With a new Dragon Ball Super movie currently doing big business at the box office, it’s hard to believe there was an extended period of time when there was no new Dragon Ball anime in production. The original series Dragon Ball premiered on February 26, 1986, and became an overnight hit, laying the groundwork for many shounen anime tropes that are still being used to this day. On April 26, 1989, that series got a sequel called Dragon Ball Z, which became an even bigger hit and has gone on to be considered one of the greatest action cartoons of all time!

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That series came to an end on January 31, 1996, just several months before the series would premiere on American TV stations on September 13, 1996. Dragon Ball Super is the official sequel to Dragon Ball Z and takes place before (and later after) the events of the final episode of Dragon Ball Z (there is even some case to be made that Dragon Ball Super is retconning the events at the end of the previous series). But did you know that this isn’t the first time a sequel to Dragon Ball Z was made? That there was another anime that continued the adventures of Goku in 1996, and that series is still widely available for fans to see? The question you may have is what is this series and is it worth watching?

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What is Dragon Ball GT?

Dragon Ball GT was the original sequel to Dragon Ball Z that premiered in Japan on February 7, 1996 (one week after Dragon Ball Z had concluded). Unlike the previous two shows, the series was not based on any manga created by series creator Akira Toriyama. In fact, Toriyama himself had very little to do with this series outside of approving some storylines and designing a few of the villains. By this point, Toriyama had been writing and working on Dragon Ball for 11 years, and he felt it was time to put down his pen and get some well-deserved rest. The thing was, the series was still a huge success, and Toei Animation wanted to continue the franchise.

They convinced Toriyama to let them create their own sequel called Dragon Ball GT (which stood for Grand Tour), and they would continue the series where Toriyama ended it. As a result, the story of Dragon Ball GT would continue the story of Goku who has been accidentally wished back to being a child by the Black Star Dragon Balls. This prompts him, Trunks, and his granddaughter Pan to travel the universe searching for the Black Star Dragon Balls so he may be wished back to being an adult. Along the way, Goku and his friends will fight new enemies, discover new powerups, and the series would conclude with a touching final episode.

The series would ultimately run for 64 episodes and would produce an infamous game made for the Sony PlayStation. While the run was short, Dragon Ball GT was famous on internet message boards for a period in time as the one Dragon Ball series that was (as of that moment in time) not available legally in America, and it inspired much debate among fans of the quality of the series.

Is Dragon Ball GT Any Good?

While questions such as these are a matter of personal opinion, most people feel the answer is…no, it’s not very good. There are many reasons why, but common ones include the series being too uneven in tone, having a rough beginning that tries (and fails) to replicate the more humorous aspects of the original Dragon Ball, and battle sequences that aren’t very exciting or interesting to watch. Goku being de-aged to be a kid again also caused controversy with fans who had watched him grow up into a man.

Complaints about largely forgettable villains were also a thing (though it should be noted that Baby was a major exception to this rule). One aspect of the series that was singled out for praise was the music, with many considering the opening song Dan Dan Kokoro Hikareteku by Field of View to not only be the best opening of the Dragon Ball franchise but one of the best anime openings of all time. The ending songs Hitori Ja Nai and Don’t You See were similarly loved and are still covered by a variety of JPop stars to this day.

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Overall though, the reception has been mixed at best over the years, and the series itself struggled in the ratings from the beginning. It’s even been said that the series would have ended sooner had a video game not been in production at the time, and the studio kept the series going long enough so that the game could be released first. While we normally should hold quality judgments about shows back in regard to marketing, the fact that the series was delayed long enough to sell one more product speaks volumes about the love and care the show itself received from the producers and show runners.

Is Dragon Ball GT Worth Watching?

Dragon Ball GT has officially been de-canonized with the release of Dragon Ball Super, and from many fans’ perspective, this is fine as that series is considered to be of much higher quality than Dragon Ball GT. With that said, now that Dragon Ball GT is not the final word on the series, fans of the franchise no longer seem to despise it in the same ways that they used to. Many will still say it’s bad but given a better option down the road, it’s easier to watch Dragon Ball GT with more relaxed emotions, and see what the franchise looked like when the creator wasn’t in the driver’s seat of the car.

Like the recently discovered lost American pilot to Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball GT can now be looked at as a novelty series that isn’t really doing anyone any harm. It’s got the reputation it has for a reason and there’s no reason you should feel that you HAVE to watch the entire thing, but these days there’s no harm in watching a few episodes, seeing what it’s about and being able to quit knowing there is no long term ramification on the main series! If you enjoy it, great, more Dragon Ball to enjoy! If you don’t like it…well, that’s what Dragon Ball Super is for!

MORE: Why Dragon Ball Z Fans Miss Out When they Skip Dragon Ball



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