Kami is the overarching protagonist of Dragon Ball, though he wasn't born under that name. At first he was a nameless Namekian who woke up on Earth one day, having no idea of who he was. Eventually it was revealed that Namekians are members of an alien race, and Kami (to keep things simple, I'm just going to call him "Kami" from now on) had crash landed on Earth without any memory of what he was. At the time, Kami was the strongest being on the planet, and so the guardian of Earth at the time, Enma, took him in as his apprentice.
However, despite all the training Kami took, he still had a selfish motive for wanting to become guardian of Earth. Therefore, Kami expelled said selfish desire out of him, which would then become his evil twin known as Piccolo (no, not that Piccolo, well kinda but we'll get there soon enough). It's important to note that Kami didn't know that purging his inner evil would create such a monster, and once he found out what Piccolo was doing to the world, he became furious. Eventually Piccolo was sealed away by Master Roshi. After King Piccolo's reign of terror ended, Kami created the dragon balls, seven magical orbs ,that when gathered together will grant anyone one wish. Kami created these to give humanity hope after such a time of crisis. Admittedly I don't remember if this happens onscreen or if it's just exposition. But that's not really a problem, considering we see the dragon balls so many times throughout the series. We still get to view the fruits of Kami's labor. It's also important to note that after evil people began to seek the dragon balls, Kami grew regretful of creating something so powerful, that is until he met Goku, after which his faith in humanity was restored (even though Goku isn't even a human, but not even Kami knows that at this point).
With his backstory out of the way, let's get into the part where Kami enters the story, shall we? Kami first appears onscreen after Goku killed King Piccolo and traveled to his lookout. At first, Goku tries to attack the old Namekian who he mistook for Piccolo, Kami doesn't hold it against him. Eventually, Kami agrees to revive Shenron (who was killed by King Piccolo during the previous saga) on the condition that Goku would train with him. Goku being well, Goku, agrees to these terms and Kami has his assistant/best friend Mr. Popo glue Shenron back together so he could revive him. In doing so, all the innocence who were killed by King Piccolo (such as Krillin, Master Roshi and Chiaotzu) are all revived.
Three years later, Goku is an adult and attends the next martial arts tournament to battle Piccolo Jr. King Piccolo's final son/reincarnation (yes, this time it's that Piccolo). Kami attends the fight and is genuinely surprised when Goku asks for the fatally wounded Piccolo to be given a sensu bean. Keep in mind that if Piccolo died here, Kami would be killed this time too (for some reason, coughing up an egg isn't an option here). After which, Kami offers Goku the position of Guardian of Earth, as Kami wasn't proud of the job he had done and wanted to give the position to someone he felt was more deserving. Goku, needless to say, declines the offer and Kami's basically out of the picture until Dragon Ball Z, so let's continue.
Several years pass and the Earth is threatened by the few surviving members of Goku's race, the saiyans. After Goku sacrifices himself to kill his older brother, Raditz, Kami takes him to the afterlife and arranges for Goku to train with King Kai to prepare for the other two saiyans, Nappa and Vegeta. Meanwhile, Kami assembles Goku's friends, the Z Fighters, to train in order to prepare for the upcoming threat. When the saiyans arrive, the Z Fighters are still drastically outclassed, and eventually, the newly reformed Piccolo is killed while defending Goku's son, Gohan. In doing so, the dragon balls turned to stone and Kami died. Fortunately, The survivors are able to revive Piccolo using the dragon balls on Planet Namek, meaning Kami is back and so is Shenron.
After the Z Fighters finally get back to earth, Kami plays his last major role in the series, during the Garlic Jr. Saga. During the saga, Kami and Popo were captured by the immortal villain, Garlic Jr and held captive in a container. Eventually, they are freed by Piccolo and Kami dispels the black water mist, preventing the population of earth from being brainwashed by Garlic Jr.
By the Androids/Cell Saga, Kami had grown old and was dying, until Piccolo showed up and asked Kami to fuse with him. During this point of time, Piccolo is an anti-hero, and he's looking to get rid of what evil he has left in him, as well as to become strong enough to defeat Cell and save the world. Though reluctant at first, Kami eventually agreed to merge with Piccolo, essentially ending his role in the story for good. Keep in mind that just because he agreed to join together with the reincarnation of his evil counterpart, doesn't mean Kami is intentionally corrupting himself. Namekian fusion basically assimilates one Namekian into another's body. Kami now only exists in Piccolo's subconscious, allowing Piccolo to transition from anti-hero, to traditional hero. I'm not saying Piccolo is pure good mind you, he is still his own person, as is Kami. The only thing that's changed is they share a body.
None really, Kami literally forfeited his corrupting qualities to become a purely selfless hero. At first, I was reluctant to propose him over that. But after putting a lot of thought into this, I don't really think he has any moral agency issues because of this. Kami willingly relinquished his corrupting factors, that's not the same thing as being brainwashed, and the fact that he chose to do so out of his own free will means he isn't made of good either. So no problems there. The only time Kami ever gets angry is when King Piccolo began his reign of terror, and even then he was mostly mad at himself for accidentally creating him. There's also the fact that the dragon balls have been used to do a lot of evil in the show, but that wasn't Kami's intention while creating the dragon balls. He allowed people to wish for whatever they wanted because he had faith in humanity. Kami also grew to regret creating the dragon balls after he saw how selfish humanity could be, and he got over that after he met Goku. So really when you break it all down, Kami doesn't really have any negative qualities. With all that said, I wasn't reluctant to propose Kami for this reason, there's something that makes this dilemma a whole lot more confusing...
It's common knowledge that Dragon Ball has an astronomically high heinous standard, this is a series where redeemable villains can be shown blowing up entire planets, laughing sadistically. Well guess what? The admirable standard is just as high. With all the good that Kami did in the series, it doesn't change the fact that this is a show where the heroes save the world every arc. With all that said, I do think Kami should have some leeway due to his lack of resources (just because he's guardian of Earth, doesn't mean he's entitled to all of Earth's resources). Kami has a relatively low power level, not to mention he's largely a loner pacifist in a world of fighters. Not to mention, he created the dragon balls and is therefore indirectly responsible for the revival of countless humans throughout the series. This is what the dragon balls were meant to be used for, they were meant to give hope to the people of earth. That being said, things are still very complicated due to the high admirable standards. This is the biggest question we have to ask ourselves during this proposal, does Kami pass the admirable standards due to his lower power level and lack of resources?
I could go either way, so why don't you tell me?