Anime Review: Dragon Ball Super Broly

By Drew Hurley 19.06.2019 1

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Dragon Ball Super Broly (UK PG)


For countless anime fans, Dragon Ball was their introduction to the medium; a series that has kept putting out new content over thirty years after it was originally created. While series creator Akira Toriyama is beginning to take less of an involved role, merely providing overall treatments and outlines, the series has hit its biggest accomplishment to date. This latest film, a retelling of fan-favourite movie-only character Broly, became something truly special. Receiving cinema releases around the world, it raked in over $30 million worldwide! Now the movie is getting its home release, but does it justify the hype? VEGETA IS THE HYPE! Coming courtesy of Manga Entertainment, this film is available from May 27th.
 
The old Dragon Ball Z Broly movies were covered recently by Cubed3, as part of our Dragon Ball Movie Retrospective. They were fine. What really made them memorable was Broly himself. A gargantuan, behemoth berserker, that easily overpowered the Z fighters. It also gave a chance for more Saiyans to be part of the universe. Now re-introducing the character to said universe, and finally making it officially canon.
 
While this moving is taking place during Dragon Ball Super, the opening of the story reaches all the way back to preceding the original Dragon Ball. Giving a glimpse at the original home of the Saiyan race, the Planet Vegeta. Here its king, Vegeta III, father to the famous prince of the series, is hosting his master, the tyrannical King Cold. This opening scene actually shows the abdication of King Cold. He's stepping down in place of series favourite Frieza. Along with serving as an introduction to the young version of Frieza first stepping up into the big boy boots of galactic dictator, it also gives a chance, albeit brief, to see the Ginyu Force once again, always a joy.
 
The is not much of a joy for King Vegeta though, as while Frieza comes bearing gifts - the introduction of Scouter technology - he also brings a harsh reminder of who's in charge, slaughtering a few "Monkeys" before heading back out. If Frieza's brutal debut wasn't bad enough, King Vegeta's mood is made even worse when he notices another intruder. A commoner baby in the same nursing capsule chamber as his son. This lowborn pissant is the titular Broly, a baby who had been singled out for his impressive power and latent abilities. King Vegeta will have no commoner seen as higher than his little prince and sends Broly off in a pod. A fate not particularly strange, many Saiyan babies are sent off-world in the manner, to conquer primitive worlds. It's how Goku got to Earth after all.
 
Broly's father, Paragus, expects more for him though and races off to rescue his progeny, only to find himself stranded alongside him on a strange alien world. Meanwhile, key elements of the Dragon Ball story play out in montages and small scenes. Bardock rescues his son, including a glimpse at Gine, Goku's mother. Frieza takes out Planet Vegeta. A young Vegeta and Raditz are seen with a comical Nappa. All nice small fanservicey moments, all the while, Broly and his father are learning to live on this hellhole of a world.

 
Jumping to present day, the story actually takes place a little after the closing arc to Dragon Ball Super, with Goku and Vegeta sparring back on Earth, while Whis and Beerus are chilling out with Bulma. Goku has become inspired by the Tournament of Power arc and the kicking he took from Jiren. Vegeta's happy to spar just to have the opportunity to whoop Goku for the foolish promise Goku has apparently delivered on, resurrecting Frieza as thanks for his help in winning the multi-universe throw down.
 
That resurrection is already biting Goku in the ass, as Frieza has sent some of his lackeys to Bulma's lab to snatch the Dragon Radar and the few Balls she had already collected. Strangely, both Bulma and Frieza are hoping for a somewhat similar wish - now both groups have to race to grab the final ball. But Frieza has managed to add two new recruits to his cause, Paragus, and Broly. With the Frieza forces a shadow of what it once was, Frieza's got people desperately trying to find new cannon fodder and two new Saiyans were a perfect addition.
 
This whole thing is the setup for a showdown between Broly and the duo of Vegeta and Goku. The majority of the movie is made up of this huge fight scene, and that is awesome. There's also a little side story introducing a pair of new characters who recruit Broly, one, in particular, a small green alien girl, holds a lot of promise for when she invariably returns in Super - but back to the important part: Saiyans beating the crap out of each other. This is the very best version of that to date. The fights, the character designs, just the silky smooth animation, and art.
 
Much of that is thanks to one man. Naohiro Shintani. A fan like many who grew up on Dragon Ball who worked his way through various Shonen over the years, including various One Piece productions before finally working on his beloved Dragon Ball with the OVA in 2008 Yo! Son Goku and his Friends Return. Now he's back again as a key animator, with a style reminiscent of Toriyama's earlier work, more in line with the manga than the anime. His style lends to a lighter, faster, and fresher look. The choreography of the fights once again focuses on actual martial arts and, less widescreen shots of rapid teleports, quick punches, and repeat. Instead, the camera chases the action, slips into first person, flies alongside characters that are rocked by insanely explosive impacts. It's the very best. When the Saiyan's pull out the signature special moves and energy blasts, things look even better. Reminiscent of Studio Trigger at points.
 
This release comes with both the English and Japanese release… including Vic Mignogna. And the less said about that, the better with the controversy rocking the anime dubbing scene online. There were rumours he would be redubbed. He has not been. That's all to be said on that here. There were rumours of a huge amount of content left on the cutting room floor, almost the length of the film. That is not here. Not one iota of it. Really disappointing. Rumours of scenes of Vegeta and Raditz as kids on missions with Nappa all gone. Terrible shame. Perhaps there'll be an "uncut" or "ultimate" release down the line with this bundled in.
 
8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10
The absolute pinnacle of a crazy, over the top, old-school battle scene. No strategy, complex magic systems, and clever use of special abilities. Just big Saiyan warriors kicking the ever-loving crap out of each other, for about an hour straight, and looking absolutely amazing the whole time. It sets up a few little things for the inevitable next part of Dragon Ball Super (looking for an announcement this Goku Day, that's May 9th) but what this basically is, it is one absurdly long fight scene. And that's exactly what many fans wanted. An exhilarating, explosive, entertaining showcase.

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The animation in this movie is INSANE, but I'm really itching for Super to nudge its storytelling back towards Battle of Gods with more character and theme driven narratives. Broly does a pretty good job setting up its plot in its first half, but the second half really is just action all the way to the end. It's a bit too reminiscent of Resurrection F for my tastes, but at least this movie actually looks good and has great choreography. 

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