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Bardock (バーダック, Baadakku)
Voiced by (English): Sonny Strait (Funimation dub), David Gasman (Bardock - The Father of Goku), Doug Rand (Cooler's Revenge) (AB Groupe/"Big Green" dub)
Voiced by (Latin American Spanish): Mario Castañeda (main voice), Octavio Rojas (Kai flashbacks)
Bardock is Goku's father and a recurring character in the franchise. Bardock was only mentioned in the manga by Raditz as being killed off with the destruction of Planet Vegeta. Despite this, the character got the interest of Toei Animation and they created a side story for him called The Father of Goku written by Takao Koyama.
Bardock became popular with both Akira Toriyama and the fans, and he was given a cameo appearance during the Frieza saga, standing up to the tyrant, and being remembered by Frieza as "That Saiyan that stood up to me". After this, Bardock got a role in more side stories whose canonicity is heavily disputed, and his characterization depends on which writer is writing him.
Akira Toriyama would later rewrite Bardock's story in Dragon Ball Minus, which was then adapted in Dragon Ball Super: Broly. Like with Broly, we separate the different incarnations in different folders to help distinguish them.
- Action Dad: Typical for a Saiyan. In Minus, he didn't see his son in three years because he was busy conquering worlds.
- Affably Evil:
- For a mass-murdering soldier, he's mostly very laid-back. And he has friends that he wanted to avenge.
- He's even more of this in Dragon Ball Minus where he showed real concern for his children and care for his wife. He went as far as defy Frieza's orders by launching Goku into space, saving his life.
- Blood Knight: Pretty obvious, considering the fact that he is a Saiyan.
- Breakout Character:
- Despite appearing only in a few pages in the original manga, Bardock got his own TV special and more scenes in the anime, mostly because he is Goku's biological father, but then he started to earn a status of his own. Apart from being just Goku's father, Bardock got more exposition in games for the franchise, particularly Online by Netmarble and the Xenoverse games, where he has a side story and is brainwashed by Towa and Mira under the alias of the Masked Saiyan.
- And finally to cement his breakout status, Bardock got his own manga series in 2011 in which he survived Planet Vegeta's destruction, that's implied to have involved time traveling to the past somehow. Bardock even got a Super Saiyan transformation which previously only appeared in the game Dragon Ball Heroes.
- Then he became a full-out Canon Immigrant where Toriyama introduced his version of the character back into the main continuity in Dragon Ball Minus which later got adapted into Dragon Ball Super: Broly.
- Byronic Hero: Compared to Goku, he's a Noble Demon on his best (and ironically last) day and is very brutal to his enemies.
- Canon Immigrant: Akira Toriyama thought he was pretty good, so he gave him a cameo. Further emphasized in Dragon Ball Z Kai, where the Bardock special functions as a prequel, in an anime that basically was to be the manga by reducing filler and padding. Toriyama even made his own version of Bardock and his backstory for Dragon Ball Minus.
- The Captain: The leader of a platoon of Saiyans who wipe planets for Frieza. Despite his laid-back, somewhat lazy demeanor, he truly enjoys his job.
- Death by Origin Story: The fate of the Saiyan race was sealed the second Frieza's ship arrived at Planet Vegeta; Bardock was the only warrior of his race to face death fighting on his feet rather than on his knees. Despite his best attempt, however, he wasn't the one destined to defeat Frieza. That honor would fall to his son.
- Defiant to the End: So much so that his is the only face that Frieza remembers amongst the many Saiyans he murdered.
- Depending on the Writer:
- His characterization in Toriyama's 2014 one shot Dragon Ball Minus is slightly different to his original appearance in the 1990 Bardock: The Father of Goku TV special (which Toriyama had no involvement in except for character design), Naho Ooishi's 2011 Episode of Bardock had a characterization closer to the TV special, but portrayed as more of an Anti-Villain than a straight Villain Protagonist like he originally was.
- His power varies between versions, in Toei's version, Bardock was much more powerful than Nappa and almost as strong as the King, while in Minus's version, we are told that he is not strong enough to be a middle class, which implies that Bardock is weaker than Nappa.
