Is Dragon Ball Z Kai Canon? Dragon Ball series Complete Canon Guide

Goku on the nimbus cloud with Super Saiyan Goku in the backdrop

A lot of us grew up watching Dragon Ball, which introduced us to the anime world in a way that we weren’t even aware of. It is one of the oldest shows that gave rise to the entire Shounen genre. Even though it’s been around 40 years, this anime is seriously long, and fans still really want to watch it again. So, here’s a proper Dragon Ball series Canon guide while also covering whether is Dragon Ball Z Kai canon or not.

In the anime community, we often argue about what’s canon or not whatever the fandom may be. But with Dragon Ball, this debate is extra common because it’s huge and has been around for so long. Fans are always trying to figure out what parts of it are the real deal. Before we head into that, we also have a watch order guide for the Dragon Ball series. So, give that a look too.

Dragon Ball Canon Checklist to see what’s canon

Goku with his son, Gohan, and the rest of the cast from Dragon Ball
Image Courtesy of Crunchyroll

Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Z: Kai, and Dragon Ball Super anime series are considered officially canon since they closely follow the manga’s storyline.

While it’s important to note that some parts of the anime aren’t in the manga, they’re still considered canon. This is because they all tell the same story and happen in the same timeline.

What is Canon in general?

byu/sjelerick from discussion

Canon means the material that is directly connected to the original source material, including the events, timeline and the creator’s involvement.

In Dragon Ball, the original material is the manga created by Akira Toriyama, but there are many releases in the franchise, in which, some are important to the main story, some are also made by Toriyama himself, some are both, and some aren’t connected at all.

Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Z Kai are both Canon

  • If you want to get technical, we can say that the events that didn’t particularly happen in the original manga are considered canon only in the anime, not in the manga.
  • For instance, there isn’t a Dragon Ball Z manga. It’s a series made just for the anime, especially for Western audience. It does adapt some events from the original Dragon Ball manga but also includes content that is only original to the anime.

To conclude it all, Dragon Ball Z: Kai is a version of Dragon Ball Z that cuts out the extra parts or the new bits and sticks closer to the original manga than DBZ. Making both of them canon.

Dragon Ball series Complete Canon Guide

1. Anime series that are not Canon

Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Heroes are not part of the official storyline. Toriyama didn’t work on them, and they happen to be in different worlds or dimensions.

Goku in his Ultra Instinct form
Image Courtesy of Toei Animation

Think of DBGT as a different story from DBS. If there was no DBS, DBGT would be the next part after DB or DBZ. But in DBGT, you won’t find Super Saiyan Blue, Beerus, Whis, or other universes because of its own timeline.

If there’s one series that’s definitely not part of the official story, it’s DBGT.

2. Movie series that are Canon

The movies hold a unique position in the world of Dragon Ball as they’re not officially part of the main storyline or canon. However, some movies like DBZ: Battle of Gods and DBZ: Resurrection F, have a special status.

Akira Toriyama’s involvement in these movies and their connection to the DBS series makes them partially canon. For example, DBZ Resurrection F covers the next DBS saga – the Golden Frieza saga. As the manga and anime of DBS are canon, it should make sense that these two movies are also canon.

In a nutshell, you can skip the first 2 DBS sagas and just watch the 2 movies.

Are DBS Super Hero and DBS Broly also canon?

  • DBS: Super Hero comes right after DBS: Broly, so if Broly is part of the official story, then Super Hero could be too.
  • It happens after the Granolah story in Dragon Ball Super and before the 28th World Martial Arts Tournament in the Dragon Ball manga.


Because Toriyama didn’t write the Dragon Ball Super manga, some say the most “official” part of Dragon Ball Super is its movies, since he wrote them.

3. Movies that are non canon

The first four Dragon Ball movies, the 13 Dragon Ball Z movies, and the two special edition movies aren’t part of the official story. Toriyama didn’t work on them, and they happen in separate worlds from the original Dragon Ball storyline.

But what could become canon is our every-Monday Anime Newsletter that promises you some of the spiciest and interesting insights from the Anime world. Do give it a look when you’re done reading this.

Non-Canon Dragon Ball movies that you should watch

Goku and Gohan on the nimbus cloud
Image Courtesy of Toei Animation

Movies like Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Resurrection F, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, and Super Hero aren’t officially part of the main story, but they’re still really good to watch. There are also movies like History of Trunks and the two Bardock movies that could fit into the main story, so they’re definitely worth checking out too.

If you want to see where Dragon Ball began, we recommend checking out the first three original Dragon Ball movies too.



That’s everything we know about whether is Dragon Ball Z Kai canon or not. So, which one are you watching first? Do let us know in the comments down below.

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