Bardock, Goku's father, who was supposed to have died when Freeza's attack hit him along with the Planet Vegeta, was sent way back in time where the planet was inhabited by strange creatures. There, he meets Freeza's ancestor, a space pirate named Chilled, and fights him to protect the planet.
In the Jump Anime Tour (version 2008) we received Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!, the first thing DB related in more than 13 years. And it was pretty good, since, only three years later in the Jump Festa 2012, we received Dragon Ball: Episode of Bardock, a 20-minute special that adapts the manga of the same name.
The story show us that Bardock, Goku's father (and Raditz too, but nobody cares about him, thx to team four stars :P), survives that ginormous attack launched by Freiza, that killed all his companions and destroyed planet Vegeta. If he didn't die... what happened to
him? In a weird turn of events, he time travel to the past. Yes people: he traveled through time, but not space. On a planet Vegeta (Plant in this time line) rather primitive, Bardock meets some purple aliens (that doesn't look like the saiyans or the tsufuru at all), and is cared by Ipana (village doctor) and his son, Berry. Soon after, two soldiers arrive, announcing that Plant now belongs to Chilled, universe emperor (and ancestor of Freezer, by the way). Bardock obviously kick their sorry mook asses, not because they're threatening the planet or the habitants, but just for the joy of crushing something similar to his original enemies. Receiving no response from his followers, Chilled decides to go to the planet himself, and Bardock will finally have the chance of revenge he desires so much...
So, story is not like "holy shit, what a great story!", but is in DB lines of quality. This special is also full of little details, like, for example, a healing pocion used in Plant will be the inspiration for the medical tanks used in Frieza's ships (remember those? Is where Vegeta's healed when he return from the Earth, and where Goku recovers after his fight with Ginyu). Of course, there are other stuff, but for a spoiler matter, I can't tell. There's also a little detail that change from the original story (it's so silly that it barely deserve mention, but since this is my review, I will do it anyways), and thats, in the intro, when Frieza destroy planet Vegeta. In this special, Zarbon and Dodoria are amused by the giant genocide, but in the original work, they're terrified by Frieza's madness (that was the whole point of the scene: showing how merciless Frieza was, that even his evil minions are scared).
Also, before actually watching this special, I was afraid that 20 minutes were way too short to adapt the story in a satisfactory way. Luckily, I was very wrong (maybe I had that impression since, in the original series, they needed like five eps to just charge energy xD), and everything flows nicely, with a very good pace.
Characters. Well, Bardock is a Saiyan. A real one, and that means he's wild and violent, but not sadistic or evil... we could say that, in behavior, he is in the middle between Goku and Vegeta. He even acts a little tsundere a few times! He's a bit confused about his current situation (since, you know... time travel is not that common... shut up, Trunks...), but he want to fight that Chilled dude and get some kind of revenge for what Frieza did to his peers (he kinda forgot that he had a premonition in which he saw his son, Goku, beating him xD). On the side of the good aliens, they all are quiet and kind, similar to the Namek people. None of them want to fight (even if they wanted to, they're a pack of little pushovers anyways), and they consider Bardock their hero for saving them for those damn soldiers. Berry, specially, appreciate him the most, and admire him a lot, even if Goku's father is kinda aggressive with him. On the side of the evil aliens, we have generic soldier with no personality besides being bullies. Chilled is very, very similar to Frieza, both in looks and behavior. Self-centered, sadistic, ruthless, childish and with no respect for any kind of life, he's the villain we all want to kill for being such a bastard.
The animation is excellent, Fluid, dynamic, blablabla all is very nice (pretty similar to the one in Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!). The character design... Well, Bardock's skin is a little darker than their sons (like Goku in DBGT... I wonder why that happens...), and the good aliens are a bit more cartoonish than the rest of the DB characters, but those are just little details (although, that Bradock thing really intrigues me...). Where I don't complain is with the bad dudes design: all the soldiers are from different races, all very diverse, but true to the style of the main series, specially compared to the great diversity seen in the Namek saga. Chilled is similar to their descendants, he's a sci-fi Napoleon, or better said, a dwarf conqueror... but a little more obese than Frieza or Cooler xD.