- Blasts his way through hundreds of henchmen to get to Frieza in the TV special. This fact is acknowledged in a rare Villain Respect moment, several years later, when he instantly recalls Bardock when he sees Goku due to the uncanny resemblance, thus being possibly the only Saiyan, let alone person among the countless races that left an impact.
- Although he knew that he was probably doomed, he still managed to have a Last Stand against Frieza in Broly.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: He spends his last moments on a futile attempt to kill Frieza. In Bardock: The Father of Goku he kills several of Frieza's men and gets to launch a verbal tirade and a direct attack on the tyrant himself, while in Broly he gets to actually slow down Frieza's Supernova for a couple of seconds.
- Edible Theme Naming: After burdock, a vegetable.
- Expy: Much like how his son, Goku, is (partially) an Expy of Kal-El, Bardock is an Expy of Kal-El's father, Jor-El. He belongs to a race of Human Aliens who are arguably Flying Bricks, and he realizes that his race and planet will soon be destroyed, and tries to warn his fellows, only to be utterly ridiculed and dismissed as foolish, and is completely unable to save anyone other than his son, who he has sent to Earth.
- A Father to His Men: In Bardock: Father of Goku, one of his main redeeming traits is his loyalty to his comrades. Toriyama states that the Broly incarnation of Bardock is unusual in that he often saves his comrades from death, making him popular among the lower class.
- Generation Xerox:
- In terms of appearance, he looks like a scarred, Older and Wiser Goku.
- Even down to the Always Someone Better parallel between King Vegeta, impact of death at the very least, that would be passed onto their sons. While King Vegeta did directly face Frieza, the latter quickly dispatched him with a kick. Frieza's sarcastic comment on his murder to his son implies that he only recalled it for the For the Evulz. Bardock however, with his Badass Boast to Frieza briefly remember his defiance before destroying him along with his own men along with Planet Vegeta. Despite being a mere speed bump in the Saiyan's destruction, Frieza when encountering Goku, instantly recalls Bardock, meaning that out of all the Saiyans he killed, including King Vegeta, Bardock is the only one that stood out.
- Genius Bruiser:
- When fighting Frieza's men, he outmaneuvers them with sound tactics mainly by blindsiding them, using diversions and using human shields to take blows for him.
- He figures out quickly that Frieza is up to no good when he recalled all the Saiyans back to their planet.
- Hereditary Hairstyle: Goku and his grandson Goten inherited his hairstyle. Maybe it's a second son thing.
- Interpretative Character: For such a minor character, Bardock has no consistent interpretation.
- In Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku, he is a Villain Protagonist that went on to fight Frieza after the death of his comrades. He didn't love Goku, and died happy knowing he would avenge the Saiyans. Yet, he had an epiphany in the Funimation dub. This extends to the Z anime where he appears as a ghost alongside King Vegeta and Vegeta asking Goku to avenge their race.
- In Episode Of Bardock, he starts out similar to his original special portrayal, but gradually softens into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and an Anti-Hero.
- In the Dragon Ball manga and Dragon Ball Z Kai, he is just a really brave Saiyan that went on to fight Frieza in his final hours. There wasn't anything else remarkable about him.
- In Dragon Ball Minus and Dragon Ball Super: Broly, he is an average Saiyan that fell in love with another Saiyan, and had paternal feelings for his son. He sent Goku away to save him from Frieza, and promised him he would go look for him later.
- And the video game incarnations, which aren't consistent with one another.
- Finally, one English dub had Vegeta refer to Bardock as a "great scientist" to cement the Kal-El/Jor-El connection that Goku/he had. No other representation of Bardock references this so it boils down to the dub team not realizing that he would be expanded on so much later on.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- After wiping out a race of people who were doomed to foresee their own end and didn't have the power to prevent it, Bardock is cursed to see the final moments of his own world and there's nothing he can do to prevent it. Unlike the people he murdered, however, he's able to die at peace with himself knowing the planet and he would be avenged by one of their own.
- A pirate who made his living destroying planets and causing mass genocide meets his end when he is destroyed along with his planet by his own boss.
- In Minus, his one true selfless act, sending his son away from Planet Vegeta, pays off. Although Planet Vegeta couldn't be saved and he and his wife also die, Goku grows up to be the warrior to finally defeat and humiliate Frieza, avenging their entire race. His bloodline also lives on and is stronger than ever.
