January 29th, 2016, Friday, 2:43 P.M.
I would like to talk about one of my biggest inspirations up to this point and why he is such a hugely influential figure. Before I begin, I want to provide some context as to my history with Dragonball Absalon and another related project, which won’t be mentioned here.
Back in 2012 I was already a professional musician, published singer-songwriter and a published poet whose aspirations to get back into writing stories had come when in 2010 he was finding that his journal was empty in freshman year. As a junior at Gordon College I was already gaining some recognition in my subjective sphere as a performer, so it was time to get on to my next hustle.
Then I had a dream one night of Gohan chasing Kid Buu around with the Z Sword and this gave me the inspiration for a fanfic called Dragonball: Future Past that was published on DeviantArt for at least forty chapters. One of my aspirations, however, was to see if I could get an animated clip for it; when I saw Dragonball Absalon’s first trailer (as opposed to the Mellavelli-created Dragonball AF trailer, which I’ll talk about in a second), I was dying to see if I could get in the project as a voice actor.
I saw Dragonball Absalon by chance of the fact I was already surrounded by a myriad of Dragonball fan culture I had even greater access to than in my middle school era and when I finally beheld this trailer of Goku and Vegeta fighting Cyborg, I knew I was watching something with potential.
It is for this reason that as I was writing I tried to become a voice actor for Dragonball Absalon and was given the chance to audition for the Supreme Kai/Kibitoshin. I nearly got it, but there wasn’t found room for me, which I take absolutely no offense to. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be writing that Melvin was a genius.
At least he’s of genius in that he was someone who took what was manifested in Dragonball AF culture by Toyble and Young Jijii and made it palatable in a form greater than a manga that I’m sure a fair number of you have read. Toyble himself would become the writer of the Dragonball Super manga, so I’m officially making the prediction that Melvin ought to be recognized for more than even someone who I see as a person whose influence is a guiding hand on the revival of our beloved Dragonball Z.
From what I was told about Dragonball Absalon, it itself evolved from Dragonball AF as was being fashioned as a collaboration between Melvin and someone else that ended up being forced off. Eventually Mellavelli took the raw materials that were already his and expanded their narrative into what we know now as the struggle of a lord yet to be named to try and take over the realm of Absalon with help of the Saiyans.
I can assure you that there will be no spoilers here; any discussion of plot information is being used to put the series into greater context for its’ established audience from the perspective of an Absalon sponsor: yours truly. The information that will be mentioned here is already out there, but expect me to focus more on what Melvin and his impact are, as well as why Dragonball Absalon is such a great series.
Eventually I met a certain someone who was reading my story and was already an established animator as Melvin’s pupil. This same person who evolved from Mellavelli’s culture into someone trying to create his own animated series would be the same one I formerly worked with on my way to making this tribute. Even as that series is hopefully set to arrive, it led to greater conversation about Mellavelli that would illuminate a great number of things that I as someone who only had touch with him a few times in 2012 would have never known.
Melvin previously made a Wolverine vs. Hulk short, as well as some Naruto fan animations and one of his own; Maximal Animation Gene (Max-Gene for short) would be the studio with which he’d create Absalon as its’ great big kiss to Dragonball culture. While I remember vividly and greatly appreciate the first episode experience, I can affably say that Melvin has evolved into someone whose work is beginning to make Dragonball Super (Note: NOT THE MOVIES) look disastrous. Even Toriyama himself is distancing from Super, so this makes the case for two tellings of Dragonball to occur at the same time.
In fact, several tellings; Dragonball Runaways, Dragonball Doomsday, Dragonball New Age, Light of Hope, Fall of Men, and other such works are all taking the lore to degrees we are only recently seeing in the realm of comic book movies. Among them is a show that was made to restore hope for the world that Dragonball would one day return for a generation of fans that got into Dragonball Z as soon as it had ended in Japan. Japan continues to experience a dearth of certain things (Dragonball Heroes’ great uses of what-if) that Mellavelli has made available for all.
