The new Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie dropped in North America Jan. 16 and I had so much to say about it concerning one of my favorite characters in the series: Broly. But it got me thinking if the new one was actually better than the original Broly.
Broly is the hypest character in the entire Dragon Ball series, bar none. His raw strength and boundless rage creates for interesting interactions with iconic characters from the series. He’s not exactly evil, but he’s not a force for good. He’s just pure, unstoppable chaos.
I’ve been watching the Dragon Ball series for ages now, I’ve watched all the movies played most of the video games and every new series that’s come out. (except Dragon Ball Heroes, but it’s on my list.) The Dragon Ball series my not have a lot of depth as other anime, but it has gained a following by having amazing scenes, fun characters and absurd amounts of power that keep people coming back.
Of all the muscle-bound characters in the series, Broly still gives me chills as this uncontrollable, vicious beast of a man that turns into a monster, or in his words, a devil.
As I followed the movie’s development, I learned not only would Broly be canon and remade personally by Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama, but he will also get a new redesign and story background. But was it all for the best? Let’s find out.
*THIS DISCUSSION WILL CONTAIN MOVIE SPOILERS FOR BOTH MOVIES SO IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW, COME BACK AFTER SEEING THE MOVIES*
Old: Broly was first introduced in a movie set between the Android and Cell sagas, Broly’s first appearance was with his father, Paragus, who invited Vegeta, the Prince of all Saiyans and the rest of the Z fighters to a new planet Vegeta. (the old one and most of the Saiyan race was blown up by Frieza.) But it all turns out to be a ploy to kill the prince for the revenge Paragus planned against Vegeta’s father for trying to kill him and Broly. The planet is set to be obliterated by a comet coming in just a few hours of their arrival. But his son, Broly made things much harder as he began to be filled with uncontrollable rage by the mere mention of Goku’s birth name: Kakarot. The heroes then had to defeat Broly while racing against the clock to escape a planet set for destruction.
New: After being stranded on a planet for 40 years after being exiled from Planet Vegeta, Broly and Paragus are found and enlisted to fight for Frieza’s army. Frieza uses Broly to fight Vegeta and Goku to defeat the heroes once and for all and to get the Earth’s Dragon Balls.
The first movie’s premise has such a convoluted backstory with deception and twists but it’s all so unnecessary. It really seems the writers on the original movie built Broly first and the plot second. The new movie bypasses a lot of the subterfuge and just sets the fight up, which is the real reason we are watching this movie.
Old: The original Broly didn’t have any great lineage or was cursed with unimaginable power by a god or something. He just an anomaly. As an infant, Broly had more power than any other baby in the galaxy, and it was growing even more exponentially. King Vegeta of the Sayains feared his power, much like Frieza did the entire Saiyan race, and had him and his father Paragus assassinated. But Broly even in his infant age used his power to escape the planet’s destruction. For years, Paragus planned his revenge on the king and his decision to try to kill his son. They spent most days by themselves and traveling the galaxy.
New: In the new movie, Broly is in the same predicament as before with his heightened power level making him a target of the king. However, instead of killing him, they sent Broly to a desolate, inhospitable planet where he would surely die. Paragus, upon learning this, takes a ship and finds his son before it’s too late, but finds in the two days separated that he was thriving on the planet. But due to a rough landing causing permanent damage to the ship, Paragus found himself trapped on the planet with his son for about 40 years until the events of the movie.
Old: The most troubled part of Broly’s character was his motivations for his rage, which was hating Goku. This was Broly’s greatest flaw in his motivations for his uncontrollable rage. Apparently, when they were both babies, Broly was sat right next to Goku in the birth-pods. Goku cried loud and often, tormenting Broly for…days? Hours? So somehow, while having no understanding of the outside world or even the concept of names, Broly held the “trauma” of being next to Goku and would fly into an uncontrollable rage screaming Goku’s birth name “Kakarot.” But i don’t think he ever heard his name? Or the fact that seeing him doesn’t trigger anything, it’s just the name? It’s all very confusing
New: The new Broly’s rage is not at all motivated by Goku, moreover he never had any interaction with Goku in the first place. Instead, Broly’s rage comes from his environment and just a bad temper. As he fights, untethered by his father, we get an explanation of Broly’s signature hulk-like rage. Saiyans with tails can turn in to Oozarus or “great apes” when looking at a full moon. Paragus explained that although Broly’s tail was cut off, he had all the rage and power of a great ape while keeping his physical, humanoid form.