- Little Bit Beastly: Like all Saiyans, he has a monkey tail that he wears around his waist like a belt.
- Noble Demon:
- ...to his credit, he comes to feel love (or at the very least, pride) for his son Kakarot in the final seconds of his life, and he did legitimately care for his teammates, as evidenced by his anger towards Dodoria and Frieza after they mercilessly slaughtered his team on Planet Meat. Otherwise, he is still a black-hearted villain who enjoyed partaking in planetary genocide and mass murder.
- In his non-canon spinoff manga, he made the transition to full Anti-Hero.
- In Dragon Ball Minus, he is even more of a noble demon by showing real concern and care for his son Kakarot and sent him away from the planet when he sensed impending danger. One of his last words to his son was to stay alive no matter what. He also loved his wife despite her being a White Sheep among her race and even comments about her soft heart rubbing off on him.
- Only One Name: Like most Saiyans.
- Parental Abandonment:
- He didn't get a chance to raise Goku, and Goku was sent to Earth in a space pod.
- Even in Minus he was gone for three years after Goku was born. As soon as he got back, he launched Goku into space to escape Frieza. In Minus this extends to his family. He is the one who suggests sending Goku away so he won't be killed by Frieza.
- Parental Favoritism:
- Bardock, puts all his hope in Goku/Kakarot, never mentioning Raditz outside of a offhand remark, even in his dying moments.
- He briefly mentions Raditz in Minus, but he still seems to favor his youngest son.
- Averted in Broly; he takes the time to ask about how Raditz is doing and any onscreen attention he gives to Kakarot is clearly warranted by the situation.
- Popularity Power: Which is why in the spin-off manga, he manages to transform into a Super Saiyan. Taken to new heights in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, where stalling in a certain mission long enough leads to him reaching Super Saiyan 3. And then Dragon Ball Heroes gave him access to Super Saiyan 4.
- Posthumous Character: As Frieza remembers him very clearly when seeing Goku's uncanny resemblance, showing that he at least had more of an impact than his entire race including his king put together.
- Punch-Clock Villain: He may be a murderous soldier who enjoys his work, but it is nothing personal. When he's not killing people, he's actually quite a decent person. He's a loyal friend and even a family man in Minus.
- Sociopathic Soldier: Downplayed. He does his job willingly, but not in an extreme way.
- Strong Family Resemblance: To Goku and Goten. Goku Jr. from GT actually wears a similar headband. Raditz comments on this in some translations, telling his brother upon seeing him "you look just like our father."
- "X" Marks the Hero: His most notable trait after his red bandana, but he is far from a hero.
- You Remind Me of X: In the games, several characters make note of his resemblance to Goku, though they never piece together that he's Goku's father.
During a mission committing genocide for the Frieza Empire, Bardock was given the power to see the fate of his race by the last surviving member of the planet, and tried to stop it but ended up perishing alongside Planet Vegeta. He died happy when he realized his own son would be the one to take down Frieza.
Years later, in the spinoff Episode of Bardock, it's revealed that Bardock survived being killed by Frieza and was somehow whisked away to the distant past. There, he became a Super Saiyan while fighting Frieza's ancestor, Chilled, making him the Legendary Super Saiyan and the originator of the legend itself. Keep in mind that the author of that story, Naho Oishi, considers that story just a What If?.
- Abusive Alien Parents: Even by Saiyan standards. He dismisses his comrades when they say he should visit his son, Kakarot, because he regards him as a weakling and disappointment. He takes no issue with sending him off to a likely death on a hostile world either. For bonus points, he only mentions Raditz when he thinks his squad is talking about his son (though Video Games indicate he was no better to his older son).Toma: Thats what you get for dropping your guard. So Bardock, dont you think you went over the top there, even celebrating your sons birth and all?
Bardock: Celebrating my son's birth? What a ridiculous farce!
Fasha: Were finished on this planet. Why dont you head back to Planet Vegeta and meet him?
Bardock: To see a lowest-class warrior without any promise at all? What kind of fool would make that trip?
- Adaptational Badass: In the Episode of Bardock spinoff, he beats Chilled right after becoming a Super Saiyan.
