!!!The episodes listed are from the US/European and Asian showings, the reason that there are two episode numbers listed is because, some of the episodes in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd seasons had cut, uncut versions or some weren't shown (something along these lines). This is why I have placed both of the episode numbers to make sure that you understand which episode it is, depending on which version you're watching. Also, remember that the place of some of these films might change, where I have them now feels, and probably is, correct, so don't let this discourage you that the films aren't correctly placed, it's just that I might go over some other thoughts and opinions, on where they fit as I re-watch Dragon Ball: Z, using this guide as my source to incorporate the films into the series, but I most likely won't change my opinion, as to the order of these films. So again, the films are most likely correctly ordered, but if any of you guys/girls have opinions and don't agree with my ordering, comment, and I'll take your opinion into consideration, and make sure it is correct!!! :) :)
Bardock - The Father of Goku
Where it Fits – Okay, this one's pretty tough, since looking at it there are about 3 different possible places that this film could possibly fit in, so read below to find out more.
With much thought and debate, I have concluded that this film takes place during the first stated option, as (like mentioned below) even though spoilers are present, the detail and story are referenced and driven in a way that there is no alternative to when it is supposed to be seen, although saying this, I also implore everyone to read through the second and third place as to get a general idea of why there has been such an argument over the exact location in time this film takes place, and I must say that seeing it as it is stated in the third option, not for the first time, but to possibly remind yourself of the events that took place, if forgotten, might not be a bad idea, and it's not like your ruining anything anyways, as the way the episode ending is set out (which is one of the reasons for the difficulty in this decision (as stated)) makes it a plausible slot for the film's location in the timeline of the series. :)
1. Technically, and as depicted in Dragon Ball: Z Kai, this special/film would take place before Dragon Ball: Z, and "super" technically it would be the first film to ever see since it's a back story to the beginning of Goku and his adventures, but there are spoilers present about certain events that will take place later on in the franchise, which could ruin a lot for some people, or might be more accurate/fitting, and enjoyable to others, for me it goes both ways and is really a mixed bag, for me it is best to watch before DBZ starts and not before DB. :)
2. This idea of a possible place where this film/special might occur was given to me by the games, as they say that this film/special supposedly takes place right after the Saiyan Saga, and before the Namek and Captain Ginyu Sagas, or in Z Kai right after episode 18 (The Spaceship that Sleeps in Yunzabit! Blast Off for Planet Namek / The Ship Resting in Yunzabit! Time to Blast Off for Planet Namek!), which (watching the episodes) doesn't really work as there are too many cuts between Vegeta, Bulma, Krillin, and Gohan's journeys to, and on Namek, so you could watch it, maybe, as kind of insight/warning/information on the journey ahead and the events that are about to take place, as well as the events that somewhat lead up to this point, but read on to number 3, to make a final judgement.
3. The places in the story line suggested before are all correct and acceptable, but due to spoilers, and if you're a person who dislikes spoilers, then you could see this film/special during the Frieza Saga, right after episode 86 (Such Regret...!! Vegeta, Pride of the Saiyans, Dies / The End of Vegeta) or in Z Kai right after episode 42 (Defeat Freeza, Son Goku! The Proud Vegeta's Tears / Defeat Frieza, Goku! The Tears of the Proud Sayian Prince!) where Goku and Frieze standoff for the first time, as this I think is one of the most perfect places/times you could see this film without spoilers.
At the end of the day, the first option is the best however a combination of option 1 and 3 wouldn't be too bad of an idea. Option 2 is just according to the games and not even worth mentioning really, I just did in case anyone asked, so I thought to just get it out of the way. To sum it up, watch it before DBZ, you won't regret it even with the spoilers, and it might help to understand things better with the show in the end as you get to experience emotions and understand them with the characters as the series progresses, which would make connecting with the show easier, plus answer some questions that you might have. Just watch it, it's awesome :D
Where it Fits – Well this film doesn't fit into the story line sadly, and it's kind of an alternative introduction to the series, that being said if it were to fit into the timeline it would have to be seen before the Saiyan Saga begins, after "Bardock - The Father of Goku" (assuming you watched it before DBZ). (Read below for the main reason why it doesn't fit). !!!Warning, it does contain spoilers so read after watching the film to understand why it doesn't fit if you didn't get it!!!
There is a simple reason as to why it doesn't fit into the timeline, basically it's because Goku goes to Master Roshi's house to ask Bulma and the others about where the Dragon Balls are located and he states that these evil guys took Gohan, however in the series the others don't know about Gohan or Goku having a child, which simply breaks the tie between the series and the movie, and also the film couldn't take place after Gohan is introduced to everybody because of Raditz and what follows, so I'm afraid this is yet another film that doesn't make its mark in the series.
