Oh, and this’ll be my first time revisiting one of my most enthusiastic interests since my very first candidate; anime. So how appropriate is it that the work the candidate’s from is one of the very first shows I got into that kick-started my interest in the first place? Just as a heads-up though, this will be one of my longer proposals due to there being some points that feel necessary to highlight regarding why he’s truly devoid of any mitigating qualities and does an impressive job measuring up to the heinous standard.
What’s the work?
Unless you have no idea what anime is, or more likely, live under a rock or in total isolation, you probably know what this series is, but I’ll still give a brief summary just in case there are those who need it. Besides, it’s protocol; Dragon Ball Z is a world famous manga/anime series created by Akira Toriyama, and is the second main chapter of the Dragon Ball series as a whole. This particular entry of the franchise is so well-known that many people assume the first series, Dragon Ball, is a prequel series that was made afterwards due to the sheer volume of people who are only familiar with this particular series, despite Dragon Ball being pretty well-known in its own right.
Anyway, this chapter of the story follows Goku, the main character of the franchise, as a young adult as he, along with his family and friends, defend the Earth from the various evil beings and forces who threaten it, as well as the rest of the universe in some cases. Unbeknownst to him in the original series, but as discovered at the beginning of this one, Goku’s part of an alien race called the Saiyans, which is why he’s both abnormally powerful, as well as why he and a select few others who are left (including his new son, Gohan) have an inhuman ability to reach new levels of power the more they train or fight, which serves them well against the equally ridiculously powerful evil aliens and creations they come up against.
Who is he and what does he do?
Babidi is an evil alien wizard who is the main antagonist of the Babidi Saga, and the secondary antagonist of the following Majin Buu saga. He is the “son”/clone/doppelganger of an evil wizard named Bibidi who existed long before the beginning of the series and was responsible for awakening the evil, cataclysmically destructive being known as Majin Buu for the sake of using him to conquer the universe. Though Bibidi was killed one day by the Supreme Kai of the North, Babidi was created sometime before that, and grew up aspiring to free Buu from his Sealed Ball, which he was temporarily sealed in by his predecessor before he was killed, and therefore, left in that state. At some unspecified point, he arrived on Earth in a spaceship, along with the sealed Buu and an assortment of minions that he brainwashed into serving him by using his magic to control them using the evil in their hearts. He went unnoticed for a while due to burying his ship underground in a fairly remote location, but he is eventually discovered by the Supreme Kai and the Z-Fighters after sending two minions named Yamu and Spopovich to steal energy from talented fighters at the World Martial Arts Tournament to reawaken and release Buu at full power.
Babidi is introduced meeting with his minions after they fill up the Energy Absorber by using it on Gohan while he’s a Super Saiyan. However, despite their success in filling it up, he proceeds to sadistically kill them simply because he thinks they’re no longer of any use to him. He starts by using a spell to slowly and painfully expand Spopovich’s innards, which causes his whole body to inflate like a balloon until he explodes, then has another one of his minions named Pui Pui shoot and destroy Yamu with an energy blast when he tries to flee in terror. After this, he orders Dabura, his most powerful and right-hand minion, to deal with the Z-Fighters who followed them back to his ship. He starts by killing Kibito, Supreme Kai’s lieutenant, then turns Piccolo and Krillin into stone, which can only be undone by defeating Dabura himself, to lure the rest of them, that being Goku, Vegeta and Gohan, into entering their ship where his minions can fight and defeat them, which inside the ship, will result in their energy being drained and going to Majin Buu.
This goes pretty unsuccessfully at first since he underestimates just how strong the saiyans are, and his first couples of minions, despite being very powerful in their own right, are taken out rather easily. However, after he and Dabura notice that Vegeta has darkness in his heart while Dabura fights Gohan, Babidi decides to bring him under his control to fight the others. Deliberately allowing himself to come under his control to satisfy his burning desire to finally beat Goku, Vegeta then persuades/forces Goku into fighting him by killing some innocent people at the tournament, which Babidi teleported them back to temporarily for that sake. While he is very disobedient beyond that since he only cares about fighting Goku, this still succeeds in bringing Buu to full power despite Gohan and Supreme Kai’s best efforts.
