Akira Toriyama’s foundational Dragon Ball shonen series received a controversial sequel series in 1996 in the form of Dragon Ball GT. This follow-up anime would initially intend to recreate the more lighthearted energy of the original Dragon Ball, with new character designs from series’ creator Toriyama, with Toei being largely responsible for the anime-exclusive narrative.
Dragon Ball GT continues to receive a lot of criticism from even the biggest Dragon Ball fans, and the existence of Dragon Ball Super has largely de-canonized the events of GT. That being said, Dragon Ball GT wasn’t destined to fail. There are some decisions that the anime, unfortunately, didn’t make that might have helped it curry a little more favor with fans.
10 Pan Doesn’t Become A Super Saiyan
Dragon Ball GT’s introductory story arc puts Goku’s granddaughter, Pan, front and center in the hunt for the Black Star Dragon Balls. It’s fun to see Pan hold her own during many of the anime’s earlier battles, and the presence of a female human-Saiyan hybrid opens itself up to some compelling possibilities.
Fans were hoping to see Pan transform into a Super Saiyan, perhaps as a way to save Goku, but it sadly never comes to pass despite her impressive accomplishments. Female Super Saiyans finally arrive in Dragon Ball Super, but Pan has still yet to reach this milestone.
9 Super Saiyan 4 & Golden Great Ape Don’t Get Further Developed
One of the most celebrated original aspects of Dragon Ball GT is that it opts for the unconventional Super Saiyan 4 transformation over Dragon Ball Super’s Super Saiyan God and beyond. It feels like GT really just starts to scratch the surface with Super Saiyan 4 before the anime begins to wrap up.
Many Super Saiyan transformations have multiple tiers before perfection is reached. It’s disappointing that Super Saiyan 4 and its Golden Great Ape precursor remain in their base states and aren’t allowed greater depth.
8 A Machine Mutant Doesn’t Join The Heroes’ Party
All the Dragon Ball series introduce diverse and useful species that have their own advantages and setbacks. Dragon Ball GT initially gets a lot of mileage out of the malevolent Machine Mutants who live on Planet M-2. Machine Mutants are vital to the first half of the anime and then essentially get dropped after Super 17’s destruction.
Goku finds a reluctant ally of sorts with General Rilldo, a Machine Mutant who would make for an excellent ally to the heroes. A Machine Mutant in the mix would change the battle dynamics in fun ways, which audiences are now left to wonder over.
7 Uub/Majuub Becomes Incidental To The Story
Dragon Ball GT picks up on what’s teased during the conclusion of Dragon Ball Z where Goku goes to train Uub, Kid Buu’s purely intentioned reincarnation. It’s exciting to see Uub become a vital player when the series begins, and he grows even stronger after he consumes and absorbs Good Buu.
That being said, Uub’s usefulness runs its course by the time Goku and Vegeta normalize Super Saiyan 4 strength. The whole point of Dragon Ball Z’s ending feels irrelevant when Uub turns into collateral damage who doesn’t seem any stronger than the rest of Earth’s finest.
6 Android 17 Doesn’t Remain In The Picture Following Super 17’s Demise
Dragon Ball GT begins to properly find its footing around the time that Dr. Gero and Dr. Myuu team up to create the fused foe, Super 17. Super 17 causes unprecedented damage regarding the barrier between the land of the living and the dead. Goku finally bests Super 17 with his Dragon Fist.
It’s a fiery finale, but there’d be more potential in part of this Android surviving and learning how to properly atone for his sins. Curiously, Dragon Ball Super also decides to bring Android 17 into the mix, albeit in a permanent capacity that gets the most out of this rich character.
5 Adult Trunks Doesn’t Access New Super Saiyan Levels
Dragon Ball fans experience a rude awakening when they meet Dragon Ball GT’s older version of young Trunks. This character certainly resembles his cutthroat future counterpart, but he’s considerably less courageous and confident.
Adult Trunks may have a sword, but he’s mostly treated like a glorified babysitter for Goku and Pan on their galactic adventures. Fans wanted to watch Trunks live up to his potential and surpass his apocalyptic doppelgänger, but he actually seems to regress and be further behind his younger self in Dragon Ball Z.
4 Piccolo Staying Behind In Hell Gets Ignored
A lot of Dragon Ball’s best characters get sidelined in GT. Piccolo struggles to find his place in the sequel series, especially with how his Namekian power pales in comparison to Saiyan strength. Piccolo is allowed to make a triumphant sacrifice during the height of Super 17’s chaos.
Piccolo selflessly stays behind in hell, so that Goku can escape and protect the planet. It’s implied that Piccolo is left to police the afterlife and make sure another hellish jailbreak never occurs. This could fuel its own saga, or at least an effort to rescue Piccolo later down the line, but it instead becomes a melancholic swan song for the character.
3 Adult Goten Is Wasted Potential
Dragon Ball GT picks up five years after Dragon Ball Z’s finale, and one of the most exciting elements is when this sequel series begins is checking in with slightly older versions of beloved characters. Up until this point, characters like Goten or Bra had never been seen as young adults before.
GT could have featured a version of Goten who’s at least able to transform into a Super Saiyan 3 on his own. Instead, he becomes superfluous comic relief who quickly recedes into the background without any character development.
2 The Consequences Of The Shadow Dragons & Dragon Balls Aren’t Felt
Dragon Ball GT’s final story arc becomes a fitting opportunity for Goku and the rest of Earth to reflect upon all of the selfish and irresponsible wishes that have been made on the Dragon Balls over the course of the franchise. These errant wishes lead to the birth of the seven Shadow Dragons.
The defeat of the final Shadow Dragon seems to indicate that the Dragon Balls leave existence and that Goku enters some sort of synthesis with Shenron. A world without Dragon Balls where the heroes can’t casually course-correct their mistakes is a fascinating new status quo. Unfortunately, Dragon Ball GT ends before anything can be done with it.
1 Adult Gotenks & Further Fusion Isn’t Explored
A smart way in which Dragon Ball Z allows the younger generation of Saiyans, Goten and Trunks, to hold their own is through the powerful concept of fusion. Goten and Trunks become so reliant on the fusion dance that they primarily battle as Gotenks. In this fused state, they can even access Super Saiyan 3 strength.
It’s tragic that Dragon Ball GT’s older version of Goten and Trunks never experiment with fusion. Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks, as an adult, would be extremely interesting and the most likely to transform into a Super Saiyan 4 after Goku and Vegeta. However, it’s never added to Dragon Ball GT’s agenda.