The creator of the original story, Akira Toriyama, had just finished Dragon Ball Z. He decided to stop there, as the series was already way longer than it should. But the producers, seeing how famous it were, decided to continue the show on their own. Toriyama drew the characters but tried to stay away from it as much as possible since the result was Dragon Ball GT, a messed up mediocrity. It is considered not to be part of the canon storyline and it’s so lukewarm many don’t even accept it as part of the same universe altogether.
The dialogues and the broken physics of Z remain here as well. I won’t repeat them here; just read my Z review about it. The production values did not improve in quality much compared to the Z series yet at the same time had a much worse feeling to them. The soundtrack was hardly as exciting and the battles lacked suspense to the point everything felt childish and dull, way inferior than before. A thing they improved was the change of backgrounds since they were going to a different place every few episodes instead of spending a year in front of the same type of hill or tree. Of course for the same time no area was given enough screentime to become interesting but whatever. Another thing they improved is the amount of reused animation, since the battles don’t have the same number of frames repeating for over a dozen times before something changes. For the same reason they last too little and have far less motion in general, so that is not making the action any better.
Trying to keep things fresh, the show dropped the extreme battles and returned to a more adventure/mystery element. The heroes are all significantly weaker than in Z and that was supposed to make their opponents more threatening. I guess that was the next logical step to take, as they had already surpassed even the elder gods and the lords of hell in power and kicked the crap out of beings that could destroy the universe with a few snaps of their fingers. The scenario is about Son Goku, becoming a kid again and travelling to space in order to find another set of Dragon Balls and again protecting the universe from evil aliens that want to rule or destroy it. The series began very lightly and cheery and progressively became darker and scarier. This alienated many fans of the Z series, as it felt too childish and without epic-scaled battles. Towards the end of the show they did eventually returned to a more epic type of a storyline but by then nothing made sense and the new villains were hardly well thought of or even cool enough to care about.
The pacing is very erratic. At first it is very slow and low toned and towards the end it goes turbo and tries to start, develop, and complete entire arcs in just a few episodes. I can’t say it was successful in any of the two cases, since the formula it worked with it was to keep things epic and slow, not easy going/slow or epic/fast.
-The first villain, Baby, is an alien creature that can possess the body of anyone he touches. He intends to possess the strongest Saiyan warrior in the universe, avenge those who were killed by the Saiyans and build a homeland, where everyone is brainwashed to consider him a God. There is also some drama on the parts of the bad guy and a big surprise about the Earth, which eventually is not saved!
-The second villain, Super 17, is the fusion between two androids. He is a generic villain but if he succeeds, all the villains of the past will escape Hell and return to life. There is no drama in this story ark and the Premise makes no sense.
-The third villain, Li Shen Long, is the evil embodiment of the Dragon Balls. If he succeeds, the universe is his. This story ark was too reminiscent of the Z series but the battles were quite dry and the ending was lukewarm.
The characters retain their quirky behaviours but the show hardly focuses on more than a handful of those. By now there were over 50 main and secondary heroes, even more were added to the mix, and everybody felt like a stunt. There was also no conflict amongst the heores, as there was in the earlier shows. No anti-heroes like Yamcha, or Picollo, or Vejita to keep things interesting to the most part. Even when they eventually get their spotlight, it still feels like they don’t do much at all.
It is the least favorable Dragonball series and for a good reason. The story is slow and the battles are quite dry.
-The first half of the series is completely boring. More reminiscent of a cheesy children’s adventure than of Dragon Ball as we knew and loved it.
-The second half was more reminiscent of the Z series, with more action and interest. But even this one had rather boring battles and without much battle choreography. These episodes were half good.
-There is also a movie special. The movie takes place 100 years after the ending of Dragon Ball GT. The great grandson of Goku, looks exactly like him but is quite a crybaby. His grandmother, Pan, sends him to find a Dragon Ball as a test of courage, out of Goku’s original house. The movie attempted to continue the GT series by introducing a kid, following the steps of its forefather. But the plot is simply boring and the story feels like watching the first episodes of the first Dragon Ball series, only without the catchy humor. Goku jr., Pan and Vejita jr. are not appealing at all. It is generally a pointless movie, where nothing great happens. No major threat, no memorable villains, no thrill for the ending.
If you like Akira Toriyama’s style of animation, look for the series Doctor Slump and Blue Dragon as well as games such as the Dragon Quest series and Chrono Trigger.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 7/10
General Artwork 2/2 (interesting)
Character Figures 2/2 (generic but memorable)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (silly but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (mediocre)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (messy)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (most have lost their charm)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (none)
VALUE SECTION: 4/10
Historical Value 1/3 (not very famous compared to its older brothers)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low)
Memorability 2/4 (it has some good ideas here and there but does very little with them)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Art 0/1 (looks lazy)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (good ideas but too stretched out)
Characters 1/4 (they got really boring now)