Dragon Ball is one of the most popular, not to mention extensive, anime franchises of all time – and for newcomers, the wealth of content can make it slightly tricky to know the best order to watch Dragon Ball in.


Having first aired in 1986, the original series (which is based on the manga of the same name) has spawned a huge number of spinoffs and sequels devoted to the Super Saiyan including Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Super and the most recent entry to the franchise: Super Dragon Ball Heroes.

Aside from the series, there are also a number of movies and television specials that confuse matters further, and then there's the complication that not all the series are necessarily considered "canon". Much like trying to watch Naruto in order, all of this makes it quite difficult to know how to watch the Dragon Ball series in order.

So where to begin? We have you covered.

How to watch Dragon Ball in chronological order

While this method might be frowned upon by hardcore fans, one way to watch Dragon Ball in order is to go in chronological order in terms of the time scale of the story.

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This order does not take into account whether each series or film is considered canon or not – hence why some fans would say it isn't the best way to watch – and as such, it includes a lot of content.

Meanwhile, a note that we have included Dragon Ball Z but not Dragon Ball Z Kai, given that the two series are essentially the same thing. (For reference, Dragon Ball Z Kai is a remake of the earlier series, telling the same story but with less filler and some new dialogue as well as updated animation.)

Win a one-month subscription to Crunchyroll! Five RadioTimes.com users have the chance to win in celebration of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero arriving on the streaming service this July.

Here is how to watch Dragon Ball in chronological order:

  • Dragon Ball
  • Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 1-86
  • Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku (TV Special)
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 87-107
  • Dragon Ball: Episode of Bardock (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 108-123
  • Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks (TV Special)
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 124 and 125
  • Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 126-146
  • Dragon Ball Z: Super Android 13 (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z episodes 147-173
  • Dragon Ball Z: The Return of Cooler (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: Broly – The Legendary Super Saiyan (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 174-194
  • Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 195-207
  • Dragon Ball Z: Broly’s Second Coming (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 208-250
  • Dragon Ball Z: Bio-Broly (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 251-253
  • Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 254-288
  • Dragon Ball Z: Wrath of the Dragon (movie)
  • Dragon Ball DAIMA
  • Dragon Ball Z: episodes 289-291
  • Dragon Ball GT: episodes 1-64
  • Dragon Ball Super: episodes 1-3
  • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Super: episodes 4-18
  • Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F (movie)
  • Dragon Ball Super: episodes 19-131
  • Dragon Ball Super: Broly (movie)
  • Super Dragon Ball Heroes
  • Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero

How to watch Dragon Ball in order by canon

Dragon Ball's Goku looking into camera, smiling
Dragon Ball's Goku. Crunchyroll

If you want to skip all the Dragon Ball that isn't considered canon, i.e the series and films which don't follow the events of the manga and were made without any input from creator Akira Toriyama, then there is an alternative watch order below.

The entries considered non-canon include the series Dragon Ball GT in addition to the majority of the films. Then you also have to make the choice of whether to watch Dragon Ball Z for the more extensive experience or Dragon Ball Kai for the more refined approach.

Here is the list for fans who wish to watch Dragon Ball canonically:

  • Dragon Ball: all episodes
  • Dragon Ball Z or Kai: until the end of the Frieza Saga
  • Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku (TV Special)
  • Dragon Ball Z: until the end of the Cell saga
  • Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks (TV Special)
  • Dragon Ball Z: until just before the Peaceful World saga
  • Dragon Ball DAIMA
  • Dragon Ball Z: all remaining episodes
  • Dragon Ball Super

When is Dragon Ball DAIMA set?

The most recent series announced by series creator Akira Toriyama at New York Comic Con 2023, Dragon Ball DAIMA hasn't been strictly said when it is set yet.

However, some comments from Toriyama and eagle-eyed fans have been able to figure out that it appears to be set sometime prior to The End of Z, AKA the Peaceful World Saga, in Dragon Ball Z.

Watch the trailer below to try and figure out yourself where you place Dragon Ball DAIMA in the timeline:

Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide, or visit our Sci-Fi hub for more news and features.


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