The Dragon Ball franchise has a long history of runtime. The anime adaptation has been airing ever since 1986. Almost three and half decades have gone by, and the show is still pretty popular. However, its timeline and the Dragon Ball Chronology are pretty confusing, and a lot of people struggle to understand the proper order of the franchise.
If you’re a part of the Gen-Z generation too, and you don’t understand the Dragon Ball anime, then maybe it’s time we do the job for you. The popular franchise goes far beyond Goku, Vegeta, and some dragon balls. Naturally, it is almost impossible to summarize the entire universe into a single article unless you plan to write a dozen novels. But we will try our best. So, here is the list of the entire Dragon Ball chronology. We hope this will be a good entry point for you into the Dragon Ball universe.
7. Dragon Ball (1986-1989)
The season with which this manga inaugurated the anime adaptation was the 1986 show Dragon Ball. Many fans still consider this season to be the best one yet. The first Dragon Ball series was divided into six arcs. Moreover, a total of 153 episodes were aired in the first timeline. The inaugural series has a total of nine seasons. The first season finally concluded at the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai arc, which was then translated into the second season of Dragon Ball Z.
6. Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996)
Directly after Dragon Ball came the sequel Dragon Ball Z. It took a different approach from a treasure hunt to a more action-oriented show. The plot was a direct continuation of the story that was left in the first installment. In terms of numbers, Dragon Ball Z performed way better than its predecessor on ratings. Critics believe that this was because of Toriyama’s fight choreography, which led to the fans overlooking the messy plot. Dragon Ball Z went on to become the longest-running anime series of all time.
5. Dragon Ball GT (1996-1997)
After the enormous success of Dragon Ball Z, we got an average installment in the form of GT. Akira Toriyama did his best to conclude the arc of Buu beautifully. However, Toei Animation still wanted to continue the Dragon Ball venture. As a result, they had to produce a soulless product that felt like a completely different anime. Dragon Ball GT was a direct continuation of the Dragon Ball Z series. In fact, many fans describe this series as the weakest contender amongst all DB series. With such criticisms, Dragon Ball GT was taken down just within a year.
4. Dragon Ball Kai (2009-2011)
Dragon Ball Kai is not specifically an original series. This was the fourth installment in the Dragon Ball chronology. At the time of Dragon Ball Z’s 20th anniversary, Toei Animation decided to recut DBZ into a shorter version. Dragon Ball Kai was created as an edited version of Dragon Ball Z itself. This was a mere ploy to create yet another season without pushing the storyline. But the makers couldn’t cultivate the response they were looking for. What they received was a sharp criticism for soulless editing.
3. Dragon Ball Kai: The Final Chapters (2014-2015)
Another installment that stands the ground of Dragon Ball GT is Dragon Ball Kai: The Final Chapters. The reason behind the disappointment was the firing of the original editor Kenji Yamamoto. As a result, the show lost its original vision and was made up into something else entirely. A lot of editing was pointless because it resembled the entire Dragon Ball Z series. To date, this one remains the most unpopular installment of all.
2. Dragon Ball Super (2015-2018)
Immediately after the failure of the Kai series, the producers of Dragon Ball decided to reboot it and gain back its initial reputation. As a result, we got to see the 2015 show Dragon Ball Super. Well, it was a unique and brave experiment in the face of failure. Of course, this one faced major criticism in its initial days. However, the problems were fixed immediately. Dragon Ball Super had some intriguing arcs like the Goku Black arc. Another interesting storyline was the Tournament of Power, at the end of which the series abruptly said goodbye. Moreover, fans are still waiting for a deserving conclusion to this fantastic installment. Super was the second last show in the Dragon Ball chronology.
1. Super Dragon Ball Heroes (2018 – Present)
Another unique experiment was the 2018 Super Dragon Ball Heroes. This one is an unconventional series that takes a huge turn from what we are used to of watching. The series was originally designed to boost the sales of the Super Dragon Ball Heroes card game and video game. And the ploy worked! Super Dragon Ball Heroes is currently running the space-time arc of Goku and Vegeta against intergalactic beings.
So, this was the entire Dragon Ball chronology simplified. Well, the franchise is not ending anytime soon, and we will update this section as new ventures come out. We hope that this article will help you start your Dragon Ball venture. When do you plan on bingeing this legendary anime series? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section. For more such nerd stuff on anime, keep an eye on The Anime Daily.