The long-standing debate in the Dragon Ball fan community finally has an answer. Is the movie Dragon Ball GT canon (official) or just non-canon (unofficial) in the plot of the Dragon Ball series? Shueisha – the publisher responsible for the Dragon Ball manga revealed this in 2017 during the Dragon Ball Tenkaichi Budokai event.
Released in 1996, Dragon Ball GT was once considered an unofficial sequel to the Dragon Ball comic series that ended a year earlier. Produced by Toei Animation, Dragon Ball GT is the third film in the Dragon Ball anime series and the sequel to Dragon Ball Z.
Author Akira Toriyama provided the premise of the series’ early stages and created sketch designs for most of the characters appearing in the GT anime. Except the Super Saiyan 4 form was not designed by Akira. In addition, the Dragon Ball author also drew the logo, named the movie and titled each episode, as well as supervised production.
According to many fans, Dragon Ball GT is an “unauthorized” anime because it does not have Akira Toriyama’s direct participation in the script and content, but is created by people from Toei Animation.
When Dragon Ball Super debuted, following a completely different timeline from GT, fan debate once again arose.
Thanks to dedicated fan accounts like @DGBTLegacy, footage from the 2017 event has resurfaced, showing the official Dragon Ball timeline provided by Shueisha. To everyone’s surprise, there was not only Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super, but also Dragon Ball GT. This is because the Super arc takes place immediately after the end of the Z arc, while GT is set five years later, keeping the timeline coherent.
Franchise creator Akira Toriyama called GT “a small part of Dragon Ball history”. His involvement in various aspects of the GT’s production strengthens this claim. Perhaps the most plausible explanation is that GT takes place in a parallel universe, a concept that was introduced in Dragon Ball Super.
So it’s time to accept, according to the timeline and official statements from Shueisha and Toriyama, that Dragon Ball GT is canon. At least this is true until proven otherwise.