The new explanation was pulled out of Paragus’ ass, but it’s a much better reason for Broly’s rage rather than “Kakarot wouldn’t shut up in the nursery.” This isn’t the result of rage from years of neglect and unchecked power or the years of isolation, it’s a temper tantrum from a man with serious developmental issues. At some point, I’m sure the writers had something, but the old Broly was lost on them. It was the biggest flaw to the original and it was clear it had to be fixed. Original Broly would have been a much better character if his motivations were more mature or believable.
Old: Broly had a very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or Bruce Banner and Hulk situation. His true power comes out when he is enraged, and has a different personality. The old base Broly was meek, skinny and kind. He wasn’t really quick to anger and would probably be fast friends with Goku. The only thing that set him off was hearing “Kakarot.” Broly’s father had to design a special way to control Broly with mind control jewelry that suppressed his power and rage. Not father of the year, but he did love his son and couldn’t allow him to be so destructive when entire planets could be destroyed without a second thought. Also it would be hard to discipline a kid that can destroy planets without a second thought.
New: The new Broly is a lot less soft, he’s just as quiet but you can see he’s hardened. If I could describe him, I’d say he was about a mix between sweet original base Broly and original Super Sayian Broly. Because of being raised on an inhospitable planet with his father as the only person for interaction, Broly is still nice but definitely more feral in his appearance and demeanor. He essentially spent his entire life stranded on a deserted planet full of dangerous creatures, a super-powered alien Tarzan.
Winner: New Broly.
New Broly has much more character than the original and isn’t bogged down by hating Goku. We see him for the majority of the film and he is really the best of both worlds.
Super Saiyan Broly
Old: This is what I was always about, unstoppable, unchained, and full of primal fury. Enraged Broly was a beast and we all liked him that way. Imagine Hulk in the last part of the Avengers crossed with superman and you’ve got the O.G. Broly.
He was big, green, mean and had a sadistic streak of beating characters into the dirt with a maniacal laugh. When he reached full power he had no way of getting hurt by one of the fighters. In a show of super-powered fighters where even the most powerful villains would have trouble defeating the heroes without using most of their strength, Broly makes them all look like Yamcha. The power gap is so far he wouldn’t have to even sweat to beat anyone. His design was also amazing, just shirtless with a gold necklace, with boots and a traditional loincloth. He is dressed not as a soldier of Frieza, as some Greek god.
New: Unfortunately, we saw very little of Super Saiyan Broly and only until the last part of the movie where he loses all sense of communication. What was great was Goku and Vegeta using that to their advantage and putting Frieza in his line of sight and letting him beat the shit out of him while the two spent about a literal hour learning the fusion dance.
Original Broly was timeless and iconic. He was the reason why I love this character and the design was perfect. Even in his enraged state, original Broly had some pretty good one liners but this new Broly just shouted.The new one is nice but there is no one better with the iconic lines, the laugh the look of the old Broly that keep him seated as the true Legendary Super Saiyan.
Death of Paragus
Old: Paragus’s death in the original movie was very poetic in a very “reap what you sow” kind of way. While Broly became more and more uncontrollable in his rage, Paragus knew it was time to duck out in the confusion while the comet was on its way to destroy the planet they were on. Unfortunately, Broly saw his father leaving and picked up the ship with him in it and crushed it like a grape, then throwing it into the approaching comet. Paragus did all of this out of his hatred for what King Vegeta did to him and his son. His vengeance and keeping Broly’s power in check was all out of love for his son in some twisted way. But in his lust for revenge, he was destroyed by the one thing he was trying to protect and avenge, his son. In his rage, Broly killed his own father like some Greek tragedy and it was a powerful scene that showed the sheer loss of reason Broly had in his powered-up state.