- Adaptational Heroism: The Funimation dub has him experience a Heel Realization upon hearing the voice of the Kanassan Toolo telling him he's no better than Frieza and seeing an illusion of an adult Goku telling him it's not too late to change. During his speech to Frieza, he makes it clear that in addition to avenging his team, he also wants to avenge those he killed. He also tells Frieza that he's freeing all of Friezas soldiers, telling him "we quit, all of us". After his death, his spirit tells baby Goku that he was right and it wasn't too late to change. In contrast, the original Japanese only has Bardock caring about his fate and eventually his son's fate, and he doesn't voice any desire to have held Goku, but simply wishes him to avenge their race and himself.
- Almighty Janitor: Despite being stronger than Nappa and nearly as strong as King Vegeta by the time of his death, Bardock did not hold a ranking of high prestige within Saiyan society. In the English dub, he has some issues about this and part of the reason he takes near suicide missions is to prove his worth.
- Ambiguous Situation: It's never indicated if Bardock traveling back in time to become the first Super Saiyan is actually canon in lore, or if it's exclusive to Episode of Bardock's inexplicable plot. It seems that it's been taken as non-canon, as there has been no follow up on this plot line, and the only time traveling involving this version of Bardock has done is when Towa abducts him right before he's killed.
- Anti-Villain: For all the bad things he's done, Bardock is a Benevolent Boss who truly does care about his squadron and is devastated when they are killed. He realizes Frieza intends to do the same thing to his entire people and resorts to making a Last Stand against the tyrant and his army rather than flee, essentially making it a Heroic Sacrifice. While he may lack the moral cleanliness, Bardock died a hero in the truest sense of the word.
- The Artifact: His Iconic Item of a red headband is actually a white armband soaked in the blood of his best friend Tora, and he ties it to his head as a sign of the vengeance he's about to get for his squadron who were assassinated. But in every subsequent appearance this hardly has any meaning as to what he's doing.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Despite being a lower class warrior, he led his own team and was the strongest of them all, being able to easily kill warriors that slaughtered his entire crew.
- Brass Balls: Fighting Dodoria's henchmen and taking on Frieza definitely count as this.
- Blessed with Suck: On the planet they've just purged, an alien in his last moments gives Bardock psychic powers so that he could foresee his own planet's destruction. However, this power is what allows Bardock to see Frieza's destruction at the hands of his son; giving him some peace of mind before he is engulfed by Frieza's attack.
- Boomerang Bigot: He sees Kakarot as unworthy of his attention because he was born as a low-class with a low battle power. Bardock himself is a low-class Saiyan who got stronger throughout his life, allowing him to exceed the circumstances of his birth, yet he totally rejects this possibility for his own son.
- Cassandra Truth: None of the other Saiyans believed that Frieza would destroy them. Although in Dragon Ball Minus, more Saiyans show their disdain for Frieza that Vegeta and Zarbon talked about, even if they don't think he'd go quite that far.
- Combat Pragmatist: Much of Bardock's initial retaliation against Frieza's mooks is less plowing though them with pure strength and more using diversion techniques to confuse and distract them, even causing friendly fire and using human shields. His last charge towards Frieza however, is just blitzing opponents and trying to get to the tyrant as fast as possible.
- Doomed by Canon: No one in the series at that point could take on Frieza in his first form, let alone his second and third form — the former being in extremely rare cases and the latter to which he never revealed before to anyone — or even his fourth and final, which only his family are privy to.
- Dub-Induced Plot Hole: For some inexplicable reason, the Ocean Group dub has Vegeta claim that Bardock was an "average fighter but a brilliant scientist" and the creation of the moon-mimicking Power Ball is credited to him. Best guess is that, while the special first aired six years ago, it hadn't been shown to Ocean yet; it would also explain why, in his brief scene in the series proper, Bardock addresses the mooks he just plowed through (which wasn't shown in the flashback) as his own allies.
- Dub Text: The English dub added a lot of character alterations not present in the original Japanese, mainly "regret" at being "forced" to commit mass murder.
- Dying Curse: How he got his physic powers. He was cursed to see a future that he couldn't prevent, much like the people he murdered the night before.
- Evil Versus Evil: Despite his sympathetic motives and love for his family and crew, he was still a Saiyan who slaughtered millions.
