Ranch. She is probably one of the most interesting original characters I’ve ever made. I’ve made a few in my time from various franchises as well as projects of my own that either made the light of day or didn’t. I like that sort of thing! The image above (drawn by the excellent Nexus Mania ) perfectly encapsulates the feel I have going for her: Pluck, Logic, Confidence as well as a sense of Fun! Let me explain what I mean and how, in a way, she belongs to everyone who is a fan of Dragon Ball!
But first, here’s a bit of a background about how we got to Ranch. When it comes to Dragon Ball original characters (otherwise known as OCs), most fans tend to have at least one that they are proud of. That was true with me for the longest time. In fact, if you look on Newgrounds hard enough, you can find something called CHARAKTER when I dabbled in Flash Animation circa 2001-2002…yeah…I apologise.
After that, I retreated for a while and focused on making original characters with projects such as The Nomad (which then became Project Jikoku) where I formulated characters of my own from the ground up. I do hope to get that off the ground again one day in some guise but for now, they exist in audio form on my second channel as an archive. I then jumped from idea to idea and then came back to the idea of a Dragon Ball OC once my channel on YouTube really took off and the game Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 encouraged you to make custom characters. This is where we got Paata!
Paata originated originally from a brief Dragon Ball D&D campaign I played with Vegeta3986 and our pal Lioncourt circa 2006/7 and he is obviously a Saiyan with a name derived from potatoes (as you do, veggie puns!). That was a fun time and when the campaign peetered out I was kinda sad about it…but then a chance with TheLoadingCrew to join a campaign with my good friends hbi2k, Megami33 as well as one of my best pals Xthedarkone, here was a chance to bring back Paata. You can find our adventures over on their channel which chronicles a rather fun journeys which ends up with hippos being the mascot for some reason….yeah Stuart of TheLoadingCrew was pretty creative!
What does this have to do with Ranch? Well, it got me thinking about Dragon Ball OCs again in some capacity. This was before the idea of what ifs came to my mind; about a year or so prior, way before my channel exploded. Even when it upwardly trended, Paata was a thing and was a catalyst in my Dragon Ball playthroughs and continues to be so. If a new DB game comes out, expect Paata to be represented. He is also the origin of why all my characters like to do backflips (that itself coined from the Full Life Consequences machinima!). But back to Ranch.
With Ranch’s second birthday this week, it made me think how far she came since she made a cameo circa Part 4 of the What If Raditz Turned Good series. As I said, my channel wasn’t originally built on what ifs, but it was certainly maintained by them. The first stories were very conformative and lacked dips into making original characters based on existing ones. Ranch was one of the first. At first, she was basically the daughter of Raditz and Launch but soon she became a tour de force in what I wanted to see from Dragon Ball: more strong female characters! Now this is a tricky topic considering I am a cisgender man…but I felt up to the challenge. I thought it was going to be hard to write for Ranch but once she grew up into the foil to Trunks and Goten, she naturally gravitated to the group and the trio really became something fun. That was why when Super came along in the What If timeline, I realised that the kids wouldn’t have much to do, hence why I asked you all in a poll if you wanted to see a spin-off of them and the answer was a resounding YES! That’s how we got to Dragon Ball R&R.
With a series, it meant that we really had to figure out what Ranch was supposed to be as a character with words and development. When Haverok and I started to write the scripts for the first season, we wanted to ensure that Ranch fit right into the story as well as the family of Raditz, Launch and her brothers Daikon and Mooli (they are there, trust me!). To me, Ranch had to work with Trunks and Goten. Luckily, a fan told me that they perceived Ranch as the Logos of the group (The Logical One) with Trunks being the Pathos (The Do-er) and Goten as Ethos (The Sympathetic One, AKA a pure cinnamon bun!). I loved this and this got woven into her arc.
After seeing Junkeybot and his work of a Ranch figure which I had commissioned, it got me thinking even more about Ranch. What she is meant to be in the Dragon Ball fandom. I have seen so many examples of fanart which truly make me smile and pleased that she has been welcomed into the fold of the original character annals. Her place in Dragon Ball is not to be overpowered or anything; but to bring balance to Goten and Trunks. Together, they make the perfect team and one which really works in R&R. Over time, the feedback I’ve received from fans has gone into writing her journey. For example, in Part 11 of What If Raditz, when she got chosen to be in the ToP team, it wasn’t received well. Instead of pushing back, I rolled with it! Ranch got in sure, but she would realise that she had a lot to learn still. She was the first one out because she got overwhelmed by her Saiyan nature for the first time when fighting Caulifla. Super Saiyan 3 was a tempting prospect…one that she had been told wasn’t useful, but she used it anyway! This way she showed she was a child still. In Episode 2 of R&R, she got irrational when Gohan snubbed her. Even though fans said she could’ve flown to Gohan’s place and sorted it, she wasn’t thinking straight. She is nine years old! Even the most mature of kids that age are prone to the odd tantrum here or there.
That’s what I’m getting at with this editorial: Ranch has been molded by not just myself, but by you the audience. With this pragmatic strategy, I feel confident in saying that she is the best character that I have come up with and I love writing dialogue for her. She is witty, loves puns (another trait I like to add to my characters!), has confidence but also knows when to read the room (most of the time). I can’t wait to when we get to the point in the story she is an adult and she can really dominate Trunks. Wait, what? Well, remember who her mother is!
Either way, thank you for reading and thank you for supporting Ranch’s growth. I can’t wait to see where she and the R&R crew go!