I would be lying if I said that watching this lately was the first time I’ve watched this film. I actual watched this in January with a crazy and very energetic crowd. That feels a long time ago now. That was around the time that I decided I wanted to do a self podcast thing. This movie was the main thing that I wanted to talk about on my first episode and so I did. Unfortunately, I decided to completely scrap that project and I never got around to writing a blog post about it as a result. Or maybe I should say fortunately now because I am so excited to write about this movie guys. I’ve been a Dragon Ball fan for a long time and this film is just utterly amazing to me because of that fact. It’s just one of those films that you have to watch to fully experience the madness of it. I’m going to try my best to explain some of it, but some things go beyond words.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a film that comes in two parts. One is the prologue about the Saiyan Race at the cusp of the end of their existence. A tale of what happens when Freiza succeeded over control of the Saiyans from King Cold with an iron fist. The Cold force has been using the Saiyans for their bidding for a while now and then Freiza shows up all huffy and puffy with some scouters for the Saiyans to use in fighting. He instantly showed his brutality against the Saiyans when he quickly kills all the saiyan guards who have weapons aimed at him during a scouter demonstration. Does this part need commenting on? Yes considering that this is a film about Saiyans. Freiza is the catalyst for what happens in the past and present universe of this film.
The most important part of the early sequence of this film revolves around our Saiyan friends and their sons. While Prince Vegeta’s power remains pretty solid and amazing, the unknown saiyan warrior Broly is not only frightening compared to Prince Vegeta on a battle power level, but is considered unstable. What happens? Broly is sent to the nonintelligently uninhabited planet by the name of Vampa. Paragus, Broly’s father, chases after Broly in hopes of one day mounting revenge against King Vegeta and his blood line. Unfortunately, the two are stuck there until found much later on. Five years later, Goku is sent off world by Bardock, Vegeta is off world with Nappa and friends for reasons, and Freiza exterminates the rest of the saiyans. Got that? Good.
With that, we skip to our present time period. Goku and Vegeta are fighting outside of Bulma’s newest resort after the tournament of power, Weis and Beerus are there enjoying food as usual, weaker Freiza force soldiers steal the dragon balls and radar from Bulma’s lab, two Freiza force workers Lemo (an old man) and Cheelai (a young women) find Broly and Paragus on Planet Vampa and bring them back to Freiza’s ship, and then Freiza’s ship instantly heads to Earth for the Dragon Balls. All two sides meet in the Antarctic Continent for battle. The rest of this movie is one very and energetic fight on a macroscopic level visually and microscopically character wise. The thing is that it’s not boring in the least. Also, it’s not singular at all because there is a lot of emotional appeal and stakes behind the almost non stop fighting.
Vegeta and Goku are the main vocal points of Dragon Ball Super itself considering that they are the ones always training and improving themselves for different reasons of combat. Goku is the optimistic one who trains because the Tournament of Power opened up his eyes to newer and stronger fighters while Vegeta is the more logical thinking one and trains to get stronger because Freiza is out there again. So that all makes sense, but the main protagonist of this film is Broly himself. He has the clearest arc and level of stakes here. Why? Because of the usual expectations of Dragon Ball series, we already know that Goku and Vegeta are going to win this fight, right? That’s just standard Dragon Ball material. Broly has lived through a chain of abuse ever since living on Vampa and his arc is finding people to somehow get a release from all of that so he can live on his own the way he wants to.
During Broly and Paragus’ stay on Vampa, Broly was put under a strict training regimen by his father. Why? Because he was denied from being a Goku because all the animal friends he made were turned against him due to his father’s senseless actions. He was trained to fight because of his nearly limitless capabilities. There is also the fact that Broly has a shock collar on him which Paragus uses whenever Broly goes out of control. Broly has a peaceful nature to him and Paragus never thought about teaching Broly about peace because Paragus is a saiyan who only thinks about fighting and war. Yhe planet Vampa is a place where a person needs to be strong to survive, but a balance inbetween fighting peace needs to be brought up here right? Nope. Instead, the viewer sees the pyschological effects of that shock collar and his forced fighting life style while in the Freiza force ship through his interactions with Lemo and Cheelai.
Of course, Things only get worse for Broly since joining the Freiza Force. Paragus at least cares about his son on some level, but Freiza only seems Broly as a weapon he can use against Goku and Vegeta. During combat, Freiza does his best to push Broly further and further when it comes to combat ability while also pushing Vegeta and Goku to the edge to the point where Vegeta and Goku need to make the choice of whether or not they should kill Broly Maybe Cheelai stealing the collar control and destroying it wasn’t the best choice, but it was the best sort of positive reinforcement that Broly had in a long time. More then definitely ever. Lemo and Cheelai eventually commit treason with the dragon balls to save Broly was pretty great too. Go them. Plus, Cheelai is pretty hot so….