The World's Strongest
Where it Fits – Sadly this one doesn't fit into the story line, it would be near the end of the Saiyan Saga, right after episode 36 (We're Off Into Space! The Star of Hope is Piccolo's Homeland / A New Goal... Namek" [Picking Up the Pieces]), you just have to imagine that nothing of going to Namek is talked about and that this film is after they have been healed, or in Z Kai during (more accurate) or right after (works fine) episode 17 (Dawn of the Fierce Battle... The Star of Hope Is Piccolo's Homeland), after Vegeta was allowed to leave Earth by Goku and has left it. (Read below for the main reason why it doesn't fit). !!!Warning, it does contain spoilers so read after watching the film to understand why it doesn't fit if you didn't get it!!!
The main reason that it doesn't fit is because, Piccolo is supposed to be dead so there is no way for him to be on earth fighting like he is in this film alongside Goku, Gohan and Krillin which should be getting ready to fly to Planet Namek as well, so sadly there is no place in the timeline for this film. :(
The Tree of Might
Where It Fits – This is the second film in this alternative timeline trilogy. (Read below for my explanation of why it doesn't fit into the storyline). !!!Warning spoiler alert, read after watching the film, and maybe even Frieza Saga (if you care about spoilers and continuity, and don't want to find out what happens in the Frieza Saga) only!!!
This film doesn't fit into the story line of Dragon Ball: Z because, Tien, Chiaotzu, and Yamcha should also be dead.
Where It Fits – After "The Tree of Might", and it is the last film in the "Spirit Bomb" trilogy. The same basic reasons as the "The Tree of Might" ones apply as to why it doesn't fit.
The reason that these films don't take place after everyone has returned from Namek is because, Goku learns to go Super Saiyan on Namek as he fights Frieza, though in this film he only knows the Kaio-Ken technique, but we know that he replaced the Kaio-Ken technique for the Super Saiyan transformation because it is more powerful, so when he battles a stronger opponent than him, like King Cold for example, it would only be logical for him to go Super Saiyan, in order for him to beat the enemy and save himself and everyone else, instead of using the Kaio-Ken technique which is much more intensive on the body. Also the fact that Vegeta is no where to be seen ads to why it can't be post Frieza. So because of these things it means that the films would have had to take place after Goku's battle with Vegeta, but before Goku's battle with Frieza, and we know that it doesn't work timeline wise, so the only logical explanation is that these film sadly don't fit into the story of the timeline of Dragon Ball: Z, which sucks because they are pretty cool movies.
Episode of Bardock
Where It Fits – Good thing this special fits into the timeline, because it is so awesome and it's a really nice conclusion and beginning to the entire Frieza Saga! Okay so it's right after the Frieza Saga, after episode 107 (Son Goku Survived - The Z Warriors All Resurrected!! / Goku's Alive!), or in Z Kai, after episode 56 (I'll Defeat Freeza! Another Super Saiyan / I Will Defeat Frieza! Another Super Saiyan!), after the battle between Goku and Frieza. :)
The World of Dragon Ball Z
Where It Fits – This is a 20 minute OVA special which reviews the events that have happened so far in Dragon Ball Z, but also goes back further and briefly retells the events of the origin of the Dragon Balls, the Saiyan race and their rise to power, and Goku's journey in Dragon Ball. It is a part of the time line as it is just a documentoral type reflection and briefing on past events, anyways, it is set right after episode 123 (Goku's New Finishing Technique!? Watch My Instantaneous Movement / Goku's Special Technique), after Trunks has informed Goku about everything.
Where It Fits – Sadly, doesn't fit due to 1 thing, Gohan, I know it's crazy but if they change his powers/techniques and appearance it would fit. If I had to place it anywhere it would have to be during Garlic Junior, Trunks, and Android Sagas, during the training for the battle with the Androids, right after episode 124 (I Will Overcome Goku!! The King of the Saiyan Warrior Race / Z Warriors Prepare), or in Z Kai right after episode 58 (New Technique of Goku, Instant Movement! Special Training Staked on 3 Years From Now / Goku's New Move, Instant Transmission! The Three-Year Training Session Begins!).
