Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $9.98 US
Running Time: 48 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Like most Dragon Ball Z fans, I found myself not only infatuated with the characters that make up the Dragon Ball Z universe but also the mythos that makes up said universe. It’s a story of epic proportions to be sure and its hero is bigger than life itself and just as iconic as, say, Superman. So if the Dragon Ball series is like the Superman saga then Dragon Ball Z: Bardock The Father of Goku is like the final chapter in the life of Jor-El, Superman’s father.
Bardock The Father of Goku is a short feature that basically tells the story from the very beginning after the birth of Goku on the Planet Vegeta. The infant is regarded as inferior by all the doctors but one who sees this newborn – named Kakarrot – as a Saiyan destined for bigger things. Yes, he might be the son of a low-level soldier working for the mighty Freeza but there’s just something about the baby’s cries that makes him seem like this child will one day make a name for himself.
Meanwhile, Kakarrot’s father, Bardock, is overseeing a mission with his closest companions on the surface of the planet Kanassa. Massive ape-like warriors have invaded this planet and it is Bardock and his team that manages to not only repel the invaders but also slaughter them all. When the leader of the invaders is brought down by Bardock, this foe passes on a strange psychic power to Bardock. The foe calls it a curse for Bardock will witness great destruction as well as his own violent demise.
At first, the threat seems like empty words but Bardock feels the new power within him and while he is healing in a chamber he sees what the enemy had mentioned. He sees the total annihilation of Planet Vegeta and he sees death all around him. More importantly, though, he sees his son in those visions and he can see that he will become a great warrior but not in the same sense as him. At the same time, Bardock is awakened by his son’s cries of fear. Did Kakarrot see the visions as well?
Then there’s young Prince Vegeta, a powerful Saiyan who no longer wants to train but to go on missions. Freeza does send him on a mission far away and sends Bardock’s team – without Bardock – to a planet where the tragic events unfold. Bardock learns of the missions and sets off to join his team only to find a bloody massacre. He does manage to find his close companion and before he dies in his arms he tells him a shocking fact about the mission. It seems like they were betrayed and the culprit is the being looking to wipe out all Saiyans. Dragon Ball Z fans already know who this person is so I won’t be spoiling the fact that it was Freeza.
So begins Bardock’s final moments as he battles his team’s killers then faces off against Dodoria in an impressive battle that is brutal. Bardock is hit with another vision, one that involves his son and the words that inspire Bardock to make a final stand against Freeza. In one of the finest moments in Dragon Ball Z history, Bardock heads to Planet Vegeta as his son is sent off to Earth and goes up against Freeza in a final assault.
Dragon Ball Z: Bardock The Father of Goku is short, indeed, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on content. There are a few fights in this one as well but they’re monumental, bloody and wonderfully choreographed. More importantly, it’s a meaningful story of a man who risks it all in order to live up to his son’s expectations. This is also the perfect introduction to the Dragon Ball series so if you’re new to the Dragon Ball universe you should start with this one.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Bardock is a low-level soldier working for the most ungrateful boss in the universe but he’s not the type of man to complain. Yet when Freeza is convinced that the Saiyans are a threat to him, a double-cross leads to Bardock making his final stand.
VIDEO QUALITY: A
The video quality is actually better than my old copy of this feature so you will certainly love how this one looks on DVD.
AUDIO QUALITY: B+
The English dub voices and dialogue is actually good and does add more to the story than the original Japanese voices. I usually watch the Dragon Ball Z series in its original format but this one is done a tad better in English.
There are only a small handful of trailers here unless you consider the option to include the original Japanese music in your English dub setting an extra.
As far as short Dragon Ball Z features are concerned, Dragon Ball Z: Bardock The Father of Goku is brutal, poignant and worth every dollar. While the fight scenes are few but awesome, it’s the story of a man who wishes to redeem himself in front of the eyes of his infant son that is destined to take on the very enemy and defeat him.