Broly, one of the now MANY surviving Sayians of Planet Vegeta, had been crapped on by one side of the Dragon Ball fandom while hyped to the hills on the other. It’s easy to see where that came from in the beginning, but now that’s all changed with the release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly.
What has been done here is not normal for Dragon Ball, or most spin-off anime movies. They have turned a non-canonical character (Broly was never canon even with the many games he’s been in) into a canonical one in many interesting ways.
In watching and comparing the main two films some characteristics and character history feel very important, while others are totally changed. To get us up to date on the plots. Broly: The Legendary Super Sayian (I’ll call this one Broly, duh but you’ll see) sees two survivors, Broly and Paragus recruit Vegeta to a planet where the legendary super Sayian resides. It turned out to be a ploy in order to kill Vegeta by having a comet collide with the planet. However, when Goku shows up Broly’s memories of being born on the same day and connected (cause Goku cries loud) to him drives him mad and he goes on a rampage and must be stopped.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly (I’ll call this Broly, Brolly for lack of confusion and I was sure I saw it spelled like that somewhere) takes place after Dragon Ball Super. Frieza finds Brolly and Paragus on a far away planet, and recruits him to help kill Goku and Vegeta to get the Dragon Balls. Hijinks ensues.
This is not a review of either film, but it just bugs me how thematically empty Broly: The Legendary Super Sayian is. Like it has so much potential! It has revenge, fatherhood, working together, and looks being deceiving. Yet, it focuses on none of them to any extent. The only theme that does is Vegeta getting over his ego and pride for the hundredth time in non-canon material. I am watching it on the original DVD release so it does have killer nu metal at least (when Funimation was marketing for mid-tier rock bands apparently). Meanwhile Dragon Ball Super: Broly has a real big pacing problem. It spends over 15 minute on backstory for Frieza, backstory of Broly, the destruction of Planet Vegeta, and launching of Kakarot (which I think retcons information from the start of Dragon Ball) before the main plot starts. It looks really beautiful, but drags.
On the surface the movies are very similar at least in structure. It spends the first third setting up Paragus and Brol(l)y, why Paragus wants to kill Vegeta, Brol(l)y losing control and going on a rampage, and Piccolo gives assistances at the end of the second act (let’s say that’s what it is. These are mostly brawls so discerning separate acts are not easy). Even with that structure the setup, events that transpired during the fight, and how the two brawls end explain the difference in this Sayian warrior.
Broly was a creature of nature. He had such high inner power that it controlled him beyond understanding. It is primal, hence why the memory of Goku’s cries send him into a rage. He lost all sense of self and would just destroy all. This even went for his father. Paragus attempted to escape only for Broly to crush him. Though I’m not covering the sequels he keeps that up in Second Coming for sure. Broly also takes such care in battle. He exudes glee when pummeling the Z Force.
Brolly was a creature of nurture. He was exiled to a hostile planetoid and forced to grow up and train under the harsh conditions of Paragus. In this case he too had incredible inner power, but he was not given the proper training and control to understand his power. Paragus seemed to jump right to shock treatment (at least we saw Broly get his hand band thing) instead of patience. He serves as a mirror for Goku. They both lost their Sayian tails at a young age. Goku went on to do well you know. Brolly did not have the right mentoring and ended up internalizing the great ape power that sent him into a rage. This is show by the match cuts to the great ape face, and that we get character about Brolly. This one just wants to have a friend and live his life, not fight.
These are two totally different guys, but they were both just weapons for Paragus (and Frizea) to get revenge. We at least understand Broly’s Paragus because we see what they he had to endure to reach his end, and why it failed. Less so with Brolly and Paragus. We only get the basic revenge idea, and that he hated playing.
This, again is not a review of either film, but Brolly feels like an attempt to fix Broly. The idea of a sayian beyond all others as a constant challenge for Goku is a great idea. It gives Goku someone to push him to be better and face greater and greater challenges, only the original concept was flawed. Broly only had that animalistic rage, fury, and focus. He could be better, so they made him better. Instead of Goku just beating him and ending the narrative, they realized the possible sadness and misunderstanding present from the first time we see Broly. They bring that to the forefront. If you were trained as a weapon it is all you know. It doesn’t mean you’re a monster, just that you need to be trained to be better. I am unsure if Broly could change (he killed millions, if not billions of living beings on other star systems after all), or if he would be sympathetic, but Brolly can.
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