Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a great experiment in making the fans happy. For years Dragon Ball fans have been wanting the overpowered character known as Broly to become canon in the proper Dragon Ball storyline. After decades of having three stories that are more “alternate universe” in nature, show creator Akira Toriyama decided to use a movie to bring the big guy into the mainline story of Dragon Ball Super; and that movie is MAXIMUM!!! (Sorry, a Dragon Ball Abridged joke.)
Title: Dragon Ball Super: Broly
Production Company: Toei Animation
Distributed by: Toei Company, Twentieth Century Fox Japan, Funimation Films (USA) & Madman Entertainment (Australia)
Directed by: Tatsuya Nagamine, Naohiro Shintani (animation director) & Kazuo Ogura (art director)
Produced by: Akira Toriyama
Starring (Japanese): Masako Nozawa, Ryō Horikawa, Ryūsei Nakao, Katsuhisa Hōki, Katsuhisa Hōki, Bin Shimada, Nana Mizuki, Tomokazu Sugita, Masako Nozawa, & Naoko Watanabe
Starring (English): Sean Schemmel, Christopher Sabat, Christopher Ayres, Dameon Clarke, Vic Mignogna, Erica Lindbeck, Bruce Carey, Sonny Strait & Emily Neves
Based on: Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama
Release dates: December 14, 2018 (Japan), January 24, 2019 (Australia) & January 16, 2019 (USA)
Running time: 101 minutes
Rating: PG (United States) / PG (Australia)
41 years ago, the Saiyan homeworld Planet Vegeta is ruled by King Cold, who delegates command of the planet to his son Frieza. King Vegeta, leader of the Saiyans, believes his son Prince Vegeta is a prodigy destined to liberate their people. He learns of Broly, a Saiyan baby born with an abnormal power level that exceeds that of his son, and exiles Broly to the distant planet Vampa. Broly’s father Paragus goes after his son, but they are stranded on Vampa after their ships are damaged. Paragus vows to raise Broly as a mighty warrior to exact revenge on King Vegeta. Five years later, a low-class Saiyan warrior named Bardock becomes suspicious of Frieza, and sends his son Kakarot (later named Goku) to Earth. His suspicions are confirmed when Frieza, upon learning of a legend that states a Super Saiyan will one day defeat him, destroys Planet Vegeta. The Saiyan race is eradicated, save Broly and Paragus, Goku and his brother Raditz, Vegeta and his comrade Nappa.
In the present day, Goku and Vegeta train on an island with Bulma, Bulla, Beerus, and Whis. Bulma is contacted by Trunks, who informs her that six of the Dragon Balls have been stolen by Frieza’s soldiers. Goku, Vegeta, Bulma and Whis travel to the Arctic to find the seventh Dragon Ball before Frieza can retrieve it. Meanwhile, Broly and Paragus are rescued from Vampa by Cheelai and Lemo, two low-class soldiers in Frieza’s army searching for recruits. They are brought to Frieza, who recruits them to help him defeat Goku and Vegeta. The two groups come face-to-face in the Arctic, where Paragus orders Broly to attack Vegeta. Broly fights Vegeta and then Goku, growing stronger as the fight goes on and catching up to their Super Saiyan God forms, but is outmatched when Goku powers up to Super Saiyan Blue. Frieza murders Paragus, and Broly’s rage over his father’s death causes him to transform into a Super Saiyan. He overwhelms Goku and Vegeta with his new power, so they trick him into attacking Frieza instead and then teleport to Piccolo’s location. Goku and Piccolo teach Vegeta how to use the Fusion Dance technique; after two failed attempts, Goku and Vegeta successfully fuse together into Gogeta and teleport back to the battlefield. Gogeta defeats Broly and is about to obliterate him with a powerful Kamehameha, but Cheelai and Lemo, who had formed a friendship with Broly, summon Shenron with the Dragon Balls and use their wish to transport Broly back to Vampa. Frieza retreats, promising to return another time. Goku later meets with Broly, Cheelai and Lemo on Vampa, wishing to be friends and providing them with various survival supplies from Capsule Corp. Before teleporting back to Earth, Goku states his desire to spar with Broly again someday and seemingly accepts his Saiyan heritage and name.
