B Stands for Broly

Dear earthling, this is a series called the Dragon Ball ABC. Every week we take a letter of the alphabet and take a look at a character or a thing with the biggest influence on the Dragon Ball universe we all love. So if you're into Dragon Ball you better buckle up, because we're bringing you 26 weeks with peeks into the amazing world of Dragon Ball! Since we're diving into some of the nitty gritty of Dragon Ball, an obvious spoiler warning applies!

There's an abundance of choice when it comes to the letter B in Dragon Ball. Between Bardock, Beerus and Bulma we could easily make this a 4 part series. However, our choice for this week is the controversial legendary Super Saiyan called Broly!

Let's start with the basics for those of you who don't actually know who Broly is. Broly is about 9'0 tall and among the tallest characters in the Dragon Ball universe. He's the son of Paragus, a former high ranking officer in King Vegeta's army, and an unknown mother. As a child, Broly was sentenced to death by King Vegeta after the latter found out that Broly had unusually high strength levels. However, Broly managed to save himself and his father due to his incredible abillities. At that point, nobody really knows what Broly is capable of. During the following years Broly becomes increasingly violent and dangerous, causing his father to seek out a scientist and have him create a mind control device in the shape of a crown. With his son's power under control, Paragus starts to seek out revenge.

That leads us to the first appearance of Broly in public during Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan. The movie is the eighth Dragon Ball Z movie and released on March 6th, 1993. The movie and Broly became an instant hit among the Dragon Ball Z fanbase and led to two more installments with Broly. In this movie, Broly is introduced with a subconscious hatred for Goku due to the two lying next to each other in the delivery room as infants, where Goku greatly annoyed Broly by constantly crying. Because of that 'traumatic' event between the two infants, Broly immediately attacks Goku the first time they meet decades later. At that point, however, Broly was still under the influence of his father's mind control and when Paragus rushes in peace is restored. When Broly's uncontrollable nature eventually surfaces, all bets are off and Broly gains the legendary status both in the Dragon Ball universe and among fans. Despite all of Broly's strength, Goku eventually manages to defeat the legendary Super Saiyan and all is again well in the Dragon Ball universe. Outside Dragon Ball, in the real world, not so much..

The appearance of Broly led to a stark contrast between groups of Dragon Ball fans. While officially Broly was not canon, since he never appeared in any of Akira Toriyama's mangas, the massive fan appreciation led to big discussions whether he should be included in the canon or not. As Megan Peters wrote on comicbook.com:

"Of course, plenty of Dragon Ball fans would like to give Broly a piece of their mind. The character was promoted heavily both internationally and stateside through toys and video game cameos. His brute strength enticed people to watch the anime, but fans were quickly disillusioned by Broly once they learnt of his motives. The two-dimensional baddie left fans bored because of his far-fetched hatred for Goku."

Which is absolutely true. While Broly is an awesome character who speaks to the imagination of people who like or might like Dragon Ball, his story line is a fairly typical 'bad guy wants revenge' story. To top it off, the whole story arc in the first movie isn't really anything different from what we had already seen in previous Dragon Ball sagas or movies: Goku meets incredibly strong foe, gets knocked out together with a bunch of other Z-Warriors, then Goku gets back up and beats his opponent with the help of others. I wonder where we've seen this before.. (hint 1, hint 2).

The follow-up movies didn't exactly help to settle the debate. Obviously Broly still wasn't canon and while Dragon Ball Z: Broly - Second Coming was alright, albeit a bit standard DB story arc again, it was the third Broly movie called Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly that really stirred the pot again. Looking like Swamp Thing for most of the movie and being defeated by Goten, Kid Trunks and Krillin with water, it's pretty easy to understand why. However, Broly's legendary Super Saiyan popularity is still unwavered. Perhaps it is because the legendary status is something that is unlikely to be achieved by Goku or Vegeta. Perhaps it's because, just like the Super Saiyan form before Goku first attained it, it is the myth surrounding the legendary Super Saiyan form.

Flash forward to today, things have changed (!WARNING: if you haven't caught up with Dragon Ball Super's 4th saga there are spoilers ahead!). Maybe not for Broly, as he's not been seen since his last appearance in Bio-Broly. But Broly's legacy can be seen in Dragon Ball Super. With the introduction of the other universes, we have seen the introduction of another group of Saiyans in Universe 6. While at first these Saiyans seem pretty underwhelming compared to those we already know, things change quickly as the Universe 6 Saiyans quickly progress in power after meeting the Universe 7 Saiyans. That includes Kale, a female Saiyan who seems very timid at first but who appears to have the potential to become very strong. Sounds familiar right?

Lo and behold, eventually it turns out that Kale can attain a form called Berserker Super Saiyan which is typified by extreme and uncontrollable anger. Physically, she grows in size exponentially compared to her normal size and her hair becomes a greenish-yellow, just like.. Exactly! Broly. So while we haven't seen an actual return of Broly, we have seen his legacy in an almost exact copy in the Dragon Ball Super series. Broly himself might never become canon, he might never ever appear in any Dragon Ball episodes or movies again, but he has cemented his status in Dragon Ball history and his legacy has become canon, indirectly making Broly canon.

Broly the legendary Super Saiyan, over time, has become exactly that in the real world, a legend. And while he might never become a true canon character, he is also unlikely to ever be forgotten by Dragon Ball fans all over the world.

We'll leave you with a video of the first time we saw Broly turn into the legendary Super Saiyan. What do you think about Broly? Should he be canon? Leave a comment. We'll see you next week!

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