Dragon Ball has a long list of characters that have broken out to become famous in their own right, but outside of the main cast, there is no character bigger (literally and figuratively) or more controversial than Broly. For more than 30 years, Broly was an iconic but totally unofficial part of Dragon Ball lore; that all changed with the release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly last year. Now, Broly is an official part of Dragon Ball canon - but that hasn't seemed to quell all the debate surrounding the character.
So why is Broly such a controversial Dragon Ball character? Let's break it down!
The first thing about Broly that gets a lot of Dragon Ball fans riled up is the twisted known of continuity regarding exactly what he is. The original Broly movie was Dragon Ball Z: Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan. That 1993 film introduced the mythology of the Legendary Super Saiyan, which was a major point of fan intrigue, even if it wasn't official canon. However, by the time of Dragon Ball Super, which has seen Goku and Vegeta reaching Super Saiyan God levels, the question of how the Legendary Super Saiyan myth fits in got somewhat murky.
The manga version of DBS' Tournament of Power arc named the LSSJ in canon, in reference to Universe 6's Kale berserker powers, but the canon version of Broly has no such mythology attached to him... yet. So even after twenty-plus years, no one is sure exactly what Broly is, or how the LSSJ fits into this saga.prevnext
Iconic, Not Official
Well, obviously this one has been solved by the release of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, but it bears mentioning. For more than twenty years, Dragon Ball fans were left hanging with Broly being a popular but not quite official part of the franchise. That resulted in a lot of awkward explanations about who this swollen bruiser was that kept showing up in so much Dragon Ball artwork, not to mention decades of fan theory about how he could get an official debut.prevnext
If you don't want to get too deep into Broly's backstory, there's a much easier reason why some fans thoroughly dislike the character: they think he's an overpowered gimmick. Broly is literally a Dragon Ball character with a limitless reservoir of power, who only shows up to offer Goku and Co. a big massive-scale fight, against an opponent that is the perfect backboard for the heroic Saiyans to achieve new and/or gimmicky power-ups.prevnext
Wasted Power Potential
The other side of the argument that Broly is just a gimmicky showcase of Dragon Ball powers, is that he's actually a major waste of potential when it comes to those same powers. The fact that the Legendary Super Saiyan version of Broly never became a bigger part of Dragon Ball Z rubbed some fans the wrong way. After the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie, fans have been waiting to see if the new take on Broly's powers will become the key to an official canon version of Super Saiyan 4, as was teased. Until something greater comes of Broly's power (other than sporadic "main event" fights), some fans will not be satisfied.prevnext
Along with the fact that Broly doesn't have a lot of substance as a character, is the fact that he has no real allegiances to anyone or anything else in the Dragon Ball Universe. That kind of makes him an awkward piece to the puzzle, as Broly is neither friend to Goku and co., or any kind of "big bad" villain. There are only so many times that Broly can be used as an "event" character before said event stops being an event, at all. Upcoming Dragon Ball Super stories need to place the character on some kind of side, with some kind of agenda, to help make him matter.prevnext
All Fight, No Substance
Not only do fans have a problem with Broly's powers (and their lack of greater significance), they also have a problem that there's not more to the character than his powers! Broly's story offers a lot of potential for substantive character development and growth, in a sort of Tarzan-esque arc. That's especially true of the DBS Broly, whose basically a childlike powerhouse just now learning how to live life.prevnext
STILL Uncertain Future0comments
The most frustrating thing for a lot of Dragon Ball fans is that after being enduring and popular for nearly three decades, Broly's larger future and purpose in the franchise still feels uncertain. Even the makers and stars of the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie seemed to be indifferent when it came to Broly having a larger role in Dragon Ball - other than to say it'd be cool if he returned for another big fight, eventually. That's not exactly the answer that fills fans with excitement and hope that Broly will finally be getting his proper due.prev