Bardock (バーダック, Bādakku) is a low-class Saiyan warrior, the mate of Gine, and the father of Raditz and Kakarot (Goku) and is the paternal grandfather of Gohan and Goten, and the paternal great-grandfather of Pan and the father-in law of Chi-Chi. He makes his debut as the main protagonist of the 1990 TV special Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku. His life before his appearance in the special is unknown, but he is shown to lead his own squad into battle, and they are very successful in accomplishing their assignments. He is an adept fighter and a devoted Saiyan Army soldier under Frieza's Planet Trade Organization, until he realizes that Frieza plans the annihilation of the Saiyan race. Given to him by the last Kanassan warrior was the ability to see into the future, and it is through these visions that he sees the eventual Genocide of the Saiyans.
The special is the story of Bardock, a low-class Saiyan warrior. At the outset of the story, his son Kakarot is born on Planet Vegeta, and prepared to be sent to Earth in order to destroy all life on the planet. Meanwhile, Bardock and his crew are on an assignment to exterminate all the life forms of Planet Kanassa. After the planet is seemingly devoid of all other life, Bardock and crew rest up and celebrate their victory... Until one remaining warrior catches him off guard and decides to give him the "gift" of seeing the future. This gives him the ability to see the destruction of Planet Vegeta, and almost the entire Saiyan race along with it, at the hands of their master, Frieza. Also, he sees the salvation of the planet Earth through his son Kakarot.
Meanwhile, this prediction becomes reality when Frieza decides to destroy the entire Saiyan race. Within Frieza's spaceship, Frieza is being briefed by his top two henchmen, Zarbon and Dodoria, in regards to the occurrences in their routine interplanetary galactic trade and conquering. Recent news reveals that the Saiyans' strength constantly grows after each battle. Zarbon informs Frieza that a band of low-class Saiyans had taken over Kanassa in just a few days. Dodoria states that the job to take Kanassa had been in the pool for months, and that not even Frieza's elite squadrons could take Kanassa so easily. Frieza, Zarbon, and Dodoria contemplate the fate of the Saiyans due to the growing power of the species and decide to take action in order to avoid further repercussions, as the Saiyans might pose a great threat to them in the future. Zarbon advises Frieza to eliminate the growing threat before it poses a greater problem. Dodoria and his elite fighters are ordered to eradicate Bardock and his teammates.
Bardock dismisses the visions he had, and goes to join his team on Planet Meat, but soon discovers his friends are all dead. Bardock's team was massacred by Frieza's henchman Dodoria and his elites. He battles the ones responsible, and defeats them all, but is easily overwhelmed by a single mouth blast from Dodoria. He is left severely injured, but manages to make it back to Planet Vegeta. Though Bardock attempts to convey the danger that they are all in to the other Saiyans, since he has now realized that Frieza is going to destroy them all, everyone laughs at his claim and Bardock alone begins one final assault against Frieza.
Killing many of his minor soldiers and sending the Final Spirit Cannon to Frieza himself, Bardock seems about to change the future. However, Frieza counters this with his Supernova, which seemingly kills Bardock, many of his own soldiers, and destroys Planet Vegeta itself, all while uttering a maniacal laugh. As he is dying, Bardock sees one more vision of the future: his son Kakarot facing Frieza. Being assured that Kakarot would be the one to kill Frieza; Bardock gives a small smile as he disintegrates along with the planet. As the planet is on the verge of blowing up, Frieza continues laughing at its destruction, as well as telling Dodoria and Zarbon to watch the "beautiful fireworks" (in the English version, he reacts as though he were watching a spectacular performance from a play, though this is corrected in future dubs of this scene). After his demise, Bardock wishes his son, Kakarot, to take care. At the same moment, Kakarot, who is still in the space pod, wakes up.
