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Dragon Ball Super: Broly Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read
The epic clash that the big screen deserves.

Dragon Ball Super Broly Japanese Blu-ray Cover
The epic clash that the big screen deserves.

What They Say:
Knowing that there are increasingly powerful forces in the universe that he has yet to encounter, Goku spends all of his time training to achieve even greater strength. But, one fateful day a mysterious new Saiyan appears before Goku and Vegeta: Broly. How can a Saiyan—a member of the proud warrior race that was completely annihilated after the destruction of Planet Vegeta—appear here on Earth? With Frieza’s return from hell, a fierce battle awaits the three mighty Saiyans who have followed completely different destinies.

The Review:
The audio presentation for this release brings us both the Japanese language and English language mixes together using the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless codec. This is definitely a big plus for the film as the impact of the fights are great, there’s a lot of directionality to be had throughout, and the end result is a very engaging mix for viewers to get caught up. The power of the fights is naturally the big draw and it works well here with some good throws to the rears while the bass gets a nice enough workout to really make it worthwhile. The audio design definitely keeps it busy and active throughout much of it and while the theme song side has its own warm, it really is the action that dominates it properly. Dialogue is well handled in these areas as you’d expect but also in the non-action sequences with some placement here and there as needed but mostly it’s pretty straightforward and all of it is problem free.

Originally in theaters in March 2018, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. Animated by Toei Animation, we get a film that is bright, vibrant and colorful with a great look to it that comes through beautifully. In fact, it takes all the strong elements of the last couple of films in the franchise and exceeds them nicely in terms of overall quality, especially in the action sequences. There’s a strong and solid color field throughout and nothing noteworthy that’s distracting or noticeable during regular playback that would be a detriment. The film really leaps off the screen in a great way and the transfer brings all of it out with the depth of color, the background details we get and the high fluidity of the action sequences.

The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case with an O-card that replicates the case artwork itself. The design is solid as we get Goku in Vegeta in the foreground looking all intense while Broly is shadowed behind them and we get a nice little additional face-time along the bottom in the background. The colors work well and the mix of the darkness with the brighter elements provides a great contrast. The back cover is a little more traditional as we get a largely black cover with a look at the powered up Broly along the top while the right side has a decent array of shots from the feature. The summary of the premise gets a good layout and we get the nod that there’s about 45-minutes of extras here, which is definitely a big selling point. The technical grid breaks down both formats well, especially as there’s a lot of things to cover here, and it does get a bit tight but still functions well enough. The case itself replicates all of this with the only difference being there’s artwork on the reverse side that shows a starscape with one of the Goku on one side and Vegeta on the other.

With 45 minutes of extras touted for the release, there’s definitely some good stuff here. Pretty much everything is focused on the dub and some of it we saw through streaming previously. A decent chunk is made up of the five “Voice Actor X Answers Your Questions” where you get the Sabata, Sinclair, Douglas, Rial, and Schemmel talking about their character and the film. They’re short and cute and are nice fluffy pieces of fun to connect to the character more. The big extra is the 18-minute voice cast interview piece that’s a more unified piece that goes more big picture and with some fun as the cast gets to talk. We get another extra that’s about five minutes which talks about the legacy of the overall Dragon Ball franchise, showing a lot of things from the con side and the English voice actors as they’ve seen how much the show means to them. Lastly, we get “Are You Smarter Than A Voice Actor” which comes in at about five minutes where they’re quizzed on a lot of stuff. It’s goofy as hell and I think we saw this streamed before but it’s amusing to watch the actors handle this kind of situation.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I haven’t seen all of Dragon Ball Super TV episodes yet, the fun of the movies is that you can basically drop in and watch it without much issue. The film leans into the past Broly pieces, which were standalone disconnected movies as I believe that in general the old movies were not considered canon. Here, we get the more formal introduction to the modern storyline with Tatsuya Nagamine directing it from a screenplay by Akira Toriyama. And this feels like a far better introduction overall, especially when you consider the animation quality differences. Everything here feels like it’s dialed up a few extra notches and the result is a strong action piece. There are some fun character moments, no doubt, but this is the case where I wouldn’t mind those being excised in favor of more action.

