Translations Archive

Dragon Ball GT DVD Box: Dragon Box GT “Dragon Book” (15 June 2005)


Atsushi Maekawa Story Q&A

Out of the scripts for all 64 episodes of GT, Atsushi Maekawa wrote the most, with a total of 28 episodes plus the TV special. We hit him up with all sorts of questions!

Why did Goku turn back into a child in GT?
It came from the concept of “getting back to the series’ roots”. That is to say, by the end of Dragon Ball Z, which followed the story of the original comic, there was a sense that the animated series had already done battles to the utter limit. How, in creating new original material from there, could we make it fun. Whether pursuing even fiercer battle… was the correct direction or not.1 At this planning stage, the staff at the time were already really scratching their heads; in the midst of that, there came the idea of, why not try to bring things back to a taste like that of early Dragon Ball? They’d set out on journey to search for the Dragon Balls in an atmosphere of both comedy and action. It truly is the style early on.

Except, with a “mightiest Goku who can do anything”, who had already gone as far as he could possibly go, the balls would all be gathered together in a cinch. That’s where we came up with the idea of, “if we deliberately turn Goku back into a child and give him various limitations, it’ll open up the adventure even more”. As a result of that idea having come up, we ended up deliberately turning Goku back into a child.

What were some concepts and such that unfortunately got shelved?
I was given quite a bit of freedom working on GT, so aside from whether they were animated or not, the ideas were limitless. For each character, plenty of subplots existed that never made it to the screen.

For instance, in Gohan’s case, there was apparently so much as an “Ultimate Gohan” concept in Dragon Ball Z, where he was a super-warrior with might surpassing Goku, but in GT, he’s a scholar who’s given up fighting almost entirely. But for someone who had given up fighting like that to return to the front lines, I thought that naturally there needed to be quite a bit of drama involved.

Around the Super 17 arc in the animation, he came back as a super-warrior all of a sudden, but actually, I personally wanted to put in a heroic episode telling the reason he started fighting again. For instance, people he loved, like Videl, had been hurt, and when in the depths of anguish, he happened to open up his wardrobe, inside was his dōgi from fondly-remembered times. Together with the line, “To think there’d come a day I’d wear this again…”, he brushes off Chi-Chi, who in tears is trying to stop him, and makes a shocking, lightning entrance on the battlefield. Considering the status of the character, I wanted to spend one or two episodes showing that level of resolve, and I recall having even written the plot for it. But it’s a subplot that diverges from the main story, I guess you could say, so due to various circumstances, it never came to fruition, and it ended up stopping at the level of, he takes off his glasses, and takes on the eyes of a warrior. (laughs)

I can’t tell everything, but including both things that made it to animation and things that were shelved, I believe that GT is the crystallization of all the ideas that were spun together like that in that atmosphere of freedom.

What is the reason behind Pan and Trunks being selected as Goku’s traveling partners?
When the conversation came to, “Let’s get back to our roots!” …the very first thing that came to mind was that we wanted a character corresponding to an early Bulma to go on the journey with him. But it would be unreasonable to have the Bulma of the GT era set out together with Goku just because of that. (laughs) So Pan was chosen as a character who reminded us of the early Bulma. And when we were coming up with her personality as well, the staff were cognizant of giving her aspects similar to Bulma, such as her strong-willed nature and her extraordinary wherewithal, so she solidified as that sort of character.

In that way, Pan was decided upon very smoothly, but with regards to the selection of the other character, I remember even the staff being really conflicted about it. That is to say, it wouldn’t work if the chosen character was just “strong”. That’s because they would be taking up the great struggle of being the one to hold back the easygoing Goku and the impetuous Pan. (laughs) And so there were a variety of opinions, such as maybe Trunks would be good, or no, wouldn’t Gohan or Goten be better? Ultimately, the greatest deciding factor in going with Trunks was not just his strong sense of responsibility, but because he combines it with the almighty facet of, “Having someone close to Capsule Corp., they’ll be able to respond to any situation!” In short, we had Trunks shoulder the aspect of, “Having the elements of Bulma that are impossible for Pan”.

If you think about it that way, even though she herself didn’t stand out very much in the series, Bulma was a surprisingly large presence with regards to GT.

Why, to the very end, didn’t Piccolo participate in the battles?
Because of connections going back to Dragon Ball Z, if Vegeta is a character who appears in relation to Goku, then Piccolo is a character who should appear in relation to Gohan. In parts, there were those sorts of scenes where Gohan and Piccolo interact with each other, but GT comes to focus around the story of Goku and Vegeta. So, hypothetically, if GT had gone forward with Gohan being depicted as the focus, it might have become a story where Piccolo had a flashy, big role to play. (laughs)
Why does Super Saiyan 4 have the form of an adult?
Since Super Saiyan 4 represents the mightiest form in the entire series thus far, it just wouldn’t quite be convincing if he had stayed in the form of a child. It came down to the decision that, since our greatest priority is to emphasize strength, then we had to push it with visual impact. So we needed a purely strong-looking and cool character design that wouldn’t be beholden to any concept. That is the form that Nakatsuru-san2 gave shape to.
Whenever he transforms into Super Saiyan 4, Goku briefly becomes a giant monkey?
Certainly, in the process of his first transformation into Super Saiyan 4, he became a giant monkey, but having done it once, from the second time onward, he is able to take that route solely in his consciousness, and he skips the process of transforming into a giant monkey. …Is what it would be if you were to deliberately apply logic to it. (laughs)
Why does Vegeta himself suggest Fusion to Goku?
I assumed that, as GT approached its climax, the flow of the story would come to focus on the tale of two men… Goku and Vegeta. Their rivalry, which had continued on and on since the era of Dragon Ball Z, and their subtle friendship; I felt I should depict it as a sort of culmination of these various strands of fate.

