Dragon Ball GT is the black sheep of the beloved Dragon Ball franchise. Arriving immediately upon the conclusion of the incredibly popular Dragon Ball Z, GT took our heroes in a different direction that left many fans befuddled and turned off.
Goku was reverted back to a child, countless favorite characters were sidelined, the theme took on a harder sci-fi premise and the overall tone become more humorous, likening itself back to the original Dragon Ball.
When all was said and done, the series only lasted a measly 64 episodes and had one special, which was nothing when compared to Dragon Ball Z’s gargantuan 291 episodes (not including the hefty amount of movies and TV specials it was also graced with.)
While GT fizzled in Japan, DBZ was just hitting its stride in the West, and word of a mysterious, even legendary series known as “GT” made its way across the shores.
Despite the initial excitement over the continuation, GT’s poor reputation soured the would-be appeal, and the series has a generally bad reputation all across the globe as an inferior knock-off of the world-wide phenomenon of DBZ, and Super has all but totally erased its presence in the minds of fans.
Despite this, GT isn’t as bad as its reputation might lead you to believe, and there are a great many interesting tidbits about the show and its production that are worth discovering.
We’re hoping to shed some light on this misunderstood entry in the franchise, and possibly inspire you to reevaluate the series as a whole.
Here are the 20 Things Only True Fans Know About Dragon Ball GT.
20 Goku Was Turned Into A Child To Balance Power Levels
One of the main reasons people dislike GT is the fact that their hero, Goku, is transformed into a child, which severely limits his powers.
While it was certainly annoying to see Goku be turned into a child and have his powers sapped, it was done in order to prevent a problem that Super has fallen right into: believable power-scaling.
Thinking that it would be hard to believe that anyone or anything could be stronger than Goku after beating the perilously powerful Majin Buu, they felt that limiting the Saiyan’s might was the best option, and it generally works out.
The opposite problem takes place in Super, where Goku can literally turn into a god, and we’re expected to believe that a grey alien wearing spandex can somehow stand up against literal divinity by simply glaring at it.
19 "GT" Has Multiple Meanings
The “Z” in Dragon Ball Z puzzled Western fans for a few years, but it was officially revealed that it stood of “Zenkai,” meaning “last time,” since Z was supposed to finally conclude the long-running franchise.
When news of GT came around, there was similar discussion and theorizing, but in the end, it was revealed to mean “Grand Tour.”
The “grand touring” aspect was the intial space-faring adventure that Trunks, Goku and Pan go out on, and the name of their ship reflects this, known as the “Grand Tour Spaceship.”
GT ended up developing another meaning from fans, however, citing it as “Goku Time” in an off-handed reference to Goku essentially being the sole focus of the show while other beloved characters like Krillin and Piccolo got mistreated and left in the dust.
18 Toriyama's Super Saiyan God Was Likely Inspired By GT
In Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Super, Goku faces off against the God of Destruction, Beerus, in a desperate battle for the fate of the Earth and, possibly, the universe.
Beerus comes to our world in order to track down the legendary “Super Saiyan God” and, after failing to discover him, Shenron was summoned to explain how, when and where this figure would appear.
In order for the god to show himself, five righteous Saiyans must encircle their subject and then pour their ki into him in order to trigger the transformation and ascension to godhood.
For those who watched GT, this ritual seemed awfully familiar, since it happens multiple time throughout the series, specifically when Super Saiyan 4 Goku needed a dramatic boost of power to fight Baby. Then there's the pink hair...
17 Its Concepts Live On In Dragon Ball Heroes
Super Dragon Ball Heroes, an update to the ultra-popular Japanese arcade game Dragon Ball Heroes, is finally making its way to the West (even if only temporarily) and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The promotional anime adaptation of the Heroes series is making waves across the internet, particularly for its initial episode’s featured battle between Super’s Super Saiyan Blue Goku and GT’s Super Saiyan 4 Goku.
