It PAINS me to write about this segment. As much of a fan as I am about the Dragon Ball franchise… GT was terrible… as a Dragon Ball title. To put it simply, the creators of GT tried to aim it at a younger audience (in the Japanese version) while after translation, it came off as awkward, and almost confusing. As an independent title however... it's... ok. It's not unbearable, but it was a bit hard to watch in the beginning. Oh dear God, the first section just... felt too poorly written. After the halfway point however, it seems to fit more naturally, but not to say it felt the same. Writing could have used some work, but if I were to look at it as a piece of fanfiction that was lucky enough to get onto TV, it wasn't terrible.
Dragon Ball GT starts off with Goku training Uub, much like how Dragon Ball Z ended, but for some reason, Goku’s old “rival” Emperor Pilaf (who only had a relatively minor role in the early stages of Dragon Ball) comes around, SOMEHOW getting into Kami’s Sanctuary and taking these Black Star Dragon Balls (which were ONLY created as a construct for this plot). SOMEHOW, they’re stronger than any of the other Dragon Balls and can only grant one wish; after that, they fly off to the furthest reaches of the universe. No joke. Goku and Uub find Pilaf, Pilaf throws a hissy and inadvertently wishes for Goku to return to being a child. Again, no joke.
At this point, Goku returns to his family, explains the situation and the Capsule Corp whips up a ship that will traverse the universe in search of the Dragon Balls which, if not returned and wished upon within a year will destroy the planet. No joke. The “adventure crew” consists of Goku, brought back to being a child, his granddaughter Pan who acts like she’s the leader of the group, Trunks who has now become an incompetent pushover that would make Future Trunks sick and Giru, a little annoying robot that doubles as a new Dragon Radar after absorbing it, but serves no purpose otherwise.
To add to ridiculousness, all enemies that are encountered are so flashy and flamboyant that they would even make the Ginyu force sick; especially with the ridiculousness of people like the Para Para Brothers. Aside from the ludicrous nature of the enemies, the world and the environments may be considered a saving point, if not for their detail and intricacy. While it does lack in inconsistencies, it doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t seem to feel like it’s really a Dragon Ball series.
Nearing the end of the “gathering,” we are introduced to the Tuffle’s technology and greatest creation Baby (a knock-off of Cell) whose sole purpose is to destroy what’s left of the Saiyans -as well as anything else that stands in its way- as it infests its victims through whatever open orifices or lacerations they may have in their body and he uses the bodies of those Goku knows and loves to steal the Black Star Dragon Balls. After the ensuing rape and abduction of the Dragon Balls, Baby uses its hosts as catalysts to attack its adversaries due to its somewhat weak, independent design by character. Eventually, Goku and the gang fight against the infected, eventually leaving them in a state of incapacitation as Goku goes off to fight against Baby Vegeta.
After a seemingly easy defeat, Baby calls the Dragon forth to bring back the Tuffle homeworld (and bring it near Earth, because gravitational pulls of planets aren't issues at all) where he takes his slave army with him and commissions Bulma to find a way to amplify his powers in order to become a stronger “king” thus resulting in the Blutz Wave Generator which would become both Baby’s asset and key to destruction.
After regaining consciousness, Goku and the gang head to the Tuffle planet to settle things once and for all. It starts off being somewhat on par, then goes to Goku transforming into a Golden Oozaru (Great Ape) after looking at the Earth since it’s reminiscent to the moon. Pan calms him down in his transformative state and assists in his transformation into a Super Saiyan 4. Unaware that the Blutz waves also assist Goku, his plan fails, the Golden Oozaru form is defeated and he flees from Vegeta’s body and tries to escape in his spaceship. Spoiler (as if everything else wasn’t one), it fails as Goku fires of a 10X Kamehameha and kills him. Painfully.
Advancing through the plot, Dr. Myuu, the vcreator of Baby meets Dr. Gero (creator of the Androids and Cell) in Hell and they draw up plans to create a second Android #17, have him merge with the one on Earth and become the ultimate killing machine. Fast forward and the new 17 integrates with the old, factor in the rinse-and-repeat fight structure displayed with our protagonists at the brink of defeat. Vegeta enters the fray and in effect, helps reveal Super 17’s weakness when he goes to absorb energy. Together, now with the assistance of Android 18 to “call out” to the old 17 thus aiding in making his weakness more apparent. Super 17 is summarily destroyed and evaporated after having a gaping hole blown through his stomach, ala Demon King Piccolo style. Fun fact, Super 17 is the shortest lived character to have his own Saga, lasting only seven episodes.
