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7 things to know before you see Dragon Ball Super: Broly

One for each of the Super Dragon Balls (which are real)

dragon ball super broly trailer Funimation
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly is the first canonical appearance of the Legendary Super Saiyan — known for years from his non-canonical Dragon Ball Z movie. For longtime Dragon Ball anime fans, it’s the closing remarks for arguments over Broly’s legitimacy that have raged for decades.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly begins before Goku’s arrival on Earth, providing backstory for Vegeta, Goku and now Broly, and context for their place in the world. But the bulk of the movie takes place in the modern Dragon Ball Super timeline, with Goku and Vegeta set to face off against Broly in the new film, with all the new might they’ve acquired in Super.

With the theatrical release of Broly upon us, there’s a lot to catch up on in the world of Dragon Ball Super. While Broly operates as its own, self-contained movie, there promises to be plenty of references and characters that fly over the heads of Dragon Ball Z-only fans. If you haven’t checked up on Goku and company since the days of Kid Buu, you may be surprised when you sit down for Broly and see Goku rocking some shiny blue hair and a new symbol on his gi.

To prepare you for the Dragon Ball event of the season, here are the seven things you need to know about Dragon Ball Super before you sit down to watch Broly.

Our universe is not alone

Super expands the universe of Dragon Ball by leaps and bounds, with new timelines that add more Future Trunks shenanigans. But nothing compares to the addition of Grand Zeno, the Omni-King.

Grand Zeno is the child-like king of every gods in every universe. He’s sweet in his demeanor, but will erase universes at a moment’s notice, or even wipe out entire timeliness depending on his mood. He rules 12 different universes along with a future timeline version of himself (it’s a long story dating back to the Goku Black saga). This includes Universe 7, the home to Goku and friends.

Goku and Grand Zeno shake hands

Each universe is governed by a God of Destruction and their angel attendant

All 12 of the universes have their own deities to contend with. While all of them fall under the guidance of the Omni-King(s), Grand Zeno seems pretty hands off until the the moment he need to be involved in something.

The supreme deity of Universe 7 is someone we’re familiar with: Shin, the Supreme Kai from the Buu saga. Each universe has their own version of the Supreme Kais, with some of the older ones having apprentices that train under them.

Attached to the Supreme Kai of each universe is that universe’s Destroyer. Usually some kind of humanoid animal, the Destroyers possess extreme power and can eliminate even very powerful fighters with a flick of their wrist. The seek to keep balance in the universe, but also tend to destroy on a whim as well.

Not tied to a specific universe, but instead assigned out to a Destroyer, are the angel attendants. Part of the species that guards and advises Grand Zeno, the angels are part of the universe’s collective governing bodies. They act as both friend, mentor, attendant and trainer to their assigned Destroyer.

Beerus and Whis are Universe 7’s god and angel

Beerus and Whis are two of the only new Super characters that matter on an episode by episode basis. Beerus is Universe 7’s Destroyer and is even more powerful than Goku — although Goku’s power has grown since they last fought. He sleeps for long periods of time (being a big, purple cat) and is obsessed with the food of Earth. Fairly grumpy and quick to anger, Beerus has a good and soft heart and will usually side with his universe’s mortals.

Whis is Beerus’ kind attendant, and is quick to flatter most mortals. While we’ve never really seen Whis fight before, he’s the trainer of Beerus and has recently been training Goku and Vegeta. Whis has also been used as a kind of Deus Ex Machina more than once in Super. Need to re-do an action? Whis can rewind it. Does Bulma need to give birth to her second baby so Vegeta can compete in a tournament guilt free? Whis can (and does) teleport the baby out of the womb complication free.

These two characters really embody the charm that Super is known for and are both guaranteed to at least make an appearance in Dragon Ball Super: Broly.

Beerus (left) and Whis (right) eat ice cream and argue

What you need to know about Super Saiyan God

With new Dragon Ball content comes new transformations. As you may have seen around Thanksgiving in the Macy’s Day parade, Goku can now transform into Super Saiyan Blue — but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

In his original fight with Beerus, Goku performs a ritual and achieves Super Saiyan God form. Later, Goku and Vegeta both reach Super Saiyan Blue — a sustainable and ritual free version of Super Saiyan God that’s even more powerful.

