Dragon Ball Z: Bardock TV Special

Alternate English Title: Dragon Ball Z: A Lonesome, Final Battle: The Father of Z-Warrior Son Gokuu, Who Challenged Freeza
Japanese Title: Dragon Ball Z: Tatta Hitori no Saishuu Kessen: ~Furiiza ni Idonda Z Senshi Son Gokuu no Chichi~
Also Known As: Bardock Special, DBZ TV Special 1, Bardock: The Father of Goku
Genre: Action
Format: 1 Movie
Allegiance: Toei Douga
Director: Nishio Daisuke
Vintage: 1990
Intelligence Agency Report by: Drake
Bardock is a third class Saiyajin from the Planet Vegeta. His purpose is the same as that of all other Saiyajin: to live and die in Freeza’s service. While performing his latest mission to cleanse the Planet Kanassa of life and conquer it in the name of Freeza, Bardock is cursed by a lone Kanassian survivor with the ability to see the future. Haunted by visions of the destruction of his people by his master’s hands and of a young man in an orange gi, Bardock rushes to warn his crew on the Planet Meat, not realizing what he sees will influence the future of his entire race.

Field Agent Report by: Drake
Overall 5.25
(not an average)

After the initial success of the infamous series Dragon Ball Z, Toei Animation realized that there was now a golden opportunity to milk the franchise for additional profit. From this came thirteen movies and two TV specials. This ploy, while financially successful, failed from a critical point of view due to the repeated use of the “bad guy arrives, the Z fighters fight and get beat up, Goku comes and saves the day” plot device. However, in the Bardock TV Special, DBZ has spawned a film with something more substantial and dare I say, original, to it.

While this movie betters the DBZ series in some areas, it still falls short of the mark in many others. The majority of the characters are newly introduced entities to the world of DBZ. Generally, the addition of new characters to a popular fan base is a good thing if done properly, but the Bardock Special developers didn’t. The character development in this film, put simply, was horrible. Though the point of the minor characters may be to supplement the protagonist, they don’t really perform a note worthy job of binding the audience to the movie.

The animation for the Bardock Special is much better than most of the Dragon Ball Z franchise and surprisingly loses the show’s trademark of reusing cels. The character designs also keep its roots from the original series. The most surprising flaw in the movie lies in the OST. The American OST was able to convey emotion far better than the Japanese, which falls painfully short on the mark (and that’s saying a lot, considering Japanese music and voice actors are normally superior to their American counterparts). Don’t get me wrong, I liked the Japanese OST as a stand alone while doing homework or something, but in the anime the songs did a horrible job of setting the atmosphere.

In the end, the Bardock Special isn’t all that great. The quality of the story and animation may have been decent, but all other aspects of the film were unbearable. The purpose of the film is fulfilled in portraying the destruction of the Saiyajin, and for that reason alone it can be a good addition to any die hard DBZombie. However, it’s rather lacking to the rest of us.