26 years after his original conception, Broly is back and better than ever! In Funimation’s limited release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, fans receive one of the franchise’s best films yet. With Akira Toriyama’s direct involvement, Funimation’s excellent English voice cast, and Toei Animation pulling out all the stops in the art department, Dragon Ball Super: Broly is the movie fans have been waiting for! It is already breaking records in both Japan and the United States, but what makes this film so spectacular? Well, let’s take a closer look. The review features minor spoilers for Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Therefore, a minor SPOILER warning is in effect.
The Plot Of Dragon Ball Super: Broly
Beginning 41 years before DBS, viewers return to Planet Vegeta before its destruction. King Vegeta gets a visit from King Cold and Frieza, who announces he will be taking control of the planet. Frustrated over the oppression, King Vegeta visits his son, Prince Vegeta, who is hibernating in his pod. While there, he sees Broly within his own pod and the sight of his high power level shocks him. Motivated by fear and jealousy, the king sends Broly to an uninhabitable planet called Vampa.
Broly’s father, Paragus, hears news of his son’s exile and decides to rescue him. Once he finds him, Paragus learns that their ship received damage in the landing. This leaves them stranded on Vampa, which is crawling with giant monsters and dangerous terrain. Paragus decides to train Broly until he is strong enough to take revenge on King Vegeta.
Fast-forwarding to the present, fans reunite with Goku and Vegeta training on an island. Vegeta shows concern over Frieza being alive, considering him a potential threat, but Goku does not. However, this changes when they learn Frieza’s men stole Bulma’s dragon-ball radar and six of the dragon balls from her lab. Luckily, Bulma knows the location of the last one, and they race to find it.
In space, Frieza has his men traveling the galaxy to collect fighters for his Frieza Force. Two of his soldiers, Cheelai and Lemo, come across Vampa and find Broly and Paragus who they bring to Frieza. He recruits them and goes to Earth after he learns his men have all the dragon balls. When Frieza arrives, he sends Broly to fight Goku and Vegeta and witnesses what he has unleashed onto the world.
(Re)introducing The Characters Of Dragon Ball Super: Broly
Fans are well aware of our usual DBS cast; however, Dragon Ball Super: Broly reintroduces characters to the canonical storyline. This section will be covering just who is new or reintroduced into the franchise.
Broly is a fan favorite thanks to his three non-canonical films back in 1993 and 1994 (two films released in this year). In the original films, Broly served mostly as entertainment since, other than being really strong, he had no personality to speak of. However, the 2018 Broly not only has a personality, but he has motivation, background, and relatability.
Similarly to his 1993 origin story, King Vegeta exiled Broly due to his absurdly high power level. His father, Paragus, follows Broly to the planet, Vampa, to rescue him. However, once they find themselves stranded there, Broly spends decades training with his father to seek revenge.
In the present timeline, Frieza’s henchmen find Broly and his father, and Frieza recruits them for his Frieza Force. He then goes with them to Earth and has Paragus order Broly to fight both Goku and Vegeta. It is here where Broly releases his monstrous strength.
Differences Between The 1993 And 2018 Broly
Dragon Ball Super: Broly showcases the differences between nature and nurture. Broly in the 1993 film is a quiet Saiyan who only emotes when he transforms. While we get a brief backstory on his exile, and reason for disliking Goku, fans never see his life in-between.
We do not see anything regarding his relationship with his father (who in the beginning looked like he cared for him but almost abandoned him later on). Therefore, Broly comes off as a flat character outside of his hulking fight scenes. He is literally a representation of his nature, as his absurdly high power level is all fans know about him. However, 2018’s Broly dives deeper into the character’s psyche. Yes, Broly has a ridiculously high power level, but that is not his entire persona. Dragon Ball Super: Broly shows the character’s complex relationship with his father, who cares for his son but lets his lust for vengeance taint those emotions.