The History of Trunks
Where It Fits – This one is interesting because it's a part of the story line even though it's set in an time where the Androids have taken over the Earth and rain tyranny, because it is the story that Goku has been told by Future Trunks who has traveled back into the past to warn the Z fighters about, so because it is in an alternate future it can take place basically, sorta, kinda any time after Future Trunks came to the past, however to be accurate it should be during the Garlic Junior, Trunks, and Android Sagas, right after episode 133 (And the Terror Becomes Reality... No. 17 and No. 18 Awaken!! / Nightmare Comes True), or in Z Kai right after episode 64 (#17 and #18, and...! The Artificial Humans Awaken / Number 17 and Number 18! The Androids Awaken!!). (Read below for my explanation of why it has an exact location in the story line). !!!Warning spoiler alert, read after watching the film!!!
The reason that this film technically takes place right after said episode is due to two both big and small hints witch are very important. The first big hint of why it has to take place after the episode is because we are shown Android 17 and 18 in the film, although in the show they have not yet been revealed so due to spoilers it must take place after. The second and very subtle hint is seen during the credit roll of the film where we are shown snippets or clips of the events that have thus far transpired in the show which is a very important piece to the hint and is where the location of the film is revealed, as the last clip/snippet that we are shown is the last shot we see in the episode. These are the reasons why the film must be seen directly after this episode to be accurate but also as a bonus offers insight into Trunk's journey so that we can relate and understand him deeper and better.
Super Android 13!
Where It Fits – This one doesn't fit into the story line sadly, as the events that take place have no room in the series with everything that's happening, and it can't be after the episode due to certain things that I won't mention due to spoilers, but if it fit it would be during the Imperfect Cell and Perfect Cell Sagas, right after Goku awakes healed from the viral heart disease, but before he takes Gohan, Future Trunks and Vegeta to the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, during (more accurate) right after (also fine) episode 147 (Hasten Your Training, Saiyans! In the Room of Spirit and Time... / Time Chamber), or in Z Kai right after episode 71 (Attack the Elusive Cell! Son Goku, Finally Revived! / The Hunt for Cell Is On! Goku, Back in Action!).(Read below for my explanation of why it has an exact location in the story line). !!!Warning spoiler alert, read after watching the film!!!
One of the big reasons that this film isn't a part of the main timeline is because it is situated within another timeline where, just like in Future Trunk's timeline, there is no Android 19, Dr. Gero never attacks and is just his usual "non-fighting" doctor, and Android 17 and 18 are weaker than their counterparts in the world where Android 16 is active (the main timeline of the show), the part where there is difference is that Goku is now alive, due to preparation 17 and 18 where easily dealt with and destroyed when they first appeared as it was predicted, none have gone inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, and finally the other big difference which I can see is that surprisingly Cell is non-existent, and rather in his place are Androids 13, 14 and 15 who serve the same relationship as is present between Cell, 17 and 18, where Androids 14 and 15 take the role of the consumable 17 and 18, and 13 takes the role of Cell, however going about the process in different manners but non the less same principals.
Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan
Where It Fits – Cell Games Saga, alright so for quite some time I believed that this film fit into the story line of DBZ as it is so awesome, even though there are many reasons as to why this film does, there is 1 thing I have managed to easily spot that contradicts its place in the show. Well anyways let's just sadly cut to the chase, if it was a part of the story line it would be during episode 169 (Goku's Composure!? Let's Rest and Wait for the Cell Games / No Worries Here), or in Z Kai after episode 84 (Training Completed! Does Goku, have the Composure to Defeat Cell?! / Training Complete!; Goku Sizes Up the Competition!), where Goku and Gohan have emerged from the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and are at Master Roshi's place. (You can read my explanation below to see why I thought that it fit, and why I thought it goes where I said it goes, then read my reasoning as to why I found out it doesn't fit.)
