"Frieza's taken our loyalty and paid us back in our own blood."
Bardock (バーダック, Bādakku; Viz "Burdock") is a fictional character in the Dragon Ball franchise. He makes his debut in the 1990 special Bardock - The Father of Goku. His name is a pun on the greater burdock herb (this pun is more apparent in the Dragon Ball manga, where the character's name is literally spelled Burdock).
Bardock's name, like all other Saiyan characters, is a pun on a plant, in this case a burdock vegetable. 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', Funimation's dub of The Father of Goku spell his name 'Bardock', and as well this is how Frieza pronounces his name while speaking aloud during the Frieza Saga of Funimation Entertainment's Dragon Ball Z dub.
The biological father of Kakarot (later rechristened Goku) and Raditz, Bardock is a low-class Saiyan mercenary who leads a small platoon comprised of four other Saiyan soldiers, Tora, Fasha, Shugesh and Borgos. Together, the five make a living by traveling to various planets where they decimate the defenses of these civilizations and prepare them for Frieza's planetary market.
After clearing a society on the Planet Kanassa, a weakened survivor emerges, catching Bardock off-guard, and instills in the Saiyan the ability of precognitive foresight. This ability, the Kanassan believes, will over time serve Bardock with vengeance for the crimes Saiyans commit in the name of Frieza. While in recovery after the platoon's return to Planet Vegeta, Bardock is met with what he passes off as a delusion. In his vision, he witnesses the destruction of his homeplanet by the hand of Frieza. During this time, presiding doctors attest that Bardock's power level is approaching 10,000, and that at this rate he may surpass the strength of the Saiyan ruler, King Vegeta.
Bardock is still out of commission when Frieza executes his selfish plan to resolve the paranoia he is experiencing. Following Frieza's orders, the capable soldiers Tora, Fasha, Shugesh and Borgos are instructed to clear the civilization of Planet Meat. Before long during their visit to the planet, the group encounters one of Frieza's most esteemed minions, Dodoria, and his elite who, by Frieza's orders, betray and make short work of the Saiyans.
When Bardock is informed that his team has accepted an offer on Meat, a still injured Bardock hurriedly makes preparations to pursue his friends, unaware of the dangers that await at his destination. Eventually once upon Meat, Bardock discovers his ravaged comrades, and to some fortune finds that Tora is alive but in critical condition. Vowing to avenge the four, Bardock removes Tora's armband, now soaked in blood, and dons it over his head (providing an emotional backstory for one of Bardock's most recognizable physical features). Bardock is suddenly assaulted by Dodoria's Elite, although for a low-class Saiyan, he is able to dominate over the elite-class fighters until Dodoria launches a Super Mouth Blast, overpowering Bardock and leaving him for dead.
Bardock barely survives this attack, and coming to terms with the fact that his visions are actual premonitions and not a case of delirium, he desperately struggles against time to return to Planet Vegeta and change the grim fate of his people. Upon his return to the planet, he immediately begins spreading the word of danger, but his panic (as well as the state of his condition) only leads bystanders to believe Bardock is overreacting after having finally met his match during a typical mission.
Terrified at the reaction he has received and the helplessness of his situation, Bardock in a frenzy takes to the skies where Frieza's spaceship is orbiting, in a last resort effort to throttle Frieza's plan to eradicate the Saiyans. As Bardock displays an abnormal ability to fend off hundreds Frieza's soldiers, Frieza decides that the situation is growing out of hand. Frieza's decision is solidified by his perceived insolence of another Saiyan, King Vegeta, who has invaded Frieza's spaceship with his servants' in an attempt to rescue their prince, Vegeta (who at this time is nowhere near the ship, as he is carrying out orders on another planet). After killing King Vegeta and his royal guard, Frieza steps out into the orbit of Planet Vegeta where he encounters Bardock, who insists that the Saiyans refuse to be continue being oppressed and commanded by the tyrant. Intending to wipe out the Saiyans anyway, Frieza doesn't see a problem with Bardock's allegation, and somewhat patiently listens to Bardock's speech, staking out the perfect opportunity to commence his genocide. This opening comes when Bardock attempts to kill Frieza using a Final Spirit Cannon energy wave, which Frieza retaliates with by laughing manically as he expands a charging Supernova. Within moments, the Supernova is set free from Frieza's fingertip and careens through numerous bystanding soldiers en route toward the Planet Vegeta; Bardock is among the first to be consumed by the ball of energy.
As he is incinerated within the Supernova, Bardock has one final vision, that of his son Goku (born Kakarot) challenging and defeating Frieza, which brings a smile to his face. His dying regret however is that he never had a chance to hold his infant son in his arms before he was commissioned to Earth only days after being born.
