Okay, look, we get it, Dragon Ball GT was pretty awful. We also know that you might already have a, justifiably, very angry reaction ready to post in the comments section, but hear us out. Dragon Ball GT might have been a convoluted mess of weird decisions and poor writing, but it’s not without its merits. Akira Toriyama did not have a say in the story of GT, which some fans say is the reason for the poor quality of the series, and while this may be true to an extent, the creative team behind GT still had some pretty great ideas.
In fact, some of these ideas are actually a little better than some of the stuff we’ve seen in Dragon Ball Super. Heck some of the things we saw in GT returned concepts to the lore that Dragon Ball Z completely abandoned. We know we’re not going to change anyone’s minds on GT, and we don’t plan to. Instead, we thought it would be interesting to bring up all the cool ideas Dragon Ball GT had that, while they might not have been executed well, were really interesting ways of adding to the lore and world of Dragon Ball.
15. THE PITCH
It’s something of a given that everyone can admit that the idea for GT is actually really great on paper. First off, the idea of more Dragon Ball is already a great way to start. Add to that the first saga’s concept, and you have a pretty solid pitch. The basic idea of GT combined the high intensity battles that everyone loved about DBZ with the adventuring days of Dragon Ball.
Sounds pretty fun, right? Where Dragon Ball Z and Super forgot their roots, GT had plans to combine the best elements of the entire franchise. The initial setup of Goku, Trunks and Pan all going on an adventure through space seemed like a pretty fun one, and give or take a few aspects (Pan’s personality, Goku being a kid, etc.) it could have been a fun ride were it handled correctly.
14. THE CALLBACKS
Like we said, Dragon Ball GT was intent on including the best elements of both Dragon Ball and DBZ, and to this effect it actually ended up doing a lot of cool things. One of the more interesting elements to come out of the hated series was all the throwbacks that were made to long-forgotten elements. GT brought back things like Goku’s tail, the Great Ape transformation, and a slew of characters that had not been seen since Dragon Ball.
Of course, Super has done this as well by bringing back the Pilaf Gang, but GT still deserves some credit, both for doing it first and for having fun with all the characters and elements that were available within the world of Dragon Ball. Perhaps the best way to put it is this: GT wasn’t afraid to play with the world it had, which actually resulted in some fun callbacks.
13. MORE TRUNKS (AND THE BRIEF FAMILY)
Everybody loves Future Trunks — he’s literally one of the best characters in anime history. He’s cool, he’s strong, he’s kind-hearted and he has a tragic backstory that made him one of the most interesting characters in Dragon Ball Z. Though GT didn’t give us the exact same Trunks that we saw in the Android saga, it was still great to see more of the purple-haired half-Saiyan in action.
Having Trunks act as one of the main characters in the initial arcs of GT was a smart move, and though he might not have been exactly what Future Trunks fans were expecting, it was still fun seeing more of him. In fact, GT gave the entire Brief family a significant amount of screen time, which is always nice to see, since they all have such interesting characters dynamics.
12. SUPER SAIYAN 4
Fans might be split on the idea of Super Saiyan 4, but a lot of people can agree that the design of the form is superb. Here we have a form that combines elements that had long been forgotten about Saiyans and their primate-like biology. The Super Saiyan 4 form gave Goku and Vegeta ape-like appearances, complete with body hair and the return of their tail.
Not only does the design of Super Saiyan 4 delve deep into the biology of Saiyans, it’s also well-designed and offers a cool new aesthetic. Little details like the yellow irises and the red shadows under the eyes work well with the overall color choices — like the red fur, which works surprisingly well with Goku’s yellow pants and blue belt — and the uniquely designed hairstyle, all of it blending together into a really stellar design.
11. GOLDEN GREAT APE
Speaking of Super Saiyan 4, the way that the form was achieved was when Goku mastered the rage of his Golden Great Ape form, a transformation that itself was a pretty neat idea from GT. The idea of the Golden Great Ape form had a lot of cool ideas going for it, the first of which being that it tied back to the legend of the Super Saiyan.
In Vegeta’s original description of the first Super Saiyan, an image depicts what appears to be a Golden Great Ape, and bringing this form into GT was a nice touch. Another great thing about this was that it brought back the Great Ape form to the lore of Dragon Ball, which had otherwise been forgotten after the Saiyan saga of Dragon Ball Z. It was a cool way to, as we put it earlier, play with the lore of the world.
10. BETTER ANIMATION THAN SUPER
Dragon Ball Super has been ridiculed to no end for its poor animation quality, and for good reason. Though the artists work very hard, without enough time to make the animation look as good as it possibly could, a drop in quality was inevitable. Though there have been some fixes made in the Blu-Ray releases of the series, Super‘s animation still leaves a lot to be desired.
Dragon Ball GT on the other hand, has great animation by comparison. Sure, it had its flaws, and during certain episodes the quality would randomly drop, but other than that, there wasn’t too much to complain about with GT‘s animation. And even if there were points in which the animation quality dropped, the same could be said for certain episodes of Dragon Ball Z, so at the end of the day, GT‘s animation was pretty dang good.
9. BLACK STAR DRAGON BALLS
While fans might have hated the idea of Goku being a kid again, the dragon balls that granted Pilaf’s wish for that very thing actually brought some interesting elements to Dragon Ball GT. If nothing else, it endeavored to combine fighting elements of DBZ and the adventure elements of Dragon Ball, and the black star dragon balls provided a really great plot device for the latter.
After the black star dragon balls grant a wish, whatever planet they were used on would then explode if the dragon balls are not gathered. To make things worse, when the blacks star balls scatter, it’s not just across the world, but across the entire universe. This provided an interesting and fun setup for Goku and friends to search for the dragon balls just like old times, but with the added raised stakes that are a staple of the franchise.