Episode of Bardock
Bardock travels back in time to when Planet Vegeta is called Planet Plant. He is cared for by Ipana, and his son Berry. Suddenly, he sees Frieza's spaceship, knowing it's not possible. Bardock goes to and easliy defeats some soldiers in the village. He flies off after the villagers thank him. Berry comes and brings him food, but Bardock just sends him off. However, Bardock's hunger makes him eat. Berry brings another basket of food for Bardock to eat. A third time, he sits down and learns Bardock's name while eating. Some time later, mysterious people arrive, claiming they are the "Intergalactic Peacekeepers", however, Berry tells Bardock about them, just as the "peacekeepers", explode their village. Berry pleads to Bardock to save his village, which he accepts. He goes to the village, taking out some of the soldiers. The leader reveals himself as Chilled, who Bardock mistakes for Frieza. He attacks him, and gets beaten down. Berry tells Chilled to stop as he is about to throw the final blow. Chilled strikes it at Berry instead of Bardock. Bardock remembers his friends' decimation on Planet Meat, igniting his transformation to a Super Saiyan. After ascending to this new power, he easily over-whelms Chilled, and later blasts him into space. Chilled pleads to his crew that they warn his family of the "blonde super being known as a saiyan", then he dies. Bardock then walks off into the sunset as Berry looks on, ending his story.
Elsewhere, having just completed an assignment on a far-off world, Vegeta is informed by Nappa (in the English version it is one of Frieza's minor soldiers who tells him) of his home-world's destruction. His pride keeps him from expressing his shock, and he remains outwardly emotionless. Soon afterward, Kakarot's space pod touches down on Earth, where he is found by an elderly man named Gohan, and giggles happily in the old man's arms. Gohan then decides to care for the boy as his own grandson, and renames him Goku. The film ends with
a montage of Goku's many heroic deeds on Earth, leading to his battle with Frieza.
Dragon Ball Minus
Bardock is shown very differently than how he had been shown in the movie. in Dragon Ball Minus which serves as a prequel to the manga. Bardock is still a low-class Saiyan mercenary who leads a small platoon comprised of four other Saiyan soldiers like in Bardock - The Father of Goku: Tora, Fasha, Borgos, and Shugesh. However he has a wife named Gine who was also part of Bardock's Team at one point. Together, the team makes a living by traveling to various planets where they decimate the defenses of these civilizations and prepare them for Frieza's Planetary Market not unlike the movie. Bardock was famous for his bravery even among the Saiyans. After being saved on the battlefield by him several times, Gine developed some feelings for Bardock. Due to her gentle nature and low power level, Gine was not cut out for fighting and retired. Her gentle nature has also changed Bardock's behavior, as Saiyans usually do not demonstrate care for their children but Bardock does. Bardock and Gine already had two sons by the time of the destruction of Planet Vegeta. The pair of Bardock and Gine were joined by a bond other than for reproductive purposes as they were also romantically involved.
In Dragon Ball Minus Bardock and one of his comrades are in battle against aliens on another planet when they receive a message on their Scouters ordering all Saiyans back to Planet Vegeta. The two head back to planet Vegeta, noticing Frieza's spaceship hovering in orbit above the planet which makes Bardock believe that Frieza must have a hidden agenda. Bardock reunites with Gine, and asks if their son, Kakarot, is still in his incubator which he has been for three years and thus will be released soon. Later at night, Bardock steals an Attack Ball, and he and Gine send Kakarot away to Earth, also deciding to inform Raditz about this. Frieza destroys Planet Vegeta a month after Kakarot has been sent away.
Consistent with Raditz's quote in a chapter of the Dragon Ball manga as well as Frieza's when he first met Goku, Bardock's appearance is very similar to Goku's: he has unkempt hair which partially stands on end, but Bardock has a scar on his left cheek however. Bardock's oldest son Raditz inherits his eyes and complexion. In Dragon Ball Minus, Bardock wears Battle Armor with shoulder pads and boots. In Bardock - The Father of Goku, he wears black and green Battle Armor, and a green scouter on his left eye. Later on, he wears Tora's blood soaked armband as a headband when he fights Dodoria's Elite on Planet Meat.
In Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru's original character design, Bardock had a longer scar, his hair was more spiked (similar to Vegeta's hair), his Battle Armor was a lighter shade of green, and it had three or four flaps at the waist, and did not wear the long-legged jumpsuit he has in Akira Toriyama's final design for the 1990 TV special.
