One of these days, I’m going to write one of these articles for a non-anime character. But that day is not today. And considering what I’ve got planned for this week’s ‘Watch This Anime!’, this character seemed like a good pick.
Dragon Ball is a series filled to the brim with lovable characters. However, it is very rare for them to be especially deep characters. Up to this point, the most fascinating character has been Vegeta, and the most morally complex villain has been Beerus. But there is one character that has them beat, at least for me. And that character is none other than the newest addition to the ‘once non-canon but now is totally canon’ list: Broly.
Luckily, the new Broly is far more interesting, likable and compelling than the old one. This Broly is one of the most innocent, heart wrenching and dangerous characters in the whole series. And, much to my old-Broly-hating self’s surprise: he’s become my favorite character in the whole series!
And it all boils down to these four points.
The Wound: Life Alone With a Monster
Broly’s trauma is made clear almost immediately. After being banished from his planet by King Vegeta for his phenomenal and dangerous power, Broly grew up with no one but his father on a world designed to kill. And his father was less than kind to him. He was abused by his father, forced to train endlessly and having his only friend, Ba, taken away from him.
This wound affects every aspect of Broly’s personality. He is quiet and subservient, doing whatever he is told without a second of resistance. He doesn’t know about the luxuries of civilized life, such as lids, wrappers and clean water. Because of his upbringing, he is essentially Tarzan: World-Killer edition.
However, the wound here isn’t having grown up on Vompa. In fact, Broly never seems to mind the hostile planet’s challenges. His wound was caused not by King Vegeta, but by his abusive father Paragus. Which leads us to:
The Lie: Father Knows Best
As Broly was raised with no other company but his father, he has grown loyal and dependant on him. Despite Paragus literally putting him in a collar, Broly never doubts his father. Much like the dog his father treats him as, he is unquestioning.
This is Broly’s lie. He thinks he needs to do whatever his father says. That, despite his cruelties, his father deserves respect.
This is what grips me so much about Broly. His lie is a chain that locks him to his father. In order to become a better person, to become free, Broly needs to break free from his father’s control. But unlike the other characters I’ve discussed so far, who overcome their lies and become stronger people, Broly never has that chance. He never shatters his chains himself.
Mainly because Freeza put a hole in the person holding them. Luckily for Broly, he didn’t get the chance to pick them up himself. Mainly because Broly proceeded to beat the living hell out of him for a straight hour.
This broken lie is what makes Broly’s future so intriguing. How will he react without his chains? Will he learn to think for himself with the help of his new friends? Will he overcome the power inside him and control it now that he has his own free will? Or will Goku and friends have to put a rabid dog down?
We’ll just have to wait and see.
The Want: A Peaceful Saiyan
Saiyans are warriors be default. Every one that we’ve seen up to this point in the series revels in a fight. Goku, Vegeta and every other full-blooded Saiyan live for the thrill of battle. But it is this that makes Broly so interesting.
At no point does Broly want to fight. He never seems invested in his father’s vengeance. It isn’t until he loses his mind that he shows the same characteristic as the others. Rather, he simply wants to live a peaceful existence.
On his death planet with his monster friends. Hey, to each their own.
The Need: You Don’t Have to Do This
Everything in Broly’s life compels him to do what he doesn’t want to: fight. His father ushers him to become a weapon. The raging power inside him threatens to destroy him and everyone around him. He can’t seem to escape the eternal Saiyan fate of combat.
However, Broly’s arc isn’t as simple as ‘learn to escape the fight’. As we see at the end of the movie, Broly seems excited to learn from and make friends with Goku. There seems to be some part of him that is willing to enjoy the rush of a fight.
Broly doesn’t need to leave the fight or learn how to love it. He needs to choose. In order to move past his past, to break free from his chains, Broly needs to chose for himself. If he can choose for himself, then he’ll come out on top.
He has lived his whole life under someone else’s control. In order to break free, Broly needs to live under one person’s control: his own. He needs to take control of his own destiny. And with Goku’s help, along with his friends, he might just be able to do it.
If Dragon Ball is going to continue, then I’m beyond glad that Broly has been introduced. He is a phenomenal character, one that could act as the perfect centerpiece for the story going forward. He is an incredible breath of fresh air for this franchise, one that could easily blow away the fog that hides what Dragon Ball could be. A wind that could make Dragon Ball truly great again.
TL;DR: I want more Broly. Seriously, I don’t care if you make another TV series or a few more movies. Just give me more of my boy.