• The Value of Dragonite
  • The Value of Dragonite

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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb The Value of Dragonite

    Time for me to think way more deeply than I should about Outlaw Star! This is a stupid thread idea but I was considering this when I rewatched the episode "Demon of the Water Planet" the other day. What got me thinking about it was the basic maths. The numbers just don't add up at all.

    Firstly, let's read the opening from that episode:

    It was the brain of ether physicist Dr. Sam Kaseinpow, the Chosong Science Co.'s Technology Group that was led by Professor Hata Ikke, the donation of enormous amounts of capital made by every country, and above all, dragonite, that made the Munchausen Drive a reality.

    In Year 1 of the Toward Stars calendar, an unknown crystalline material, dragonite, was discovered in a meteorite that crashed in the Arashan Desert in northern China. It was found to be a catalyst that released tremendous amounts of energy from the inexhaustible ether.

    In search of dragonite, humanity stampeded into space. It could be considered the gold rush of the Space Age, but dragonite was an extremely rare substance in the vastness of space.

    An alchemical method of synthesising it artificially is being researched at this time but has yet to be perfected. As a non-renewable resource, dragonite is highly valued and is considered to be the rarest, most valuable substance in the universe.
    The Value of Dragonite-dragonite1-jpg

    There's some interesting info there, but what's most important is the rarity of dragonite and how sought out it is. Most notably, how it's the most valuable substance in the universe and with good reason. But if that's so, why is the sunken dragonite on Heifong VII so... worthless? (Comparatively speaking.) In case you've forgotten, the "Old Man" hired Starwind & Hawking to salvage this treasure. But this wasn't just a case of grabbing a few gems. These were giant boxes containing FIFTEEN TONNES of dragonite!

    Side note: I know it seems awfully pedantic, but since it's very important to the calculations here I should mention that I believe the Japanese word for "ton" is actually the "metric ton", written as "tonne" outside of the United States. Japan uses the metric system. Therefore, the amount of dragonite the show had you believe was at Heifong VII was actually a little heavier. This "tonne" is 1000 kilograms, or 2204 pounds, whereas the US (imperial) "ton" is 2000 pounds, or 907 kilograms.

    The Value of Dragonite-dragonite2-jpg

    So anyway, that's a lot of dragonite. Good job Aisha was there for the heavy lifting. It equals an estimated 15,000 kilograms of dragonite or 33,069 pounds. The Old Man said there was at least five million wong in dragonite there before Gene and Jim took the job. Presumably he meant a normal density, but for the sake of argument let's say there could have been seven million wong there. Unfortunately for the crew, when they returned with all that dragonite it was only worth 1.8 million wong because it was low-density. That's quite a difference. While even low-density dragonite sure is valuable it (or even normal-density) hardly seems like the most valuable substance in the universe. Let's use another measurement now: carats.

    In those crates was 75,000,000 carats of dragonite. I tried to run some numbers to find out what that many carats of diamond would cost. It's a very rough calculation but I imagine it's somewhere in the region of $4,160,000,000,000,000. It'd be something similar in wong, since one wong is close in value to a US dollar. In other words, a lot more money than $1,800,000. But many of us know that diamonds are bullshit. Cartels and "De Beers" set the prices and starve the market with artificial inflation. In reality, diamonds are far more common than most people realise and they're probably worth a fraction of the selling cost. That still doesn't change that even if diamonds were worth a very small fraction of that, this amount of diamonds would still have a value in the trillions.

    The Value of Dragonite-dragonite3-jpg

    I'm no mathematician so I'm sure I've got some of this wrong, but going by this a loose one-carat dragonite stone (the actual dragonite they collected) would cost... about $2.5 USD or wong. That's a pretty cheap sparkly engagement ring. (Before some inflation of course.) Yeah, I know I've gone way too deep here. This topic has nagged me for a long time so I'm glad it's out of the way. I guess the moral of the story is that writers should either do research or basic calculations before pricing something in fiction. Because dragonite is cheap as heck... apparently! I wish I could pay for my energy with it.

    The Value of Dragonite-dragonite4-jpg
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

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  2. #2
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    They obviously didn't do enough research it seems. They also have some grammatical errors in their spelling of English words lol

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutlawFantasy View Post
    They obviously didn't do enough research it seems. They also have some grammatical errors in their spelling of English words lol
    Eh? Where? Spelling isn't grammar anyway.
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

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  4. #4
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    If I've learned anything from anime, its that when they introduce some kind of logic/maths it tends to get handwaved in favour of plot.

    However, to play devil's advocate, I always imagined that dragonite was not worth so much simply because it's a rare gem, but rather because of its properties and uses in space travel. If we assume that low-density dragonite is fairly useless for refining into something to be used for spacetravel (through whatever wacky technobabble anime science that exists, which may not align with our version of how ores are refined) then its lack of worth may have some semblance.

    At least that's the best argument I can come up with. And assuming I'm even close to right (which I'm probably not) then they would've at least given it a one-liner about how it isn't useful at all, so I'm almost certainly wrong. However low density dragonite has never been introduced before this point iirc, so it's properties and how it compares to high density dragonite as a resource (not just as a rare gem) is unknown and probably left up to the viewer with the only info being that it ain't worth much.

    Not playing the devil's advocate it was just a trope to say 'whoops all that effort for chump change, back to the status quo I guess, aw shucks'. You know how it is.

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    I thought you were talking about Pokemon for a second... Then the light went on in my head. lol

    I always compared dragonite to diamonds. They aren't that rare in comparison to a lot of other stones yet people pay a ton for them which hypes up their value and appeal. I actually didn't want a diamond for my wedding ring. I wanted something more rare so the stone I have is a tanzanite. Maybe it is a comparison to tanzanite in the sense that this stone is VERY rare and prized yet heavily undervalued in comparison to diamonds.

