One of the biggest debates among the Dragon Ball fandom, if the Dragon Ball GT anime series should actually be considered canon or not, may have finally been answered officially. A timeline for the entire franchise’s story provided by Shueisha itself and shown at a 2017 event recently resurfaced online, causing a commotion among fans because it also includes the events in Dragon Ball GT.
Dragon Ball GT is an anime that came out in 1996, one year after the end of the Dragon Ball manga. Due to the incredible success of the anime adaptation of Akira Toriyama’s masterpiece, Toei Animation decided to create a new anime based on an original story, with character design by Toriyama. GT was never considered as part of the Dragon Ball‘s canon, but because the story of the anime picks up shortly after the manga left off, five years later to be precise, and it uses the same characters, a decades-long debate began between fans who consider GT canon, and those who don’t. The debut of Dragon Ball Super, the actual, official sequel to the original series, should have cleared the air, because it’s a completely different story from GT, but things may not be so simple.
Recently, thanks to fans such as @DBGTLegacy, pictures resurfaced on the internet from the 2017 edition of an event called Dragon Ball Tenkaichi Budosai, a Japanese festival dedicated to the franchise, which included an exhibit on the history of Dragon Ball. Shueisha, the publisher of the manga, provided an Official Dragon Ball Timeline Board and, much to everyone’s surprise, this included not only the events shown in Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super, but also those in Dragon Ball GT, complete with pictures of the most famous characters from the anime, such as Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta, and Goku and Vegeta’s future descendants. This is possible because, in fact, Dragon Ball Super takes place immediately after the end of Z, while GT was set five years later, so the timeline is still coherent, for now.
According to the timeline, Dragon Ball GT takes place between the years 789 and 889 of the Dragon Ball calendar (for reference, the battle with Frieza on Namek takes place in 762). This is, however, not the first time that GT has been considered part of the franchise’s canon. In 2013, a timeline was included in the Chouzenshuu 4: Dragon Ball Super Encyclopedia, an illustrated book guide to the franchise, that was identical to the timeline used for the Akira Toriyama: The World of DRAGON BALL art exhibition held in Tokyo and Osaka. Both timelines included the events in Dragon Ball GT, so the one used in 2017’s Budosai is just further confirmation that, according to Toriyama and Shueisha, who own the franchise, the much-maligned anime is indeed canon.
In fact, one of the reasons why many fans don’t want to consider GT as part of the canon is that the anime is the least appreciated part of the Dragon Ball saga, bringing significant changes to popular characters and introducing new ones that were scarcely successful. However, Toriyama himself declared GT “a minor part of the Dragon Ball story” and was personally involved in several stages of its making. Perhaps the best possible answer is that GT actually takes place in a parallel universe, a concept that was introduced in Dragon Ball Super. Super Saiyan 4, in fact, appear in Super Dragon Ball Heroes, a manga set in an alternate universe. However, until there is an official statement of the opposite by Toriyama or Shueisha, fans should consider Dragon Ball GT‘s story as part of the franchise’s canon, as this official timeline proves.
Source: @DBGTLegacy on Twitter.