DragonBall Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan is a 1993 martial arts fantasy Japanese animated film directed by Shigeyasu Yamauchi, starring Sean Schemmel, Stephanie Nadolny, Christopher Sabat, Vic Mignogna, and Dameon Clarke. Based on the manga written by Akira Toriyama and serving as the eighth installment in the DragonBall Z film series, the story follows the Z Fighters who are brought to the distant planet New Vegeta to combat an unknown Super Saiyan that threatens the galaxy.
- Great action
- Great soundtrack
- Good animation
- Interesting story
- Good voice performances
- Lackluster story
- Writing could be deeper
Plot: The story is interesting but like most of the other DBZ films, paper thin. Earth is visited by a group of aliens led by a saiyan named Paragus and his son Broly. They enlist the aid of the Z Fighters to stop a super saiyan from destroying the galaxy which will then establish Vegeta as the king of New Vegeta. Once the Z Fighters make to the planet New Vegeta, they learn that Paragus has lured them there to kill them and take over Earth. The most interesting aspect of the story is what is revealed about the saiyan culture and how Paragus and Broly lived after Planet Vegeta’s destruction. The whole plan to lure the group from Earth is actually a good plot but unfortunately it feels lacking. Perhaps, the story would’ve benefited had Paragus taken the strongest fighters to New Vegeta for Broly to kill them, while some of his forces attacked Earth. Not only would it have keep Earth important but it would’ve instilled an urgency on both fronts. And also, the story is pretty predictable. From the moment Broly is brought onto the scene you know something is off about him. The story took some steps in the right direction but ultimately does fall pretty mediocre. (3 out of 5)
Characters: The Z Fighters make a return and they are great. The main cast includes Goku, Vegeta, Trunks, Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Roshi, and Oolong. Fans of the series will have no problem with these characters. The main antagonists of the film are Paragus and Broly. Now, from the get go Paragus seems like a shady character but to his credit the guy and his son did nearly die at the hands of both King Vegeta and Frieza. So, at least these characters actually have some depth and their motivations are understandable. There isn’t enough father/son interactions to make them relatable. Sure, Paragus uses a mind control device to suppress Broly’s power and instability, but there should at least be some concern about his son. More interactions would’ve been good. Even though Broly is the main threat, Paragus is actually the bad guy. Like it’s not really explained what happened to Broly’s mother nor is it ever mentioned. But when Broly gets loose, he’s one of the most badass villains in the entire movie series. He’s destruction for the sake of destroying things because he has the power. Also, there isn’t enough of the small alien characters. I will say that they did Krillin wrong. He’s a great fighter and despite not being as strong as the other characters he still tries and that’s the appeal of his character. Roshi and Oolong felt like they weren’t really needed but hey, we have to have the comedic characters. So, the characters are pretty good although there are some slip ups. (4 out of 5)
Animation Style: The animation style is good though compared to the more recent animations it would be a bit dated. However, it doesn’t detract from the storytelling or action. Also, the Paragus and Broly designs look really good, especially Broly’s ascension to legendary status. Really good effect with Broly’s powers where there is a green theme that fades back to color when he’s discharging energy blasts. (4 out of 5)
Score: The soundtrack is absolutely awesome. Some songs featured are Boys Lie Girls Steal by Slow Roosevelt and Louisiana House Fire, Mid 1950’s by Doosu. One of the best sequences of the film is Broly’s transformation which was all the more stronger due to Pantera’s 10’s which gives it a creepy buildup. Thumbs up to Shunsuke Kikuchi for the music. I will admit that I don’t like the music of the Japanese dub because all it does is reuse themes from the series. The voice performances are just phenomenal. The reoccurring voice cast are great in both Japanese and English adaptations. The Japanese cast includes Masako Nozawa, Toshio Furukawa, Mayumi Tanaka, Takeshi Kusao, Ryo Horikawa, Kohei Miyauchi, Oolong, Joji Yanami, Bin Shimada, and Iemasa Kaymi. The English cast includes Sean Schemmel, Stephanie Nadolny, Christopher Sabat, Sonny Strait, Eric Vale, Bradford Jackson, Mike McFarland, Vic Mignogna, Dameon Clarke, and Kyle Hebert. (4 out of 5)
Writing: The writing is pretty decent but I feel Takao Koyama could’ve done much better with the complexity of the story and the exposition of not only the antagonists but also the saiyans. The film has a serious tone but it does manage to squeeze in that DBZ humor. I do feel that any emotional arcs for the storytelling should’ve been added, especially when it comes to the relationship and backstory of Paragus and Broly. I’m not sure about the giant comet about to hit the planet. Sure, it puts a lot of urgency on the characters but Broly’s menacing presence feels more like an urgent matter for the characters to deal with. Even if the characters didn’t have to deal with Broly they could’ve easily escaped the planet before the comet hit. Hell, even if they didn’t have the ship Goku could’ve Instant Transmission them out of there. So, the comet does seem pretty forgettable. What makes the writing significant is that it perfectly establishes itself into canon. Another youtuber pointed out that this film feels like it’s apart of the DBZ timeline coinciding with Frieza destroying Planet Vegeta, the death of Bardock (Bardock – Father of Goku) at the hands of Frieza during the explosion, Cooler witnessing the explosion (Cooler’s Revenge), and Goku being sent to Earth. Even the dialogue is handled pretty well. Another thing that felt like it could’ve been written better is how Goku and company beat Broly. After he pummels everyone for like twenty minutes all the characters then offer their energy to Goku who manages to deliver the final blow. Does it feel like a complete cop out? Yes. There should’ve been another means for them to defeat him. Maybe his body crashes from too much power. Or maybe he overloads. Beside some tidbits the writing is good. (3 out of 5)
The Verdict: In the end, DragonBall Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan is just an awesome film and one of the best of the film series. Despite how the writing does miss a lot of opportunities, the film actually tells a good story, has a great soundtrack, features great voice performances, has some good humor, and has some great action. DragonBall Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan gets 4 out of 5.