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    Surprisingly, I have something to add to this from the latest hot-off-the-presses translation Styg conducted last week. This is just a messy screenshot of a Word doc with our notes on it. Mantis, feel free to yank this down if you want to look it over first. Bear in mind that this is from the MANGA not the anime, so I'm not trying to disprove Mantis' calculation. Just adding to the conversation.

    The Value of Dragonite-dragonite-value-png
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  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ctarl-Ctarl Empire View Post
    If I've learned anything from anime, its that when they introduce some kind of logic/maths it tends to get handwaved in favour of plot.

    However, to play devil's advocate, I always imagined that dragonite was not worth so much simply because it's a rare gem, but rather because of its properties and uses in space travel. If we assume that low-density dragonite is fairly useless for refining into something to be used for spacetravel (through whatever wacky technobabble anime science that exists, which may not align with our version of how ores are refined) then its lack of worth may have some semblance.

    At least that's the best argument I can come up with. And assuming I'm even close to right (which I'm probably not) then they would've at least given it a one-liner about how it isn't useful at all, so I'm almost certainly wrong. However low density dragonite has never been introduced before this point iirc, so it's properties and how it compares to high density dragonite as a resource (not just as a rare gem) is unknown and probably left up to the viewer with the only info being that it ain't worth much.

    Not playing the devil's advocate it was just a trope to say 'whoops all that effort for chump change, back to the status quo I guess, aw shucks'. You know how it is.
    You've summed the matter up pretty well there since I agree that they'd rather just make shit up for plot progression than research something that only a very small number of fans would look into. Do keep in mind however that the Old Man did not know it was low-density dragonite and his estimation was nearly three times the actual value. Indeed, dragonite is prized for being an extreme energy source so I see why low-density dragonite would have a significantly lesser value. I just found it odd that such a high quantity of something so valued could only be worth 1.8 million.

    Quote Originally Posted by KorinKitty View Post
    I thought you were talking about Pokemon for a second... Then the light went on in my head. lol

    I always compared dragonite to diamonds. They aren't that rare in comparison to a lot of other stones yet people pay a ton for them which hypes up their value and appeal. I actually didn't want a diamond for my wedding ring. I wanted something more rare so the stone I have is a tanzanite. Maybe it is a comparison to tanzanite in the sense that this stone is VERY rare and prized yet heavily undervalued in comparison to diamonds.
    Tanzanite, eh? I've gotta admit that I've never heard of that one. Regarding "dragonite", Outlaw Star's writers seemingly didn't quite know what it should mean themselves! More on that below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zemekis View Post
    Surprisingly, I have something to add to this from the latest hot-off-the-presses translation Styg conducted last week. This is just a messy screenshot of a Word doc with our notes on it. Mantis, feel free to yank this down if you want to look it over first. Bear in mind that this is from the MANGA not the anime, so I'm not trying to disprove Mantis' calculation. Just adding to the conversation.
    Oh, I kind of forgot about that (since I work directly with Zemekis/Styg I have seen these documents), probably because I was thinking in the context of the anime. Not to say the manga is incorrect, however! After all, that's obviously the basis, even if the anime writers did change a lot of other things. I have no problem with sharing some of our WIP content and it adds to the discussion here.

    Funny what happened with the dragon stones bit. So, what I mentioned in my reply to Korin is that as you can see, dragonite was originally called "dragon stones" in the manga. Then the writers of the anime decided to call it dragonite. Then in their anime spin-off called Angel Links they (or probably just the dub writers) decided to change a lizard alien race's name (originally "Saurian") to "Dragonite" and change the stone's name back to "dragon stones". It's a really stupid move on their part. They should have just stuck with dragonite in the anime because I think it's a pretty cool name, as is Saurians.

    I get the feeling that dragonite wasn't regarded as valuable in the manga. (I can't say for sure since I'm only starting volume three at the moment.) But it's true that it is a universal currency in both stories. (Take Aisha for instance.) I think we're going to have to change that "coin" part a little. It's pretty confusing/ambiguous. Coinage? Bread? Smackers?
    Gene: "Have faith in me guys, enjoy the ride—you're in good hands. I can handle this. I can do it!"
    Jim: "How do you know?"
    Gene: "I don't!"
    Jim: "I knew it."
    Gene: "That's okay. There's a first time for everything!"

    Anime and Steam info

    Anime-Planet.com - anime | manga | reviews



  11. #8
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    Not to rain on all your hard work, Mantis, but my creative explanation would be...your calculations for values of anything (gold, diamonds, wong, USD, etc.) are based on real world values, today...by the time we get to Gene's time? Perhaps things have changed greatly: maybe diamonds are virtually worthless (all the worlds they've colonized, and diamonds being carbon, this seems plausible), similar thing with gold or any other precious metal, perhaps rare on Earth, but elsewhere? There could be an entire planet brimming with gold as commonplace as coal is here.

    Think of how even here on Earth, when invaders--I mean, "explorers"--of one continent crossed an ocean to find two entirely new continents...where gold, though aesthetically pleasing and perhaps symbolic in religious ceremonies, was a trifle thing compared to how it was viewed in Europe or Asia. Heck, salt at one point in many places across the globe was once worth more than its weight in gold...but now that we have table salt at the supermarket in modernity, that obviously changed drastically.

    It being fiction, and set in the future, I'd say that's the creative "out" ... when, of course, as has been said, these things are typically hand-waived away for expediency's sake.
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