After this point, the seven -regular- Dragon Balls are brought together to wish for those killed from the Baby and Super 17 sagas to return for the billionth time. Surprise, the Dragon Balls crack and what comes out is a dark dragon who is nigh the polar opposite of Shenron. Dark bluish-purple scaling, wings, a black fog and a cigar just to show off how much of an arrogant d-bag and a boss he is. At this point, he shows off how little he actually cares for our protagonists or their valiant efforts and spawns seven Shadow Dragons.
Skipping through a boring litany of events, the seven “dragons” (and I say this loosely since they bear little if any semblance to dragons in any preconceived form) are negative manifestations given form from what wishes were made on the Dragon Balls prior, and each“dragon” goes through and explains what wish they were. Fast forward and we’re left at the penultimate foe, Syn Shenron. While powerful in his own right, he only grows to be much worse after he absorbs the other six Dragon Balls into his body to become Omega Shenron.
Naturally, the new and improved Shenron is powerful, yet nigh worthless when it comes to detecting energy. This pays off when both Goku and Vegeta, both in Super Saiyan 4 form team up to defeat him… and knowing that their separate strengths together wouldn’t work, they combined to form Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta.
Unfortunately, a cocky attitude comes in and wrecks the opportunity they had to destroy him as the Fusion separates. To counteract this measure, Goku and Vegeta pull one of the earliest tricks in the book against Omega Shenron, the afterimage technique. After basically pulling a Naruto and making a good number of shadow images, they find a spot where they can fuse uninterrupted and this time, take a more serious effort into his destruction.
After the firing of a Big Bang Kamehameha, Omega pops out the Dragon Balls, reverting to Syn as Gogeta claims that the next blast would be the last. Accepting defeat, Syn waits his death… just for the Fusion to run out. AGAIN. In a last ditch effort, Goku steals and swallows the 4-Star Dragon Ball to prevent Syn from becoming a perfected Omega… only to have HIS plan backfire and the ball brought back into Omega’s body. To add insult to injury, Omega lets loose a dark Spirit Bomb-esque attack which is presumed to kill our hero. Enraged, everyone teams up to fight against Omega as Goku suddenly emerges from the crater to form the Universal Spirit Bomb.
Seeing the blast, Omega tries to talk his way out of his death, but Goku looks at him in sheer disgust before firing the bomb at him, vaporizing the last enemy to be seen in the Dragon Ball universe. The real Shenron appears and in effect, states that everything is done and that he will separate the power of the Dragon Balls from the face of the Earth so such an occurrence will not happen again and asks Goku to accompany him to negate the negative energy. With nothing left to do, he accepts and takes a final tour of the world and the afterlife to meet with his friends and rivals, effectively saying good-bye and thanking them for all they’ve done.
Shenron flies off into a bright light with a loud roar as the Dragon Balls are brought into Goku’s body, nd the story is then concluded. With the Dragon Ball series completed, what exactly is it that can be taken from all of this? We follow through the life of a great, yet humanly fallible character who on a number of occasions has saved not only Earth, but the universe as a whole. Unmatched by every villain and every theme concocted, we close the book on the life of a hero.
This aside, what can be said about GT?
In all honesty, it’s an ok plot, but at many points, I looked at the ludicrous nature of where the show was going, not to say that the Dragon Ball series in itself wasn’t unbelievable, and just couldn’t bring myself to really enjoy it. The plot came off too farfetched from the design of the older titles and it felt… uncomfortable to watch, after being a huge fan of Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. It could be that the staff that wrote up the plot aimed it towards a younger audience, by making Goku a kid, but when I first saw it in my early teens, I was able to get into it well enough, but it just didn’t feel right. The only time it didn’t appear to be comical was halfway through the Baby Saga and through the Shadow Dragon Saga, so roughly around the beginning of the second half of the series, and even then it felt almost rushed and artificial by comparison.
It was ok, yeah, but it just didn’t have that feel, that luster and that appeal that its predecessor had. As a Dragon Ball series, I felt it was too far off and out of the scope of what made Dragon Ball good, so I have to mark it lower, but if it stood as an independent series, it may be considered a bit better than decent. The best I can say is that the story isn’t canon and therefore should only be seen loosely associated with its prior titles. It’s been a blast, but at least we can say that the story of Goku and all of the Z Fighters is at a close. With its beginning in 1984 to its end in 1998, to my review in 2011, I’d like to say that Akira Toriyama, you’ve written one of the best series I’ve ever watched and read and for all this time, it’s been a great 27 years.
“Till we meet again!”
Reviewed by: Kris “Kaz” Sturm
Reviewer Rating: 3/5