Vegeta manages to break through this limit to become an even more powerful version of Blue, while Goku masters the art of multiplying his power in Super Saiyan Blue using the Kaio-Ken technique from way back in Dragon Ball Z — letting him reach levels like x20 Super Saiyan Blue Kai-Ken.

In the final saga of Dragon Ball Super, Goku reaches a new level called Ultra Instinct. This silver version of the hero allows him to react with attacks and defense without thinking, making him faster and more powerful than ever before. Vegeta’s inability to over complicate things makes it likely that the prince of Saiyans will never achieve this form.

The bad guys are good now

Both Android 17 and Frieza make an appearance in the final saga of Dragon Ball Super, and are still out and about in the world when Dragon Ball Super: Broly takes place.

After Cell, Android 17 settled down and had a family — much like his sister, Android 18. When Goku goes to recruit him for Universe 7’s team in the Tournament of Power, he’s working as a forest protector on an island inhabited by rare animals. While once a villain and fuel for Cell’s power, 17 has been living a peaceful life for years.

Frieza, on the other hand, has been spending quite a bit of time in Hell after his defeat in the Golden Frieza saga. Desperate for more powerful fighters to join his team in the Tournament of Power, Goku goes down to Hell to make a deal with Frieza. After Universe 7 wins the tournament, Whis and Beerus bring him back to life for a job well done.

However, Frieza hasn’t completely switched sides. While he may not be the master of evil intent on destroying everything and everyone that he once was, he’s at the very least a bit mischievous, and will certainly attempt to make Goku and Vegeta’s lives harder and harder each day.

There are planet-sized super Dragon Balls that summon Super Shenron

Used a few times throughout Super, there are now planet-sized Dragon Balls known as Super Dragon Balls. When all seven are collected, they summon Super Shenron — a giant, golden dragon that appears in the stars.

Unlike the Shenron of Earth or Porunga of Namek, Super Shenron’s wish granting abilities aren’t limited. Anything can be wished for, including immortality or the return of seven previously erased universes!

However, it’s worth noting that not even Super Shenron can go against the will of the Omni-Kings — as Zamasu learned when he’s erased despite wishing for immortality and invulnerability.

Whis makes a wish to Super Shenron

A speedy refresher on the six Super sagas

God of Destruction saga

After defeating Buu, Goku and friends are visited by Beerus, who has arrived to test the might of the Super Saiyan that defeated Frieza and learn more about a concept he knows of called “Super Saiyan God.”

Goku is no match for Beerus even at his best, so the Saiyans all perform a ritual to transform Goku into Super Saiyan God form. Although Beerus still defeats Goku and Super Saiyan God runs out, Beerus is pleased and allows the Earth to survive — mostly because he’s interested in their delicious food and impressive mortals.

Golden Frieza saga

Frieza — the first major villain in Dragon Ball Z, discounting Vegeta — is revived on earth by the leaders of his old army. Frieza returns to challenge Goku, Vegeta and the rest of the crew in an attempt to exact revenge. Frieza attains a new golden form and Goku unleashes Super Saiyan Blue — the power of Super Saiyan God without the ritual. Frieza quickly burns through his power and succumbs to Goku, unable to sustain his new form.

Universe 6 saga

Goku, Vegeta, Beerus, and Whis run into Beerus’ brother, Champa, and his angel attendant Vados (who is also Whis’ sister). More is revealed about the nature of the universe — there being 12 in total, each with their own Supreme Kai, Destroyer and angel. Chompa and Vados are of Universe 6, a mirror universe to Goku and Vegeta’s 7.

Like Beerus, Chompa has a sweet tooth for the delicacies of Earth. Jealous that the Earth of Universe 6 was destroyed, Chompa suggests a tournament between Universe 6 and 7. If Universe 7 loses, Earth will be swapped for Universe 6, but if Universe 7 wins, Beerus will be able to make a wish with the Super Dragon Balls.

Goku and friends go up against a Saiyan from Universe 6, a being similar to Frieza and the hitman Hit — who has the power to temporarily stop time. Universe 7 prevails on some weird technicalities and Beerus uses the Super Dragon Balls to resurrect Universe 6’s Earth for Chompa.

