[Throwback Thursdays] Dragon Ball GT Review - Everybody, give me your energy!


  • Episodes : 64
  • Genre : Shounen, Action, Adventure
  • Airing Date : Feb 1996 - Nov 1997
  • Producers : Toei

Plot summary (no spoilers)

Set 5 years after the events of Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT’s story unfolds. This time between series has been relatively peaceful, but as usual, some villain is out to destroy the earth! This time it’s Emperor Pilaf, who wishes to conquer the earth, and ends up accidentally transforming Goku into a small child! However, because he uses the Black Star Dragon Balls, he dooms Earth to destruction if they aren’t found within one year! As if it couldn’t get any worse, the Black Star Dragon Balls are scattered across different planets, and it’s up to Earth’s heroes to find them! Thus Goku, his granddaughter Pan, and Trunks set off to scour the galaxy for the Dragon Balls and save Earth once again!

Dragon Ball GT is the controversial, debatably-canon sequel to Dragon Ball Z, and has divided fans for the last 20 years. To some, it’s an interesting addition to the franchise which adds more characters and cool locations, but others see it as a rip-off that doesn’t stand up at all compared to the glory of the original two Dragon Ball series and their string of more ‘official’ sequels.

Who does this anime cater to?

Dragon Ball GT caters to fans of the original Dragon Ball series. It tries very hard to emulate features of the original work, and in lot of ways, tries to outdo them, with a much bigger host of locations, new characters, and even more crazy transformations! GT is for Dragon Ball franchise completionists, and fans of 90s anime with a manly-man/sci-fi mix!

What’s so appealing about this piece of work?

As mentioned above, Dragon Ball GT attempted to build on the success of Dragon Ball Z with a host of even more over-the-top characters, locations and transformations. This sounds like a generic statement which could be applied to any anime sequel ever, but this is Dragon Ball we’re talking about! The heroes now have to travel through space to find the Dragon Balls! Super Saiyan 3 is no longer the limit! This appeal is probably lost on those who aren’t fans of Dragon Ball Z, but this is a must-see for anyone who wants the complete Dragon Ball experience.

Dragon Ball GT Trailer

Main Characters List

Son-Goku

Voice Actor :Masako Nozawa (JP) / Stephanie Nadolny (EN)

Goku is Earth’s strongest warrior, and leader of the Z-fighters. He is a saiyan, and was originally sent to destroy Earth, though an accident caused him to lose his memory, resulting in him being taken in and brought up as an ordinary human. Goku will do anything to protect his beloved Earth, and is a fearsome fighter even in his diminutive new size!

Trunks

Voice Actor :Takeshi Kusao (JP) / Eric Vale (EN)

Despite him now being the president of the Capsule Corporation, Trunks is still the impulsive young fighter we knew in Dragon Ball Z, and often rejects his duties to fly around planet Earth. Initially reluctant, Trunks journeys to retrieve the Dragon Balls after being urged by his father Vegeta.

Pan

Voice Actor :Yuko Minaguchi (JP) / Elise Baughman (EN)

Pan is Goku’s granddaughter, and is the youngest of the adventurers. She is a typical teenager, excitable one minute, and throwing tantrums the next. Originally to be left behind, Pan joins the main characters by sneaking aboard Goku and Trunks’ spaceship and launching it before they can find out!


Contains Spoilers

Review (spoilers)

Let’s start by saying that Dragon Ball GT is pretty controversial. Despite the intense hate it’s subjected to from fans of the more official sequels, I’m going to try and convince you that it’s a worthy addition to the Dragon Ball franchise and is worth a watch (or a re-watch).

To start, the characters and relationships are a strong point in GT. Of course Goku returns as the main character, but Pan is a welcome addition as one of the only female leads in the franchise. It’s really cool to see how certain characters have changed in the 5 years between Z and GT. For example, Vegeta is a much more mellow figure, and is now a family man who tries much harder to fit into human society.

The new villains though, are one of the real highlights of GT. Baby is seriously one of the most badass anime characters ever! Taking over people’s bodies and using them against their friends is a pretty tired anime trope, but Baby-possessed-Vegeta is definitely one of my favourite character transformations of all time. Then there’s Omega Shenron; the combined evil of every wish from the Dragon Balls, in dragon form!

I mentioned before that Dragon Ball GT tries to outdo almost everything that was good about Dragon Ball Z, which it does succeed in doing in some respects. As well as new characters, a new super-saiyan transformation is revealed; Super-saiyan 4! And it’s not exclusive to Goku like Super-saiyan 3; both Goku and Vegeta transform in the final battle against Omega Shenron. The coolest part though, is when they fuse in their transformed states to form the most powerful character of the (GT) franchise, Super-saiyan 4 Gogeta!

As well as the characters and transformations, Dragon Ball GT also continues the strong musical tradition of the previous series. The final opening “Dan Dan Kokoro Hikarete Ku” is pretty popular in Japan, even amongst those who don’t know the series! Something which was different about GT is that it doesn’t have any filler episodes, which is due to it not following the manga. Fillers were one of the main gripes with the previous Dragon Ball series, so GT delivered a much more concentrated experience. Though this ended the 20-episodes-for-one-battle phenomenon, I personally felt that this didn’t lead to as much in-series character development than Dragon Ball and Z.

Despite all the positives, there are reasons for fans to be dissatisfied with GT. Though building on the previous series can be seen as one of the appealing things about the series, it can feel just plain recycled at times, and fans have drawn major similarities between elements of GT and Z. One example of this is the glaring similarity between Super 17 and the android Super 13 from the Dragon Ball Z movie. Also, despite Akira Toriyama’s involvement in the series’ production, at some points the animation quality of GT is much lower than that of previous series.

In my personal opinion, these things can be overlooked because Dragon Ball GT manages to bring new things to a franchise which is already huge! True there is some re-hashing, but I thought that Super-saiyan 4 looked so much cooler than the latest Super-saiyan God transformation! In fact, a lot of the new elements are pretty bombastic and over-the-top, which is what Dragon Ball is all about!

It’s possible my opinion of the series is clouded by my love for Dragon Ball in general, and maybe a bit of nostalgia. Regardless, here are some of my favourite moments!

1) Baby Vegeta transforms

Baby Vegeta’s name is one of the least fearsome in the anime universe, but the awesome transformation makes up for it, with Vegeta receiving a seriously badass makeover after being possessed by Baby.

2) Goku gets his tail back

Goku lost his tail as a child, but it’s revealed that he can have it “pulled out” in order to allow him to reach his most powerful level of transformation. Needless to say, this is one of the funniest, but also the weirdest scenes in the series.

3) Super-saiyan 4 Gogeta fusion

Goku and Vegeta fuse to create the most powerful warrior in the universe. The only problem is they’re too cocky to be able to fight! Despite this, Gogeta is definitely one of the coolest characters of the franchise!


So, hopefully I've persuaded you that Dragon Ball GT isn't deserving of *all* the bashing it receives, though it’s possible my opinion of the series is clouded by a bit of nostalgia! If you're a fan of the franchise, you're probably watching Dragon Ball Super, but if not, check it out; it's the long awaited (canon) sequel to Dragon Ball Z and it's currently airing! Let me know what you think in the comments!

Adam

Writer

Author: Adam

I think I do too much sports to be an otaku, but I like science, anime and video games too much not to be a nerd. Currently working in a lab in Japan's least Japanese city.

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