8. THE SHADOW DRAGONS
Another great idea that GT had, but that wasn’t necessarily executed that well, was the concept of the shadow dragons. The final saga of GT centered around a threat that brought the entire franchise together. Every time a wish was made with the dragon balls, both positive and negative energy was released, but with enough time, the balls would absorb the negative energy and prevent any effects it might have.
However, because the dragon balls were so used so frequently, the negative energy became too much and seven evil dragons were created. This is such a brilliant idea for villains. After all, it was the very thing that the franchise was named after, and the wishes that had been made without second thought had become the greatest enemy that anyone had ever faced. Though things didn’t pan out very well and the designs of the shadow dragons are less-than-stellar, the idea of them was incredibly creative.
7. ESCAPE FROM HELL
Another fun way that past elements were brought back was during the Super Android 17 saga. During this saga, a portal to hell opened up and every dead villain from the franchise — literally EVERY single one, including the movie villains — escaped and began to wreak havoc on Earth. Though a similar concept was used in a Dragon Ball Z movie, Fusion Reborn, it was still cool to see so many villains again.
This part of the Super 17 arc served as both a nostalgia trip and a “what-if” concept of sorts. Fans got to see characters “reunite” with villains as well as fights that we never got to see happen. We also got to see all the villains that hated Goku team up, including Frieza and Cell, which was an awesomely deadly duo.
6. BABY’S ORIGIN/CONCEPT
Baby was kind of an annoying and weird villain, but his origins and the ideas behind his concept are arguably brilliant. Way back when the Saiyans were still around, they lived on Planet Vegeta, which was originally called Planet Plant and belonged to the Tuffle Race. The Saiyans stole the planet from the Tuffles after a horrendous war that ended with the Tuffles’ extinction.
However, there was a piece of the Tuffles left behind, artificial parasites they had created and infused with the DNA of their king. These parasites were sent all over the galaxy to find hosts that were powerful enough to destroy the entire Saiyan race and get revenge for their people. One of theses parasites was Baby. The Baby saga was not executed super well, but the idea of Tuffles getting revenge from beyond their collective grave was a great callback to the history of the Saiyans.
5. CHARACTER MOMENTS
If there’s one filler episode of DBZ that people loved, its the one where Goku and Piccolo learn to drive. The reason people love it so much is because it’s just a fun series of character moments that served as a nice break between all the tension and action of the Cell saga. Episodes and scenes like this in the franchise were great because they showed very human moments that made the world and characters feel more real and layered.
This was something that GT was actually really good at. Moments like Vegeta going shopping with his daughter, Trunks struggling to deal with being the president of his Family’s company, and Goten going on a date all felt like nice little peeks into the lives of our favorite heroes. Some might call these moments boring, but we think they were fun ways to catch up with the characters.
In the true canon of Dragon Ball (yes, we know how nerdy that sounds), the only characters that used the fusion dance to create a fusion were Goten and Trunks. However, in the Fusion Reborn film, Goku and Vegeta used it to create a fusion that was different from their Vegito potara fusion, Gogeta. Gogeta never made any other appearances in films, but he did show up in Dragon Ball GT.
You gotta admit that it was a pretty baller move to bring back this movie fusion for the series, and everything about Gogeta looked awesome in Super Saiyan 4. The red hair and the darker red fur combined with the fusion outfit all made for a pretty awesome design, and the contrast of the silly dance leading to such a powerful warrior was as ridiculous as it was cool.
3. THE STAKES
Regardless of wether or not you like Dragon Ball Super, you have to admit that half of the series has some pretty low stakes. The Goku Black, Golden Freiza and universal survival sagas all have some pretty high stakes, but the Golden Frieza saga was just rehashed from the movie, and the universal survival saga’s stakes are trivialized by the tournament format of the story, and don’t get us started on the other sagas.
Dragon Ball GT, on the other hand, had life-threatening stakes in every single arc. In the black star dragon ball saga, our heroes had to find all the black star balls to prevent Earth from blowing up, and all the villain-centric sagas showed real people at risk of the antagonists’ rampage. In fact, GT actually showed cities being attacked and threatened by a battle way more than Z or Super ever did.
2. MASTER GOKU
Across the entire Dragon Ball franchise, Goku had quite a few teachers and masters that versed him in the ways of martial arts, both the basic and superhuman kind. His first teacher was his grandpa, then he had Master Roshi, then Kami, then King Kai and now he has Whis in Dragon Ball Super. Yet, in all this time, Goku never really took in a student of his own, aside from his sons, of course.
In the very beginning of Dragon Ball GT, Goku is seen training his student, Uub, and it’s kind of a nice thing to see. After all the time that Goku spent defending the Earth, it was cool to see him teaching a novice warrior everything he knew. Like we said, he also taught his sons, but there’s something more powerful about Goku taking some small village kid like Uub under his wing.
Speaking of Goku’s student, Uub was kind of a neat character. Sure, his creation actually came from the final chapters of Dragon Ball Z, but the ways in which GT expanded his story were rather interesting. The series could have easily just left Uub’s story hanging, which DBZ did with a ton of Dragon Ball characters, but GT was happy to play with every piece of Dragon Ball lore.
Uub was the reincarnation of Kid Buu after his defeat, thus when it came time, he recombined with Fat Buu to regain all of the power he was meant to have. This story arc was somewhat poorly handled, as was Uub’s transformation into Majuub (oh boy that name is terrible), but again, the idea of this was pretty cool and creative.
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