If you are reading this, or have ever attended one of our Foolish for Ghibli+ events, chances are you’re somewhat familiar with the entertainment empire of Dragon Ball. Begun as some fun and wacky martial arts comics about a young orphan, Akira Toriyama’s series grew in popularity steadily but remained a niche in the manga and anime scene. It had popular appeal enough to warrant a North American release but didn’t at first seem to have a lot of staying power in the core of popular media. And then came Dragon Ball Z.
Re-imagining key elements of Toriyama’s original character and style ideas Dragon Ball Z didn’t just take over the popular culture. It literally defined the entire genre of Shonun manga and anime to this very day. While not every anime fan is a DBZ fan, you’d be hard pressed to find an anime fan who doesn’t know what DBZ is. Well after its ending and the disastrous attempts at milking what had become a waning property (looking at you GT) DBZ die-hards stood millions strong.
Over the course of DBZ’s reign as the #1 airing anime series, a number of films were released for distributions featuring the various characters. While none of them were officially canon works in the timeline of Dragon Ball, many of them featured at least fun little extra adventures for our heroes. All except Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan. No other film garnered as much love as Broly’s and no other film villain was as well remembered as the legendary monster. Really the reason behind this is obvious. The film asked a simple question: what if there was actually a fated Super Saiyan of legend, and what if he were the bad guy? Though slow to start and logically nonsensical at times, when Broly finally unleashed the full fury of his wrath he became a force of nature like nothing else fans had ever seen.
Sadly, the problem that plagued all of the DBZ films persisted. None of it was canon. Beyond two follow up films (which are better left forgotten) and a few notable video game appearances, Broly was just a fan favorite character. While his transformation and berserker fury was used as part of Kale’s design in Dragon Ball Super, the true Broly was down and out.
That is until this year. With a story written by Akira Toriyama , Broly has not only become part of the established Dragon Ball timeline, he stars in what is hands down the best film the series has ever released. While the movie features Goku and Vegeta as its main heroes the story revolves around Broly and his horrifying level of destructive potential. Beginning with a retcon of the events of the Bardock film we get to follow Broly and his father during the last few years of Planet Vegeta before Freiza decides to be rid of it. We follow him into exile and see more of the type of man Paragus is and how Broly is raised culminating in their discovery and an eventual showdown with the rival Super Saiyan gods.
Now, let’s be honest, Dragon Ball has never been a series beloved for its plot. We love it for character arcs, sure but most of us are here for the sheer spectacle of beings who can level mountains with a shout punching each other in the face and re-arranging the face of a continent. Dragon Ball Super: Broly understands this perfectly. It isn’t trying to extend world building the way that Battle of Gods did. This film knows that fans have been clamoring for a proper in universe Broly and it delivers. While the film goes out of its way to give Broly some actual back story, personality and motivation; when the fists start flying it is everything fans were hoping for. This film will keep your adrenaline dial set to maximum as it continuously outdoes itself.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is the very essence of Dragon Ball distilled into its purest form and is a must watch for anyone who ever shouted Kamehameha on the playground, living-room or bedroom for that matter.