Dragon Ball Super Hasn’t Capitalized on Its Best Reformed Villain

Dragon Ball Super finally did justice to its Legendary Super Saiyan, bringing one of the franchise's most iconic villains into the official canon for the first time. Broly's desperately needed retcon before his Super film debut turned him from a flat, evil-because-he's-evil villain into a complex and tragic character. The film keeps what worked from his original portrayal -- inconceivable power and a menacing transformation -- and crafted a profound character whose suffering is palpable beneath his rage.

The original incarnation of Broly was, for lack of a better word, silly. A giant, raging monster possessing the unfathomable power of divine Saiyan prophecy, he spent much of his debut appearance shirtless, throwing a tantrum, and screaming "Kakarot!" over and over. Super turning him into an actual person is far more compelling than Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly turning him into a sludge monster. Which makes it a shame that he's been forgotten so quickly.

Broly's origin story is slightly altered in Super, as King Vegeta merely banishes him as an infant rather than attempting to kill him. He and his father Paragus end up stranded on an inhospitable planetoid called Vampa. They spend the next several decades both living off and training against the strange monsters that call Vampa home. Interestingly, Broly also refers to it as his home.

Once they are rescued by members of the Frieza Force, Broly displays an understandable lack of social skills. When someone offers to clean the fur he wears around his waist, he reacts angrily and shouts that the fur stays. Broly later explains it's actually the ear of a giant creature he named Ba, who was his only friend on Vampa. Sadly, Paragus shot Ba's ear off to discourage their friendship so his son would focus on his training.

Broly and his father have a complicated relationship. Paragus once loved him enough to chase him through space in defiance of King Vegeta, but now he can only see Broly as the ultimate weapon in his desire for revenge. Broly isn't fully capable of recognizing his father's abusive and manipulative behavior, because being treated this way is all he's ever known. He even defends his father when Cheelai and Lemo criticize Paragus' treatment of him.

To the great credit of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, the prolonged clash between Saiyans is where Broly's character shines even brighter than his power. After a lifetime of isolation and abuse at the hands of his father, Paragus proclaims that Vegeta is to blame, giving Broly a genuine target for his repressed rage. The troubled Saiyan completely snaps, and the ferocious rampage his previous incarnation became famous for begins -- this time with emotional weight behind it.

One look in Broly's eyes during this battle and it's clear that no one is home upstairs. His power's exponential growth throughout the battle is not happening consciously, but something that's happening to him. This Saiyan origin story quickly becomes a monster movie as Goku and Vegeta are nearly powerless to stop his almost-primal wrath. The closest he comes to regaining clarity is processing the death of his father -- which pushes him over the edge completely.

Despite having received an outstanding character reimagining and a canon appearance in the Dragon Ball universe, Broly has not been seen or heard from since. Though the anime is on hiatus, the Dragon Ball Super manga has been going strong since the end of the Tournament of Power. Oddly, it only dedicates a single panel to the battle with Broly and doesn't even mention his name.

Broly and Goku in Dragon Ball Super: Broly

A fan-favorite character who was brilliantly reintroduced seems like a no-brainer to keep around in the main story. Even though a new Dragon Ball Super film is on the horizon, there has been no indication as to whether Broly will ever return. His canonization was one of the biggest draws for the latest movie, yet his continued absence in the aftermath makes the entire thing feel inconsequential.

Broly survives the film's events well-established as a tragic character rather than a villain, and the story even ends with a possibility of friendship between him and Goku. In a rare display of Saiyan pride, Goku requests that Broly call him Kakarot, embracing his heritage more openly than ever before. Broly's presence would add a new, and much-needed, Saiyan dynamic to Dragon Ball Super. Not to mention that Goku would probably enjoy hearing someone say "Kakarot" in a friendly tone for once.

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