Voiced by: Masako Nozawa (Japanese); Sean Schemmel (English)
After being victorious with his Universe 7 team mates in the Tournament of Power arc in Dragon Ball Super, Goku is only just beginning to understand his desire to become more powerful than he already is. during his time in the tournament and his fight with Jiren, Goku wants to keep training with not only Vegeta but with Whis and Beerus The God of Destruction. Upon seeing the power the Broly contains and is yet to display, Goku wants to fight. However Goku discovers that Broly is nothing more than a trained weapon who cannot control his own destructive power. Upon seeing this, Goku tries to reason with Broly… and fails. After the fight with Broly is over, Goku visits Broly and wants to spar with him and even allows Broly to use his Saiyan name, accepting for the first time his own heritage and birth name.
Voiced by: Ryō Horikawa (Japanese); Christopher Sabat (English)
Fueled by revenge against the resurrected Frieza, Vegeta continues to train alongside Goku and Whis; training for the time when Frieza will return for revenge of his own. When Planet Vegeta was destroyed by Frieza, Vegeta was off world with Raditz, two other Saiyans, and Nappa (Who has hair!); thus making them some of the few remaining Saiyans left after the destruction. During his own fight with Broly, Vegeta displays the ability to use the Super Saiyan God form, something that has not been seen from Vegeta in Dragon Ball Super. As usual, when Goku takes over the fight against Broly, Vegeta takes a step back, playing protector to his wife and also Weis who both have come to find the Dragon Ball and ended up getting caught in the fight with Broly. Side note: Vegeta’s real title is “Vegeta the 4th”, meaning that there have been 3 previous males in his line with the name Vegeta. Also, Tarble is mentioned as being off world possibly during the destruction of Planet Vegeta, but Vegeta doesn’t care.
Voiced by: Ryūsei Nakao (Japanese); Christopher Ayres (English)
After being resurrected by the Dragon Balls due to the deal that he made with Goku if Frieza helped in the Tournament of Power, Frieza is rebuilding his army. While his Frieza Force members scout for new recruits, Frieza hatches a new plan for his wish using the Dragon Balls: To gain 5 inches in height. While this wish sounds absurd to anyone else, Frieza’s reason for this is so that the growth appears natural. This plan gets sidetracked after Cheelai and Lemo arrive with Paragas and Broly. Upon hearing Paragas’ story about being exiled by King Vegeta and his want for revenge, Frieza uses that motivation as a reason for Broly to kill Vegeta and also get his own revenge against Goku. During the battles, Frieza remembers about killing Krillin and causing Goku to transform into his Super Saiyan form for the first time and uses the same thing to kill Paragas, causing Broly to go into a full rage and unlock Legendary Super Saiyan form. Later in the battle, Goku uses Frieza to distract Broly and gain himself and Vegeta some time. Frieza uses his Golden form and is still unable to keep up with Broly. At the end of the battle, Frieza tries to shoot down an escape pod used by Cheelai and Lemo, only to be stopped by Gogeta. Frieza ends up leaving Earth and pursuing the traitorous duo, stating he will be back to destroy Goku, Vegeta and the Earth itself once day.
Voiced by: Katsuhisa Hōki (Japanese); Dameon Clarke (English)
Paragus was a loyal military lieutenant of King Vegeta, until he was blessed with a son who had potential even greater than King Vegeta’s son Prince Vegeta. However, King Vegeta became jealous of his potential, so he sent Broly to an outlying planet in a Saiyan space pod, and a furious Paragus betrayed King Vegeta and sought out his son to save him. Along with Beets, Paragus searched for his son on the stormy planet, Vampa, but they crash their ship and learned of the dangerous creatures that lived on the planet’s surface. When Paragus and Beets finally found Broly and attempt to leave the planet, they realize the ship was beyond repair, leaving them marooned. To preserve their food supply, he kills Beets with a Ray Gun. He would then spend his efforts on training Broly into becoming the ultimate warrior. He would also remove Broly’s tail at some point because Broly could not control himself when he transformed, and he was too dangerous.
