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Is DBS Bardock Really A Good Guy As The Fandom Thinks?

WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers from the Granolah arc of the Dragon Ball Super Chapter Manga. Read ahead at your own discretion!

Chad Bardock is the epitome of a badass. A fan-favorite character that inspired numerous fan-fics about Goku meeting him in the afterlife.

One of my favorites is Rising Fist’s “Old man Goku meets his parents”. Do check it out! (I dare you to watch it and not cry)

Dragon Ball Super Chapter 77 gave us the Bardock backstory we’ve been waiting for. Personally, I’ve been waiting for this ever since the tease in Chapter 68.

However, the fandom is divided once again, comparing DBZ Bardock from the TV Special with DBS Bardock.

To be honest, looking at the Twitter rampage every time a Chapter spoiler drops is getting old. People aren’t patient enough to wait for the complete chapter to release and tend to jump to conclusions then and there.

Dragon Ball YouTuber MasakoX, in his recent video, spoke the truth on the whole matter. Do watch it for more context.

Now that I’ve got it out of the way, let’s get down to business.

PS: This insanely cool featured image is made by @ravencrest_212 on Instagram! Do go and check out his content!

Before that, let me give a brief outline on the creation of both versions of Bardock and then get into the good stuff.

The Making of Bardock

Just to make things clear, the 1990 TV Special “Bardock: The Father of Goku” (as it was called in the Dub) was an Anime only and has no Manga panels rooted behind the story.

But the series creator Akira Toriyama loved the special so much that he decided to incorporate the Character of Bardock in the official canon.

Dragon Ball Z Chapter 113 – Frieza recollects Bardock, a Saiyan who looks similar to Goku

Toei Animation’s Takao Koyama & Katsuyuki Sumisawa wrote the script while Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru originally came up with Bardock the character, his design and the designs of his crew members.

Toriyama took those designs and redid them, making opinions on what color Saiyan hair should be as well as altering the characters’ names.

For Bardock, too, I designed him, but after I drew the first rough sketch and got it checked, Sensei, I got this back from you. (Note: See p.138, Toriyama-sensei’s memo about Bardock)

Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru, Toei Animation (Interview with Akira Toriyama for the TV Anime Guide)

Later in 2013, Toriyama wrote “Dragon Ball Minus” as a bonus chapter to the Jaco: The Galactic Patrolman Manga. Since then, fans have been having this face-off between Nakatsuru’s and Toriyama’s version of Bardock.

I don’t recall a lot about the exact contents of the anime, but I do remember it being quite well done. So I used that setting in the main story, as well.

Akira Toriyama, Super Q&A with Naho Ooishi

As you can see from the above quote, Toriyama used the TV Special as the basis for DB Minus.

This also implies that DBS Bardock is based on DBZ Bardock.

Just to clarify, DBS Bardock is the full canon version that appears in the Manga henceforth whereas DBZ Bardock is not entirely canon.

Toriyama also said he’d drawn the story a little more light-hearted if he were the one who wrote the script for the TV Special.

When I saw the finished episode, I remember feeling a good bit of admiration. With my works, I prefer lighthearted fare, so I have a tendency to avoid serious material. Even if I had written about the same past, it would have become lighter in tone by far.

I really like the story of Bardock, Goku’s father. It’s quite dramatic, and the kind of story “I absolutely wouldn’t draw” if it were me. It was like watching a different kind of Dragon Ball in a good way, so I thought it was nice.

Akira Toriyama on the Bardock Special

Now, you may think “Bruh, why did he make it more ‘light-hearted’? It was fine the way it was. Why change it?”

See, it is the original author’s take on the character’s story. He did not write the script for the TV Special. Of course, he had that Bardock in mind while adding him into the Manga canon.

But is it a retcon? No. The DBZ Manga only had 2 panels where Bardock shows up. One was where he confronts Frieza (image above) and the other was where he died. Raditz also mentions by saying that Goku looks like their father. But that’s pretty much it.

There was no mention of Bardock’s characteristics and behavioral patterns in the Manga.

One can argue that “No! Raditz, in the Saiyan Saga, said Goku was sent on a mission to take over Planet Earth” You may consider this as a retcon.

The counter for that is this – Gine only mentioned to Raditz that she sent off Kakarrot in a pod. But never stated the reason. Raditz just assumed his brother was sent to a distant planet in order to conquer it. So it fits well into the earlier stated lore.