Except, stepping into their minds as I tried to write that sort of original story, Goku is the kind of person who there’s just no messing with. Goku is always the Goku that everyone can picture in their minds, and to the viewers, that’s something that will never change. But on the other hand, looking back on Vegeta, the Goku he sees has mysteriously changed. In other words, it’s a change in his own mental state. To put it another way, it’s not because Goku’s changed, but because Vegeta has changed more and more that he sees him this way. The prideful man who had always continued to refuse Goku gradually came to accept him, and the sense of distance between them shrank. In order to develop their drama in original material, it was necessary to investigate the change in Vegeta’s mental state even further. The result of that is Vegeta’s suggestion that they fuse, and also in a separate scene, his line declaring, “I am an Earthling with the pride of the Saiya!”

Naturally, you’d expect opinions on this to be split, so to actually go so far as to have Vegeta say that was a decision that took quite a bit of courage. (laughs)

Why did the Dragon Balls become the enemy towards the end?
With the Dragon Balls around, any mistake can be undone. In extreme circumstances, even people who have died can come back to life. Up until this point, it had been repeatedly treated as a given. Unfortunately, however, such a useful tool doesn’t actually exist. In that case, for the children watching this work in the real world, where the Dragon Balls don’t exist, to express this theme of, “Just how are we supposed to resolve problems in a world without the Dragon Balls?” …It’s something that, because we love the series Dragon Ball so much, we felt we just couldn’t get around.

So, based on the concept that “the Evil Dragons were corruptions born as the price of the wishes granted up till now”, we’d have the people who gave rise to those corruptions take responsibility for them one by one, not by relying on the Dragon Balls, but by their own strength. That’s the kind of story we went with.

In the end, by taking responsibility for all seven, the Dragon Balls are purified, and Goku & co. bring back all the people who have died up to that point, as they’e always done; but normally, the cities are restored at the same time that the people are revived. This time, however, what’s conclusively different from usual is that only the people are revived, and the deep scars in the cityscape remain. In other words, the people have to restore the broken city, not with the power of the Dragon Balls, but with their own hands. I wrote that scene with that sort of desire in mind.

The Dragon Balls are clearly a tool like something out of a dream. However, what’s needed to achieve a dream that lies past predicaments to get out of, is ultimately “the strength of people”. The entire theme of the series up to this point was in that. It’s because we wanted people to perceive that intention that we made the Dragon Balls the final “enemy”.

There’s a character who should have come back to life in the final episode, but didn’t…?
At the time of the TV broadcast, in the midst of everyone coming back to life, I received the criticism from many fans, “It’s mean not to have No. 17 come back!” Certainly, while it was cut due to screen time constraints and wasn’t in the episode, at the scenario stage that scene was in there, complete with dialogue! If any of you were bothered by it, please understand it that way. (laughs)
Is Mr. Satan really strong?
He is strong. (laughs) Ordinary citizens are definitely not “pretending they think he’s strong”, but believe that “he is truly strong”. Although he appears weak because those around him are too strong…. He is a lovable character.
Where did Goku go on Shenlong’s back at the very end?
To be honest, in GT episode 63, just before the final episode, a big change comes over Goku. Those who watched carefully might have noticed, but… In that episode, Goku, who takes Yi Xing Long‘s attack, sinks to the bottom of a deep hole. That is the turning point. Afterward, Goku still continues the battle, but what’s different from before is that he’s cloaked in an aura that won’t let any attack near him.

It might be that he died there, or it might be that he became something else entirely. I’ll leave that decision to the imaginations of everyone who watched. However, the Goku up to that point that everyone knows clearly does not appear after that.

In the world of Dragon Ball, Goku had already died multiple times, and up till then, each time he appeared with a halo over his head. However, I didn’t want to go with the usual concept of, “even when he dies, he comes right back to life”. I wanted the viewers to picture “death” in that way, and feel a sadness close to it in reality. So I had a “change” come over Goku.

And then after that, once he defeats Yi Xing Long and grants the final wish, Goku goes right off with Shenlong and the Dragon Balls, to somewhere that people definitely can’t get to. While wishing that people will be able to get by on their own strength in a world without the Dragon Balls. And Vegeta is the only one who notices where he’s headed.

Except, I personally go ahead and imagine… that Goku might unexpectedly show up, just at Chi-Chi’s, from time to time. Yes, unexpectedly….

The line “Shenlong’s back… it sure is warm…”, which Goku says at the very end, is apparently something that was suggested at a much earlier stage and then thawed out for the final episode.

We asked this person!
Atsushi Maekawa (scenario)
Scriptwriter. Born 07 July 1964. Made his debut in the Majin Boo arc during the second half of Dragon Ball Z (penning a total of 13 episodes). The most notable works he has participated in are Dragon Ball GT, Digimon Adventure, and The Prince of Tennis, among many others.

The following translator notes are included for the benefit of the reader as supplemental information and were not originally published in the book.

1 Maekawa neither really asks a question — rhetorical or otherwise — or even completes a full thought here.
2 Character designer Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru.
English Translation: SaiyaJedi