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Anime / Dragon Ball Z: Bardock The Father of Goku

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Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku (also known as Doragon Bōru Zetto: Tatta Hitori no Saishū Kessen ~Furīza ni Idonda Zetto Senshi Son Gokū no Chichi~; lit. "Dragon Ball Z: A Lonesome, Final Battle 'The Father of the Z Warrior Son Goku, who Challenged Freeza'") is the first Dragon Ball Z TV Special made by Toei Animation (the second being Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks), airing during the the Freeza Saga, as well as a prequel of the series as a whole.

The special is centered around the Origin Story of Bardock, a low-class Saiyan who is also the father of Kakarot (Goku) and Raditz as he discovers a plot where Freeza intends to destroy the entire Saiyan race via psychic powers given to him by an alien whose race he destroyed the night before. With his new powers, Bardock realizes the visions he receives are no illusion…

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The special was popular enough that Akira Toriyama integrated him into the manga, making the Bardock Special canon in Dragon Ball Kai. An special called Dragon Ball – Episode of Bardock created in 2011, was made to serve as a What If? sequel, detailing Bardock's survival and eventually becoming a Super Saiyan. A special feature in the Jaco the Galactic Patrolman manga called Dragon Ball Minus essentially serves as a prequel to this special with several changes in the details, solidifying Jaco's Stealth Prequel status to the Dragon Ball story as a whole.

For the Dragon Ball Z Abridged version, see here.


