I recently watched and reviewed the subbed version of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, a film I really enjoyed and did my best to avoid spoiling in my review. Now having watched the dubbed version I really want to talk about it in more depth, with no such restraint on spoilers, so bear that in mind. SPOILERS abound from here on out, and the film is absolutely worth seeing blind if you haven’t already. I mean, it’s worth seeing it regardless of how much you know about it going in but still. GO! BROLY! GO! LET’S GET INTO IT.
First of all, the dub is fantastic. Christopher Ayres had a double lung transplant and does the best Frieza I’ve ever heard, Sean Schemmel and Chris Sabat are, naturally, fantastic as Goku and Vegeta and even though he’s only in it briefly Ian Sinclair’s Whis is an absolute treat, as it always is. With the exception of Masako Nozawa’s performance as Goku Black (in base form anyway, I prefer English Rosé) and Bardock, to the point where I actually missed her during the latter’s scenes in this, I prefer dubbed Dragon Ball, and it’s nice to see that the performances match the gorgeous animation for the movie. Also I won’t dwell on it under the circumstances but Vic Mignogna does a really good job as Broly, whether it be his uncertain, reserved speech or just screaming bloody murder.
There are two main parts of the movie, like I said in the review, and I’ll elaborate on both. Firstly, the character stuff. Everyone manages to get their characters across quickly; Lemo is a weathered old man who’s seen a lot but kept his head down, Cheelai is a criminally talented but kind-hearted woman more than willing to stand up for what she believes in, as evidenced by her simultaneously pick-pocketing the shock collar remote and calling out Paragus for raising his son to be a weapon. Again, their voice work is superb: Bruce Carey gets across a personality and untold backstory entirely through his voice, and Erica Lindbeck compliments Cheelai’s mix of iron will and compassion.
Speaking of Paragus, there’s this split between good and understandably cruel: he throws away his entire life for the sake of his Son and follows him to a remote, inhospitable planet to save his life, but shocks Broly with what appears to be an excruciatingly painful voltage and did, at the end of the day, craft him into a tool of revenge. Yes Broly loses control and needs to be reigned in, but Paragus has let that side of him go unchecked in any sort of long term way for the sake of whatever petty vengeance he can still get on the long-dead King of a destroyed planet.
The film’s crowning achievement character wise, however, is the man himself: Broly. Look, it’s beating a dead horse at this point, but original Broly’s backstory really was utter dogshit. Pretty much anything else would be a step up, but they really went all out with it. Spending his entire life on a desolate planetoid with only the company of his Father, whom he loves, but who physically abuses him and dedicates his time forming him into a weapon has had a serious impact on him. His only friend was Bah, the name Broly gave to one of the furry dog weasel monsters that inhabit Vampa, with whom he had a close relationship until Paragus blew Bah’s ear off. That’s the green pelt he wears around his waist, and I love that the coolest part of Broly’s outfit actually has relevance to his backstory, and is a key part of it. This is a Broly that’s cute, sympathetic, tragic and badass all rolled into one. A man you can root for because the film spends its exposition section, for lack of a better term, outlining who he is, what’s happened to him and why he’s completely unstable so that the rest of the film can be dedicated to showing the extent of what how that instability manifests. It’s his movie, and they did a wonderful job explaining who this Broly is, why you should care and why he’s different from the other one. As for his physical attributes, I’ve come around to Broly’s Super Saiyan design. It is similar to Kale, but it’s so out of control and so feral that it does feel different, particularly the full power version. Also as Lanipator mentioned in Team Four Star’s discussion of the film, Kale is like universe 6’s version of Broly, which given the existing similarities between the two universes actually solves it for me. At least Kale was cognisant enough to speak, and eventually controlled it, Broly fights for a few minutes then completely loses himself to feral rage and doesn’t snap out of it until just before Gogeta’s final kamehameha hits and he has that horrible, terrified look on his face when he realises he’s going to die. He doesn’t of course, but it’s still pretty grim.
