23 years ago (seriously, 23 years?) I turned on my morning cartoons and watched this weird cartoon about a monkey-tailed boy and a blue haired girl crossing the countryside in search of seven magical orbs, the dragon balls. Whoever managed to collect them, was rewarded with a wish from a giant floating dragon. After all these years, the mystical scavenger hunt has given way to an outer space martial arts epic, characterized by screaming power ups and blond rock band hair. The little boy with a monkey tail has grown into a galactic tournament fighter feared and loved across the multiverse, Goku.
In the latest feature film, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Goku has just come off a huge martial arts victory against the most powerful beings to ever exist, and he’s itching for another fight. When his old nemesis, Frieza, steals the dragon balls and recruits a new Saiyan soldier, Goku may have bitten off more than he can chew. But, maybe, with the help of his comrade, the Saiyan prince Vegeta, he may stand a chance.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is the culmination of over 3 decades of animation and story telling. Broly, the character, is not new, but this is a re-imagining of his origin from the series creator, Akira Toriyama. Broly has always been the most powerful, most savage, Saiyan foe, but DBS: Broly gives a new layer of heart and tragedy to the character to an otherwise vicious individual. In this version, Broly is like Viktor Drago, the gifted son of an embittered warrior forced to train in order to carry out his father’s dream.
From an animation standpoint, the movie is 80% fight scenes. And generally the fight scenes are excellent. While the Dragon Ball series often took a lazy animation approach of having the characters move too fast to see, DBS: Broly takes no shortcuts. You see every punch, every power up. There is one interesting sequence where you see the fight from Broly’s first-person perspective.
There is a lot of nostalgia wrapped into this story, and seeing all the callbacks to previous Dragon Ball movies was really satisfying. Bardock and Gine, Radditz, and other characters make cameos. There is a lot to love for fans of the series.
Only one thing bothered me, and it was only a slight bother, and that is that one fight sequence switched from hand drawn animation to CGI, and it’s high quality, but it looks different from the style of the rest of the movie, so it stood out to me.
So, power up with your friends and family, spike up your hair and go see Dragon Ball Super: Broly. It’s only in theaters for a week, so act fast.
4 out 5!