It’s been fourteen years since the mighty Dragon Ball Z ended and its sequel series Dragon Ball GT began. The show quickly became infamous among the community as Akira Toriyama, the creator and director of Dragon Ball Z had nothing to do with the project. Now the show is being re-released on DVD with updated visuals and a crisper audio track, but is it worthy of standing alongside its predecessor as one of the greatest shonen anime of all time?
GT takes place a few years after Dragon Ball Z. The world has moved on from the Buu incident, Gohan now works in a corporation, Krillin has settled down with 18, and Trunks is president of Capsule Corp. Goku and Uub are training together when Emperor Pilaf (from the original Dragon Ball) uses the Dark Star Dragon Balls to turn Goku into a child again. This begins Goku’s journey to find the Dark Star Dragon Balls across the galaxy within a year before the earth is destroyed.
The story for the first 16 episodes is just filler. Goku, Trunks, and Goku’s niece Pan travel to different planets helping people and gathering the Dragon Balls. These episodes hold little value apart from giving Kid Goku an excuse to act weird in front of different species of alien. Luckily it’s not all a waste, there are some cool fight scenes in these episodes that highlight the fact the animators weren’t held back by the manga, these fights are fast, full of explosions and incredibly entertaining. I recommend watching the first three episodes to get an idea of the characters and their personalities, but once Giru is properly introduced you can skip to episode 16 and it will be pretty easy to understand what’s going on. And you will want to skip to 16, because once the show beings the Baby saga, that’s when things start to get really good.
Once the real battles with Baby get under way the show gets insanely better. The battles and character’s need to power up constantly make their return in full force, and Goku gets another training arc to help awaken his new powers. Sure this has all been done before in Z, but everyone knows that it’s all just building up to the ultimate transformation, super saiyan 4! Unfortunately, the DVD decides to make you wait even longer to see super saiyan 4, because by the time Goku finally transforms, it’s the final episode of the DVD set! I wish that they could of added just one more episode so we could get a glimpse into what awesome powers SS4 Goku had in store. But I guess that we’ll just have to wait until part two comes out to see that.
One great feature included in the set (that I hope becomes part of every future anime release)is the ability to marathon the episodes. This means the DVD skips the opening, ending and recap of every episode so viewers can watch the entire DVD like a movie. This is such a great feature for people who just want to sit and watch the entire DVD in one sitting without having to constantly pick up the remote.
GT is an old show, meaning that there is no widescreen and censorship was still very much a convraveral issue with anime. Thankfully, Dragon Ball GT’s visuals have held up surprisingly well (most likely due to Akira Toriyama’s famous character designs) and there is practically no censorship. One thing worth mentioning is that the dub is nearly perfect, something surprising considering how old the original release is. One small annoyance for the dub is the voice for Kid Goku, he sounds like a child addicted to smoking cigarettes and eating coals. The voice doesn’t match his character at all and quickly becomes painful to listen to. Apart from that issue, the dub is one of the best Shonen anime dubs out there, standing alongside other shows such as Fairy Tail and Bleach.
Dragon Ball GT isn’t the best spin-off to Akira Toriyama’s original epic, but it’s still enjoyable to those looking for more epic battles with flashing lights and muscular men screaming at each other. The show isn’t cannon, so if Akira Toriyama returns for the Dragon Ball Z sequel series, then GT is going to mean nothing, but if you crave more Dragon Ball and want to see Goku power up to the extreme, You just might find what you’re looking for in Dragon Ball GT part one.
Other anime recommendations
Shounen battle anime: Dragon Ball Z
Adventure with friends traveling together: One Piece
Dragon Ball GT part one is available now on DVD from Manga UK
Thanks to Manga UK for providing a review copy