In fact, many of GT’s most memorable elements are featured prominently throughout the Heroes arcade games, particularly the idea of Super Saiyan 4.
In GT, only Goku and Vegeta (and Gogeta) managed to achieve this state, but that’s not the case in DBH: Gohan, Broly, Bardock and Vegito also join the SSJ4 club, and we’re certain others will be, too.
16 Funimation Didn't Air The First Arc
The initial story arc in Dragon Ball GT, the Black Star Dragon Ball Saga, was hit with some of the worst criticism the show ever faced, and was one of the chief reasons that GT left a bad taste in the mouths of fans.
The saga, which featured child Goku, Trunks, and Pan going across the stars to acquire the Black Star Dragon Balls, was seemingly so reviled that when it came time for Funimation to localize and dub GT for American audiences, they opted to leave out the entire plot, cutting the first 16 episodes and then creating a new one which summarized the events of the arc.
Their hope was that by cutting to the “good part” of the series, apprehensive fans wouldn’t be turned off by the comparatively “boring” Black Star Dragon Ball arc.
15 There Weren't Female Super Saiyans Because Toriyama Didn't Know How To Draw Them
Another classic criticism lobbed at GT is the question as to why Pan, Gohan’s daughter and one of the main characters in the series, never became a Super Saiyan.
Apparently, the answer is far-less insidious than accusations of sexism: Akira Toriyama, the creater of the Dragon Ball franchise, simply didn’t know how to draw a female Super Saiyan.
Toriyama often designs and writes recklessly, creating things out of necessity, such as making Super Saiyans blonde because he didn’t want to ink in their hair in the manga.
We’re happy he got over this hurdle with Dragon Ball Super, however, where we have two prominent female Super Saiyans, along with their fused form.
14 It Had Two Companion Books
Entitled the Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files, these two encyclopedic publications contained immense amounts of information regarding Dragon Ball GT.
Originally released in 1997, the first volume addresses everything up to the Baby Saga, while the second focuses on the remainder of the series and the television special, A Hero’s Legacy.
Years later in 2006, these two books would be re-released with different covers.
Regardless of which editions you have, they both contain interesting details that are never revealed at any point throughout the series, such as behind-the-scenes information, a gallery of artwork, and production notes from the staff and curious plot details that weren’t mentioned during the actual show, making them a treasure trove for fans hungry for extra information.
13 The Theme Songs Were Eventually Localized
When Dragon Ball Z premiered in the United States, it was given a brand new theme song and musical score by Ron Wasserman of Power Rangers fame. After switching over to Funimation, the series would get another new score, this time by Bruce Faulconer and team.
This practice was common during the early days of anime adaptations, since producers felt that they needed to “westernize” the shows in order to be successful.
GT went through the exact same process, much to the dismay of fans who adored the series’ awesome opening and closing songs.
Thankfully, Funimation would appease these fans by releasing localized versions of these songs and sequences on GT’s DVD release, and we’re all better off for it.
Seriously, don’t listen to the awful rap theme song GT was initially saddled with. Please.
12 It Was More Popular In The US Than In Japan
Dragon Ball GT only lasted 64 episodes. In comparison, the original Dragon Ball lasted for 153 episodes, Z was a whopping 291, and the latest show, Super, is currently sitting at 131.
GT’s underwhelming performance is easy to see when compared to the incredible runtimes of all its direct peers, but while it may have fizzled out in Japan, its status was becoming increasingly mythic across the seas.
Whispers of a dark new series taking place after Z were feverishly spread across playgrounds and fan-circles thanks to info from the budding internet.
By the time DBZ had reached its peak, GT had become something of a legendary “lost show” to US fans.
This was even corroborated by Ryo Mito, the producer of Raging Blast 2, saying that “GT is popular with fans overseas. In Japan, it’s not as popular.”
11 Pan's Story Continued In Dragon Ball Online
Dragon Ball Online was an MMORPG based on the Dragon Ball universe, and it had a surprising amount of involvement from series’ creator, Akira Toriyama.