The film makes very clear Broly’s reluctance to fight. However, the nurture he receives through his father’s pressure and being raised on a desolate planet forces him to. He finds himself obligated to obey his father’s command to defeat Vegeta and Goku despite the abuse. Nevertheless, when he is not raging, Broly shows a curious and innocent nature similar to a caveman’s. However, when provided the opportunity to speak, Broly shows awareness of his situation. He is not the mindless weapon portrayed in 1993’s version but a product of nature overtaking nurture.
Paragus also enters the DBS canon after his 1993 feature in the first Broly film. Similarly to his original introduction, Paragus seeks vengeance against King Vegeta for exiling his son. After learning of his son’s exile, Paragus chooses to leave the Planet Vegeta in search of him. When he finds him on Planet Vampa, he wishes to find another world in which to train Broly. However, when he sees their ship received damage during the landing, he trains him there instead.
When Frieza’s troops rescue them, Paragus tells Frieza of his son’s strength. He claims that while his son is strong, at times, he has trouble controlling his power. Therefore, Paragus keeps Broly in check by using a shock collar to rein him in. Throughout the film, Paragus shows concern for his son’s well-being (something the 1993 version rarely does after their exile). Sadly, Paragus’ thirst for vengeance against Vegeta overshadows this feeling. Paragus displays an internal struggle as to whether to have Broly stop fighting or continue his revenge.
Cheelai And Lemo
Cheelai and Lemo are new characters introduced to the DBS Universe. (Neither were present in the original Broly movies.) They are both Frieza’s henchmen tasked with recruiting new soldiers for his Frieza Force. While searching for recruits, they come across the Planet Vampa. There, they find Broly and his father who they take to Frieza.
After Frieza accepts the two, Cheelai and Lemo begin to form a bond with Broly. The two teach Broly about modern commodities and how to express himself without fear of discipline. Cheelai and Lemo see how abusive Paragus is with Broly and berate him for his mistreatment. They also try to convince Broly to disobey his father and explain why his abusive behavior is wrong. Unfortunately, Broly refuses to listen and remains loyal to Paragus.
The Voice Acting In Dragon Ball Super: Broly
The English dub of the Dragon Ball franchise has always been amazing. However, the cast really outdid themselves in Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Sean Schemmel (Goku) and Christopher Sabat (Vegeta) provided some refreshing dialogue in the film. Their range ran from the usual comedic banter to blood-curdling screams. Audience members will feel each punch, kick, and impact these characters receive thanks to all the voice work Schemmel and Sabat perform.
Vic Mignogna (Broly) reprises his role from the 1993 and 1994 films. While Mignogna usually has a distinct voice which most anime fans will recognize, here, he makes Broly all his own. He emotes Broly’s internal struggles while at the same time exudes his ferocity perfectly. It would be no surprise if these actors left the studio with sore throats after all the screaming they had to do. However, if there was an Oscar dedicated completely to screaming, they would win it.
The Animation Of Dragon Ball Super: Broly
The animation in Dragon Ball Super: Broly is some of the franchise’s best. Toei Animation pulled no punches in ensuring the film oozed action. The artwork during the fight scenes is so vivid that viewers can feel each punch impacting the characters’ bodies. Do not assume that just because Broly received some complexity that he lost his edge. Broly is a force to reckon with during the action scenes. The animators made sure to use the terrain to emphasize just how strong Broly is.
Fighting in the arctic tundra, the backgrounds seemed boring at first. Everything was white, covered in snow, and surrounded by mountains. However, the battle destroyed this terrain and with each powerup, the area eroded further. The white backgrounds also assisted in emphasizing the color of the energy blasts and Ki of each power-up. Fans also have some great Goku/Vegeta-solo/combo battles to look forward to. The two showed some superb synchronization during the action sequences that viewers won’t get enough of.
My one complaint regarding the animation would be that, at moments, the fight scenes look like they’re from a videogame. The film had trouble balancing the hand-drawn and computer-animated fight scenes. These moments would pull the viewer out of the fight since it was so obvious.
Nevertheless, viewers will feel as if they have just come out of a good workout after watching Dragon Ball Super: Broly. While the beginning of the film is mostly backstory and build-up, once the fight gets going, it’s a non-stop, action rollercoaster that is worth the wait.