Voiced by: Bin Shimada (Japanese); Vic Mignogna (English)
Broly was born around the same time as Vegeta with a power level of 10,000. He lived on Planet Vegeta until he was sent away to a frontier planet by the order of a jealous King Vegeta who repudiated the fact that Broly had greater potential than his son, Prince Vegeta. During his stay on the planet, he encountered a giant creature that he named Ba. Broly would constantly spar with Ba by dodging its attacks until he ends up befriending it through these constant interactions. Unfortunately, Paragus saw this development as a hinderance to Broly’s growth and shot the beast, losing its ear in the process. This event made Ba leave and never met Broly again. He would wear the severed ear as a green pelt to serve as a memento that he will always be together with Bah. Through sharing this story, Broly creates a friendship with Cheelai and Lemo, who both think there is more to Broly than just an unstoppable killing machine. Broly, thanks to the vengeance that Paragas created for his exile by King Vegeta, is sent in to attack Vegeta in a fight to the death. However Goku steps into the battle and forces Broly to go berzerk with rage, causing Broly to obtain the power of the Great Ape while still in his base form, then Super Saiyan; and after seeing his father die at the hands of a “stray beam” during the battle (It was really Freiza who killed Paragas), Broly going into Legendary Super Saiyan mode and becomes truly unstoppable. The battle between Goku and Broly almost destroys the planet, but thanks to Cheelai using the Dragon Balls to return Broly to Vampa, things are ended without further destruction. When Broly is reunited with Cheelai and Lemo on Vampa, Goku arrives and explains that Broly isn’t just a strong monster, but a lot like himself and asks if he could train with and help teach some things to Broly. Broly smiles for the first time as he accepts Goku’s offer as almost like a pupil instead of an enemy.
Voiced by: Nana Mizuki (Japanese); Erica Lindbeck (English)
Cheelai had never seen Frieza, only ever hearing rumors of him, after stealing a Galactic Patrol spaceship, she joined the Frieza Force to escape her pursuers. As shown in her initial dialogue with Lemo she is sassy and opinionated. She and Lemo form a friendship with Broly. She takes a dislike to Paragus due to his harsh treatment of his son Broly. She theorizes that Broly doesn’t like to fight and that Paragus only seems him as a weapon. She noted that Broly’s fighting prowess was greater than she imagined. She blamed Paragus for Broly’s berserker tendencies and said that she wished they could do something to help him. During the long battle against the likes of Vegeta, Goku and Frieza, Cheelai uses the Dragon Balls to send Broly back to the planet he was exiled to just to save the planet, and herself. She escapes from Frieza in one of his own escape pods along with Lemo. Together the duo make their way to Vampa and rejoin Broly knowing that having someone with his power at her side would keep herself and Lemo safe.
Voiced by: Tomokazu Sugita (Japanese); Bruce Carey (English)
Lemo has served in the Frieza Force for decades, being an old veteran of the rear guard who served King Cold. By Frieza’s time he was a non-combatant and so had never met Frieza – only ever having glimpsed him at their space station. He is also more logic oriented than Cheelai as he tried to keep Cheelai from confronting Paragus over the shock collar and from confronting him over his refusal to let Broly chat. He and Cheelai form a friendship with Broly. He noted that Broly was pure and innocent like nothing he had ever seen before, after learning the origin of Broly’s pelt and he voiced his opinion that Paragus probably only saw Broly as a weapon as did Cheelai. He also said that his own father was a real jerk, like Paragus though he noted that Paragus was likely even worse. He noted that since Broly’s fighting potential was high, Paragus must have forced him to train. He also told Broly that he didn’t have to listen his father, but Broly refused to speak ill of his father. While Broly was fighting Goku and Vegeta he noted that he wasn’t himself. Cheelai blamed Paragus for it which Lemo agreed with. While Cheelai hatches her plan to save Broly, Lemo finds and steals one of Frieza’s escape pods and the two make their way to Vampa, where they reunite with Broly for safety.
