Rightstuf synopsis from the Bardock/Trunks Double Feature:
Before there was Goku, there lived his father Bardock. A low-class Saiyan soldier under the command of Frieza, Bardock is attacked by the last of an alien race they are employed in destroying. Healing on his home planet of Vegeta, Bardock discovers he has been blessed with the ability to see into the future.
But the blessing soon becomes a curse, as the Saiyan finds himself haunted by visions: the tragic extermination of his own race and the destruction of their beloved planet, all at the hands of Frieza. Bardock sets off on nightmarish race with fate to avert the impending disaster. But as his strength fails and despair sets in, hope will be found in one last vision.
Bardock – A special character for the fans
With the upcoming Dragon Ball: Super coming to theaters, Toei Animation decided to hype the fans by bringing back 3 classic Dragon Ball Z movies. The first one is Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan, second is Bardock: The Father of Goku and lastly is Fusion Reborn. Bardock: The Father of Goku debuted in the U.S. in public television on November 10th, 2000. I remembered vaguely of this premiering after school on Toonami; this was before Toonami was on the weekends and it was after school and showing anime like Dragon Ball Z and YuYu Hakusho. While some may call it an anime movie, others say it is a TV special but whatever the case was, this was something different than a typical episode. Any Dragon Ball Z fan will know who is Bardock and the impact he left for fans when dealing with the long time villain Frieza. Bardock is a popular character to the fans that he has made it in video games. However, the new movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly is going change the way we see about Frieza and Bardock and the Saiyans. It is now revealed that Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama will be invovled with the movie and that means that the movie is a retcon. If you read the chapter Dragon Ball Minus in the manga “Jaco The Galactic Patrolman” and seen the second trailer of the Broly movie, you will see that this TV special is now noncanon and the new canon is the movie. Besides all this, let’s start the review of this special
Story – A story about the father
The story begins with the birth of Goku who is known as Kakarot in Planet Vegeta. Meanwhile, we see Bardock and his friends eradicating an alien race with psychic powers. The next day of the slaughter, Bardock and his friends relaxes on the destruction and celebrates. However, one of the survivors attacks Bardock and grants him the ability to foresee the future; this causes Bardock to collapse and in need to heal. While healing, Bardock gets a glimpse of the future and sees that his home planet Vegeta is destroyed by Frieza who will betray them. After he healed, he finds out that his friends were killed by Frieza’s minions led by Dodoria and he almost gets killed by him. Barely alive, Bardock decides to change the future of the Saiyans by confronting Frieza and fighting his army in hopes to saving the Saiyans and his son’s future.
Characters – Old Funimation Dub and the story of Bardock
The main focus of the story is Bardock instead of having Goku has the protagonist. Unlike Goku, Bardock is a hardened Saiyan who will fight and kill anyone who attacks him, but in a way like Goku, he gets mad whenever someone hurts his friends. His English voice is none other than Sonny Strait who is well-known for doing characters like Krillin in the series, Usopp from One Piece and even Maes Hugh in Fullmetal Alchemist. The dub for this was the original cast before Dragon Ball Z Kai existed when and this was the time when Funimation had only a few anime to dub. This means the voice of Frieza is done by Linda Young and not Chris Ayres. Vegeta and Nappa does appear in this special as well, but we don’t see Raditz. The new characters introduced to the special are Bardock’s friends Tora, Fasha, Borgos and Shugesh. Goku is also here as well, but most of the focus is on Bardock and Goku is still a baby.
Review – A Treasured piece of history about the Saiyans
For an old anime, this special episode is considered as a gem for Dragon Ball Z fans. As a fan, I was always curious about the Saiyans and why did Frieza really dislike them even though he worked with them. I like how we not only saw through the eyes of Goku’s father, but we got a glimpse of the Saiyan race. It was nice to see Vegeta and Nappa make an appearance, but I was surprised that Raditz never showed up to the special or no one acknowledged him. I like how slowly Bardock saw pieces of future and saw that not only that Planet Vegeta was in danger, but he could also see pieces of Goku’s future. These foreshadowings comes and goes and by the time the special is over, everything leads up to the future which it does happen: Goku is the one who will face Frieza. My favorite part is where Bardock fights Frieza’s army alone and defeats everyone. Seeing Bardock fight alone and showing his Saiyan Pride made me stand up from my seat and get close to my TV. No matter how many times I seen the tragic outcome of Planet Vegeta and Bardock, I still get mad whenever I see Frieza laughs as he killed the Saiyans and his own men. His actions here shows that Frieza is a cold blooded leader and reminds Dragon Ball Z fans that he is feared warrior across the galaxy.
The only complaint I have with this special was that I felt like it was way too short. I know it wasn’t a movie, but I felt like this special could have gone further in details. I know we got some information about Bardock, but I wanted to learn about the other characters. For example, I wanted to know about Frieza and how he formed mutual relationship with the Saiyans even though he was going kill them all. Personally, I would like to know about Raditz and where was he in the whole story. Even the we got to see Bardock’s friends who gave Bardock a fighting purpose, I didn’t really feel connected to them. I know they are Bardock’s friends and Bardock does care about them, but my emotions to them didn’t hit me.
Was Bardock: Father of Goku worth the watch? I say yes! Personally, I believe Dragon Ball Z fans should definitely take the time to watch this special. Having Bardock as the protagonist is an excellent choice to use when showing the past lives of the Saiyans. I would like to say that I wish we got more details about Bardock’s life before leading up to the important climax. I would have also said I wanted to learn about the Saiyans too, but then if that happened, then this special wouldn’t be called “Bardock: The Father of Goku”. Still, it felt good to watch a classic Dragon Ball Z moment and I watched it in Blu-Ray and it made the experience ten times better.
What’s your opinion towards this special? What do you want to see in the upcoming Broly film?