After he emerges from his ball, he is initially dismissed by Dabura for his childish, non-threatening appearance, but Buu retaliates by easily pummeling and humiliating him in combat. After Dabura tries to reason with Babidi that Buu clearly can’t be controlled, Babidi just throws a childish fit, refuses to listen and tells him he is no longer of any use to him now that he has Buu, and gleefully watches as Buu goes on to turn him into a cookie and eat him, handily defeat and nearly kill Gohan, then nearly beat/torture Supreme Kai to death as well. However, when Vegeta emerges to fight Buu and actually gives him a challenge, Piccolo sneaks up on him, having turned back to normal after Dabura’s defeat, with the intent of killing him. Despite trying to discourage him by telling him that killing him will leave no one to control Buu and that he’ll go around mindlessly destroying everything, Piccolo knows full well he’ll use him to do that anyway and slices him in half. However, after Buu emerges from the fight with Vegeta by regenerating after he unsuccessfully tries to kill him by blowing himself up, Babibi convinces Buu to, albeit reluctantly, heal him by threatening to seal him back in his ball if he doesn’t, which could leave him trapped forever if he’s dead.
Due to a combination of having his ship destroyed, leaving him unable to leave the planet for the time-being, and wanting to get his petty revenge on Piccolo, as well as Goku and Vegeta’s very young sons, Goten and Trunks, for their parts in trying to ruin his plans, Babidi decides to terrorize the Earth to force them out of hiding. He does this by going around with Buu and gleefully having him systematically destroy whole cities by turning all the people into candy or chocolate, inhaling them in mass, then using his destructive power to swiftly annihilate the now empty building and streets. He uses his magic to telepathically broadcast this to the rest of the world, demanding the whereabouts of Piccolo, Goten and Trunks, and puts mental pictures of them into people’s heads in the hopes someone will recognize them and give into his threats by telling him their addresses. This leads to another example of his unnecessary cruelty when a man who works at the World Martial Arts Tournament replies by using the registration list to tell him their names. Only caring about where they live, which he doesn’t know and finding this information useless, Babidi kills the man by using his magic to telepathically inflate his head until it explodes. He tells the inhabitants if they don’t find where they live in 5 days, Buu will wipe all of them out by then.
Eventually, when Babidi sets his sights on destroying West City, Goku shows up and demonstrates a brand new, previously unachieved transformation into a Super Saiyan 3 to stall Buu while Trunks retrieves the Dragon Radar from his home there, which they need. After exchanging blows and seemingly being evenly matched, Goku powers down and tells him that if he waits just two days, he’ll get to fight a new, even more potent fighter, which Buu likes the idea of. Before leaving though, he scolds Buu for allowing himself to be ordered around by a “cowardly worm” like Babidi despite being such a great fighter. Babidi then proceeds to further viciously insult him for allowing Goku to leave. Letting Goku’s words sink in and having taken enough of his continuous threats to seal him up and verbal abuse, Buu tricks him into getting close so he can whisper a secret before strangling him so that he can’t recite the incantation. He then gives him a very karmic and well-deserved death by punching his head clean off before using an energy beam to disintegrate the rest of his body.
Does he have any redeeming qualities or a valid excuse for his actions?
For the most part, Babidi is clearly devoid of any mitigating factors whatsoever. However, there are a handful of minor points that could give some people at least slight pause, so allow me to address each of them and why none of them are truly an issue:
- While yes, Babidi is a clone/doppelganger of Bibidi due to being born when he divided himself up in case something happened to him, Babidi is still his own being with his own similar, but nonetheless different and distinct personality. His actions and motives are completely of his own volition; he is not made of, nor was he even born evil. He was simply fully on board with what his older doppleganger was doing, and wanted to use Buu to conquer first the Earth, then very likely the rest of the universe because of his own lust for power.
- He had a brief moment where he thinks he was perhaps a little too hasty in killing Yamu and Spopovich after he finds out that they gathered enough energy for it to be half of what they needed to bring Buu to full power. However, that’s obviously just because he realized he may have still had use of them. He still didn’t value their lives one bit, he would have simply killed them later when he was sure their usefulness had expired, and quickly dismissed the thought altogether.
- While reviving Buu was very important to him, he doesn’t have any actual care or affection for him, as evidenced by his frequent verbal abuse and threats of resealing him when he doesn’t do what he says. He’s simply the essential tool that he needs to accomplish his goal, and arrogantly believes he has control over him as long as he reminds him that he has the ability to reseal him.