- Face Death with Dignity: In spite of knowing full-well the futility of trying to do so, Bardock still held his arms out to catch Frieza's apocalyptic meteor, in a last ditch effort to save his people.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Played With. At least part of the reason Bardock became such an outlier to normal Saiyans in strength, particularly the lower-class he was born into, is attributed to throwing himself into the thick of battle and constantly racking up injuries that left him coming back alive but half-dead, and thus receiving zenkai boosts from the recovery. However, just how much strength he managed to gain from that suggests that he had some level of The Gift just like Goku and later down the line.
- Hazy-Feel Turn: He only decides to turn against Frieza out of revenge, rather than out of true regret. He has a face turn in Episode of Bardock.
- Honor Before Reason: Bardock is a very proud saiyan, so when it had turned out Frieza and his men had aimed to betray the saiyans, he attempts to take on the tyrant himself, despite being nearly killed by Dodoria not long before. When his own attack fails to stop Frieza, he still attempts to catch it rather than attempt to move out of the way to save himself.
- Inexplicably Awesome: Despite being born and classified as a lower-class Saiyan, he had a power level around 10,000 before he died. For reference, Goku didn't get that high until he trained with King Kai and he was still only around 8 to 9,000 without the Kaioken. That also makes him much stronger than Nappa, an elite soldier. In fact, he's about as strong as King Vegeta, which makes for some foreshadowing of their sons' future relationship. Some of this is explained as Bardock regularly coming back from his missions half-dead. But even then the doctors are still baffled as to why Bardock is so powerful given his birth.
- Leitmotif: Solid State Scouter.
- A Lighter Shade of Black: To Frieza, being a Punch-Clock Villain and a genuine friend going up against a pure evil Sadist.
- Moral Myopia: In the TV special, 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. The dub lessens it by having Bardock declare vengeance on Frieza "in the name of all the races they killed for him".
- My Own Grampa: If the spin-off is canon anyway. He's sent back in time to start the legend of the Saiyans. It's probably better to be "My Own Progenitor", though it's physically impossible for Bardock to be the super saiyan Vegeta described unless the legend was really muddled.
- Nominal Hero: In his original special, particularly in the Japanese version. He's not really any better than any other Saiyans, aside from his sense of camaraderie, and doesn't show any real regrets over his actions as an agent of genocide; he only rebelled upon realizing that Frieza was going to kill everyone, including him. As Team Four Star put it, "Bardock isn't a good person; he's just the protagonist."
- Oh, Crap!: When Frieza's Supernova turns out to be both much larger and stronger than Bardock's own attack, his expression is nothing but shock and bewilderment.
- Pet the Dog: Despite being a ruthless, murderous Saiyan, he shows real care to his teammates, going as far to avenge them when they are murdered.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He exterminates entire planetary populations without a thought and only regards his Saiyan comrades as worth mourning. He also dismisses his son Kakarot for being born low-class and a weakling (with a battle power of 2, Kakarot would be borderline handicapped by the standards of the super-powerful Saiyans), and has no problem with potentially sending him to his death as an infiltrator baby. He only recants this view when he thinks Kakarot will become strong.
- Randomly Gifted: Despite being born lower-class Saiyan, managed to achieve incredible levels of power. In Bardock: Father of Goku, he died with a Power Level of around 10,000, rivaling that of King Vegeta himself and surpassing most of the elite class supposedly far above him and achieved Super Saiyan in Episode of Bardock. His game incarnations have all achieved various levels of Super Saiyan transformation and gone to blows with god-like beings.
- Revenge Before Reason: His whole plan against Frieza (after his attempt to warn the Saiyans fails) is to rush him and fire his strongest attack and hope that'll be enough. It's enough to get him to meet face-to-face with the tyrant, but it ultimately changes nothing in the end.
- Rugged Scar: Completely identical to his son (and his son's son too), except for the fact that he has a scar on his cheek. Not surprising he'd pick something like that up, considering his job is to travel from planet to planet and wipe out their entire populations.
- Screw Destiny: Tries to change his fate and the fate of his race. He didn't succeed, but he went down fighting.
- Seer: He gains the ability to see the future thanks to a Dying Curse from one of the people he wiped out. Specifically, he can see a future he can do nothing to stop.