Voiced by: Masako Nozawa (Japanese); Sonny Strait (English)
Bardock is a low-class Saiyan warrior and the father to Goku & Raditz, along with being the husband to Gine. In Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Bardock’s personality is very different to the one we have seen in other Specials and Movies. While a still a Saiyan soldier at heart, he was more social as he would greet other Saiyans after arriving in his homeworld. He showed great care and compassion for his children, an action he says that is due to Gine’s softness rubbing off on him. In Broly, he said that it might be that after all the death and destruction he had caused he felt the fickle urge to save something, particularly if that something was judged to be a low level like his son Kakarot. Upon learning of Frieza’s growing fear of the Super Saiyan legend, Bardock quickly comes up with a plan to get Kakarot off world so he could live. Bardock also displays some heroic qualities as well, as when Frieza launches his Supernova to destroy Planet Vegeta, Bardock flies up to try and stop it, resorting to throwing himself in front of it as a last ditch effort to stop it.
Voiced by: Naoko Watanabe (Japanese); Emily Neves (English)
On Planet Vegeta, Gine is butchering meat when Bardock returns from a mission and both greet each other in a hug. She tells Bardock that Raditz is already a fighter, and is working with Prince Vegeta. Since they are far away, though, they have not returned yet. When Bardock asks if Kakarot is still in the incubator, she replies affirmatively and tells that it took three years. Gine then says that she will take Kakarot out soon. A while later, Bardock tells Gine that he will steal an Attack Ball in the night so that they can send Kakarot to another planet. Gine questions Bardock, who reassures her that it is for Kakarot’s sake. Gine remarks that it is not like a Saiyan (specifically Bardock) to worry about his children. Bardock shoots back that her uncharacteristic softness rubbed off on him. Gine is presumed to be killed along with most of the other Saiyans when Frieza destroys Planet Vegeta. No account details her survival.
I’m not too sure what to make of the animation in Dragon Ball Super: Broly. On one hand it is a great mix of traditional animation and 3D animation that mixes together to create one hell of a movie. Yet on the other hand there are some moments that are just so obviously CGI that it lessens the effect that it’s meant to deliver. An example of this is an awesome moment where Super Saiyan Blue Goku teams with Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta while doing their signature attacks, the Kamehameha for Goku and the Final Flash for Vegeta. Normally you would see this done in traditional animated style, but this time they used a 3D camera effect to spin around the characters while they charged the attacks and it just looks like I was watching a moment from one of the Xenoverse video games. Not to say that the animation and camera work wasn’t stunning in it’s own right, but it was just one of those more noticeable things that took me out of a moment more than once.
I only have had a chance to watch the English dub of Dragon Ball Super: Broly so far (I’m planning to see the Japanese with Subtitles release later in the run, and I’ll update this review accordingly) and I must say that with the exception of one character in particular, the voice cast works really well. This isn’t completely unexpected since this group of people have been working together for the majority of 92 episodes of Dragon Ball Super and previously on other Dragon Ball projects. However I have to say something about Christopher Ayres as Frieza, and I really don’t want to say it given the poor guy’s situation. (Ayres had a bout of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which has effected his lungs badly, keeping him out of action for a majority of Dragon Ball Super.) Yet after hearing Daman Mills in the role for so long, having Ayres back in the role just didn’t sound right at all. I’m sorry to say but it’s time for Ayres to step down from the role and hand it over to Mills for the future of the character.
The music needs a mention here too, a lot of rock in the battle scenes mixed in with orchestral vocals really helps Dragon Ball Super: Broly have some epic level scenes. I’d say that this is one of the best soundtracks for an anime movie in a long time and I can’t wait to find it somewhere for an over-inflated import price.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is one of those movies that could have been a straight up remake of the original Broly movie from the Dragon Ball Z era for a quick cash in. However what we get is a remake and an original story all rolled up into one. With the remake side of things we see a lot of familiar characters return (and even some amusing cameos in the beginning) with their looks from the original version either intact or just altered enough to look new. The main changes here come from the backstory and look of Broly himself. Played more as an Anti-Hero in some rights and a tortured soul in others, Broly is far from the remorseless killing machine that was upset with Goku for crying all the time when the two were babies. This time around we see themes such as jealousy, exile, and how a parents need for revenge can shape their child into the wrong type of person. Broly isn’t so much a killing machine but more of a weapon that has been aimed at the wrong people. Sure, there is justification for Paragas and Broly wanting revenge against King Vegeta and his son, the current Vegeta we know, since King Vegeta sent Broly to a dead world to die just because his potential in power was far greater than his own son. Hell, Paragas was only wanting to protect his own son and use him to help the Saiyan way of life; conquering planets and selling them to the highest bidder.
