Which Dragon Ball movies are Canon?

Few anime have achieved the monumental success of Dragon Ball, with the work of Akira Toriyama inspiring many people around the world. Toriyama told the story of Goku, one of the last remaining Saiyans from the planet Vegeta that crashed on Earth. Over the years, he fights various enemies, continuously increasing his power level each time he defeats someone.

Due to its success, Toei Animation decided to expand the Dragon Ball universe by releasing movies. To date, the studio has made over 20 Dragon Ball movies that tell many new narratives about the Z Fighters. However, the development and nature of these films cast doubt on their canonical status.

In most of the films, Akira Toriyama had no involvement with the production. This allowed Toei Animation to create their own original stories with Dragon Ball characters, independent of the original continuity. So the timeline placement of the Dragon Ball movies can be a bit confusing, or they just don’t quite fit together.

If you want to check out the relevant movies, here’s a full list of canon and non-canon Dragon Ball movies.

Dragon Dance Canon Movies

Dragon Ball Super Super Hero

– Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (2013)
– Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ (2015)
– Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2018)
– Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (2022)

Dragon Ball Non-canon movies

Dragon Ball Z Wrath of the Dragon (1995)
Dragon Ball Z Wrath of the Dragon (1995)

– Dragon Ball: The Curse of the Blood Rubies (1986)
– Dragon Ball: Sleeping Princess in the Devil’s Castle (1987)
– Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure (1988)
– Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone (1989)
– Dragon Ball Z: World’s Strongest (1990)
– Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Power (1990)
– Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug (1991)
– Dragon Ball Z: Cooler’s Revenge (1991)
– Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler (1992)
– Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13! (1992)
– Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan (1993)
– Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound (1993)
– Dragon Ball Z: Broly – Second Coming (1994)
– Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly (1994)
– Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn (1995)
– Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon (1995)
– Dragon Ball: Road to Power (1996)

Only a few Dragon Ball movies are canon from the original story. The first official canon film where Akira Toriyama was directly involved in development was Battle of Gods. It was eventually followed by a sequel titled Resurrection ‘F’ in 2015. Both films were eventually adapted into story arcs in Dragon Ball Super. After the Super Dragon Ball Tournament of Power, the story continues in the Broly and Super Hero movies.

Aside from these movies, the others are considered non-canon. However, people argue that some movies can easily fit into the original timeline. For example, the Dead Zone movie takes place between the end of Dragon Ball and the beginning of Dragon Ball Z. Meanwhile, Cooler’s Revenge may take place between the return of Goku and the arrival of the androids. And finally, Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan could have happened while waiting for the Cell Games to start, while Bojack Unbound takes place after the Cell Games. Although these films do not contradict any events, they are not canon because they have no relation to the overall story.

The Dragon Ball movies may be mostly non-canon, but they are enjoyable to watch. With Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero opening in theaters, now is the perfect time to dive into the world of Dragon Ball. If you’re craving more Dragon Ball content, watching the movies is a great way to satisfy those cravings.

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