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Dragon Ball Z remains one of the most iconic and well-received anime of all time, but that’s not quite the case with its first sequel. Many considered Dragon Ball GT to have failed to capture what made its predecessor so successful. At the same time, GT’s ending was sort of the franchise’s perfect crowning glory.
By comparison, Dragon Ball Z’s ending just seemed to set things up for further adventures. It was clear that the “peaceful world” it ended on was not meant to last, as it certainly was in the future after GT. Here’s a look at how the two anime ended the franchise – and how the worst series got a better ending.
Dragon Ball Z and GT ended the franchise in similar but different ways
The final episodes of Dragon Ball Z are known as the “Peaceful World Saga” and are set after the evil Majin Buu has been defeated. A few years after the previous episode, the new family status quo sees Gohan married to Videl and the father of a baby girl named Pan. From there, things end for the franchise when Goku encounters a boy named Uub at the World Martial Arts Tournament. Uub is actually the human reincarnation of Majin Buu, following Goku’s request that the villain get a second chance at life. Goku is also looking to the future, wishing for a new Guardian to protect Earth in case he isn’t around. After saying goodbye to his friends and loved ones, Goku leaves with Uub to begin training the boy after seeing his great potential.
In Dragon Ball GT, the dragon Shenron finds that the energy of the Dragon Balls has run out and needs to be recharged. Goku, who was transformed into a child by a wish of Emperor Pilaf, sets out with Shenron to begin a journey that revitalizes mystical artifacts. Before doing so, he bids farewell to everyone he holds dear, including a nostalgic fight against Krillin, who now looks much older.
Many years later, old Pan takes her grandson Goku Jr. to the World Martial Arts Tournament, where he faces a descendant of Vegeta. In the crowd of onlookers, Pan notices his grandfather Goku, who has apparently become an adult again. She sets off in pursuit to find him, but loses him in the crowd. Walking alone, Goku reminisces about his life, with the series ending with a still image of Grandpa Gohan holding Goku in his arms as a baby.
Dragon Ball GT has a better ending than Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball GT had many flaws, most of which stemmed from the series’ inability to find its own tone and scope. She initially tried to emulate the more comedic adventures of the original Dragon Ball, but given that she followed the action-packed nature of Dragon Ball Z, it just wasn’t appreciated by fans. However, one flaw that GT didn’t have was its final episode, which was honestly much better than what Dragon Ball Z ended on.
As we mentioned, the end of the “Peaceful World Saga” felt like a set up for further adventures between Goku and the other Z-Fighters. Thus, we can consider that it is less an end than the beginning of a new beginning. In the case of Dragon Ball GT, it was truly an ending that celebrated how far the franchise has come. Remember that Piccolo died at the end of GT, which gives an even stronger sense of finality. The final episode felt like things would never return to their old status quo and it was time to say goodbye.
Plus, by ending with Goku running away thinking about his grandfather Gohan, the series has kind of come full circle. So while GT as a whole fell short of its predecessors, the ending not only made up for its shortcomings, but also made for a better finale than Dragon Ball Z.
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