Through the course of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, we learn that Broly himself doesn’t really want to fight other people, but only fight for survival of himself and his father, but after being brought up and tortured by his father to become a great warrior, Broly is left mentally scarred and unable to control his anger, something that his father used against him through a shock collar. This shows that Broly is more than just anger personified. This version of Broly is a bit softer in personality than the original, told through a story of befriending one of the monsters on the planetoid Vampa, but ending with Paragas destroying the monster and causing more scarring to Broly. By the end of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, you actually are glad to see things play out the way they do, with a relationship beginning between Broly and Goku that looks a lot like what happened with Goku and Vegeta: Two powerful enemies that end up using each other to train, become more powerful, and to learn from each other. This makes the movie seem like the part one of a longer story that I can’t wait to see finished properly.
If there is anything outside of some CGI scenes that took me out of Dragon Ball Super: Broly it was some of the weird moments and illogical moments that are scattered through the movie. One of these is the weirdness of how the Dragon Balls are brought into the story. On one hand, Bulma started gathering the Dragon Balls for one of the stupidest wishes since Oolong wished for panties: Bulma wants the Eternal Dragon to make her look 5 years younger. Yep, that’s right, Bulma wants to use the ultimate power in the Dragon Ball universe to reverse the aging process by 5 years because she doesn’t want to do surgery and is vein about her age showing while her husband Vegeta still looks like he did when he first arrived on Earth. But it doesn’t end there. Frieza orders his troops to steal the Dragon Balls for his own wish: To grow 5 inches taller! Yep, so the motivation between two people have to do with physical attributes and wanting a powerful wish granting Dragon to change something slightly. While these moments were good for a laugh at the time, they leave you wish a facepalm moment that just stings on the back of your brain through the rest of the movie.
The other thing that got to me was something during the Broly and Goku battle. As all things do when two extremely powerful forces meet, things get destroyed. In this case we know the battle is taking place on Earth in the frozen arctic area of the planet. This is like the battle taking place at the North Pole or something like that. During the battle, the ground gets destroyed, icebergs get obliterated creating more water, and eventually the whole place gets fucked up to the point where they break through the surface layer of the planet and let the whole area get swallowed up by lava! It was at this point that I’m left to wonder “what happens after a battle like this”? Broly is sent back to Vampa, but nothing is done to return Earth to it’s previous state and the lasting effects on the planet are just ignored. Again, small things that just break the immersion of Dragon Ball Super: Broly.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a great mixture of retelling and updating that produces an overall experience that works for both newcomers to the Dragon Ball series or the older fans who already know everything there is to know about Broly. I enjoyed the character changes to Broly himself while keeping the basics the same. The animation for the most part is extremely solid and colorful, with limited CGI work used overall. The only thing better would be to be watching this at home in HD since the cinema I was in didn’t seem to be high quality with video and audio production.
A well designed action movie with an interesting plot twist on an old favorite.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is one of those remakes/re-telling done right. Not only do we get to see the overpowered fan favorite get officially placed into canon in the main Dragon Ball Super series, but there are enough changes to Broly and his backstory to really make him out to be more than a living weapon. All the additions here were well thought out and very welcome. The action is balls to the wall, especially in act 3. However you can still see some shortcuts in the animation that are too noticeable to almost take you out of the action itself.
- A great new backstory for Broly
- Vegeta using something we haven’t seen before
- More forms for characters both old and new
- Great addition of Bardock and Gine in the opening
- Animation shortcuts are too noticeable
- CGI shots aren’t mixed in very well
- Still hard to work out where this movie and others are going to fit into the timeline
- Too many spinny camera effects in the fight scenes.