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Dragon Ball Super: Broly UK Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read
A one-time fuller movie spawned a Super Saiyan so popular he becomes canon? And the canon movie…definitely the better telling of the character to boot…

A one-time fuller movie spawned a Super Saiyan so popular he becomes canon? And the canon movie…definitely the better telling of the character to boot…

What They Say:
This is the story of a new Saiyan.

Earth is at peace after the Tournament of Power. Goku, knowing that there are ever-stronger forces in the universe he has yet to encounter, spends all of his time training to achieve another level. One fateful day, a Saiyan appears before Goku and Vegeta who they have never seen before: Broly. How can a Saiyan – who had all supposedly been annihilated after the erasure of Planet Vegeta – appear on Earth? With the return of Frieza from hell, a fierce battle awaits these three Saiyans who have followed completely different destinies.

The Review:
Audio:
As it is a movie version it has 5.1 options for both English and Japanese and thus there were no complications of the audio throughout the release and the 5.1 option definitely comes through well with no need to adjust default settings on the audio system I was using. I am a fan of the DBZ Super dub so I watched both the English and the Japanese version and there was no issues with either (also because DBZ in 5.1 is something would have never thought of back in the day in Japanese..) There were no problems with the video synching in with subtitles so with it’s updated and bright animation it synches well so a good Blu-Ray release.

Video:
Similar with the audio, the video is set in 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio format in Blu-ray combined with the CGI/traditional animation blending, the movie is stunning to look at and the fluidity of Goku’s movements during the fight with Broly just show how much has changed and evolved over the years- then you combine the dull and creepy moments of Broly trapped on a plant with the high colour of the fights when you have Goku, Vegeta and Frieza all in their (literal) more colourful forms it becomes an eye feast. With me watching DBZ from the day it aired on Cartoon Network just around 20 years ago now, it does feel the franchise in it’s art evolution has come full circle.

Packaging:
There was no packing for this test release.

Menu:
The menu is pretty basic – we have an image of Broly in the centre background with Super Saiyan Blue Goku on the left and Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta on the right – Broly in his standard form below and Super Saiyan form above – menu is quick and selectable with Play Feature, Scene Selection and Set Up. The subtitles can select translated or hard of hearing so the options of ‘dubtitles’ are also there. Very quick but very standard.

Extras:
There are no extras for this release however the Collectors Edition comes in a limited edition slipcase and includes a set of four character stickers and a fold out poster featuring key art from the film.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As many long-time watchers know, I have a soft spot for the Dragon Ball sagas. One thing however I am not as fond of is the movies because (and DBZ isn’t the only shounen show that does this) of their mostly filler nature with nothing really standing out.

However, there is one movie which has had a big following because it had a really popular breakout villain character, and that was Dragonball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan. For basically just being an outright monster and badass, Broly has been immensely popular despite being considered non-canon for all this time (heck, even Dragonball FighterZ had him as one of the initial DLC characters). My look at the character is that in terms of character, he is very one-dimensional – just overpowered even in DBZ stakes. However, whilst that was a non-canon movie done by a different director, this version of Broly has been taken control by the creator of Dragonball, Akira Toriyama himself, now making Broly canon. So is the creator’s version of Broly the better version?

In short, definitely. The long version of it…

The story incorporates a lot of the backstory of when Frieza destroyed Planet Vegeta, this also showcases Vegeta’s father and also Goku/Kakkarot’s father Bardock in the main flashback sequence. Here, they cleverly make the story of Broly canon by saying that he was a Saiyan boy with a power comparable and stronger than Vegeta’s son (Vegeta as we know) which doesn’t sit well with the arrogant Saiyan prince, and banishes him to an abandoned planet named Vampa. Unsurprisingly, Broly’s father Paragus isn’t happy, and steals a ship with a Saiyan named Beets which leads to them tracking Broly down, as well as being vengeful against his fellow Saiyan’s for their pride…

A few years later, Bardock is questioning why the young lord Frieza has gathered all the Saiyan’s to return to the planet. Suspecting the worst, she sends Goku in a pod for Earth (and of course starting the Dragonball saga) which leads to the infamous scene of Frieza blowing up the Saiyan planet…

Fast forward to the present day (which has spoilers for those who haven’t watched all of DBZS and if you are just watching the UK releases then this is a big spoiler) we have Frieza who was brought back to life at the end of the Universe arc thanks to Whis, and now is on the hunt for the Dragon Balls (and his wish is a surprising bit of humor whether he meant it or not, but shows how much the character has changed…whilst still being an evil son of a gun) – however his army is still being rebuilt so some of his soldiers are searching for new recruits. Fast forward to one of my favorite of the new cast – Cheelai, a sassy female soldier of Frieza’s army and her partner Lemo, are located to Vampa where they find the now much older Broly and Paragus, and seeing Broly’s off the chart power level, they of course bring them to Frieza, who unsurprisingly is amused about finding two Saiyans and having them part of his army especially when he establishes how strong Broly could be, as he wants the two of them to defeat Vegeta and Goku.