That is how Dragon Ball Super: Broly subverts a lot of the usual Dragon Ball movie tropes. Goku and Vegeta are able to keep their fusion up while fighting Broly on a higher level which means there is no last minute B.S. that involves Goku or Vegeta (mainly Goku) getting a power up out of nowhere because the film isn’t about Goku and Vegeta. The point is whether or not Broly will survive in a situation beyond his control. That’s the stakes and emotional through line through out the one hour of combat. If it’s enough to make a person care about the fight, then it’s definitely a fun pay off for Dragon Ball Super: Broly’s very unique and experimental visuals put on screen too.
Since there is a lot at play here, the other characters were great too. Goku tried to play his peaceful side against Broly by telling the guy he doesn’t have to fight and uses Broly’s own power against him in very unique combat techniques. I’m pretty sure Goku saw himself in Broly which made him want to help, but Broly pushed Goku past his breaking point to where Goku wasn’t sure he could save Broly. A great movie for Goku scenes. Finally some delicious food for Goku in this Dragon Ball franchise. Vegeta was the sad sack here because of his too logical thinking involving “kill him now, solve problem forever.” Freiza himself was at his maximum petty evil in the later part of the film. In the beginning he was in control and could do whatever he want. Now that there are other strong people on the playground, he controls his evil through more subtle movements and more pettiness. Well, when he’s not on Earth that is. Freizas’ moments of absolute evil where such a joy in this film. Even if I knew what he was doing to Broly, I still enjoyed him. Is that because I’m a bad person? Yes. Yes it does. I can’t help but admit that I love this new level of evil put here.
With that, we talk about Dragon Ball Super: Broly’s visuals. This portion can also be turned into two parts. The back story part of this film was pretty standard for Dragon Ball Super. Well, maybe more then standard. Considering that Dragon Ball Super the TV Series has a large amount of animation directors behind it, there wasn’t that much consistency in the anime itself. Here at least everything is put under one single vision and a smaller team of directors and animator to make the film look like it belonged with itself. The world felt consistent, the animation seemed consistent, some cg was used for the Freiza force space ships which was alright, and the action felt very restrained. I feel like this visual design was intended considering that this was when Broly was controlled and restrained. A good use and sense of meta.
When the action between Broly and the other saiyans starts is where literally everything explodes. Seriously, almost nothing is left standing. A lot of experimental animation happened which while a little tonally dissonant with it’s wrestling music in the background, makes sense in terms of how the story is told. There is some very fluid standard animation intermixed with some decently well done cg that somehow doesn’t stand out too much. Plus, a lot of the battle shots are from Broly’s perspective. You can almost see yourself punching Goku through mountains at some points. Plus just the nondescript beams of energy and lasers from Broly’s mouth were pretty fun to watch happen. This was the visual splendor that I somewhat got from powerful moments in Tournament of Power but in full splendor here. Plus, I really like how the art and animation changed during the fusion practice scene to simpler animation. It goes along with the tone of that scene. There is a lot of tonal art and animation in this film that I just like. I’m glad Toei went for it in this film.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is the ultimate Dragon Ball experience. Why? Because it’s everything that Dragon Ball is about in a one hour and fifty minute package. It has all the emotional high lights, the action, the power ups, the fusion things, and the fun of the series itself as well. What else can you ask for? Dragon Ball Super: Broly is just phenomenal and I think everyone should watch it. From Dragon Ball Z fans who have only watched the two previous films and not Super to those who haven’t watched any Dragon Ball before, watch this film. There is enough context in this film for you to at least understand what is going on. I may have spoiled a lot of things from this film and talked about its visuals too, but that is my way in explaining how great this film is. Nothing can take away that experience of watching the film yourself because like I said before, it’s one of those movies. Please do that whenever you can. That is all.
Thank you for reading my nonsense. I’m not sure what I want to do for December yet, but I have some ideas…
I have finally seen this film! Just last weekend actually and it is amazing, probably my favourite piece of Dragon Ball put to screen. I came to care about Broly more than I ever have before and it was great to see the early days of the Saiyans. Also I kind of love how the dragon balls are just being used for petty reasons now, looking at you Bulma and Frieza!
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Yay! Glad you caught it and enjoyed it as much as I hoped. 😁
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Frieza was hilarious in this movie! The moment when he tricks Broly into thinking Goku was responsible for his father’s death had me laughing so hard. Even when he’s terrible, Frieza is a delight to watch.
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Right? That’s why I had to write an entire post dedicated to him in Super. I can’t love Freiza enough.
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