So what is the story of Dragon Ball Super Bardock? Let’s analyze that now!

Analyzing the story of DBS Bardock Vs DBZ Bardock

Toriyama’s interpretation of Bardock’s story in the Broly film, like the TV Special, has a melancholy connotation.

DBZ Bardock’s crew was murdered by Dodoria’s men before Planet Vegeta’s destruction whereas the crew of the DBS counterpart died along with the planet. In fact, that’s even worse when you think about it.

Even if the other Saiyans mocked him, Toma and the others would have backed up Bardock when he charged at Frieza. In the Broly film, however, we see Bardock as the solitary warrior attempting to stop Frieza’s genocidal plan.

Leek and the others were on the planet. That means they didn’t give two shits about accompanying their comrade in defending their home planet against the Galactic tyrant.

Even with the respect Bardock has amongst the low-class warriors for saving some of them many a time, no one, not even his own crew believed him.

DBZ Bardock thought his son, who had a power level of 2, was worthless. However, based on the visions he saw of him, he thought that Kakarrot would be the one to avenge his people. He only considered his son as a weapon of retaliation.

However, DBS Bardock didn’t think like that. With Gine’s insistence, he gave Kakarrot his name and later on had to see him away with his own eyes.

He and Gine actually wanted to accompany him, but alas, their wish couldn’t be granted for fear of being tracked down. The separation was more painful than the earlier depiction of the story.

Of course, there’s this whole comparison of Dragon Ball Minus with Superman’s origin story and the accusations of the former being a rip-off of the latter.

Hot take: Dragon Ball Minus did it better. Muhahahaha.

Jokes aside, there are similarities and differences which I won’t go much into detail about. Let’s just say All Might from My Hero Academia has more in common with Superman than Goku.

Anyway, let’s get into the latest flashback Chapter of Dragon Ball Super and get some insights.

Is Dragon Ball Super Bardock kind-hearted?

DBS Bardock is just as savage as DBZ Bardock but with more character depth, connecting to Goku as a plot point. Before you attempt to throw stones at me, let me explain.

Both versions of Bardock appeal to me. With Chapter 77, I believe the authors are introducing the fan-favorite character to new interesting storylines.

In Dragon Ball Super Chapter 77, Bardock doesn’t care about Goku as much. He didn’t even bother to show up at the time of his birth. Gine even says “Do Saiyan men show any signs of emotion?” DBZ Bardock has these characteristics as well.

Toriyama explains the qualities of Bardock in an interview after the Jaco Manga came out:

Q: The Saiyans [as a whole] appear warlike, but what sort of personality does Bardock have?

A: Of course, Bardock is a Saiyan, too, so 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.

Akira Toriyama, Super Q&A with Naho Ooishi

A Saiyan saving his companions is a rare specimen indeed. Vegeta killed Nappa because he was weak. King Vegeta threatened to kill Paragus. People like Tarble are also an exception because of the atmosphere he grew up in.

The small measure of humanity caused him to do acts which even he wasn’t able to understand – Saving Granolah, Muezli and Monaito and furiously attacking the Heeters after Elec killed Muezli.

Right – Bardock’s response to why he sparred Granolah and Muezli
Left – Bardock questions why he got angry when Muezli died

These actions were completely instinctual and were not planned in advance. It is as it is and it’s simple as that. It wasn’t like Bardock wanted to recall those memories of Gine when Muezli was shooting at him. They just happened.

Bardock, at his core, is a ruthless murderer. Wiping out civilizations is part of his job. Heck, even after the whole Granolah episode, he and Leek went on to kill a bunch of aliens on another Planet before returning to Planet Vegeta on the order of Frieza.

The guy even transformed into a great ape to massacre them. So yeah, DBS Bardock is still ruthless as the DBZ counterpart.

Saving Granolah and the others was a rare scenario amongst the constant battles and annihilations. Gine asked an interesting question when Bardock decided to send away their son in a pod.

Gine: Why are you going through so much trouble? It’s not like a Saiyan man to worry about his Children. So what has gotten into you?

Bardock: I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m constantly fighting… destroying… and I’d like to save something for once.

Dragon Ball Super: Broly Funimation Dub

Sounds like an ordinary statement but it isn’t. Each living being has a basic set of instincts by which it thrives within its environment.