The second part of the film is the fighting, and while I have less to expand on with that, it’s by no means lacking. As I said in the review the animation is amazing, and the fights between Goku, Vegeta and Broly look fantastic, as they all gradually move through their stages of power and adapt to what their opponent is doing. It’s a bit weird seeing Vegeta move through the stages rather than go all out to try and squash Broly, but maybe because it was another Saiyan he wanted to draw it out, he did have a big smile on his face when Broly first punched him. Also it was nice to see him go Super Saiyan God.
Surprisingly despite the pretty real subject matter there’s time for really solid comedy; small moments like Goku and Vegeta leading an enraged Broly to Frieza, Goku yelling out “Have fun, Frieza!” just before he teleports himself and Vegeta away and leaves the dictator to his fate, to the darkly comedic and beautifully acted scene in which Frieza kills Paragus to trigger Broly’s transformation into a Super Saiyan, trying to sell it as an accident like a goddamn pantomime villain. The scene that really tickled me is the coordinated attack on the two goons who retrieve the final Dragon Ball. No sooner have Goku, Vegeta, Whis and Bulma arrived in the Arctic when the two try to escape, only for Vegeta and Goku to react in a way you’d think had to be planned given its speed and clockwork smoothness. Vegeta shoots their ship down, they jump over and Vegeta lifts the ship so Goku can pull an angry face at the occupants and breathe on the windscreen like an enraged bull. It’s just a lovely bit of physical comedy and goes a long way to show, without words for the most part, how well Goku and Vegeta can work together when they choose to, which comes into play later when they fuse. Speaking of which: Gogeta.
GOGETA! GOGETA! GOGETA!
Gogeta, a combined force so strong his fight with Broly shatters the fabric of reality somehow. I still prefer Vegito personally, but I think Gogeta has promise, and I like A) That he’s SO powerful, to the point where I think he’d be a real problem for a God of Destruction. Maybe not Jiren, because his power doesn’t seem to be quantifiable, it’s just a nebulous “Whole lot” of power, to the point where despite how OP Ultra Instinct is, it just lets Goku fight him on equal footing rather than doing what UI is actually supposed to. B) He’s playful and cocky, but in a different way to Vegito. Vegito is chatty and likes taunting his opponent, whereas Gogeta barely says anything, showing off his skills entirely through his actions in dodging Broly’s attacks and letting off punishing energy blasts of his own. He’s ruthless though, despite the little smile when Broly is safely transported back to Vampa by Shenron: if that hadn’t happened Gogeta would have blown Broly apart, and given the context of everything that’s happening that would have been genuinely horrible.
Finally, just a quick list of other things I liked:
Goku’s gentle transition into Super Saiyan God, holding Broly in place and then Broly reversing it, turning Goku’s red Ki green.
The bit where they remind you of what Golden Frieza looks like while panning around him and focusing on his bum and pecs as if to say “Remember how hot Frieza is?” To that end:
That one shot that shows off Paragus’ surprisingly nice buns. Also Broly’s super attractive, and I fully support any potential relationship with Cheelai, who is also super attractive. Long may they be super attractive together. DRAGON BALL SUPER ATTRACTIVE. Ahem. Moving on.
The music shouting people’s names. KAKAROT! BROLY! SUPAH BROLY! GOGETA!
Goku biting Broly while they’re both submerged in lava
The quiet “This doesn’t look good” Frieza utters when Goku’s gone blue and the area of Arctic they’re in is now made entirely of lava and volcanic rock
Combined Galick Gun/Kamehameha, and Broly launching energy out of himself via aggressive chest bump
Whis effortlessly dodging all of Broly’s attacks
The fact that the film has an unconditional happy ending, where Broly is living on Vampa with Lemo and Cheelai, and Goku takes them a house and supplies. The last anime film I watched was End of Evangelion, so it’s nice to have a change
Finally, this article’s namesake: “What’s your name?”
“It’s Goku. But Broly, call me Kakarot.” This line was different in the subbed version I watched for my review. There it was “Goku. Or… Kakarot” and carried far less weight, more like Goku was explaining he had two names rather than placing trust in Broly with a name only Vegeta calls him
By James Lambert