It took me almost a year to watch Dragon Ball Super: Broly. It was actually released over here last December but something stopped me from watching it then. They were showing the English dubbed version of the film. I have nothing against the English dub of Dragon Ball and I know a lot of fans stand by it as being one of the better dubs out there. I tend to agree with that assessment. The thing is I grew up watching the Japanese version of the show way back when you had to watch them on VHS with no subtitles. I have gotten so used to hearing Goku’s high-pitched voice done by Masako Nozawa so hearing the character with a deep, manly tone kind of sounds weird to me. It’s just my personal taste.
Anyway, I have been looking for a legitimate way to see the Japanese dub here and, for one reason or another, it has eluded me. I finally bit the proverbial bullet and decided to rent it on YouTube movies. It wasn’t ideal as I would’ve wanted my own physical copy. But hey! I put it off long enough and I finally watched Dragon Ball Super: Broly, and here are my thoughts.
Unlike the previous Dragon Ball OAVs that did feature Broly, this one, like the other Dragon Ball Super movies, is actually canon in the current timeline. The story focuses mostly on Broly, who was send to an inhospitable planet because King Vegeta (the father of the Vegeta we all know) was afraid of his power. Broly’s father, Paragus, is stranded on the planet along with Broly and vows revenge on Vegeta’s lineage. Years later, Frieza’s forces come across Paragus and Vegeta and Frieza, noticing Broly’s immense fighting ability, plans to sic the Saiyan against Goku and Vegeta.
This is a much different take on the Broly that we’ve seen in the earlier Dragon Ball Z OAV’s that features the “Legendary Saiyan” as he’s not just a mad fighter who’s angry at Kakarot for crying all the time. This time around, he’s more of a guy who seems to not want to fight but was stripped of that choice by his father, who wants to use him as a weapon to get his revenge. He’s still loses himself while in battle but, otherwise, he’s more of a mellow dude. It’s a nice change that does work but a part of me does miss the super buff monster who loves destroying his opponents.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is definitely a movie made for the fans as, not only does it bring fan favorite Broly into the canon universe, it also does a few callbacks to past events, such as Frieza’s time in Hell from Resurrection F, Frieza’s return during the last arc of Super and even the catalyst of how Goku became Super Saiyan for the first time. These are nice little touches that fans will definitely appreciate but, if you haven’t been following the series, you may not get, despite the use of flashbacks.
The story itself is rather smartly written as it shows how Goku, Vegeta, Broly and even Frieze’s fathers are all intertwined in their histories. I do like how everyone’s motivations, besides Frieza’s are layered. I especially liked how King Vegeta’s decision to send Broly to an inhospitable world is not spelled out to the viewer. It could be that he’s afraid that Broly might become stronger than his son in the future thanks to his fluctuating power levels. But it also could be that he is genuinely worried that the child will not be able to control his powers. Paragus’ love for his son becomes erodes as he eventually sees Broly as a tool for his revenge instead of truly caring for his well-being.
While I did like the story, I don’t really go to a Dragon Ball movie for it. I come here for the fight scenes. It does take a while for the film to get to the big battle as they kind of dawdle in the pacing to give you a meaty backstory and, while I really appreciate it, it does go on for a little too long. Besides the initial scene where you see Goku and Vegeta training, the only other major fight scene is when Broly goes at it with the two. It’s kind of like a Godzilla movie where you’re waiting for the King of Monsters to finally appear but you have to wait for a long time. But, man, is it worth the wait!
The big battle with Broly takes up the whole latter half of Dragon Ball Super: Broly’s 100-minute runtime and they make the most of it! It’s a good mix of beautiful animation, old school Dragon Ball insanity and really dynamic angles. The fights are all very interesting and fun to watch. Toei still gave us those classic zoomed out flashes of streaking lights that’s supposed to represent Goku, Vegeta and Broly.
But they also intermixed them with some new ideas; at one point, you get to see the fight from Broly’s point-of-view as he tries to catch up with Goku. It’s a brilliant way to show how frantic the action is. There was one idea that they did use that I didn’t like, however. It was that one scene when the fight got so intense that they shattered the dimensional walls and fight in a different reality. That’s probably not what happened but, when I see the screen shatter and then the fight takes place in a world filled with abstract shapes, that’s how I’ll describe it.
While the animation during the action scenes are really good, the same can’t be said for every part of the film. There are a couple of scenes near the end of the film that takes an abrupt drop in quality. It wouldn’t have been that noticeable, honestly, if they didn’t come after the terrific animation quality of the battles. But, because they look like night and day, it comes off as disappointingly obvious.
I mentioned earlier that Dragon Ball Super: Broly is great for longtime viewers of the series because of the callbacks. Unfortunately, this does not mean that all your favorite characters will be showing up for this adventure. Noticeably missing are Gohan and Mr. Satan, two characters I really love from the series. Most of the other characters screentime are generally cut down to mere cameos. I’m also really disappointed that Beerus decided to sit out the battle but, in retrospect, he would’ve been able to maul Broly, even in his highest form.
The biggest issue I have with Dragon Ball Super: Broly is, sadly, the music score. You only hear the familiar strains of CHA-LA-HEAD-CHA-LA during the opening training fight between Goku and Vegeta. The scenes that do have some dramatic music work for the most part. The thing that I just couldn’t get into were the songs used during the final fights with Broly. They just seem intrusive and, for some odd reason, Toei thought it would be a good idea to include lyrics for those scenes! It comes off as distracting than immersive.
Those flaws are very minor compared to how fantastic Dragon Ball Super: Broly is. In the long run, however, this is not something a non-Dragon Ball fan should watch as they’d probably get a huge headache from the incredibly flashy and awesome fight here. On the opposite end of things, this is definitely a must-watch and I’m glad that I did watch it… even if it did take me almost a year to do so.
Have you seen Dragon Ball Super: Broly? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!