Others say One Piece, Naruto or Bleach is the greatest anime series of all time. But for me, there is no doubt that Dragon Ball is the greatest anime series of all time. The action, story, character development, comedy, and animation are all top-notch.
I started watching it when I was a kid and have kept watching it ever since. It is a masterpiece that everyone should watch at least once in a lifetime and if you are thinking of watching it, you should watch it correctly.
In this article, I will tell you how to watch Dragon Ball in order.
How to watch Dragon Ball in chronological order:
Here is how you can watch Dragon Ball in chronological order –
- Dragon Ball (1986-1989) (156 Episodes)
- Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996) (291 Episodes)
- Dragon Ball Z Kai (2009-2011) (167 Episodes) (Optional) (Remake of Dragon Ball Z with no fillers)
- Dragon Ball GT (1996-1997) (64 Episodes)
- Dragon Ball Super (2015-2018) (131 Episodes)
Dragon Ball (1986-1989)
The dragon ball manga officially debuted on November 20th, 1984. The author Akira Toriyama was inspired by many fine pieces of literature when he started his magnum opus. He was inspired by the journey to the west to create son Goku’s character and was inspired by the epic Japanese novel named Nansō Satomi Hakkenden to create the idea of Dragon Balls.
In that novel, the protagonist goes around collecting eight Buddhist prayer beads. Toriyama loved the idea and used it as the foundation to come up with the concept of Dragon Balls. Just like that decades-long grand epic began.
During its early days, Dragon Ball wasn’t about epic jaw-dropping power-ups and action that makes your blood boil. It was about comedy, adventure, and other random silliness. Still by accounts, it was all well worth the experience. Some fans might even prefer the early Dragon Ball to what it became after the Saiyans were formally introduced.
The Dragon Ball continued its serialization in the year 1986. The manga finally received an anime adaptation because of its ever-blooming popularity, which only added fuel to the already pungent popularity of this franchise.
The OG Dragon Ball anime finished its broadcast in the year 1989. From start to finish, the series lasted 153 episodes. It was broadcasted in 81 countries around the world. However, this was still the beginning. The anime had only covered the first 194 chapters of the manga.
Not only was the story still in serialization, Akira Toriyama now knew that he could still do a lot more with this story.
Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996)
Just as the OG Dragon Ball finished releasing its final episode, Dragon Ball Z came into the scene. It picked up right from where the story left off and as you all know, unlike the OG Dragon Ball anime, Dragon Ball Z features the story of the adult Goku as well as the other Z fighters. Goku married and had a kid with Chichi.
He named his son after his late grandpa Gohan. Dragon Ball Z is where we start getting more tidbits about the world outside of earth, the Saiyan race, Vegeta, King Kai, Frieza, the Supreme Kai, and more.
It’s where the series really picks up in terms of action and hype. The simplicity and charm of the OG Dragon Ball still exist but now that Goku is all grown up, it’s no longer the main attraction.
What most people do is that they start from Dragon Ball Z, continue on and just get done with the series after watching its final episode. I would like to say that if you do like this, you are gravely missing out.
If you want to truly see the beauty of this grand epic and are okay with truly spending your time on the series, you definitely should watch Dragon Ball first and then proceed on to the Dragon Ball Z installment. Dragon Ball Z released its final 291st episode on January 31st, 1996. It adapted the later 325 chapters of the manga. The manga itself released its final 519th chapter on May 23rd, 1995.
Dragon Ball Z Kai (2009-2011)
The Dragon Ball franchise largely contributed to making the anime medium become known to the outside world. In one way or another, it changed the anime and manga world and inspired behemoths like One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach, making their debut and soon becoming known as the big three.
Dragon Ball paved the way for the modern-day battle shounen. It is by far among the most influential pieces of fiction of the 20th century. If you watch Dragon Ball Z on the television, you may recall a series called Dragon Ball Z Kai. It is essentially a remastered version of the Dragon Ball Z anime that takes out all the filler content.
However, it does stop at the Cell Saga. So many people who were only watching Dragon Ball because it was on TV don’t really know that the story continued on and there was an entire saga featuring adult Gohan, Goku’s second son, and Vegeta’s son, as well as the other Z fighters.
Dragon Ball GT (1996-1997)
But as you all know, the dragon ball series continues on and is just as hot a topic as it ever was. The sequels include the fan-made Dragon Ball GT that aired for two years, from February 1996 to November 1997.
This is an original anime story that features Goku’s granddaughter Pan and a lot of other cool developments. Toriyama also helped with the character designs of some of the new characters that were introduced into the show.
Dragon Ball Super (2015-2018)
After Dragon Ball GT ended, fans genuinely thought the series had finally concluded for good. The sales never stopped and Dragon Balls popularity never saw a bad day, but then almost a decade and a half later, Dragon Ball came back in the year 2013 with a canon film called Dragon Ball Z Battle of Gods. The story of this film took place after the defeat of Majin Buu.
It hyped up the franchise with the introduction of Super Saiyan God. Little did anyone know that this film would become the foundation of an actual canon Dragon Ball sequel. After the release of Dragon Ball Z Resurrection F in 2015, a sequel named Dragon Ball Super entered the scene.
This story began with the retelling of the plot of film’s Battle of the Gods and Resurrection F and then continued on with the story. It began serialization in June 2015. The person behind the story was still Toriyama but this time, he had an illustrator named Toyotarou help him out.
Around the same time, in July 2015, Toriyama began airing the Dragon Ball Super anime series, which lasted for 131 episodes and ended in March 2018. The story took many unexpected yet bold turns.
Some fans enjoyed it, some say it was a cash grab, some were pissed off at what the Dragon Ball franchise had become, and some were genuinely looking forward to more Dragon ball. Luckily for him, the Dragon Ball Super manga was still pumping out more monthly content. Also, If you are a big Dragon Ball fan, you can check out these Goku costumes.
In December 2018, another Broly film was released and became the highest-grossing film of the entire franchise. Furthermore in 2022, another Dragon Ball Super film named Superhero is scheduled to be released and fans are as hyped as ever.
For Manga Readers
If you are just in it for the thrill of the story and don’t really need to hear Goku’s Kamehameha scream every 10 episodes, you can also go with the manga. It’s quite literally badass. The pacing is phenomenal and your mind instinctually realizes why it was hailed as a true classic.
So, as for the manga readers, you just have to read the entire Dragon Ball and then move on to the sequel Dragon Ball Super. It’s that simple.
Dragon Dall Movies in Chronological Order
- Curse of the Blood Rubies (1986)
- Sleeping Princess in Devil’s Castle (1987)
- Mystical Adventure (1988)
Dragon Ball Z
- Dead Zone (1989)
- The Tree of Might (1990)
- The World’s Strongest (1990)
- Cooler’s Revenge (1991)
- Lord Slug (1991)
- The Return of Cooler (1992)
- Super Android 13! (1992)
- Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan (1993)
- Bojack Unbound (1993)
- Broly – Second Coming (1994)
- Bio-Broly (1994)
- Fusion Reborn (1995)
- Wrath of the Dragon (1995)
- Battle of Gods (2013)
- Resurrection ‘F’ (2015)
Dragon Ball Super
- Broly (2018)
- Super Hero (2022)
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Do you agree with our Dragon Ball in chronological watch order list? Tell us your favorite Dragon Ball series in the comment below.