Did Akira Toriyama Design Super Saiyan 4? Busting Dragon Ball’s Biggest Myth

A rumour has been circulating for a very long time about the origin of the design of Super Saiyan 4. Some fans believe that Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru created it, while others think it was made by Akira Toriyama. Honestly, the answer to it is very straightforward, which we will discuss in this article.

Who Created Super Saiyan 4? 

Super Saiyan 4
Super Saiyan 4 | Source: Fandom

Super Saiyan 4 was designed by Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru, and even Akira Toriyama agreed to it. 

Before Dragon Ball GT’s premiere, Toriyama shared three colored images in 1995 Weekly Shonen Jump’s 52nd issue. Later, these images were related to the episodes in GT (The rumors started after GT’s release). He also provided designs for the main cast and series logo. That was all on his part, and he handed the rest of the duties to the production and design staff.

Later, Nakatsuru was the chief animator and character designer of Toei Animation in episode 200 of the Dragon Ball Z TV series. After the immense success of the series, the studio decided to take a step ahead and create Dragon Ball GT as the successor of Dragon Ball Z. However, Super Saiyan 4 didn’t appear until the latter half of the series.

In an interview, Nakatsura referred to how the producers assigned him to design the character. Even though the design was a bit unusual, he liked it. He added,

“The thought behind that hairstyle was to take it in a different direction than Super Saiyan 3, and make it wild. I made the fur red because it pretty much just seemed strong; I place a lot of importance on those sorts of impressions.”

Akira Toriyama provided a Super Saiyan 4 Goku illustration with a comment acknowledging Nakatsura’s original design. He said he was tired of the Dragon Ball Z deadline and left Dragon Ball GT solely to the anime staff. Toriyama added,

Nakatsuru-kun is amazingly skilled, and mastered the peculiarities of my drawings in no time at all, to the point where there were even times when I couldn’t tell whether I had drawn a certain character design, or if he had. For instance, one of Nakatsuru-kun‘s designs was “Super Saiyan 4,” which appears in GT, and the picture above is a portrait that I drew looking off it. Did I draw it well?

Is Super Saiyan 4 Canon Or Non-Canon? 

Super Saiyan 4 is a transformation that Dragon Ball aficionados love due to its distinctiveness compared to the regular Super Saiyan forms. But it’s not canon. This means that Super Saiyan 4 is not a part of the Dragon Ball canon since Dragon Ball GT, where it was introduced, was never canon. 

Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama had nothing to do with GT’s creation, and it wasn’t based on his original manga. Despite GT’s intention to continue the Dragon Ball Z storyline, it wasn’t recognized as part of the Dragon Ball canon.

Why is Dragon Ball GT Considered Non-Canon?

Dragon Ball GT
Dragon Ball GT | Source: Fandom

Dragon Ball GT is not considered canon for many reasons. Unlike Dragon Ball Z (DBZ), it lacked Toriyama’s involvement. Things became more confusing when Dragon Ball Super (DBS), a series set before GT, was released later in 2015. Surprisingly, DBS had the involvement of Toriyama. 

Unlike GT, DBS had much going on with the main character and plot. Super Saiyan God forms, Goku achieving the Ultra Instinct form, and Vegeta unlocking Ultra Ego were all a part of Dragon Ball Super, but none appeared in GT. 

There was also great disagreement with returning characters making appearances. In GT, Emperor Pilaf’s group ages, while in DBS, they’re reverted to children. Supreme Kai remains fused with Kibito in GT but separates in DBS. Resurrected in DBS, Frieza remains dead in GT, suggesting he’s been dead since Future Trunks’ encounter in DBZ.

With all these, we can say that Dragon Ball GT has become a side story and is not considered canon to the original franchise.

About Dragon Ball GT

Dragon Ball GT does not adapt the original manga. Rather, it is an anime exclusive series that is a sequel to Dragon Ball Z. It premiered from 1996 to 1997.

The original anime follows Goku as he is turned into a child and accompanies Pan and Trunks on an adventure across the universe.

The series contains the Black Star Dragon Balls Saga, the Baby Saga, the Super Android 17 Saga, and the Shadow Dragons Saga.


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