The Dragon Ball franchise has made its theatrical return with Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Created by Akira Toriyama, the Japanese anime is the highest grossing film in the franchise and one of the highest grossing animes in history. The film sees the return of Goku, the main character of the series, and the first canonical inclusion of Broly, the Legendary Super Saiyan.
Growing up I watched Dragon Ball Z all the time during the Toonami block on Cartoon Network. (Sidenote: The Funimation dub is better than the Ocean dub, sans the opening theme and Vegeta saying Over 90000!) Going into this film, the last Dragon Ball content I watched was the feature release of Resurrection F and Battle of Gods, yet I hadn’t seen any episodes of Dragon Ball: Super, so I was not sure what to expect going into this one. For those that do not know, the main villain in this film is Broly, a Legendary Super Saiyan who was the main antagonist in a trilogy of films that are not canon in the Dragon Ball franchise. With all that said going into this film, I was confused because I did not know Broly was not canon.
The storytelling aspect of the film is accessible, to say the least. The film does a stellar job at introducing you to the characters and their motivations in a way that makes it easy for those that are unfamiliar with the franchise to understand what’s going on. But at the same time there are moments when this film’s plot sacrifices and retcons important moments in Dragon Ball’s lore. The first half of the film focuses on the background of the three Saiyans; the prince to the throne Vegeta, the low-class warrior Goku, and the exiled and powerful Broly. There’s a whole anime titled Dragon Ball that follows the story of Goku and in it, Goku is sent to Earth to destroy it, but in this film, he’s sent to Earth as a means of surviving Planet Vegeta’s destruction. Over time it’s hard to keep up with continuity, especially for a franchise that’s over three decades old, so this is something that I can give the movie a pass for.
The character piece in the film is an interesting one because the villain is misunderstood. Broly is a powerful fighter who doesn’t understand his own strength, his father raised him as vicious fighter while keeping a shock collar around Broly’s neck as if he was an animal. When he gets to Earth, Frieza kills his father to ignite more rage out of Broly which makes him more powerful. Once Broly becomes the Legendary Super Saiyan he cannot control his power nor his anger and this makes him a harder foe to fight for Vegeta and Goku. This is what makes Broly’s story a tragedy and a victim of circumstance. Broly never asked to be this way and he cannot control his power yet he’s a pawn for Frieza who wants to seek his revenge on Goku. When Goku and Vegeta fuse to create the powerful warrior Gogeta, they overpower Broly and are about to obliterate him, luckily a minor character cares for the Legendary Super Saiyan and wishes him back to the planet he was raised on.
Overall, Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a fun ride and expands the story of one of the greatest animes in history. Personally, some of the previous Broly films were more enjoyable such as Broly – Second Coming and Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan because those films felt more natural. I enjoyed this film but at the same time it felt like a few things were forced in to make Broly fit that sacrifices Dragon Ball’s canon. If you’re a fan of anime I think you’re going to love this film. The voice acting is great, the animation is fun, there’s times where there are jarring transitions from 2D to 3D, but it’s a well crafted film overall. I am interested in seeing what’s next for the Z fighters and what Toriyama has in store for the future.
[All Mames Wey]
Dragon Ball Super: Broly was released in select theaters on January 16, 2019.