With the adaptation of the Dragon Ball manga (Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z) completed in 1996, Toei Animation was hungry for more stories – not to mention more money – and commissioned this follow-up series. Third in the franchise, Dragon Ball GT (Grand Tour) was entirely studio driven, as creator Akira Toriyama had very little involvement.
The series chronicled the continuing adventures of Goku, now a child again, and his granddaughter Pan. However, despite having promising ideas and a couple bright spots, GT wasn’t well-executed and lasted a paltry (compared to its predecessors) 64 episodes and one movie.
In the Dragon Ball Z finale, Goku left his family behind to train Uub, the human reincarnation of Kid Buu. Now, ten years later, we see them complete their training at Kami’s Lookout, and Uub bids adieu.
The Devastating Wish
An elderly Pilaf, Shu, and Mai fly up to the Lookout and enter a secret chamber containing Black Star Dragon Balls, which were created by the Nameless Namekian that split into Kami and King Piccolo. Pilaf summons the Black Star Dragon, intent on finally wishing for world domination, but Goku shows up ready to spoil his plans.
“I wish you were a little kid again, then I could really teach you a lesson,” says Pilaf, under his breath. The dragon hears this and accepts it as his wish, and Goku is made into a child again.
Meeting up with Pan
A hungry Goku heads down to a restaurant, but accidentally gets involved in stopping a nearby bank robbery. We’re reintroduced to his granddaughter Pan (now a teenager), and the lecherous Master Roshi, who recognizes the younger Goku.
Back home with his family, Goku receives a dire message from King Kai: he has one year to find the Black Star Dragon Balls, which have scattered throughout the universe (galaxy in the English dub), otherwise Earth will explode.
Like the first episode of Dragon Ball Z, GT jumps right in without a recap or brief overview of the preceding series. Makes sense, since it started immediately after Z, but at the very least they could have reminded us who Uub was.
Pilaf, Mai, and Shu return after a nearly 300-episode absence! I like them a lot, so it was nice to see them back…even if they were just there to move the plot forward and won’t be seen again (barring a cameo). They’ve visibly aged since their previous appearance and look old as hell. Like, falling-apart, decrepit old. It’s very depressing to look at them, actually. They’ve all wasted their lives in their fruitless quest to rule the world and accomplished nothing; all I feel for them is pity.
New (Old) Dragon Balls
The sudden existence of a new set of Dragon Balls is really cheap and contrived. These Black Star Balls have been on Earth in a secret room all this time without ever being mentioned once? You don’t say. And it’s not even clear why they were created or how Pilaf knew about them.
The bulk of the episode focuses on Goku becoming a child, but the second half reintroduces Pan, who was last seen as a toddler in Dragon Ball Z‘s final episodes. The bank robber scenario makes me think of an episode from DBZ‘s Great Saiyaman arc (which I didn’t like), but it was fine and the fight scene, while brief, wasn’t bad.