Bardock displays personality traits fairly typical of Saiyans. He loves fighting and destruction, and is a cold-blooded killer. He seems to have an overall fearless personality, as evidenced by he and his crew accepting missions that baffle even Frieza's elite soldiers, and his taking responsibility in confronting Frieza alone. Until the Kanassan's gift foresight begins changing his life, Bardock thinks fairly little of his being a father, and so he generally doesn't acknowledge the newborn Kakarot except when the child is a topic of conversation among is platoon, and when he begins experiencing visions of an up-and-coming Kakarot. Despite his initial reaction to fatherhood, Bardock deeply cares for the members of his team, and is enraged after finding them ransacked on Planet Meat, particularly Tora who he is touched by during their final conversation. He also shows significant signs of heritage, as he tries to warn the Saiyans despite their sarcasm and unwillingness to cooperate with his pleas of danger.
By his final confrontation with Frieza, Bardock has had a significant change of heart. Having faced the panic and distress of his life and the existence of his race coming to an end, he loses all concern for exterminating civilizations for selfish gain.
- Divination, a psychic ability granted to Bardock by a Kanassan as a form of retribution for the misdeeds of he and the Saiyan race in general. This ability gives Bardock the gift of foresight, but he has limited control over what visions he receives and when they occur.
- Final Spirit Cannon, a whitish-blue sphere of ki that Bardock uses in an attempt to assassinate Frieza.
- Flight, the ability to fly with the use of ki.
- Great Ape, as with all Saiyans with a tail, Bardock has the ability to transform into a Great Ape at the sight of a full moon (or another source of Blutz Waves).
- Heat Phalanx, a heated ki punch technique which appears in the Budokai video game series and the video game Burst Limit.
- Kamehameha, a whitish-blue beam is fired from Bardock's hands at his opponent, used in the video game Shin Budokai - Another Road against Kid Buu.
- Ki Blast, the most basic form of energy wave.
- Power Ball, a technique where combining his ki with a planet's atmosphere, Bardock can create a ball of condensed Blutz Rays, which simulates the effects of a full moon, allowing him to transform into a Great Ape. In the episode "Goku vs. Vegeta... A Saiyan Duel!" of the Ocean Group dub, this ability is said by Vegeta to have been invented by Bardock, who doubles as a fighter and scientist, however this remark is not evidenced by any other source material.
- Saiyan Spirit, a combination technique of ki-powered punches used by Bardock in the video games Shin Budokai - Another Road and Burst Limit. It also appears in Budokai 3, under the title Spirit of Saiyans. Spirit of Saiyans is likely Bardock's most powerful technique in the Budokai series.
Because Bardock was primarily the creation of Toei Animation, it was only after the airing of The Father of Goku that Bardock would make an appearance in the manga, albeit a two-panel cameo appearance. This was followed by Bardock making cameo appearances in the mainstream Dragon Ball Z series, in the episodes "Fighting Power: One Million?", "The End of Vegeta" and "The Ultimate Battle", mostly during Frieza's flashbacks to the 'final confrontation' scene featured at the climax of The Father of Goku.
Bardock makes his first playable appearance in a Dragon Ball video game spin-off in Budokai 3. He has since featured a number of video games, which are Sagas, all three installments of the Budokai Tenkaichi series, Supersonic Warriors 2 (where he appears as a support character), Shin Budokai - Another Road, Burst Limit (where he appears as a 'drama piece' character, similar in appearance to Turles), and Infinite World.
- Japanese dub: Masako Nozawa
- Ocean Group dub: Paul Dobson
- Funimation dub: Sonny Strait
- Latin American dub: Mario Castañeda
- In the first chapter of the Dragon Ball manga, Raditz alludes to Bardock when commenting that Goku "[looks] just like [his] father."
- Interestingly, in the Budokai Tenkachi series, Bardock is briefly reunited with with his son Goku, noting how strong he's become before they battle and even assuring him that he will know who he is after they fight, continuing Bardock's apparent reconciliation of his formerly cool relationship with the infant Kakarot upon his death and possibly lending credence to the popular (but never confirmed) theory that Saiyans consider battle, like so many other things, a term of endearment.
- 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 such claims of Bardock's venture in sciences being absent from the manga and all subsequent dubs of the anime. It is worth noting that much of the dialogue that Ocean Group added into their dub either conflicts with or non-canonically adds onto the original story.
- It is interesting to note that Bardock has never mentioned his first son, Raditz, although one of his earliest lines in response to what day his son was born ("I don't quite remember, it was long ago") may refer to Raditz, as he is significantly older than the then-day old Goku.
- It is likely that Bardock was the most powerful lower-class Saiyan soldier of his time. Near the time of his death, Bardock was rumored to have a power level of nearly 10,000, which is said to be in the ranks of King Vegeta's elite strength.