It’s not every day that you watch a fan film that rivals the quality of the genuine article, but Legend - A Dragon Ball Tale effectively gives series creator Akira Toriyama a run for his money.
Legend - A Dragon Ball Tale, created by animator and storyboard artist Nas Pasha and Studio Stray Dogs, reimagines Goku and Chi-Chi’s bout during Dragon Ball’s 23rd World Martial Arts Tournament. However, things take a major turn when Broly, the legendary super saiyan, interrupts the fight with Vegeta, the now-king of all saiyans, hot on his trail. That’s right, put some respect on my boy’s name.
“Animation takes a lot of time and energy and focus and budget and time. We had all that stuff except the budget,” Pasha says at the end of the video, adding that the fan film took his team four years to make. “My entire team did this out of the sheer enthusiasm for Dragon Ball Z and the project itself.”
The fan film does not relent with its impressive display of blisteringly fast sakuga animation and hype-as-hell action sequences. Legend’s art style harkens back to the classic grainy footage aesthetic and 2d animated art style of early ‘90s anime with a fusion of modern shonen anime’s fluid off-model sakuga. But most notably, Legend finally gives the hot-headed saiyan Vegeta his due by making him the heroic star of the show.
After receiving diplomatic orders from the Saiyan Grand Council, who survive the fall of Planet Vegeta in this universe, Vegeta voyages out on an “interstellar assassination mission” to take out Broly. However, fan-film Vegeta’s temperament is far more measured, powerful, dare I say regal, than his canonical counterpart. Vegeta not only heroically saves Goku from a premature death, he also turns super saiyan before him and tears Broly up from ass to appetite throughout the fan film.
That isn’t to say Goku doesn’t shine, as he’s wont to, in the fan film as well. In fact, Goku gets thrown a bone with a whole new beast-like Super Saiyan form after witnessing Broly strong-arm his future wife, Chi-Chi. The aforementioned Frieza Saga-inspired transformation also effectively puts to bed the “Goku doesn’t care about his family” allegations he’s garnered from fans throughout the years. See, he does care.
Legend - A Dragon Ball Tale is as much a celebration of Dragon Ball Z and Akira Toriyama as it is a shining example of the high level of creativity that a small crew of animators are capable of when their passion levels are over 9,000.