Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball series is one of the best anime titles in the history of the medium. And while manga is also popular, anime has helped expand the cultural influence of Japanese animation when the West did not know much about anime. Now, the overall structure of the series isn’t overly complex, but one iteration of Dragon Ball has been causing a lot of confusion among the fans. Namely, Dragon Ball GT is a series that has been confusing fans for years and in this article, we have decided to tell you whether Dragon Ball GT is worth watching or not.
Well, Dragon Ball GT is not a bad series per se, but it does come off as the odd one out within the Dragon Ball series. It has its ups and downs and the quality of the narrative is certainly not on the level of Toriyama’s canon stories, but it’s not overly long and it is always interesting to see an alternative take on a story, so we would say that it is worth watching, but you don’t have to rush it.
In the rest of this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about Dragon Ball GT and whether it’s worth your time or not. You’re going to find out the basic production information so that you know the idea behind the series, as well as how the plot of the series fits into the overall narrative, all of which will add up to whether you should watch the series or not. We’re going to help you resolve this issue swiftly.
Should you watch Dragon Ball GT?
As with every type of artistic work, a person’s individual preferences can vary. There’s probably no one artistic work that everyone in the world likes or dislikes, so it all comes down to how you perceive work and how much you can stomach. Dragon Ball GT is a perfect example of that. Now, this series, whose canon status is still a matter of harsh debate among the Dragon Ball fandom, has created a lot of issues over the years and even hardcore fans who are sure about their knowledge of the show’s structure don’t know what to do with Dragon Ball GT. This is no surprise, really, because the series itself doesn’t seem like it knows its place in the larger universe created by Akira Toriyama.
Dragon Ball GT was actually an attempt from Toei to keep the series alive. Namely, in 1995, Akira Toriyama decided to finish illustrating the manga, leaving Toei Animation without the original source to continue the series. Given the popularity of Dragon Ball and the author’s refusal to continue the series, Toei took the project into their own hands and created a sequel with its own original story.
Most fans will say that they weren’t really successful as Dragon Ball GT is shunned by most fans as an insult to Toriyama’s original works. And while we can say that the anime was fundamentally different, it’s not as if Toriyama was completely uninvolved in the process. Namely, although Akira Toriyama did not write the history of the series, he still participated in its creation, drawing the new looks of Son Goku, Trunks, and Pan, as well as several drawings.
Some of which were used to illustrate the first end credits (“Hitori ja nai”). He also designed some new characters (and robots), such as Giru (whom he called Ojama, a name Toei refused) and Baby. He also chose the title, checked the Tōei script and gave some advice, and, for the last episode, drew several animations of Son Goku himself saying his goodbyes.
In 2005, he took care of the editorial of the Dragon Ball GT DVD Box in Japan, as well as its design, drawing Son Goku in Super Saiyan 4 in several poses. Toriyama has rarely spoken about the series; however, in an interview with the Shenron Times #72, he described the work done by Toei Animation as good, and that Son Goku’s new youth pleased him to the point that he almost wanted to continue the manga, but admitted to being relieved of the deadlines. Toriyama himself referred to GT as a “side story of the original Dragon Ball“.
So, as you can see, Toriyama did actually have a say in Dragon Ball GT, although he did not actually write it. It is best to consider it a story from an alternative universe and that is what causes most issues for the fans. Namely, alternative stories are rarely that good; if they actually turn out to be good, they are generally accepted into the canon at one point, and that hasn’t really happened with Dragon Ball GT, as most fans will tell you to simply skip it.
In terms of quality, Dragon Ball GT is not on the same level as the original series, that much is evident. It is not horrible, but both the story and animation are simply not as good as those in Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball Z. Now, we have to give a few points to the writers for creating a very original story that still kept the spirit of the original Dragon Ball series, but it did not adapt it in the best way possible.
What the series certainly did was introduce a lot of new ideas and concepts, including a new Super Saiyan 4 transformation, Super C-17, the improved version of C-17, and even the Black Star Dragon Balls. Some of these ideas were later incorporated into the canon, but most were simply scrapped and labeled as an alternative universe side-story.
But still, regardless of the lower quality and the lack of popularity, Dragon Ball GT is not something you should simply shun beforehand. It has a lot to offer and for people who really enjoy Goku’s adventures in any form, GT will certainly be an interesting take and a new perspective that will provide them with some intriguing insights into how and where the series might have evolved had things been a bit different than they were. In any case, it all comes down to your own preferences, in the end.