- Signature Move: Final Spirit Cannon
- So Proud of You: Thanks to his ability to see through time, he knew Goku was going to kill Frieza and avenge the Saiyans. Knowing this, he died with a smile on his face.
- Speak of the Devil: After Bardock arrives at Planet Vegeta after suffering a heavy beating from Dodoria, he learns that his son Kakarot was shipped to Earth. He briefly foresaw this in his premonition dreams, and then comes to the conclusion that, if Kakarot being sent to Earth was true, that must also mean that Frieza's attack on Planet Vegeta, and its destruction, is also true too.
- Time Travel: In his spinoff manga this might be what happened to him after Frieza attempts to exterminate the Saiyans, being sent back to sometime before the Saiyans arrived at Planet Vegeta somehow, on what was then known as Planet Plant. Similarly, this is also what happened in Dragon Ball Online in regards to how he survived and got brainwashed by Miira.
- Too Dumb to Live: There's Bardock, who knows far in advance that Frieza is going to destroy his home planet. What does he do? Thanks to a double dose of both Honor Before Reason and Revenge Before Reason he decides to take on Frieza in a bid to stop him from destroying Planet Vegeta, instead of getting in the nearest pod and getting the hell out of dodge and maybe coming back when he did stand a chance. Though admittedly, any Saiyan's pride wouldn't let them take that route, he was doomed from the start.
- Tranquil Fury: In the 2011 version, after Chilled attacks a Plant child and the rest of the Plant people, he proceeds to go Super Saiyan, and gives Chilled the beatdown of his life. Chilled doesn't survive the encounter.
- The Unchosen One: After foreseeing Planet Vegeta's destruction at the hands of Frieza, he decides to Screw Destiny and challenges Frieza to save his world. He utterly fails and is killed by Frieza's Death Ball along with his planet. On the bright side, before his death he foresees his youngest child beating Frieza.
- Underestimating Badassery: Severely misunderstood just how strong Frieza was, which leads to his failed attempt at taking Frieza's life.
- Unstoppable Rage: Upon seeing Chilled terrorise the people of Plant and getting reminded of his people's victimisation by Frieza, Bardock gets very, VERY mad, and Chilled becomes very, very dead.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Him and his team taking out Planet Kanassa in the TV special is the final straw that caused Frieza to take the Super Saiyan legend seriously, as the Kanassans had withstood even his elite forces, while Bardock and co were considered low-ranked warriors. This one act basically set into motion everything else that happened in Dragon Ball Z.
- Villainous Friendship: Bardock and his elite are Type I.
- Villain Protagonist: In Father of Goku, since he may be trying to save his race from Frieza, but he still comes from a genocidal race, making the conflict Evil Versus Evil.
- The Worf Effect: He effortlessly kills the elite soldiers who murdered his comrades. Then Dodoria comes and take him out with one mouth blast.
- You Can't Fight Fate: After being given the power of foreseeing Frieza's genocide of the Saiyans, he attempts a last stand against Frieza to save his world, but he fails and is killed by Frieza's Death Ball along with his planet.
Bardock and his wife were the ones who sent Kakarot to Earth under the nose of Frieza who ordered all the Saiyans back to their home planet so he could kill them all in one shot.
- Adaptational Badass: A slight example. He was able to briefly hold off Frieza's Colony Drop attack for a few moments before being overwhelmed. In the original story, he died almost instantly.
- Adaptational Heroism: According to Monaito, it was Bardock who prevented the Cerealians from going completely extinct.
- Adaptational Intelligence: In Bardock: The Father of Goku, Bardock, like the rest of the Saiyans, was utterly oblivious to Frieza's desire to exterminate them. He only found out because his team was attacked beforehand by Dodoria. Here, he instead figures it out all on his own by picking out all the warning signs (Frieza calling all the Saiyans back to one place, Frieza's interest in the Super Saiyan legend, etc). It turns out his hunch formed after invading planet Cereal and realizing Freeza wouldn't hesitate to wipe out the Saiyans as easily as he made them wipe out the Cerealians.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: In Bardock: The Father of Goku, he only started caring about Kakarot just before his death, and even then, just because he thought Kakarot would get strong and beat Frieza. In Dragon Ball Minus, he showed genuine love for baby Kakarot from the start, although Gine says it is a new trait Bardock developed, he's even hailed for saving his fellow saiyans constantly. While Super's Manga shows him taking part in slaughter of an entire population, he's still willing to spare a young mother and her child... if only because they remind him of his family.
