What made Bardock less savage than other Saiyans?
Bardock made a career of committing genocide
Like most fighting fit Saiyans of the time, Bardock worked for Frieza wiping out civilizations so habitable planets could be sold to new buyers. So to call him ‘less savage’ than other Saiyans is a stretch.
Now, Bardock does show sentimentality for his fallen comrades:
So compared to how we saw Vegeta, Nappa, and Raditz treat one another it does seem like Bardock has more empathy than them. Vegeta is royalty and Nappa and Raditz are socially inferior to him, while Bardock and his team are all common soldiers so it could be a social status difference that determines how much ‘kinship’ Saiyans display.
A Q&A session with Toriyma Akira explains it further:
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.
Toriyama also shares some details on Goku’s mother Gine who wasn’t cut out to be a warrior, how love and family is aberrant in Saiyan society, what makes Vegeta and Bulma work as a couple and so on:
Gine had a gentle personality and wasn’t cut out as a warrior, being repeatedly saved from danger by Bardock. At that time, a special emotion was born between them. Normally, Saiyans don’t have much of a notion of romance or marriage, and apart from the royal family of Vegeta, they aren’t particular about blood-relationships.
Being in among all that, I suppose you could say that the pair of Bardock and Gine were those rare Saiyans who were joined by a bondother than for reproductive purposes.
Incidentally, Gine, who was not cut out as a warrior, would go on to work at the meat distribution center on Planet Vegeta.
The quartet of Bardock, Gine, Raditz, and Kakarrot make up Bardock’s family, such as it is, but all four of them were never together.
Also, I think that Bardock himself might have had siblings, but perhaps even Bardock himself doesn’t really know, and at any rate, he probably has no interest in it, either.
Saiyans don’t have much of a concept of “family”.
Vegeta, whose pride had been deeply wounded, sought help from Bulma, and little by little, his ruthless personality changed. Nowadays, you certainly might be able to say that. On the other hand, Goku might not have a sense of family members like Gohan and Chi-Chi except as one of his companions.
This short interview really shows the brilliance of Toriyama Akira as a storyteller, he’s able to deliver such fleshed and consistent characters who grow over the years and decades.
By _ Andy Lee Chaisiri