Bardock's name, like all other Saiyan characters, is a pun on edible plant material, in this case the burdock herb (this pun is more apparent in the Dragon Ball manga, where the character's name is literally spelled Burdock). Bardock's family are all named after root vegetables (burdock, onion, radish, and carrot).
Bardock is one of three members of the team whose name was not completely changed from Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru's design. The other being Panbukin (Shugesh in the American dub) and Toma (Tora in American dub).
The word "burdock" transliterated into katakana is badokku (バードック, bādokku), but the character's name is written as Badakku (バーダック, Bādakku), changing the 'do' character to 'da'. This character change actually makes the kana sound more like "Bardock" to English speakers, making it difficult to accurately romanize the word to convey the pun. The word could be Romanized as "Burdock", "Barduck", "Badack" or any combination of these syllables. While Viz's English publications of the manga use the spelling "Burdock", the FUNimation dub of Bardock - The Father of Goku and the original Japanese version of Dragon Ball: Episode of Bardock both spell his name "Bardock". "Bardock" is also how Frieza pronounces his name while speaking aloud during the Frieza Saga of FUNimation Entertainment's Dragon Ball Z English dub.
In Dragon Ball Minus, Bardock displays a social attitude, being more expressive and greeting other Saiyans after arriving in his homeworld. It is also shown Bardock deeply cares about his son and decides to send him to another planet to save him from the destruction of Planet Vegeta, an action he says that is due to Gine's softness rubbing off on him. Bardock also cares for the members of his team, a fact evidenced by Gine, who had a gentle personality and wasn’t cut out as a warrior, being repeatedly saved from danger by Bardock.
In the movie Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku, Bardock displays personality traits fairly typical of Saiyans. He is warlike, but compared to other Saiyans, who are cold-hearted and of simple thoughts, he also happens to possess calm judgment and a small measure of humanity. Because of his actions of saving his companions, which is rare for a Saiyan, he is greatly adored among a portion of the low-class warriors. Unlike a typical Saiyan, most having little care for comrades, Bardock deeply cares for the members of his team, and is enraged after finding them killed on planet Meat, particularly Tora during their last conversation. He is somewhat cocky, loves fighting, and will kill in cold blood. He has a laid-back and fearless personality (which he passed onto his son Goku); as evidenced by him and his crew accepting missions that baffle even Frieza's elite soldiers, and his taking responsibility in confronting Frieza alone. He is a highly capable tactician in battle, able to perceive the situation at hand and act accordingly with it, as shown from his ability to out-maneuver Frieza's men.
Until the Kanassan's gift of foresight begins changing his life, Bardock thinks fairly little of himself being a father, and so he generally does not acknowledge his newborn son Kakarot except when the child is a topic of conversation among his platoon, and when he begins experiencing visions of an up-and-coming Kakarot. However, in Dragon Ball Minus, Bardock displays a more social attitude, even greeting other Saiyans after arriving in his home planet. Later, is shown Bardock deeply caring about his son to save him from the destruction of the their planet, an action he says that it is due to Gine's softness which spread all over him. Bardock was famous for his bravery even among the Saiyans. He notably showed his bravery when he saw his impending doom; instead of fleeing for his own life, he chose to stay behind and fight to the death.
In the manga Episode of Bardock, Bardock keeps his sociality, unlike its anime counterpart, Bardock says his name to Berry right after the latter asked him. But also shows a little of stubbornness, when Berry offers him a basket of food and he denies it even being hungry, but soon Bardock starts to accept Berry's persistence and becomes softer with the child. When Plantians thanked Bardock for Chilled's defeated, Bardock replies them with just a smile.
At the time Planet Vegeta and the Saiyan Army still existed, Bardock was in the upper ranks as far as low-class warriors go but his power was not enough for him to become a mid-class warrior.