New: Paragus seems to be doomed to die, but his death had a different role to have in the new movie. While fighting Goku, Frieza seems to try and coax a super saiyan out of Broly, who up until then held his own with Goku and Vegeta in his base form. Remembering Goku’s transformation after killing his best friend Krillin, Frieza takes the obvious route of killing Paragus and telling Broly he died from a “stray energy blast.” Paragus’ death is still brought on by his vengeance and obsession with killing Vegeta, but it’s much less poetic. A deal with Frieza always ends up in misery, pain or death (usually all three). Paragus however did see the error of his ways at the end, coming to the realization that Broly untethered would destroy them all.
Winner: Old Broly
Paragus’ death was much better in the original movie because he was killed by his own son. Broly’s rage blinded him to killing his father and Paragus knew as he tried to flee that he had made a mistake letting his revenge get in the way of caring for his son, and this is the price he paid for it. In the new one it just feels less earned because, well, it’s Frieza, he was going to try and kill all of them if he won or lost. Not to mention his death never sunk in with the new Broly, it just jumped to him going full super saiyan. I would have loved an extra 30 seconds for him to be wracked with the pain and guilt of losing the only person he knew for 40 years. Almost on the onset of tears while he slowly burned with rage, turning the blame outward and flying into a full rage. Goku’s first super saiyan transformation was iconic because of the build up. Yes, we’ve seen them power up hundreds of times but this was Broly, THE Legendary Super Saiyan. It wouldn’t have hurt to have more angst and silent character development for a little while longer for his father.
Old: Although Broly was this unstoppable fighter that even made Vegeta shit his pants, he was still defeated by the usual way in Dragon Ball when punching isn’t enough: the power of teamwork and friendship. Ultimately, after getting their asses handed to them, Vegeta, Piccolo, Gohan and Trunks transfer their power to Goku who delivers a final blow through Broly’s impenetrable power.
New: Broly’s downfall was simply the lack of power against the combined strength of Goku and Vegeta. Once the two fused into Gogeta, they became just powerful enough to defeat Broly, with the final blow about to be struck, a character used the Dragon Balls to wish him away back to his planet where he grew up. If not for that he would have been hit by that blast from Gogeta and probably shot into the sun like any other movie antagonist. Instead he is given a second chance and now lives on the planet he was raised on. If this was a non-canon movie he would have been destroyed and never called back to again. But because this is a canon movie, he got the Shonen Jump/Toriyama special and was given a chance to be an unlikely ally later on.
Broly was a tragic character with lots of potential but wasted as a villain when he could be so much more. It almost felt like a waste to see him used as this force of rage and destruction to ultimately be obliterated in such an unmemorable way. Watching it as a kid, it felt like a let down. The lore on this guy was amazing and his design was incredible. After all that he was just defeated like some throwaway villain. Wouldn’t it have been cooler of they just admitted he couldn’t be beaten and just tried to trap him or escape instead? His death, much like his “tragic backstory” were kind of let downs. But with the new movie, Broly can now come back for a new saga or return to save everyone from a greater threat. Broly deserved a happy ending after the endless abuse and the uncontrollable power he was cursed with. And now he has a shot at that.
Overall Winner: New Broly
Overall, compared to the original, the new Broly movie was exactly what his character needed. Broly deserved better than what he got but it would be difficult to keep him in the Dragon Ball Universe as a viable character. In this new one, Broly’s rage can be better kept in check and has a better chance at being rehabilitated. Not to mention that Dragon Ball Super has such a steep power climb from DBZ that Broly’s power isn’t too hard to think about holding up well with the two.I will always miss the old Broly because his enraged state was just so interesting but their points I can forget compared to how much more right they got Broly in the new movie.