Goku and Vegeta sense the power of Broly and with the worry that Frieza might be wishing to be immortal, instantly transmit to where he is now in the Arctic area with Whis and Bulma along for the ride.

Now, my main problem with the movie is pretty much this – Broly gets surprising development throughout this with his father being very ‘oh you must do what I say to get revenge on the Saiyans’ yet Broly is soft-spoken, almost childlike yet gets along with people who talk to him with respect and care (mainly Cheelai, their relationship verging not quite romantic, more like Goku/Bulma level) in other words, not the Broly from the original version…which is a GOOD thing. The problem is that Goku and Vegeta pretty much get no development and just turn up to fight him – when Broly defends Cheelai from a pervert or you hear his backstory when a snake dog creature named Bah befriends him and he had to later take its ear off due to his father’s orders….which he wears as a pelt to remember him by, Broly is hard not to root for despite being on Frieza’s team – plus his grievances are legit in that he was exiled by the original Vegeta, hence why he should have a grudge with present-day Vegeta…but at the same time all this is coming through via his father and Frieza, and not so much from Broly himself. Because of this, it is hard to root for Vegeta/Goku because of this…though it does change fortunately in a bit.

Broly’s power level is immense but he can’t quite get to Super Saiyan level when Vegeta goes into Blue/God modes – so Frieza remembering what triggered Goku’s transformation, kills Broly’s father and after a hilariously bad moment when he calls Broly that one of a spare energy beams killed him, Broly’s rage does trigger Super Saiyan mode. At this point, Goku has joined the fight but now Broly seems unstoppable. Because of the rage though, they trick him to fighting Frieza before teleporting to Piccolo to try and figure out a way to beat Broly. Piccolo suggests Fusion Dance (much to Vegeta’s dismay) but after an hour they succeed and fuse as Gogeta (and the fact Frieza has been beaten up for over an hour holds some amusement as well).

It leads to Broly vs. Gogeta as the two sides keep powering up until Gogeta goes into Super Saiyan Blue form, breaking dimensions and eventually looks set to kill Broly. Fortunately, Cheelai and Lemo use the Dragonballs to teleport Broly back to Vampa and escape to find him as Frieza is stopped by Gogeta before he could kill them. Frieza retreats whilst the ending reveals that Goku is giving supplies to Broly and company, with the promise of hopefully sparring with Broly in the future…

I love how the initial story goes and managing to make Broly part of the Super universe as the movie(s) he was originally in don’t do that – the interesting thing is that it makes sense considering the story of Goku heading to Earth and Frieza destroying Planet Vegeta – it does actually make sense. Granted, the whole 40 years on a deserted planet before being rescued is a bit far fetched and Broly’s incredible power is only described as ‘potential’ to the point he is a match for Goku, Vegeta, and Frieza, however it still works and the little tie ins to the past with Bardock and Prince Vegeta (there’s even a small scene with Raditz and Nappa when young Vegeta is away). Plus the added irony of Frieza being the one to enlist them (and for some reason Frieza has some funny moments, with his wish…and the more dark comedy of his bad acting when he kills Broly’s father) as his tool for revenge…but also how it comically backfires on him. Plus the fact it pretty much sets up either a sequel movie or series as Frieza is still out there, as is Broly.

As said, the weak point is actually you don’t really care much about Goku and Vegeta winning because Broly’s backstory combined with him not really knowing what is going on bar his rage at Vegeta doesn’t really make him the villain, just manipulated by his father and Frieza. This is why I love Cheelai a lot as she sees what he is and wants to be kind to him, and surprisingly Broly does the same – he talks to her about his past and even saves her from a drunken pervert in the Frieza Force. It feels that the villains (bar Frieza who is still as obviously but awesomely evil as always) are actually very likable in this and dare I say, a better retelling of the Broly character? I think so.

Of course with a short movie, the fact so few characters are in bar Goku, Vegeta, Bulma, Piccolo, and Whis (Beerus is barely in it, there’s a cameo from Trunks and Goten, but no Gohan, no Krillin, no androids) means that after the backstory, the fight scenes do come out a little rushed. Not that it isn’t awesome and the animation is beautiful, but again, makes you care less for the main cast. That said, the fusion dance into Gogeta was a big moment, and it made Vegeta sweat a bit for having to fuse with Goku was definitely amusing.

So in turn, definitely one if not the best Dragon ball movies out there (I say Ressurection F maybe slightly better, though that maybe slightly biased because of how much I enjoy Frieza returning as he was the quintessential DBZ villain) and a real step up as a retelling of the Broly story and in a very good way.

Summary:
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a retelling of a fan favourite character but done in a much better way with backstory, character development, and potential future rivalries. With the story being rushed and the lack of empathy you get for the main characters (though Goku sense there is good in Broly) it is hard to get behind them, but the surprises, the gorgeous fights and the surprising love I got for the side character Cheelai means there is plenty to enjoy about this. It isn’t going to be the biggest masterpiece out there, but for an hour and a bit of fun, especially for DBZ fans, it’s hard not to recommend this as a piece of junk food for the brain.

Features:

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: N/A

Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: May 27th, 2019
MSRP: £21.99
Running Time: 97 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
PlayStation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.


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