Human beings, through various forms of evolution by natural selection, acquired instincts from their predecessors namely, to satisfy their eating, sleeping, mating and defending urges.

The new quality acquired by the human race is the ability to use their intelligence to facilitate these instincts in a more comfortable and grand manner than the animals.

Amongst the humans, different people, according to their sub instincts or qualities, use their talents to satisfy the said urges.

For example, the scholarly or philosophically-minded people have a basic instinct to read more and more – the intellectual class.

The mindset of sports personalities is physical workout, competitive, energetic and reflexive – the athletic class.

The business class always think about how to produce quality good/services and sell at a profit.

Similarly, the Saiyans, being a warrior race, have the basic instinct of fighting and protecting.

Dragon Ball Super Broly Director Tatsuya Nagamine spoke about these instincts or the pure nature of Saiyans in a 2019 interview:

Q: As a director, what were you thinking with your depiction of the Saiyans?

A: I think this movie starts after they’ve lost their original pride as a warrior race. During the flashback scene, Bardock is really the only pure warrior race Saiyan. Freeza’s army tamed all the others.

Rather than a warrior race’s pride per se, I think Bardock maintains something of their pure nature. Broly, Goku, and Vegeta left Planet Vegeta as children, so they’ve gone on living with that pure Saiyan aspect intact. Vegeta lived on Planet Vegeta from his earliest memories, so he has princely pride that interferes a bit, but I consider Goku and Broly to be truly pure Saiyans and have depicted them as such.

Tatsuya Nagamine, V-Jump interview, 2019
All Saiyans have these primal instincts of fighting and protecting, but how they act on those instincts is another matter.

Goku satisfies his thirst for battle by combating various evildoers because the strongest fighters out there turn out to be baddies.

Chapter 63 – Goku’s way of satisfying his instincts

Through Grandpa Gohan and the Earth’s effect on the Saiyan, Goku fought to get stronger and protect the weak and loved ones.

In the case of other Saiyans, say Vegeta, he chose to satisfy those instincts through ruthlessly killing and protecting himself and his pride.

Therefore, primal instincts can be satisfied through moral and immoral ways. Bardock had a mix of both, though the immoral way was used the most.

But unlike Saiyan Saga Vegeta, he had a sense of comrade-ness and protecting not only himself but a few others within his circle.

Gine was soft-hearted since the beginning. She wasn’t cut out to be a fighter so the “protective and caring” instinct of a mother was dominant. And those qualities rubbed onto Bardock.

Dragon Ball Minus

Tl;Dr: Bardock is not exactly a kind-hearted person. He’s still a savage with a pinch of goodness.

He still went around killing people left and right but those acts of saving a few creatures and his son were instinctual and not planned out. Gine also had an influence on the Saiyan.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room.

Did Bardock influence Goku to become the person that he is today?

The only thing Goku received from Bardock is the Saiyan instincts of fighting and protecting. How he chose to satisfy those instincts is mostly due to Grandpa Gohan and the Earthly atmosphere.

In other words, Gohan and Earth molded Goku into the person that he is today.

Goku confirms this in Chapter 77 where he says he doesn’t know much about the Saiyans and it was his Grandpa who raised him. He also says he is indifferent to his father and his actions in the past.

Incidentally, this is also the authors telling us, through Goku, that Vegeta doesn’t have to carry the sins of his ancestors and Saiyans are not destined to die. Check out this article for an in-depth analysis of Vegeta’s character growth in the Granolah arc.

After arriving on Earth, Goku was quite rough and nasty with Gohan. The latter even said it’d be dangerous if he wasn’t a martial artist. As a result, he determined to teach Goku some etiquette. The struggle lasted until Goku fell down a gully and banged his head.

DBZ Chapter 3

Toriyama once said that if it wasn’t for this accident, Goku might have continued to remain untamed.

Koyama:
You had the concept that when Goku was a baby, he hit his head and forgot his objective of world domination, right?

Toriyama:
Ah, that’s right. Naturally, it’s something I thought up after the fact. (laughs)

Koyama:
But, if Goku hadn’t injured his head then, Goku/Kakarrot would have annihilated the Earth, wouldn’t it?

