There have been a lot of movies from the Dragon Ball franchise through the years. They’ve been enjoyable for me, and the series itself has been a large part of Toonami’s history since the block became the place to be on television. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Toonami Faithful got their hands on a copy of the newest film Dragon Ball Super: Broly. This film has been getting the red carpet treatment and billed as the best film yet. There are a lot of people intrigued and psyched to watch it. So is Dragon Ball Super: Broly worth all the publicity and notoriety?
Fans will get to see the backstory of Broly, a character that has been a huge topic within the Dragon Ball community. Much like the story in the first movie DBZ Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan, King Vegeta fears Broly’s strength and is jealous that his son may not be as strong as the legendary Saiyan. As a result, King Vegeta sends Broly away to conquer a planet that his people aren’t interested in dominating. Paragus, Broly’s father, finds out about this and rushes off to rescue Broly knowing that his son could die in this mission. In the process, Paragus gets himself stranded on the same planet with Broly, and both are stuck there for a long time. Eventually, Broly and Paragus are rescued by some new members of the Frieza Force. Seeing how strong Broly is, they bring the pair back to see Frieza. Impressed by his strength, Frieza decides to go to Earth and have the legendary Saiyan fight Vegeta and Goku. Our heroes figure out that Frieza once again stole the Dragon Balls. Goku and Vegeta attempt to stop Frieza and his men from getting away but are stopped by Broly and an all-out battle ensue. It’s apparent that Vegeta and Goku are up against the most dangerous foe they have ever fought and will make some wonder, is Broly unbeatable?
Visually speaking, this is the best Dragon Ball film yet. The animation explodes off the screen in a way that I wasn’t expecting. It flows in and out of CGI especially during the fight scenes much like in the last two movies, and it’s beautiful. Dragon Ball knows how to impress fans with its fighting choreography, and Dragon Ball Super: Broly does that well. Toei Animation pulls out all the stops with this latest Dragon Ball movie, and have found a formula that works considering how well the last couple of films have been. You can tell they took their time when animating this movie using the right amount of animation and CGI. The characters had much smoother designs which were appreciated. You can see that Naohiro Shintani, lead animator of the movie, put a lot of energy into the designs and tried to make sure everyone looked their best on the big screen. The animation itself holds a lot of weight with how much I enjoyed this film, and I think fans would agree.
The story felt compelling, and it shows a different side of Broly that I wasn’t expecting. It’s not the same story you remember, so seasoned veterans of Dragon Ball will be interested in how things play out in the latest film. Broly becomes the man he is not because of his hatred of Goku crying next to his pod but rather the environment he lived in and based on what his father taught him. I think seeing Broly with different motivations from what I recall was a fantastic idea. He has a heart in this movie. Akira Toriyama did a great job developing Broly’s character, and I think it’s a huge selling point of the film. You’ll get to see some in-depth character development, which wasn’t something I expected in a Dragon Ball movie. It was the relationship between both Goku and Broly’s parents (as well as themselves) that tied things together in a way that made the film more interesting. Goku and Broly’s parent’s relationships are especially heartbreaking and at times.
The voice cast is as great as you’d expect from FUNimation. Star Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat continue to add life to some of the most famous characters in history. Their performance for both Goku and Vegeta respectively will make fans of the franchise proud once again. Not to be outdone, Vic Mignogna as the voice of Broly did a great job, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. More notably, Vic Mignogna does a great job of bringing Broly down to Earth, and as a result, you get to see a softer side of a Broly and not the guy that yells Kakarot all the time. As for the rest of the cast, there weren’t any glaring issues that I had, as most of the cast know how to tap in to bring out the best of their roles.
As for the negatives, there are only a few issues that I had. First, the major battle scene and the length it took to end wasn’t ideal. It’s typically a trap that Dragon Ball falls into when looking back at the Dragon Ball Z series. The battles are memorable and revered, but the length can take the fun out of it. I had reminiscing feelings of this, even though the animation was beautiful. However, due to how much of a spectacle it was, I don’t think it will ruin the overall enjoyment of the film. This small issue should be something many Dragon Ball fans probably expected anyway (considering how the Dragon Ball Z anime was).
Another minor issue for me was seeing the new Frieza Force strictly on a lore level. Where were they this whole time? As far as fans knew, the Frieza force was wiped out after the last battle between Goku, and I thought they could have explained where these new members originated. Keeping a story straight hasn’t been the strongest attribute for Akira Toriyama, and so I wonder where these new characters were hiding. And these same thoughts come to mind when I look back at another Dragon Ball movie, DBZ Bardock: Father of Goku. Some fans might look back at that film thinking it’s canon but Dragon Ball Super: Broly had a lot of things different from the storyline we were treated to before. Bardock didn’t race back to planet Vegeta because he found out something was wrong. He came back because he was ordered. The biggest problem here occurs with a twist that affects Dragon Ball Z. Goku isn’t sent to Earth to conquer the planet. Goku was sent to Earth to save him from being killed similar to what happened to Superman. It’s a plot hole for Dragon Ball Z. I’m sure they will find a way to explain this, but it isn’t vital. Now that there are conflicting storylines, I think that a Bardock movie should be looked at for the future. I want to see the story redone now that this latest Broly film was made with how Toriyama envisioned the character.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly has been billed as the best Dragon Ball movie made, and it deserves that title and is worth the price of admission. There are fantastic fights, an exciting plot, and a great voice cast. Dragon Ball can do no wrong in the U.S., so this latest installment should be just what the die-hard fans needed. Do yourself a favor and see it in theaters or if you’re lucky enough to have it in your area, on an Imax screen near you (becoming the first anime movie to do that). I wasn’t disappointed, and I have a feeling that fans all over the country will be entertained as well.
I give this movie an 8.5 out of 10.
Let us know in the comments what you think of this review and what you think of the movie after you see it.
Paul Pescrillo is the Founder of ToonamiFaithful.com and Co-Creator of the Toonami Faithul Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @PaulPescrillo.