Sound. No opening, or ending, or music at all, except for the occasional in the background (and just for a few secs). The voices... well, I grew up with the superb latin dub, in which Goku (and by default, Bardock) was voiced by Mario Castañeda... that means, a guy (and what a great voice people, believe me. When Goku was serious and start to talk about serious stuff, he really inspired respect). It bothers me a little that the voice of the most powerful male in the universe is voiced by a woman (a pretty old woman)... but I’m supposed to be objective here, and, after all, Masako Nosawa is regarded as one of the best seiyuus ever. With the rest of the cast I have no problems, and Berry's voice is especially good (every time you listen to him you wanna hug him n_n). Chilled sounds pompous and arrogant, so he's good (same seiyuu as Frieza, of course).
And now the final words. I have to say that Bardock is a special dude. He started as the protagonist of a special chapter (fancy name for a longer filler), but the story ended up so good that Toriyama incorporate him to the series's canon. In his first appearance, he gained the ability to see the future (great skill/curse, depending on how you watch it). And in this special, an attack that should have killed him (disintegrated, actually!) just send him to the past. This fella is surely lucky. This is a great ep that show us one more time that Dragon Ball don't need to be eternal to be good :p. True to the style of the original series, full of action and several interesting fights, this special will appeal to all the DB fans. Truth to be told, I never understood why Bardock was so popular, but now i feel a renewed respect for the father of the strongest character in the history of the anime. Highly, highly recommended.
Almost every huge franchise has a few spinoffs that are REALLY bad and enrage the fandom. Star Wars had the Christmas Special. Superman had Superman 4: Quest for Peace and the 2006 Superman Returns. Dragonball has a fair number of bad spinoffs, but Bardock 2 released in 2011, may be the worst of the worst. Although GT is still pretty god damn horrible and in close competition.
SPOILERS! although, honestly you shouldn't bother seeing this shit anyways.
Plot and characters: 1/10
I have literally seen DBZ fanfiction that was better written than this piece of shit! Bardock is blasted by Freeza's giant death ball and for absolutely
no reason is sent back in time instead of disintegrated like the other several million individuals hit with the same death ball at that time. Bardock discovers a bunch of odd purple aliens that make the juice used in Freeza's healing tanks in the future. Bardock quickly learns that he was sent back in time, but seems entirely unphased by this. I guess he has come to expect terrible plot points from this writer, who also made Yo! Son Goku Returns. Freeza's ancestor appropriately named Chilled happens to attack the planet at the same moment Bardock arrives. Chilled kills some villagers and Bardock goes SSJ and beats Chilled in under 3 minutes. Really thrilling fight! (sarcasm). Chilled is blown back into space, but is able to board his ship, which BTW was on the ground at the time he got blasted up into space, and lives long enough to inform his children that there is a thing called a Super Saiyan. Here are a few problems. Firstly, the action in this movie is terrible and there is barely any at all. DBZ is a fighting anime! That is the entire reason we watch it! It is also odd the Chilled resembles Freeza's first form, which is not his natural form, but rather a form created to contain his massive power. This would indicate that Chilled can transform like literally every other member of his race, but he never even attempts to do so. I also disliked that in the first Bardock Special, Bardock gives a speech against Freeza's tyranny and has realized he was wrong for serving Freeza, but in Bardock 2, the scene is remade so Bardock says, "we were working together so well, why did you betray us?" This makes Bardock a LOT less likeable and goes against the canon of the first special. Neither are actually canon, but Bardock 2 exists in a canon completely by itself.
The music lacks any of the memorable tracks from DBZ original or Kai. It is simply lackluster all around. No epic transformation music for the first Super Saiyan, no awesome battle music. This OST sucked!
The art uses the same animation from Kai and actually looks pretty decent. That is the ONLY good thing about this special. The art looks "ok".
If you enjoy having your childhood ruined, then this is the TV special for you!
The music was mediocre and the art was decent, but the writing, plot, characters, action, and everything else was fucking horrible! I am convinced that the plot was chosen by lottery from a bunch of bad fanfictions written in a contest for children 12 and under. That is the only thing that could explain how shitty Bardock 2 is. I understand that the severe time limitation made it difficult to have an epic fight in the usual DBZ style, but it is possible to have good anime fights that are short. That is no excuse, just as there is no excuse for this special to exist!