- While he is partly motivated to make the Supreme Kai suffer for what he did to his “father”, Bibidi is only his father in the sense that he was a past version of him, so when it comes down to it, he wants revenge for what he did to him. Apart from not counting as a completely different individual, it helps that he doesn’t show any real affection or care for Bibidi beyond that, so it really just serves to give himself a good excuse to take his time making the Supreme Kai suffer before he dies, which is obviously the type of thing he enjoys.
- Finally, after he’s dead and watching Goku’s big fight with Kid Buu in Hell with the rest of the villains, unlike most of them, he’s rooting for Goku to win. However, obviously that has nothing to do with taking a liking to Goku or wanting to see anyone get saved; it’s solely because he vindictively wants to see Buu die for turning on and killing him, even if he’s weirdly oblivious to the fact that it’s not the same one. Then again, he’s been shown to be pretty dumb in a sense, so he was probably just blind with spite and making himself believe that it had to be the same one, that somehow, he reverted back to his original form.
Is he heinous by the standards of the work?
Ah, now despite all those things I felt I had to point out regarding potential redeeming qualities and why none of them hold up, this is still the biggest source of subjectivity. Why? That’s very simple; because as anyone who is even slightly familiar with the Dragon Ball series knows, this is a case where the heinous standard is astronomically high. Several villains in this series have a habit of destroying whole planets, with some even threatening the whole universe, most notably, like when Zamasu tried to destroy the whole multiverse by merging his spirit with it in Dragon Ball Super (which I haven’t actually seen any of).
That said, I feel like Babidi deserves some leeway here, because in stark contrast to the other villains that qualify, and almost all the other major villains in general, Babidi is very physically weak, which gives him very serious personal limitations. His magic, which he uses to bring powerful beings with evil in their hearts under his control, may be powerful, but that’s all he really has going for him. Never mind not being a match for the “Z-Fighters”; he’s so weak that a spunky, but otherwise completely normal girl who worked in a bakery was tossing him around by his cape with little effort when Buu forced them to stop so he could eat there, and he obviously wouldn’t pay for all the food he was devouring and the damage he was causing.
Despite that, he still manages to be responsible for quite a cataclysmic amount of death and destruction, particularly by proxy of Buu. In fact, since he’s the main one responsible for orchestrating his revival, he can even be held accountable for what the different versions of Buu do even after his death, which would include Super Buu nearly bringing the human race to extinction, then Kid Buu, his original form, destroying not just the Earth, but a few other planet while searching for Goku and Vegeta. He also very likely would have tried to use Buu to conquer the universe once he had a way of getting off the planet; he just had to settle for terrorizing and killing the inhabitants of Earth in the meantime since his ship was destroyed, as well as to get his revenge.
Finally, it certainly helps that in terms of being evil completely out of choice rather than because he was born or made that way, pettiness, sadism and being a bad boss to his henchmen, he rivals Frieza as the very worst in Z. In fact, he may even surpass Frieza in that last respect; Frieza may have killed his minions for even the smallest failures, but Babidi disposes of his minions even when they serve him well just because he no longer needs them and for his own sick amusement. Allowing Dabura to be beaten and killed by Buu also stands out as exceptionally callous since there’s no way he would have succeeded in releasing him without his help.
In short, there are very good reasons why Babidi is one of the most hated villains in the whole franchise; sure, it’s partly because he’s obnoxious, childish, petty, and likes mouthing off and acting superior to everyone while needing to hide behind the likes of Buu and his other minions to actually back up his threats. In general, he seems to have been written to be as unlikeable as possible. However, being able to rival or surpass Frieza, of all characters, in anything regarding heinousness takes serious depravity, which is all the more impressive considering that personally, he’s mostly just able to influence, control, and in Buu’s case, bully, other actually powerful characters to do what he wants for him.
What’s the verdict?
For all the reasons I went to the trouble of highlighting, I can see why others may differ in their opinion on him to some extent, mostly regarding how he measures up to the heinous standard. However, I feel like he does plenty considering his resources and limitations, and it helps that he’s just a very nasty, sadistic, unnecessarily cruel and all-around deplorable piece of work. So yes, I think he deserves to qualify. What do the rest of you think?