True fans of the series will probably tell you to avoid it because most die-hard fans are purists (who, sometimes, even think that they know better than the author himself, which doesn’t make sense, but that’s a wholly different topic), but they do have a point here – Dragon Ball GT is really not that good and if you want to preserve that feeling of watching high-quality stories, you should avoid GT. But, if you ask ass, Dragon Ball GT is certainly worth the watch. It has only 64 episodes, which is not much, but it is an interesting alternative take, and although the stories are not canon, you’ll still see more of Goku and the gang in new adventures, which is more than enough for us, honestly.
People think that non-canon works should be avoided, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be like that. Non-canon and filler stories can expand the canon in a great way and they can actually be quite good. In most cases, they lack the quality of the original works, but they are rarely that horrible and that is why we think that you should give Dragon Ball GT a try, but we also think that you don’t have to rush it and can take your time to watch it when it pleases you and suits you best.
What is the story of Dragon Ball GT?
Dragon Ball GT begins ten years after the original manga ended and was adapted into an anime series. The storyline, which is mainly based on fights and individual adventures, can be divided into different sections – so-called sagas – that deal with previous events of the original storyline, but also successively build on one another, condition one another, and lead to a finale.
Black Star Dragon Balls Saga
Son Goku and Oob train in God’s palace, where Prince Pilaf sneaks in, who finally wants to fulfill his wish for world domination. In doing so, he finds the Super Dragon Balls created by Piccolo, whose dragons he accidentally wishes Gokuh would be as small as he used to be. The Super Dragon Balls are now spreading across the galaxy and will destroy the planet they were used on if they are not recollected on it within a year. So Son Goku, who is now stuck in a child’s body, Trunks, and Pan go in search of them.
After a few initial enemies that don’t pose any serious obstacles, the group encounters a religious cult that eventually leads them to Doctor Mu and his experiments on so-called bio-cyborgs, which also include the re-creation of a Tsufurian named Baby, used by the Saiyans were once wiped out. Mu also collects the Super Dragon Balls, but Son Goku, Trunks, and Pan are able to thwart his plans and continue the search. However, Doctor Mu escapes with the Tsufurian and his maturation chamber in a spaceship.
After Baby matures and emerges from his chamber, he is the last of the Tsufurians to seek revenge on the Saiyan, killing Doctor Mu first, whom he disobeys. When he is taken to an intergalactic hospital unrecognized by Goku, Trunks, and Pan, he slips into Trunks’ body and takes over. But he underestimates his powers and has to leave the body again when Trunks transforms into a Super Saiyan.
Baby decides to conquer Earth and hatches the bodies of Son Goten, Son Gohan, and finally Vegeta one after the other while laying eggs in the rest of Earth’s population, through which he gains the necessary power to destroy the Saiyans as well to control when they transform into Super Saiyans. Only Boo, Mister Satan, Pan, and Oob don’t get infected because they are either immune or hiding from Baby.
Super Android 17 Saga
Peace seems to have returned to earth after a while, when Doctor Mu, who was killed by Baby, meets Doctor Gero in Hell, who was also killed by his creation C 17. Together, the two forge a plan to take revenge on Son Goku and conquer the galaxy. They create the number 17, an exact replica of C 17, who still lives on earth. They have both cyborgs create a hellhole, a passage between hell and the world of the living, through which every opponent from Son Goku’s past reached the earth – with the exception of Cell and Freeza.
Shadow Dragons Saga
The imbalance between the worlds caused by the Hellmouth and the many wishes in the past have left some cracks in the Dragon Balls. However, the Dragon Balls are gathered again to summon Shenlong to undo the damage done in the fight against Super Number 17 and revive those killed. However, Shenlong no longer appears, but another dragon. Shortly thereafter, the Dragon Balls disappear again, giving rise to seven Shadow Dragons, which were created by the individual wishes of Son Goku and his friends and which must now be defeated.
While the Dragon Balls have been restored, it is clear that the seven magic balls cannot be used again without hesitation, and that in the future people will have to face the consequences of their actions without Shenlong’s help. But the dragon fulfills one last wish of the one who has called him again and again over the past decades: Before both of them disappear from the scene, Son Goku can say goodbye to Muten Roshi, Kuririn, and Piccolo before the Dragon Balls with Son Goku merge and Shenlong disappears with him.
About a hundred years later, the earth is a peaceful place, and another major martial arts tournament is held in honor of Son Goku and Mister Satan, during which their common offspring, Son Goku jr. with Vegeta’s descendant Vegeta jr. face the children’s section in the final. The aged Pan thinks she sees her grandfather in the crowd of the audience watching the two fighters, but he disappears as suddenly as he appeared to her.