Toriyama:
Yes… I suppose so. (laughs)

Akira Toriyama × Takao Koyama × Masako Nozawa, Round-Table Discussion, TV Anime Guide: Dragon Ball Tenka’ichi Densetsu

Goku’s head injury gave him a reset button in life and Grandpa Gohan’s teachings played a huge huge role in shaping up his character. Also, the atmosphere on Earth rubbed onto Goku. It changed him as he continued on his journey right from early dragon ball.

As he traveled far and wide & met more people, he slowly gained knowledge and experience, including his moral compass.

Bardock’s and Gine’s genes gave him a base, so to speak. How to take it from there is entirely up to the offspring.

According to Eastern Philosophy, aside from the basic Gunas or modes of nature you carry from your previous life, the type of person you become in life depends on the association around you. It includes people, atmosphere, vibrations, the stuff you eat, etc.

In simple words, if you hang around with thugs, you tend to become one. If you hang around with law-abiding citizens, you become obedient.

You might bring up the whole nurture vs. nature debate. In the manga, Roshi expresses his thoughts as follows:

DBZ Chapter 3 – Roshi and the others say to Raditz that Goku isn’t one of them (Savage Saiyans)

This panel is really important as Roshi makes an interesting statement – “Goku’s not just an Earthling but the best I know”. This is an example of how proper nurturing could shape a character permanently than just genes.

Also, notice how Saiyans exist in both Universe 6 and 7 but their fates are completely different.

The Saiyans in both the Universes started off at the same point. Both are warrior races. The landscape of their home planets is nearly identical. And both have 2 moons revolving around. Their uniforms were identical and both the Planets are called Sadala.

In one Universe, they chose to use their abilities for murder and profit, while in the other, they opted to save and serve the helpless.

Chapter 8 – Single beginning, two different paths

Based on the quality of people and the type of association, Universe 6 Saiyans turned out to be a peaceful race who are committed to the welfare of the society and their Universe 7 counterparts turned out to be a savage race, surrounded by destruction and business mentality.

Both have the same nature and instincts but their qualities and choice of action took them in different and opposite directions.

Similarly, Goku is the Bardock he could have been. But the head injury, Grandpa Gohan and the Earth took him into places where utilized his fighting instincts in a peaceful manner. Bardock continued to kill whereas Goku decided to protect.

Goku also took Bardock’s ability to influence others. Bardock’s nature of saving his comrades earned the respect of a few low-class warriors and gained some followers. Goku’s soft-heartedness rubbed onto villains like Piccolo, Tien, Vegeta, Yamcha and all the others.

This is an example of positive association where it helps shape up/change the character to the good side. There’s also negative association where it can take you on the wrong path.

A clear example of this is Raditz. Bardock is the father of both him and Goku. But both headed off in different directions on the moral compass.

Raditz’s association with Vegeta and Nappa took him on the path of a killer. Whereas Goku’s association with Gohan took him on the path of a peacemaker.

In other words, Gohan’s influence outweighed Bardock’s influence on Goku.

Having a child can alter your life in unexpected ways. Goku’s birth may have influenced his father’s attitude toward family and bonding.

I don’t know whether he gave Raditz’s name to Raditz but seeing his second son in the incubation chamber along with his wife’s words in his head could have changed his perception.

Maybe that’s why he immediately accepted giving the name Kakarrot. It was a bonding moment with his family.

Here’s a fresh perspective for you Twittertards: Goku changed Bardock and not the opposite. It makes Goku look more special, doesn’t it? Huehuehue.

Final Thoughts

The whole Twitter rampage started cause’ of Vegeta’s single statement – “In any case, your soft-hearted nature clearly runs in the family”

So reflect on what I’ve discussed so far and think. Could Vegeta be wrong about Goku? It might be the case, at least that’s what I think.

Twitter user Ian aka Cipher_db shared the original Japanese phrase along with his translation.

Ian says that this can’t be taken as an authoritative statement about Goku’s character. And I tend to agree.

Vegeta has no idea about Goku’s upbringing by Gohan and the adventures that he had since the beginning of Dragon Ball.

The Prince might have said this out of spite, an attempt of mockery of sorts. And he does that a lot. So please don’t take all statements to heart and know the full context.

To give a proper closure to this debate, let me tell you that all that I’ve spoken is backed up by scientific and philosophical evidence.

So what do you think? Is Bardock really a good guy and had major influences on our hero or do you agree with my reasoning? Let us know in the comments below!

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