Arts & Culture

‘Dragon Ball’ soars back to theaters

Michael Olderr, Staff Writer

For many, “Dragon Ball Z” is a staple of their childhood. Countless fans stay up Saturday nights to catch glimpses of fighters who are strong enough to destroy planets and clash with one another in battles that shake the earth itself. And after 35 years of circulation, the story is still going on with its newest installment, “Dragon Ball Super: Broly.” To those who don’t know, the show follows Goku and Vegeta, two aliens who have come to call Earth home and fight to protect it, not only because they love the planet they live on, but also because they love to fight.

  Many people who have only seen glimpses of Dragon Ball think that it is only about strong men punching each other. And while that is a big element of the show, that is not its only driving factor. It also provides great characters and character moments, and some of its best are presented in this movie. In the beginning, we are reintroduced to the “Saiyans” (Goku’s race) and are retold Goku’s journey to Earth. While it is different from the emotion of the original story, it is tragic and sad in its own right.

   “Dragon Ball Z: Broly” is not without issues, (its passing has some issues since the film’s original runtime is over three hours). All of the characters in the movie get their day, though none are as drastic as Broly. In previous installments, Broly has been portrayed as just a blatant antagonist, but here, his character is redone and expanded to humanize him greatly. Broly was exiled from his home planet when he was nothing but a boy because his power level was greater than the King’s own son. Paragas, his father, insulted by the King’s selfish actions, leaves to retrieve Broly to train him so that he might one day have his revenge. Broly himself is a powerful being, but once he gets angry, he loses his sanity. Beyond that, Broly is something akin to Tarzan: a simple soul with a few words.

     “Dragon Ball” has always had the stigma of being a poorly animated work. However, if this movie is anything to go by, that is nothing but a sign of the show’s rough beginning because this film’s smooth animation is a gift from the heavens. The drawings just ooze color, making every character and every piece of detail stand out, and the new character design makes the characters more alive than they have been in previous years.

   The fights themselves are action-packed and explosive, showing the strength of our main characters straight off the bat. And you can clearly see how well our heroes, who are strong enough to be put on the level of gods, fight. If you are a big fan of 2-D animation, this movie invites you to feast your eyes on it, as it is beyond the shadow of a doubt one of the best animated films in the past couple of years.

     The only downside is that the film’s ambition gets the better of it; as the fights progress, they get more chaotic and harder to follow. Then there is the fact that the film switches between 2-D drawn characters and 3-D models, and while the difference is noticed it is nowhere as bad as CGI in other movies, and the change does not hinder the fluidity of the battle.

    In the end, if you are a fan of “Dragon Ball,” you will enjoy this film, and you should catch it before its limited run is over. If you haven’t seen “Dragon Ball” since “Z” ended, do yourself a favor and just read the first 40 chapters of the manga to catch yourself up. The manga itself has some problems, but it will catch you up. It will warm your heart, leaving you screaming from the bottom of your heart and wanting more.

This article was originally published in the Jan. 25, 2019 issue.