While I enjoyed the film overall, I really liked the first 25 minutes or so more in a way than the rest of it, though the rest of it is pretty damn strong. The opening act takes us back forty-one years to show us as King Cold comes to Planet Vegeta in order to tell the Saiyans that he’s retiring and putting Frieza in charge, noting that he’s even colder than he is in how he handles everything. It’s not exactly great news and it sets King Vegeta to placing more of his hopes on Vegeta himself, who is being conditioned in the birthing chamber for his destiny. What pisses off King Vegeta, however, is discovering that one of his generals has his own son, Broly, in one of the nearby special pods as well. Even worse is that the scanners that Frieza gave them to measure power shows that Broly is off the charts, more so than King Vegeta’s son is. Can you say jealous and angry king? Of course you can.

That, in turn, has King Vegeta sending Broly to what’s essentially a dead world to be born and “conquer it” as the Saiyans have done for many worlds that can be resold. It’s a death sentence of course and one that has Broly’s father, angry over what King Vegeta is doing, following his son there with an aide of his own. That they work to keep him alive for the next couple of decades and work his training is a no brainer to prepare for revenge. Of course, the universe has changed over the years and you have Planet Vegeta and the majority of the Saiyan race destroyed when they’re finally picked up and they end up reconnecting with Frieza. Suffice to say, Frieza sees this as a chance to poke the eye of not just Vegeta but Goku as well all while keeping his own hands clean.

That this is nearly thirty minutes of material is great. I loved seeing more of Planet Vegeta, the minor politics and intrigue of the King and how Broly was feared from an early stage, and just how everything comes together just right to bring him back into the universe at this time in the present decades later. The show does give us a little catch-up time with the familiar gang before Broly really gets into everything and it’s cute and fun, seeing Beers and the like as they go through their usual routine. I also always enjoy some Bulma time so that was pleasant. But as much fun as it was it’s just a bit of buffer before Broly arrives or some side shots to slow things down a bit amid the larger fight that ensues across the remainder of the film. It’s useful in that regard and you smile and chuckle at just about all of the scenes, but it’s the Broly material itself that does the heavy lifting.
The dominant part of the film with the fight is what really drives things. It takes up most of the time, even with the slower moments, and it delivers exactly what you want. Broly isn’t much of a character in a sense as he’s mostly just one hell of a powerful brick. There’s precious little dialogue out of Broly and there are no grand plans here, nothing that’s being threatened by Goku or Vegeta. He’s just intent on killing them because he’s been told to and he views them as a threat as the fight goes on. Freeing the fight from grander issues – or philosophical aspects as anime features tend to introduce – is a fantastic move. Just making it a slugfest across the screen with everyone as powerful as they are, confident in their abilities as they are, and capable as they are, means it is exactly what I want out of these characters at their age. Powerful titans astride the world, fighting and fighting, pushing their limits to protect and achieve their goals. Very base goals at that. And that power oozes off the screen with the quality of the animation, the color design, and having decades of character familiarity behind us.

In Summary:
I really enjoyed the heck out of Broly. It’s not deep but it adds some really nice material in the first act that expands and modernizes aspects of the larger background of how the franchise operates. The background on Broly and the events on Planet Vegeta are well-paced and engaging to watch unfold as it sets up the fight to come. So when we do get to Broly coming after everyone, its minimal reason for doing so has enough weight behind it to work perfectly. I really just enjoyed the fact that this is a pretty lengthy and beautifully animated slugfest. It has a lot of power behind it, Broly hits the right notes as the mostly quiet but hard to defeat brick of an opponent, and there’s enough history to help keep it all together without trying to reintroduce a lot about anyone. Definitely recommended.

Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Interview with the Cast of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Dragon Ball Super: The Legacy, Are You Smarter Than a Voice Actor?, Christopher R. Sabat Answers Your Questions, Ian Sinclair Answers Your Questions, Jason Douglas Answers Your Questions, Monica Rial Answers Your Questions, Sean Schemmel Answers Your Questions, Trailers

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B+

Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: April 16th, 2019
MSRP: $34.98
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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