In Bardock - The Father of Goku, near the time of his final confrontation with Frieza, Bardock had a power level of 10,000, which is said to rival that of King Vegeta. It is likely that Bardock was the most powerful lower-class Saiyan soldier of his time. This is backed by his ability to defeat Dodoria's Elite, despite being outnumbered four to one, as well as surviving Dodoria's Mouth Energy Wave. Later on, the heavily-wounded Bardock fights through hundreds of Frieza's troops on his own in an effort to reach Frieza's ship (the power levels of the soldiers were not revealed). According to the Dragon Ball Carddass, Bardock's power level in the special is 9,000 while Frieza's Soldiers are at 10,000.
He later attains the Super Saiyan transformation, which amplifies his power level dramatically, enough to defeat Frieza's ancestor Chilled.
According to his arcade mode in Dragon Ball Z: Shin Budokai - Another Road, Bardock's fighting strategy involves using his scouter to determine his opponent's power, and then he comes up with the most efficent way to fight them.
- Planet Vegeta exploding.
- Frieza gloating at the sight of the destruction.
- Goku being found by Grandpa Gohan.
- Master Roshi training Goku and Krillin.
- A series of miscellaneous events from Dragon Ball.
- Goku vs. Piccolo at the World Tournament.
- Goku using the Kaio-ken during his battles against Nappa and against Vegeta.
- Meeting Goku on Namek.
- Goku about to confront Frieza on Namek.
- Goku fighting King Piccolo
Not every vision that Bardock has will come true. Some happen and others do not happen. Bardock the father of Goku showed Bardock not having contral over his power to see the future. But Bardock does have contral over that power now.
- In a chapter of the Dragon Ball manga, Raditz alludes to Bardock when commenting that Goku "look[s] just like [their] father".
- In the Ocean Group dub of Dragon Ball Z, Bardock is described by Vegeta as having been "an average fighter, but a brilliant scientist," despite Bardock's ventures into sciences being absent from the manga and all subsequent dubs of the anime.
- Bardock claims that he can remember his actions in his Great Ape form in the English version.
- Bardock has never mentioned his first son Raditz in the TV special, although one of his earliest lines in response to what day his son was born ("No, but that was a long time ago") may refer to Raditz, as he is significantly older than the then-day old Kakarot. However, Bardock asks about Raditz in Dragon Ball Minus.
- Bardock is one of the few Saiyans to have gone to outer space and breathe normally, while fighting Frieza and his men.
- Bardock was the first originally-filler character to later be included in a panel of the manga.
- In a flashback during the Frieza Saga, it is shown that during Bardock's confrontation with Frieza, all of the men behind him were part of his army to defeat Frieza. However, in Bardock - The Father of Goku, it is shown that those are all actually Frieza's men, and Bardock fought his way through them to get to Frieza.
- In the same flashback, Bardock is quoted as saying "I would rather be a free man in my grave than living as a puppet or a slave", word-for-word lyrics from Jimmy Cliff's 1972 hit "The Harder They Come".
- The first episode of Dragon Ball Z Kai shows a scene from the TV special, Bardock - The Father of Goku, in which Bardock is fighting thousands of Frieza's men and then confronts Frieza. For some reason, the scene is mirrored.
- A commercial advertising Dragon Ball Z Kai on Nicktoons shows Bardock when he forms the blast about to attack Frieza. No blood is present, and Bardock's scar is missing from his face.
- In the Episode of Bardock movie, when Bardock launches his Final Spirit Cannon at Frieza, his armor is intact, but when he charges the attack, it is damaged.
- Bardock's time travel is possibly an unexpected reaction between his newfound gift to view the future and the massive energy from Frieza's Supernova.
- Goku is standing by Frieza in his first form in Bardock's last vision of Goku while in fact, Goku only sees Frieza in his final form.
- It is possible the reason Frieza was in his first form in Bardock's last vision because Bardock only ever saw Frieza in his first form.
- The way Bardock tries to warn the Saiyans about Frieza destroying them all in the 1990 TV special is similar to how Jor-El from Superman tries to inform his people of Krypton's destruction. The 2014 Dragon Ball Minus manga further increases the similarities between Bardock and Jor-El.