Dragon Ball Super: Broly introduced an updated version of the Legendary Super Saiyan, but how does this new character compare to the original? The Broly character first debuted in the 1993 movie The Legendary Super Saiyan, and despite the original Dragon Ball movies existing as non-canon side stories to the TV anime and manga, Broly attained immediate popularity with fans.
From 2013’s Battle of Gods onwards, cinematic output has been the main focus of the Dragon Ball franchise, and movie releases now feature stories and designs from original creator, Akira Toriyama. With this new approach, Toriyama decided to properly introduce Broly to Dragon Ball canon in the 2018 box office hit, Dragon Ball Super: Broly. The updated version of the title character drew heavily from the 1993 original, but also featured a number of key differences.
Perhaps the most significant deviation is that the newer iteration of Broly is not as inherently evil as his predecessor. Both the 1993 and 2018 Broly movies reveal that the Saiyan’s father, Paragus, has been manipulating his son from the very start and is the true driving force behind Broly’s rampages. Originally, however, Broly was driven mad by his traumatic childhood, forcing Paragus to fit him with a control device. When under his father’s influence, Broly was placid and tame, hiding the true beast lurking within.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly, on the other hand, keenly presented Broly as a more sympathetic character. While Paragus remains the brains controlling his son’s brawn, the 2018 movie demonstrated Broly to be a kinder, more caring soul, corrupted by his own power and the influence of his father. This alteration paves the way for Broly to remain alive at the end of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, enjoying a peaceful life on a remote planet with his friends.
Broly’s history and backstory is also subject to change between appearances. Both the old and new versions tell how Vegeta’s father, the King of the Saiyans, feared the young Broly’s power, but the way King Vegeta responds to this threat differs. Originally, King Vegeta ordered Broly to be killed, leaving him with a permanent wound, and the character only escapes death due to the timely intervention of his father and Frieza’s decision to destroy the Saiyan homeworld.
The 2018 retelling paints a similar picture, but King Vegeta opts to exile Broly instead of having him killed, and this is how Paragus and his son survive Frieza’s Saiyan genocide. In both instances, Paragus is motivated to rear his son as a weapon to exact revenge upon King Vegeta. This alteration may have been made because the attempted execution of a child was deemed too dark, but could also be another instance of Akira Toriyama attempting to tone down the original savage depiction of the Saiyans.
One major addition made to Dragon Ball canon is the Cheelai and Lemo double-act. The 1993 movie saw Paragus approach the Z Fighters on Earth, tempting Vegeta away to a new planet in order to finally carry out his long-awaited vengeance. In the modern version of the story, however, Paragus and Broly escape their exile through pure good fortune, as Freiza soldiers, Cheelai and Lemo, come across the duo while seeking strong potential recruits.
The Dragon Ball franchise has always balanced its action and intensity with moments of goofy humor and Broly is no different. The original version of the Legendary Super Saiyan is worked into a frenzy by the mere sight of Goku because the pair were positioned in adjacent pods as babies and Goku would cry incessantly. This deep-seated, yet somewhat ridiculous, grudge is removed in Dragon Ball Super: Broly.
As well as the changes to Broly’s past, the Saiyan battles play out quite differently between the two films. The power of the original Broly was present from the very beginning in The Legendary Super Saiyan, but a more gradual progression occurs in the 2018 reboot. Broly’s base level is certainly fearsome, but he dramatically increases in strength as Dragon Ball Super: Broly‘s Goku and Vegeta fight continues, receiving an added, anger-fueled boost when Freiza kills Paragus. This change was likely made for two reasons. Firstly, Goku and Vegeta have far more transformations today than in 1993, and Broly needs to catch up as the heroes cycle through their Saiyan gears. And secondly, the Dragon Ball Super anime already featured a Legendary Super Saiyan with Kale, and the Broly movie needed to demonstrate that its title character was a step beyond.
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