Then Grand Zeno shows up to say that he’s been watching the tournament and wants to set up something similar between all the universes. Being small and having the demeanor of a young child, he and Goku immediately become good friends — to the horror of both Destroyers and their angels.

Super Saiyan God form Goku and Hit, the time-skipping assassin

Copy-Vegeta saga

This saga is very short and only in the anime. Essentially, Goku and Vegeta go to a stray planet to rescue Goten and Trunks, only to find a dark energy that corrupts and duplicates Vegeta. Goku defeats the copy, returning Vegeta to normal. Other small events occur in this saga like training with Lord Beerus and some other goofy shenanigans.

Goku Black saga

Future Trunks returns to the current timeline seeking help. Many of his universe’s inhabitants have been destroyed by a being named Goku Black. After Goku Black follows Trunks through time and briefly battles Goku — his exact copy — he’s pulled back through time. Suspecting foul play, Beerus, Whis, and Goku travel to Universe 10 to confront Supreme Kai Gowasu and his mortal-hating apprentice Zamasu.

Turns out, Zamasu is identical to Black in terms of energy. While Beerus deletes him in the current timeline, Goku Black still remains a threat for Trunks’ timeline — and potentially across all of spacetime. Goku and Vegeta go with Trunks to confront Goku Black and an immortal Zamasu. Goku Black is revealed to be Zamasu from Trunk’s timeline, who swapped bodies with Goku using the Super Dragon Balls. The real Zamasu also wished for immortality from the Super Dragon Balls, which were then destroyed by Goku Black in Trunk’s timeline.

Goku, Vegeta, and Future Trunks eventually defeat Goku Black and Zamasu, but Zamasu’s immortal spirit attaches itself to the cosmos and threatens everything. Goku uses a friendly summoning button he received from his own timeline’s Zeno to call on Future Zeno.

Annoyed with the nonsense of Trunks’ current timeline, Zeno erases the whole thing, with the heroes escaping back to their original timeline along with Future Zeno, who meets and befriends the current timeline’s Zeno. Together they rule the universes as one body referred to as the “Omni-Kings.” Future Trunks and Future Mai go live in the timeline in which Zamasu was erased.

Tournament of Power saga

The two Grand Zenos make good on their idea for a Universe wide tournament, with the surprise stipulation that all Universes who lose will be erased from existence. With Universe 1, 5, 8, and 12 being exempted for their strength, the rest of the universes have to compete in a battle royale with 10 fighters each. Those knocked out of the ring fail, while no killing, weapons, or flying is allowed. The last fighter left standing wins their universe’s survival and a wish from Super Shenron.

Goku gathers a team of himself, Vegeta, Gohan, Krillen, Piccolo, Tien, Master Roshi, as well as Androids 17 and 18. Forced to find a tenth member, Goku goes to Hell and bargains with Frieza to help out Universe 7.

Goku in his Ultra Instinct form faces off against Jiren from Universe 11
Toei/Funimation via the Dragon Ball wiki

The squad enters the tournament and faces off against the toughest fighters in the universes. From Universe 6, Goku and friends face off again Caulifla and Kale, two extremely powerful female Super Saiyans — with Kale being the mirror equivalent of the Legendary Super Saiyan Broly. Caulifla and Kale eventually fuse to become Kefla. Goku’s fight with Kefla, as well as with Universe 11’s mysterious Jiren, pushes the Saiyan to discover an imperfect version of Ultra Instinct mode — complete with silver hair and eyes.

Universe 11 ends up being the final test for the Universe 7 crew. One of their fighters, Top, reaches Destroyer level powers in the tournament — and proves to be a tough match for even Vegeta, the Prince of Saiyans. Goku perfects Ultra Instinct and through the combined efforts of Android 17 and Frieza, saves Universe 7 from erasure by knocking out Jiren — the toughest fighter Gokus ever faced.

Android 17 is the final hero left in the arena and wishes to use the Super Dragon Balls to restore the erased universes — something the Grand Zenos remark on having foreseen. Having survived a giant tournament, the heroes return to Earth. Beerus and Whis restore Frieza to life as a show of good faith for his performance, and he returns to space and his old army.

And that’s it! Simple. Now you’re ready for Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Maybe.

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