Taking place in the far future of the Dragon World, specifically 216 years after the defeat of Majin Buu, the game revolves around players doing battle against Mira.
Mira is a villain who uses time-travel and mind control while managing to rally a new-age Red Ribbon Army (known as the Red Pants Army) and the remnants of the Frieza Force, in order to acquire Goku’s DNA.
According to DBO, Pan would eventually create the Pan Fighting Network and become the lead instructor, while also going on an adventure at age 41 with Vegeta, Gohan, Krillin and Tien against the re-emerged Frieza Force.
10 It Has More Believable Character Development Than Super
Dragon Ball Super stumbles in character development, which is one area that GT excels.
For example, Vegeta evolves from a villain, to an anti-hero and then into someone who acknowledged his faults, admitted his love for his family and even his friendship to Goku, gaining multiple dimensions.
This continues in GT, where Vegeta is still cranky and gruff, but clearly a good, active father. Best of all, when he is saved by Goku during the Baby Saga, he smiles at his old friend.
Meanwhile, Dragon Ball Super seems to entirely ignore the character arc of the Buu Saga, reverting Vegeta back into a prideful jerk that’s constantly chasing after Goku.
Heck, even Goku’s arc in GT is better, where he’s become a selfless savior. Back in Super, he regularly jeopardizes the entire multi-verse in a vain quest for “more power.”
9 The Entire First Arc Is A Love Letter To Dragon Ball
Tight-knit friends going on an enormous, adventure over great distances in order to acquire seven, wish-granting orbs and overcoming whatever challenges show themselves along the way sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?
The above plotline can easily describe both the original Dragon Ball and the first arc of Dragon Ball GT, and there’s a reason for it: the Black Star Dragon Ball arc was intentionally designed to be a throwback for the original Dragon Ball, hoping to stir up some nostalgia for long-time viewers.
While some appreciated the first arc and its throwback quality, others did not, leaving its reception mixed-to-negative, going so far as to poison Funimation’s thoughts on the arc and leading them to cut it almost entirely out of GT’s initial US run.
8 Toriyama Gave Vegeta His Infamous Moustache
Vegeta fans carry a burden that many of us will never understand. They adore their villain-turned-hero, but he always seems to play second fiddle to Goku, and any moment in Z where it seems like Vegeta is finally going to get some well-deserved spotlight almost always results in something bad happening to him.
Sadly, this pattern of abuse continues in GT, where Vegeta, much to the embarrassment of his loyal fans, was given an odd haircut and a moustache (of all things!)
To make matters worse, the moustache was given to Vegeta directly by the hands of his creator, Akira Toriyama.
While the Prince of All Saiyans would eventually shave, his fans must still shudder at the thought that the series’ creator cares so little about Vegeta’s image that he gave him that lip fuzz in the first place.
7 Final Bout Was The First Official Taste Of GT In The West
As we’ve previously mentioned, Dragon Ball GT was something akin to a myth or legend among Dragon Ball Z fans in the West. While they were obsessed with the show, rumors of a sequel series known as “GT” were widespread.
Of course, nowadays we’d just look things up on the internet in a matter of seconds, but such methods far from efficient back then, and the blurry images of GT that were found only added fuel to the fire.
Then came Dragon Ball GT: Final Bout, a horrible PS1 fighting game.
This was the West’s first taste of GT in an official capacity, and it certainly left a legacy among fans.
Of course, it’s not a good legacy by any means, but it was still considered a holy grail nonetheless.
6 GT Was A Deep Cut Of Dragon Ball Lore
Something that was awesome about Dragon Ball GT was that it was an incredibly deep cut into the Dragon Ball mythos.
While the first arc was a direct reference to the original Dragon Ball, things reached a head in the Baby Saga.