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This work contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Thanks to Dub Text, both Bardock and Vegeta come off as more sympathetic figures in the Funimation dub then in the original Japanese.
    • In the Japanese version, Bardock is cold and dismissive of Goku when he sees his weak power level and only gains a brief amount of affection for him at the very end when he realises that he is the one who will kill Frieza. In the English dub, he does seem to care about his son more and comments that he wishes he could have held him once before he died. Also, when Bardock faces Frieza in the finale, he mentions wanting to avenge all of the people Frieza ordered to be slaughtered in the dub, which is completely different then what happens in the original Japanese.
    • As explained in Lack of Empathy below Vegeta isn't shown caring in any way about his races destruction and is focused more on his own achievements. In the Dub, the way that the scene plays out and the dialogue used, show that while Vegeta is likely in shock over the news he's choosing to stoically keep his emotions in check and quietly sits in silence afterwards.
  • Bad Boss: As Fieza demonstrates. He kills his own men that he sent out to fight Bardock. This is after his men plea for their lives. He also coldly murdered the Saiyans, who have been nothing but loyal to him because he feared their growing power.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Bardock fails to stop Freeza, but he dies proudly knowing that Goku will finish the job.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Kanassans have the power to see the future…and are powerless to stop their own extinction. Their last act of revenge against the Saiyan is to share this gift.
  • Breakout Character: So very much for Bardock that along with the movie villain Broly, they have appeared in practically almost every game from this point since Budokai 3. Akira Toriyama made him appear in the manga, a Spin-Off sequel was made for him, and he even appeared in Dragon Ball Minus.
  • Buried in a Pile of Corpses: This actually saves Bardock's life when he ends up buried beneath the bodies of his comrades after Dodoria's Ki Attack, leaving them to think he'd died.
  • Canon Discontinuity: In Dragon Ball Minus, the bonus chapter of Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, Toriyama rewrites Bardock's story. Some changes include: Bardock having a wife named Gine, Goku being three years old instead of a newborn, Bardock and Gine sending Goku to Earth to protect him from Frieza instead of being luck that Goku is sent out just a few minutes before Frieza came to Planet Vegeta, and Frieza personally recalling all the Saiyans home so he can kill them all at once instead of it being a spur of a moment choice. That being said, the chapter only depicts what happened in the preceding weeks before the destruction of Planet Vegeta, so Broad Strokes may still apply.
  • Canon Immigrant: Bardock is the first anime-only character to actually appear in the manga, as Akira Toriyama liked him well enough to have him appear in two panels in the original manga.
  • Cassandra Truth: Bardock attempts to warn a bar full of Saiyans that Freeza is coming to kill them. But they openly mock him, forcing Bardock to face Freeza and his men alone.
  • Characterization Marches On: Bardock in the special displays the traditional Saiyan Blood Knight/Parental Neglect personality, to the point of being disappointed by his newborn son's power level. In Dragon Ball Minus, his personality is reversed, showing that he cares for both his sons, and sends Kakarot to Earth for safety reasons.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Raditz does not appear at all in the special, nor a mention. In the English dub, there is a vague reference to Raditz when Bardock states his son was born "a long time ago".
  • Curbstomp Battle: In the beginning, Bardock and his crew kills the alien race of Kanassa overnight, Dodoria's men kills Bardock's crew, Bardock kills them in return, Bardock gets one-shotted by Dodoria (but survives).
  • Death by Origin Story: Who else? This is Bardock's story and he's long dead by the first episode of Dragon Ball.
  • Death by Irony: Invoked by Toolo, who gives the ability to see the future not to Frieza, who slaughtered his race to obtain it, but to Bardock, to torture him with the knowledge of the death of his race.
  • Doomed by Canon: It's a prequel to Dragon Ball. While there are minor plot-holes (Gohan meeting the baby Goku in a bamboo forest rather than in a creavass, resulting in a violent encounter), it's mainly to show Goku's father before he (unsuccessfully) attempts to kill Freeza.
  • Dying Curse: Toolo gives Bardock a rather sadistic one; to see the impending genocide of the Saiyan race and be powerless to stop it. He also gave him the gift of prophecy to make sure it happened.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Bardock, as much a Chaotic Evil Blood Knight as he is, does value his teammates.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Zarbon and Dodoria are both merciless killers who have no problem with Frieza slaughtering the Saiyan race but both are noticeably shocked when Frieza orders them to open the ships hatch so he can nuke the planet while many of their own men are still in the crossfire.
  • Fantastic Racism: Although Frieza tries to act dismissive of the Saiyans' growing power, often calling them monkeys, it's obvious that the reason why he decided to wipe them out is out of fear of them overthrowing him one day.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Bardock could not stop Freeza from destroying the Saiyan race, but his hope relies on his son, Kakarot, who will face Freeza in adulthood.
  • Generation Xerox: Goku and Bardock are actually more alike than you think. They value their friends so much that killing said friends is the best guarantee that they will do their damnedest to end you.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: At the end of the special, Bardock is dead and Planet Vegeta is destroyed by Frieza. Kakarot, however, escapes the genocide by chance and grows up to become Goku, the Saiyan destined to defeat Frieza.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Since this is a prequel to Dragon Ball, Frieza gets away with killing almost all the Saiyans and laughs happily as Planet Vegeta explodes. Bardock's final vision, however, is one of Goku fighting Frieza on Namek. So despite everything, Bardock dies knowing that his son will avenge him.
  • Killed Off for Real: As a Foregone Conclusion, Vegeta, Nappa and Raditz are the only survivors of the Saiyan race (and by extension, Vegeta's younger brother Tarble, a now canonized Broly and his father Paragus). Goku escapes the destruction by pure luck (an oversight Freeza looked upon). Dragon Ball Minus has Goku's escape taking place a month earlier, while the other three's survival is explained by Vegeta outright pulling a "Who cares?" when Freeza ordered all Saiyans back on the planet.
  • Lack of Empathy: In the Japanese version a young Vegeta is shown at the end of the movie being informed by Nappa that Planet Vegeta has been destroyed and most of the Saiyan race has been killed. Vegeta merely gives a disinterested "oh?" when Nappa tells him and asks if their is anything else before commenting that they should move on and find another planet to slaughter.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Although the Saiyans comes off as somewhat sympathetic since they were killed by their own boss because he feared their growing power, the Saiyans were still a race who regularly performed genocide. So them being the victims of a similar genocide is karma. On a personal level for Bardock, he is cursed to see a future that he can't prevent, just like Kanassans he slaughtered.
  • Moral Myopia: Bardock is furious that his crew is betrayed and murdered by Frieza's men and goes on a bloody rampage to avenge them. Although noble and understandable, Bardock and his crew are still hired murderers who regularly perform genocide.
  • Not So Different: There are many parallels between the Kanassans (the race that Bardock's team destroy at the start of the special) and Bardock, not limited to seeing their genocide coming and being powerless to stop it (the Saiyans due Toolo's 'gift' of prophecy to Bardock):
  • Prophecy Twist: The last thing Bardock sees before he dies is Goku facing Freeza (in his first form) in Namek. Goku does in fact face him again in his first form. In Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’. Double points that he does in fact kills Frieza in that movie instead of on Namek.
  • Prequel: To the Dragon Ball series as a whole, detailing Goku's father's backstory and the eventual demise of the Saiyan race.
  • Psychic Powers: Bardock sees the visions of the future, the first part showing Goku meeting Bulma in Dragon Ball all the way to the final parts of Goku's third tournament against Piccolo. Later on, Goku using Kaio-Ken (which distracts him), and Goku fighting Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z.
  • Reality Ensues: Bardock sees the future where the Saiyans are killed and tries to prevent it. He defeats a crowd of Frieza's men, but Frieza himself is still out of his league and kills him with no difficulty.
  • Second-Hand Storytelling: As we learn later on, we did find out King Vegeta discovered Freeza's treachery and attempted to reclaim his son, but was killed in the process. This is one of the reasons why Freeza plans to kill off the Saiyan race as Bardock attempts to warn the other Saiyans. Unlike King Vegeta, whom Freeza shrugs off as being another assassin, Bardock attempts to rebel against him, which gave him concern to the point that Freeza actually remembers his name when confronted by Goku on Namek.
  • Tranquil Fury: When wave after wave of his soldiers fail to stop an advancing Bardock, Freeza, whose back is turned, politely asks Zarbon to prepare the entrance. Zarbon realizes what this means and asks about their men's safety but hurriedly complies just by seeing Freeza's arms unfold. This act most probably saved his own life as the camera pans to Freeza and shows that he is very angry.
  • True Companions: Bardock and his crew. After Dodoria and Dodoria's men kill off his friends, Bardock goes absolutely berserk and slaughters Dodoria's troops.

Alternative Title(s): Bardock The Father Of Goku

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