When I was working on the animated series in 2015 however, I was fully convinced that the character I was working with was someone who surpassed Mellavelli. I was seeing the style of Absalon be used in original content that seemed far more visceral; it should be added that the project itself evolved from a Dragonball fan series itself into something more original, something reassuring when I was told this young man was going to try and make money off of it.
However, the situation that nearly did Absalon in was an infamous May 2015 scenario where Melvin was airing grievances about the series’ critics, those who were basically either running Absalon through the ring unfairly or those who feared it had failed to capitalize on its’ prior hype sitting at 12 million views for the first episode. Melvin captured both my hope and my anger in the same spirit, something that cost me my job in this animated series in the long run; I was trying to be someone whose knowledge of the project could be used to comfort both the fans and Mellavelli, something that’s tricky when on some level he offended you.
I am certainly no longer offended, for reasons I will explain later in this article. I now see that this whole situation as a possible stroke of genius but let me get further into what I wanted to talk about. Melvin was already a professional animator by the time the third episode was bound to arrive. He was already making a living off it and with respect to the idea that he was getting mad that Dragonball Absalon lost steam I saw the whole act as an egregious attack on Toriyama’s fan based, which it was widely perceived as.
Again, that’s not how I view it any longer. I contacted Melvin as someone close to this animator friend of mine and told him that if he was trying to surpass Toriyama at his own game he could clearly get someone else to reassure him. Nonetheless I told him he inspired waves of people to pursue animation, which is absolutely true; I also told him not to give up hope. I admit, I was fairly blunt, but a reply and a Facebook post later I knew we had victory. When I say ‘we’, I mean all of us.
This attempt to act for Toriyama and Mellavelli at the same cost me the ability of working on the animated series I mentioned, which I am clearly proud of; that same animator friend of mine is a jackass.
Nonetheless, Melvin is far from the arrogant superstar we feared; as someone who now notes how far the episodes that have been released have come in capitalizing on previously established story goods, I now look and am in Melvin’s defense. Melvin knew what he’d be getting into with that post, but why not post it if it extended the viscera of rebellion against the idea that only Toriyama could have value in the creation of Dragonball media? That is with respect to the idea that as long as Toriyama is alive there will be this legend of a Midas touch.
However, fictional worlds are much like comics; there is no one legend except the legend itself. After that there can be either new torches raised or the legend will stand strongest. With Dragonball Z, the former seems truer of the latter; people simply don’t want that show to die.
Had the post been written any differently it would’ve been seen as a forlorn person expressing fear; this was someone whose anger at the time is what kept people to this day saying that Melvin made something better than Super. I see this series side by side with the movies as rolling out the scroll that is making my favorite story of all time something of even greater consciousness than it was in the nineties and early 2000s.
Pokémon itself did nothing to keep its’ series interesting in the same way that can be done for Dragonball Z, which is why the only time you’ll ever catch me looking back (possibly) is for what I saw in that show as a kid. More often than not (despite 4Kids’ fantastic dub of Yu-Gi-Oh and the ever-awesome early 2000s TMNT), I would be watching it with subtitles.
As such, Melvin is a large player in the resurrection of Dragonball Z for a short movie that evolved into a series I hope lasts long. If 12 million views in December 2012 to only 2 million views in July for the second episode is any consolation, he only wanted his true fans. Now that we’re all watching to at least one million views and counting, I know that his desire is for the work itself. If he wanted to be Toriyama, he was clearly outmatched; if Akira was no longer with us, though, couldn’t he be the next Toriyama at least, if not one of them?
That’s why you guys are Toriyama. You guys are the people who want to see Dragonball alive and as long as Melvin is one of us, someone creating such great hope, we can see Dragonball Z as its’ own DC Comics straight from Japan. Where else would we get Goku versus Superman? We know who wins.
Take care, brothers and sisters. Kamehameha.
-NK, 3:30 P.M.
Post-script, written February 12th, 2016, at 10:49 P.M.: I wanted to add that around the time that I talked to Melvin back in May 2015, he asked for my voice file if I could find it. The fact he wanted it with and showed that much enthusiasm means I might audition for Dragonball Abalone, eventually!