- Adaptational Wimp: For years fans argued over whether he was as strong in the manga as in the Bardock special. Now the Dragon Ball Minus special (written by Toriyama himself) confirms that while he was solidly a cut above the average Saiyan, he lacks the power to reach Middle-Class Saiyan (although he's stated by Toriyama to at least be among the upper class of Saiyan peasantry). In contrast to how he was stronger than Nappa and almost as strong as King Vegeta in the special.
- Anti-Villain: Slightly more than his Toei counterpart, but in this case he shows a care for his family and empathy for other Saiyans outside his squad that Toei's never showed.
- Cerebus Retcon: Inverted in Dragon Ball Minus, where Bardock is still a battle-hungry drone of Frieza, but is also a kindly family man. He and his wife Gine send Kakarot to Earth not to conquer it, but to keep him safe from Frieza, with plans to take him from the worthless planet should they survive Frieza but with knowledge he'll have plenty of food and few strong enemies if Frieza kills them. He's also shown to extend his empathy towards people of the planet he's conquering, as he spared Granolah and his mom's life on a whim.
- Contrived Coincidence: Bardock just so happens to change of heart for Muezli and Granolah because they remind him of Gine and his sons, even though he had been rampaging and killing hundreds of Cerealians before the moon got destroyed
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Despite being a ruthless hitman, Bardock does love his wife and comes to care for his sons. He sends Kakarot off-world to great risk to himself.
- Bardock's love for his family is what compels him to spare Granolah and Muezli during the Saiyan invasion. He provides them with cover until they reach Monaito's home and stays by their side until he's sure Freeza's troops have left.
- Expy: While the original incarnation was similar, this incarnation of Bardock is more in line with Jor-El from the Superman mythos, as a loving father that alongside his wife sent his son to another planet, one that no one would bat an eye.
- Fling a Light into the Future: He and Gine sent their son Kakarot to Earth after they suspected that Frieza was up to no good. Bardock called it an omen of death. They couldn't escape themselves, since the scouters would sense them and Raditz was already off-world with Vegeta. Unlike most examples of this trope, they just wanted Kakarot to live. Him growing up, becoming Goku, and kicking the ass of their murderer years later was an added bonus.
- A Hero to His Hometown: According to Toriyama, "because [Bardock's] actions of saving his companions, which is rare for a Saiyan, he is greatly adored among a portion of the low-class warriors".
- Informed Flaw: Both Bardock and Gine claim it's weird that Bardock's performing acts of kindness (watching out for his young son Goku, saving Gine, saving Granloah and his mom) but no modern entry shows him doing anything but.
- In Spite of a Nail: Despite his overall history and personality differing from his Z-era version, Bardock still ends up being the only Saiyan to make a defiant Last Stand against Frieza.
- Last Stand: It's revealed in Broly that he got a chance to challenge Frieza in circumstances similar to Bardock: The Father of Goku, even if that version of the story is now non-canon.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Broly completely skips over his confrontation with Frieza above Planet Vegeta, opting to instead cut right to Frieza blowing up the planet with Bardock futilely trying to block his attack. However the fact that Bardock was even there to try and fight back against Frieza at all implies his dash through space still happened.
- Papa Wolf: He goes to great lengths to ensure his baby's survival, promising Kakarot that if his suspicions are wrong, he will come and find him and bring him home as soon as possible.Gine: Bardock... Why are you going through so much trouble? It's not like a Saiyan man to worry about his children, so what has gotten into you?
Bardock: I don't know? Maybe it's because I'm constantly fighting, destroying, and I'd actually like to save something for once. Especially someone who is judged to be a lower-class warrior, like my Kakarot.
- Parental Favoritism: It's heavily implied that Bardock favors Kakarot/Goku over Raditz, his first born. In his debut special, Bardock never once thinks of Raditz, even in his dying moments, and in Minus, when he realizes Frieza's plan to wipe out the Saiyans, his sole concern is ensuring Goku's escape and survival. The closest he shows to any concern or regard for Raditz is Bardock asking where Raditz is when he arrived back on Vegeta on Frieza's orders, telling Goku that he'd also tell Raditz not to look at the moon, and lamenting that Raditz has to put up with "The Prince".
