Dragon Ball canon consists of materials that are genuinely official and those events, characters, settings, etc., that are considered to have inarguable existence within the fictional universe established by the manga series Dragon Ball.
This wiki acknowledges that Dragon Ball is a media format with many different storylines, many of which contradict one another, thus leading to debates among the fans as to which is part of the official storyline and which isn't.
For the purposes of documenting the series, and all of its spin-offs and sequels, in a fair and (most importantly) accurate manner, this wiki has developed a tier system to determine canon-status and allow us to structure our articles in a way that is both factually correct and inclusive for viewers of all Dragon Ball media formats.
If you have any questions, please visit our FAQ on the subject.
T-Canon (Toriyama/Toyotarō Canon)
Simply put, everything written by Toriyama and, as of Dragon Ball Super, Toyotarō is considered high canon. Elements originating from these two that appear in other mediums, such as magazine articles, movies, ect also count as canon. An example of this would be the movie Dragon Ball Z: God and God, which is a original film but treated as T-canon.
When it comes to documenting these on an article, the most recent version takes president. For example, Dragon Ball Super retells some elements of God and God and Revival of 'F'. Because Super is the latest version, changes applied in this series takes precedence over what took place in the film. (Yes, that means we acknowledge retcons. This is an ongoing series; it happens. A good example of a retcon is Dragon Ball Minus) This solves any disputes with the Super manga, as the Super anime has its plot directly approved and written by Toriyama, thus trumping Toyotarō's version.
- Note: Things produced by Toriyama and Toyotarō are on higher tiers of canon, but they also must be associated with the manga/anime/movie proper. For example Dragon Ball GT had artwork produced by Toriyama, but was not officially worked upon or written by him; as such, GT remains under C-canon.
A-Canon (Anime Canon)
The second tier of canon, as the name suggest, is the anime canon.
Due to the nature of the anime, most of what is seen is an adaptation of what we've already seen in in the manga (the exception being Super as the manga is a retelling of the anime). Given the nature of the anime, the company that produces the series (TV Tokyo) will at times create new stories not found in the manga to explain things that were left vague or expand on things to better use the time slot. As such scenes and explanations given in the anime, that do not directly contradict T-canon, can be presented in article as canon.
When putting this into practice, a template must be placed over the non-canon information that will allow viewers to hide said information, and will contain a notice that labels the content's non-canon status.
C-Canon (Continuity Canon)
Continuity canon is the third tier of canon, centered around works that act as a continuation of the main series found under T-canon created by official distributors or producers, such as Shōnen Jump.
Continuity canon works on a basis similar to A-Canon: if something is not specified, it can be explained in detail here. However, as this is a lower tier than T or A-canon, if something similar is presented in either tier, they overwrite what is found in C-canon.
- Note: This does not apply to databooks (such as Dragon Ball Volume "F") that are written by Toriyama himself. Those still classify as T-Canon.
Non-canon are what-if stories, spin-offs unrelated to the main series, such as Dream 9 Toriko & One Piece & Dragon Ball Z Super Collaboration Special and certain OVAs and Specials, such as Dragon Ball Z Side-Story: Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans.
- There is one exception for Dragon Ball: Yo! Son Gokū and His Friends Return!! because of its reference in T-Canon, canon movie Dragon Ball Z: God and God and because the original story was drafted by Akira Toriyama himself.
Special Cases: Video Games
Video Games are a special case in regards to this matrix. The stories themselves are usually retelling of the canon storyline, with changes made to gameplay and as such, falls under N-canon. However, the games can provide explanations not given in the anime or manga to certain events or abilities. Basically:
- Story and gameplay are N-canon.
- Terms and factoids C-canon.
Documentation on the Wiki
With the classifications of canon above, this section will explain how information should be used in articles going forward. In general, the official timeline for the series goes Jaco the Galactic Patrolman -> Dragon Ball (series) -> Dragon Ball Super, with the the films following in where they should.
Following this guideline, all materials from the Dragon Ball franchise is then ordered in the hierarchy as presented above; T-canon takes priority, A-canon comes next, though contradictions with T-canon will be dealt with on a case by case basis, ect.
Use in Articles
Anime Filler or Expansion
The anime series for the franchise, in order to continue producing the show, will deviate from the manga in times seem fit. In regards to anime filler, scenes that were briefly described in the manga are expanded or altered in filler as a means to either explain the unexplainable.[Notes 1]
Backstory of Issues
The events portrayed in this episode have never fully been explored in the manga or the databooks. Several large, unfilled holes exist in canon with regards to the events;
- How did Vegeta obtain godly ki and achieve Super Saiyan Blue? (for instance)
The manga does not provide many explanations for this contradiction, and for the most part seem to simply brush them off as unimportant backstory.
- ↑ Unexplainable in this policy is any topic, scene, setting, ect, that has to be explained by "We don't know/Will be explained later."