Well, if Dragonball Kai disappointed you, then I would suggest turning your sights an something else, something actually new, but as long as your fan glasses aren't on, then this would be a must watch for any dragonball fan.
STORY: Long, long ago, Frieza blew some shit up, killed Goku's father (And every other saiyan on their home planet) and became a major asshole, but what if, what if Goku's father, Bardock, actually survived and instead was sent back so-and-so years ago and became the first of the legendary super saiyans of legend to exist or something along those lines. That is pretty much the premise
of this short OVA, and I'll be blunt, put aside my fanboy eyeglasses for a sec, and outright say: that's dumb, really dumb.
Dumb, yet very cool in a sense that if you don't think about it to much, and just go along with it. This ova isn't the pinnacle of DBZ's story potential (Blasting shit to kingdom come is), and honestly feels more like a tribute to Dragon ball than anything else. For starters, Bardock's personality is very similar to how Piccolo was when he was training Gohan after Goku's death back in the beginning of Dragonball Z, cold, antisocial, and does nothing but train, but slowly opens up to a youngster, in this case, a member of an alien species who are practicably existing for the purpose of hinting clues to the viewer where Bardock actually ended up.
And where he ended up is and where the story goes from there is practicably a homage to the original Goku Frieza conflict, where eventually, Bardock ends up becoming a super saiyan (Almost exactly how Goku did).
But, the simple story and meh build up isn't what the problem of this ova is, it's what any DBZ fan can point out, heck anyone for that matter. It's almost impossible for anyone to actually fall for this set up, Frieza "kills" Bardock, not some how blasts him through time, that's preposterous. What about every other person "killed" by Frieza for that matter, where'd they end up if could Bardock survive that blast and why just Bardock? Though it really isn't important, because this is nothing more than a nice pat on the head for dragon ball fans, despite how head scratching the premise.
And personally, I enjoyed this a lot, it's interesting from a canon point (If it's place in dragon ball's continuity isn't in question) and is just a nice treat for the fans of Bardock (All ten of them ha ha).
ANIMATION: Because this is where it makes up for the stories shortcomings, this is probably the best the dragon ball series has ever looked, bright and very colorful, nice and smooth animation, and a very well animated fight at the end (This also does a small loud out to the most popular of the dbz movie villains). If I'm going to complain, it would be the character designs, where everyone, but Bardock and other original dragon ball characters, look odd, and just silly (Even for dragon ball standards).
SOUND: Well, just your generic dragon ball japanese sound track playing, and the voice acting does a fair job, except Bardock himself, sounds very screechy, almost irritating, but makes it clear where Goku got his high pitched voice from.
+ A fun new dragon ball story.
+ Great animation, with an impressive fight at the end.
- If it mattered, there's a good amount of continuity problems that would bug any dragon ball fan.
- Premise is too far fetched to believe, db fan or not.
Maybe it's canon, maybe it's not (And it's definitely not), it's just entertaining and probably be best to be treated as one of those what if scenarios the games throw out, which at least it's a better crafted story than Spike the Devilman defeating Cyborg Frieza and his father.
Erase any context or connection to Dragon Ball. This is a story about a man too cool for friendship having a change of heart and fighting an uncannily sinister monster. Why, that sounds both riveting and perfectly suited for a 20 minute special, doesn't it? Spoiler alert: It isn't. Actual spoiler alert: This entire work was an excuse to look at SSJ Bardock, but save yourself the time and just look up fan art instead.
What this special tried to do was set up a plausible scenario for Bardock to achieve golden status, and simultaneously make him responsible for the legend of the Super Saiyan (I
think?). I remember being psyched for both of those reasons, as well as its prominence as a new, standalone piece of DB animation when it premiered, and above all else, enthralled at actually witnessing Bardock's transformation. However, upon revisiting it, there really isn't much of value to be found. They make no serious effort to present an engaging story or characters, and rely heavily on the backdrop of the franchise to create any amount of intrigue. This is still leagues better than the very similar GT special, because it does not deprive the viewer of action, nor does it drag on for longer than it needs to.
Watch this if you're a Dragon Ball completionist like myself, or in need of a hearty facepalm. Otherwise, you can easily find a better way to pass 20 minutes.