Action-packed manga and anime series Dragon Ball isn’t just one of the most beloved shonen franchises of all time. Canonically speaking, its timeline can get quite confusing. No better example exists than Dragon Ball GT, which takes place five years after Dragon Ball Z. Theoretically, anyway.
Dragon Ball was created by mangaka Akira Toriyama in 1984. The original Dragon Ball anime series premiered in Japan in 1986, and it was followed a few years later with the hugely successful show Dragon Ball Z. The latter ran in Japan from 1989 to 1996 and brought the Dragon Ball franchise into international fame. Like the original Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z adapted main character Goku’s story from the original manga, showing his adventures on the way to claim the titular Dragon Balls.
When Dragon Ball Z finished in 1996, the series was followed up with Dragon Ball GT. This sequel anime turned Goku back into a young child and followed his journey for the Black Star Dragon Balls. The series divided the fanbase, as it introduced new characters, concepts, and storylines that diverged from the original manga. Most notably of all, Dragon Ball GT wasn’t written by Toriyama, even though he gave the anime his blessing.
Which begs the question: Technically speaking, is Dragon Ball GT a canon franchise? Fans have debated it for years. Here’s our answer.
Is Dragon Ball GT canon?
Given the series wasn’t written by Akira Toriyama and therefore is not a part of his original story, Dragon Ball GT isn’t considered canon to the franchise’s manga. But the answer is more complicated for the anime.
Some fans disregard Dragon Ball GT from the entire Dragon Ball canon because Dragon Ball Super follows the main cast after Dragon Ball Z, therefore changing what would happen within GT. But Super picks up directly after the events of the Buu Saga, without having Dragon Ball Z’s epilogue addressed at all. That means Super takes place before the epilogue that ushers in the characters for Dragon Ball GT.
There’s also the possibility that Dragon Ball GT is canonical, but takes place in a different universe or timeline. Dragon Ball Super introduces multiple universes and time manipulation to the franchise, meaning Dragon Ball GT doesn’t necessarily need to use the same versions of Goku and Vegeta to still be considered canon. The series could take place in an alternate universe that is almost identical to the one we see our main cast venture through during Dragon Ball Z.
Lastly, the Dragon Ball anime franchise has been produced by Toei Animation since its inception, including Dragon Ball GT. This means the latter is technically canonical to Toei’s creative vision for the anime universe.
Instead of discrediting GT entirely, Toriyama’s most recent addition to the series Dragon Ball Super adds some further justification for Dragon Ball GT to be a part of the anime’s canon. So even if the controversial anime series isn’t part of Toriyama’s manga storyline, don’t rule it out altogether. It can still make sense across the larger anime story arc.