- Parental Neglect: Bardock missed the day Gine gave birth to Kakarot and placed him in the incubator, which she scolds him for. The regret he feels from this is what causes Bardock to start caring more about his sons.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Gender inverted, considering his wife is the Token Good Teammate of the entire Saiyan race.
- Small Role, Big Impact: In the canon of the manga, Bardock along with his wife are the reasons why their son ever ended up on Earth. If they hadn't have acted, Kakarot would have died with Planet Vegeta and never become Son Goku, robbing the universe of its savior.
- Spanner in the Works: His wife and him sending Kakarot away to Earth ended up not only saving their younger child, but avenging their own deaths decades later.
- Took a Level in Kindness: According to Minus, he became quite the Family Man after marrying Gine. Put things into perspective, apparently, the typical Saiyan starts a family solely to reproduce.
Tropes involving Bardock in video games
- Adaptational Badass: While he managed to go Super Saiyan in Episode of Bardock, the video games already gave him this ability, but not only that, in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, he can go so far as skip all the way to Super Saiyan 3 in a single fight.
- Big Damn Heroes: After he was freed from Towa's mind control, He rescued Trunks and the second Time Patroller from getting sucked into a time portal Towa trapped them in.
- Brainwashed and Crazy:
- According to Dragon Ball Online, Mira went back in time, snatched Bardock just as he was being disintegrated by Frieza's Death Ball, and ends up brainwashing him to be one of his minions. Eventually, he breaks free of it and beats the crap out of Mira before disappearing all together.
- This is carried over to Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, where Bardock appears as the "Masked Saiyan".
- Composite Character: Bardock in video games released in the 2010s tend to be the Z-incarnation of the character mostly, but there are mentions of Gine, meaning he is a combination of both versions.
- Everyone Has Standards: In Xenoverse 2, if he's brought along in the "Videl Vexation" mission in Infinite History, he's shown being genuinely disgusted toward Fu for getting Videl to help Vegito fight Buu and Dabura. Mainly because Bardock believes Videl is human kid who's in way over her head.
- Faustian Rebellion: As he himself mentions, one mission in Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 has him beat the crap out of Mira with the power he and Towa granted Bardock.
- In the Heroes manga, he feels ashamed of having to use the Dark Legion's powers again to fight the Dark King Saiyan Vegeta, but has no other choice.
- Foil: In the Heroes manga, to the Dark King Saiyan. King Vegeta sold his soul to the Dark Legion to have revenge on Frieza and Beerus and clashes with Bardock who tried to save the Saiyans but was ignored and has to use the power he was brainwashed with to fight him.
- HeelFace Turn:
- In the Heroes commercials, after escaping Mira and Towa's mind control as the Masked Saiyan, he joins the Time Patrol in Dragon Ball Heroes, sealing his arc in the video game series.
- In the Heroes manga, after being saved from being the Masked Saiyan, he becomes a lone wolf kind of warrior going his own way.
- Interpretative Character: Just like Towa, Mira and Fu, he has his own interpretation in every game he appears.
- Never Found the Body:
- His fate after breaking away from Mira's control is left quite open, Trunks suggests he was destroyed by his own power, but considering how well he handled himself to the point he didn't even seem to notice her transformed, this is unlikely. While a mentor Bardock exists, he doesn't appear to be the same Bardock that was being controlled as the Masked Saiyan.
- His fate after the fight with King Vegeta in the Heroes manga is left ambiguous, as is implied both of them died while fighting.
- Papa Wolf: Xenoverse 2 shows just how much he loved his youngest son:Black: Saiyan barbarian! I'll destroy you right now!
Bardock: What did you do to my kid!? Answer wrong and youll suffer!
- The Power of Hate: He succeeds in turning into three levels of Super Saiyan from none other than pure anger and disgust towards Mira and Towa for using him as a pawn.
- So Proud of You: In some What If? storylines in some video games, he ends up (somehow) fighting with Goku, Gohan, and Goten on separate occasions. No matter how badly you body Bardock's opponent, he always exclaims that he's proud of his lineage.