Bardock, Son Goku's father, is a low-ranking Saiyan soldier who was given the power to see into the future by the last remaining alien on a planet he just destroyed. He witnesses the destruction of his race and must now do his best to stop Frieza's impending massacre.
Unlike the other movies regarding the DBZ series, this one is different as it does not focus on Goku yet alone any other of the Z Fighthers.
Story - The Story of Bardock, The Father of Goku, takes place before the events of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z and explains how Goku wound up on Earth.
Bardock is a Saiyan who (with his other team members) want to rise from the tyranny of Frieza and make the Planet Vegeta a free place not ruled by Frieza.
Art - It is what you would expect from any Dragon Ball Z episode.
Sound - Pretty much what
I said above. But the voice direction and emotion from Bardock is top notch.
Character - Bardock, has got to be one of my more beloved DBZ characters....outside of the DBZ Fighters. He has that same never say die attitude as Goku, but that brash, ruthlessness as Vegeta. Just everything about him screams EPIC!!!
Enjoyment - I really enjoyed this DBZ special. You get to see how Goku wound up on Earth, what Bardock originally thought of his son and the Saiyan rebels try to take on Frieza.
Overall - For any fan of DBZ, you will love this special. I know I did.
Bardock: Father of Goku, is a 40 minute 'movie' that shows some backstory into Goku's father, Bardock (in case you didn't get that from the title). It begins in the aftermath of Bardock, a low level saiyan, and his squad, conquering a planet long desired by Frieza. As the saiyans celebrate there victory a final enemy appears and grants Bardock psychic powers before dying.
However this was meant as a curse for destroying his home, as Frieza is threatened by such low-level saiyans performing as well as his elite soldiers. Bardock must now watch horrifying visions of his own planet's destruction as punishment. However his
visions of the future also show Kakarot's (Goku's) future, giving Bardock hope as he believes Goku will be the one to defeat Frieza.
Bardock as a character is one of the most 'real' characters in the entire Dragonball Z series. As he is portrayed as neither particularly good or evil. He initially shows little interest in the birth of his son and commits genocide in the name of Freiza like any other saiyan. But later on shows clear concern for his squad and his home planet. He's not a saint like Goku, but neither is he as ridiculously evil as saiyans were portrayed early on in DBZ.
If that isn't enough of a reason to watch the movie, there's also kawaii Vegeta and Nappa with hair. But no Raditz, because seriously who gives a fuck about Raditz.
The movie is definitely worth the 40 minutes it takes to watch it. The movie could technically be watched at any point in Dragonball Z, as it is set before the beginning of Dragonball and contains no spoilers for the rest of the series. However I would recommend watching around episode 43 of Dragonball Z (episode 20 in kai) as it acts as a good introduction to Frieza, Dodoria and Zarbon.
Bardock - The Father of Goku is actually a DBZ movie that you will hear me say is good, but don't get too use to hearing me say things like that. The biggest problem that I have with DBZ is its redundancy. This movie however, doesn't follow the classic trend which is that recycled and disturbing pattern that folks like myself have grown to hate. Another problem with the movies is the lack of main storyline continuity. Most of the movies appear to exist outside of the storyline. This doesn't appear to be the case with this movie, as it seems more to be a
side story or a prequel to the Frieza Saga.
This movie has an overall different feel. The dark tone is a nice change from the campy attitude of the series. It doesn't feel like DBZ in the opening scenes, and at times, it doesn't feel like it at all. The movie opens up with a decent battle involving the Saiyans in great ape form demolishing an entire race. The movie keeps the same violent tone through out and the comedy is kept rather low.
Surprisingly, the action scenes are minimal, but what little bit is here can be fairly entertaining. The battles aren't very long and they don't contain the re-used cel formula simulating quick combat. Therefore, the animation is decent. The artwork is about on the same level as the TV series, with plenty of reused models from the series. The rock soundtrack does a great job adding a spark to the action scenes. In fact, the overall BGM compliments the mood very well on all levels.
The most interesting part of this movie would be the character development of Bardock. For a DBZ movie, you will never, ever, see character development like this. The change that Bardock goes through is very believable. The ability to see into his future was a well used plot device, which never seemed forced and I believe it was added strength to the ending. It's amazing really, but after re-watching the movie and thinking about it, this single character proved to be more interesting than quite possibly all of DBZ's bloated up cast.
The story adds a good amount of background but the only problem is that it all feels unnecessary. This entire situation was covered in the Frieza Saga, to include all loose ends were tied up there. I don't believe this movie will reveal anything new to someone whom has seen the series; but to a casual fan, perhaps this could force them into giving the series a try, since some of the main story is delivered.
In closing, I ONLY recommend this movie to fans of the series. New fans whom are very curious on learning about DBZ are better off coming into the series, or beginning with Dragon Ball; but be warned, coming into DBZ in general will be terribly time consuming and there are plenty of classic anime titles to surf through that I feel are more rewarding.
Highs: Doesn't follow normal DBZ pattern, dark tone, soundtrack
Lows: Could have used more action, kind of unnecessary