Baby was a Tuffle, the race that shared Planet Plant with the Saiyans, and was eventually exterminated by them. As the last of the Tuffles, he was programmed to obliterate all remaining Saiyans.
Secondly, Golden Oozaru finally appeared in the flesh, after only being in a flashback regarding the original Super Saiyan back in Z.
Of course the Super 17 arc would be unabashed fanservice and the Shadow Dragons would show the consequences of all the wish-making our heroes had done over the years, but it all proved how well the writers understood the franchise.
5 Baby Was Inspired By A Famicom Game
The Baby Saga followed a mad scientist and his horrific, parasitic creation known as Baby, the last remaining Tuffle, who was meant to get vengeance upon the Saiyans for exterminating his race.
This is a fantastic premise, but it seems to have been heavily inspired by an OVA called Dragon Ball: Plan to Eradicate The Saiyans, which was used as a visual guide for a Famicom RPG of the same name.
In it, Dr. Lychee, one of the last Tuffles, creates a machine known as Hatchiyack which is powered by the hatred of the Tuffles, and used as a tool for revenge against the Saiyans.
Both the OVA and Baby Saga may share an incredibly similar story, but thankfully it’s a good one.
4 Toriyama Loves The Design Of Super Saiyan 4
Where GT remains an incredibly divisive subject for fans, one of its elements bears the distinction of being far less schismatic, and that is Super Saiyan 4.
While the ultimate Saiyan form certainly has its detractors, most fans seem to thoroughly enjoy it and its radical design, proven by its continued appearances in Dragon Ball Heroes.
Better yet, people who love the design can count Akira Toriyama himself on their side.
In a foreword written for the Dragon Book, he highly praises the work of designer Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru and carrying on the spirit of his initial designs, while also including a drawing of Super Saiyan 4 penned by his own hand, which more-or-less proves his thoughts on this great design.
3 Chewbacca Was In GT's Special
Peter Mayhew is best known for his long tenure in the Star Wars movies. He played the beloved Wookie known as Chewbacca, who is unquestionably one of the series’ most famous and recognizable characters.
It comes as a bit of a shock, then, that Peter Mayhew also had a role in Dragon Ball GT’s special, A Hero’s Legacy.
The special, which takes place 100 years the Shadow Dragon Saga, follows Goku Jr. on a quest to help his sick Grandmother, Pan.
Peter Mayhew plays the villainous Susha, an amphibian villain who hopes to eat the young Goku Jr. and his party.
While we prefer Mayhew as Chewbacca, it’s still cool to see a strange crossover between two gargantuan franchises.
2 It Might Still Be Canon
Christopher Sabat, long-time Funimation voice actor and director, stated that GT wasn’t “even canon anymore” in reference to Battle of Gods, and this sentiment is shared by the sizable group of fans who dislike and disparage GT, while also echoing Toriyama’s statement that GT is a “side-story.”
That said, there are plenty of signs pointing to it still being part of the timeline.
It’s easy to forget that at the end of Dragon Ball Z, there is a time-skip after the defeat of Buu. Dragon Ball Super takes place during this time-skip, and has slowly being dropping hints to GT, such as Bulla and Uub.
While we find it hard to fathom that GT could possibly follow all of the godly transformations and other universe-shattering events of Super, it seems that things might tie together after all.
1 Toriyama Was More Involved Than You Think
Dragon Ball GT’s lukewarm reception and general distaste by fans has lead to widespread misinformation in order to justify the negative sentiment felt by those who despise the series.
The biggest falsehood of all is that Akira Toriyama had nothing to do with its production, and that it was solely developed by Toei in order to milk the franchise.
That is very far from the case.
In reality, Akira Toriyama created the title, the look of the main cast, Giru, the space ship, and even concept art for the various planets that Goku and friends would visit during their grand tour.
While it’s true that the had comparatively little involvement with the series, to say he had nothing to do with it is a complete falsehood.
Can you think of any other crazy facts about Dragon Ball GT? Sound off in the comments!