Cons/Probably why Goku and Gohan are not Super Saiyan in the film (!!!Only read after watching the film, as it does contain spoilers!!!) - One problem mentioned a lot is that when Goku and Gohan are on the new "Planet Vegeta", instead of staying Super Saiyan like they were in the series they are back to their original states (not Super Saiyan) which I will explain in a minute, because first we have to find an allocation for the placement of this film within the timeline of the series, and so straight away I jump to the fact that Piccolo is portrayed as being in the Time Chamber whilst everyone is having a picnic, as he is nowhere to be seen in the beginning. All of this means that the time and place of the film was set during one of the first three days of training, more precisely the same day that Goku and Gohan come out of the HTC and then go to Roshi's house where everyone is gathered together, aside from those on the lookout and Chichi throws her fit over Gohan's blonde hair, now the reason that it is set in the first day out of the HTC is because of the fact that during the start of the film everyone is having a picnic together which could be explained by the ease of everyone going because they were together at Roshi's in the first place, so they could have decided to go on a picnic first instead of having Goku, Gohan and Chichi go home straight away, and the only person that we don't see at the picnic is Piccolo, so why isn't he there, because he is training in the HTC and so that's why he appears in the film later on, or you can safely assume that it takes place any time whilst Piccolo is in the HTC training. Also, another reason as to why Goku and Gohan aren't Super Saiyan in the film is because Chichi wanted Goku and Gohan to not look like "delinquents" as she would put it, so she had them power down to base, for the school interview. The other problem I found people complain about is that Piccolo appears in the film even though he is training in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, we know that he can leave at any time he wants so this would not be an issue towards the placement of this film into the timeline, and because of the time difference between the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and outside world, this would possibly be the reason he was so late to arrive at the battle, then people complain about how in the hell could he possibly have known of the battle as he was inside the Hyperbolic Time Chamber and not on Earth, well we know he is a Namekian and that he has incredible sensing of power and other things, so even if he was in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber he could have probably sensed the battle, and since he fused with Kami as well, who was the guardian of Earth and we know had great power in terms of magic and other things possibly helped in tripling his sensing powers, so this also would not be an issue towards the placement of this film into the timeline, and then others complain that he comes out of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber in a later episode, so how does that work, this just means that Piccolo after the battle would have just gone back inside, and in there he basically had the time and resources he needed to rest and finish his training. It is also safe to believe that he could sense Gohan being in danger, as they have a very strong bond, and so decided to leave the Hyperbolic Time Chamber to go and help him.
Here comes the reason, or one reason, but reason that I easily spotted, as to why the film doesn't fit into the story line of DBZ.... Trunks'... damn.. hair. It's a typical thing in all of the non-cannon movies for them to have some kind of physical deviation compared to the show, sometimes it's a tail and other times it's hair, but these two seem to be the most common. Anyways this is true because in the film Trunks has his long hair, however in the show during the time of this film it's short, nothing more to it, nothing special, just difference in hair cuts, that's basically, annoyingly, interestingly, and funnily it. The other more subtle reason that I noticed is linked to Piccolo being in the Time Chamber and the rules/laws/regulations/power behind it, as before I mentioned how it was set during the time that Piccolo is in the HTC, which is true but also gives away its separation from the series because of the known fact that once you go inside the HTC you lose all physical and mystical connections with the outside world which means, no talking to anyone, no seeing anyone, no listening to anyone, no sensing anyone et cetera therefore Piccolo could only have heard or sensed Gohan's trouble if he had emerged from the HTC however he couldn't have emerged from it as we see him do it in the series, so... darn. It's still an epic movie though that's for sure. Plus it's location in the timeline plays the most important role in determining Broly's power level. :)
The Return of Cooler
Where It Fits – Doesn't fit sadly because of its predecessor but it would be in the Cell Games Saga, during the nine days of training but before the Cell Games begin, right after episode 174 (A Hard Problem for Goku!? Take Back the Dragon Balls / The Puzzle of General Tao) or in Z Kai episode 86 (A New God! The Dragon Balls are Finally Revived / A New Guardian! The Return of the Dragon Balls!). The reason for being in this position is because Dende is present and it would seem that it is right after Vegeta has come out of the HTC, which will make more sense in the film coming up.
The Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans
Where It Fits – A 2 part OVA lasting a total of 52 minutes (26 minutes per episode), and should take place right after the previous film, as Broly is mentioned in the film, plus someone else is present and because the state and power of the fighters has to be before they fight Cell in the Cell Games Saga, so it has to be during those DAMN nine days, after the fight with Broly, but sadly due to the fact that a few certain characters make an appearance, as well as Broly being mentioned, this film does not fit into the original series timeline. Additionally it is after the battle with Cooler, as both Vegeta and Trunks make an appearance, instead of just Vegeta, which is showing us that in the previous film we only saw Vegeta because he had finished his time in the HTC and the reason for this link, between his time in the HTC and the film, is because we didn't see Trunks in the previous film as he had entered the HTC due to the plan being for him to go in after Vegeta came out, so therefore "The Return of Cooler" had to come before this film and the timing for these films would be during the episode mentioned.
Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans
Where It Fits – A remake/updated version of "The Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans", a 30 minute OVA released on the Japanese Version of "Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2", taking place in the same time as the original.
Sadly though, like I've said, the films are not canon so therefore don't take place in the main timeline, however do give us views inside a "What If" timeline where these films were canon and we got to see what happens in the "blanks" between episodes, during the nine days of training, where we don't see all of the days, but now we can see them through the films. :)
Where It Fits – Yet again it doesn't fit into the series story line because of one thing, however if it did fit it would be placed near the end of the Cell Games Saga, it's really midway the episode, episode 194 (One More Conclusion!! I Will Defend the Future / Free the Future), or in Z Kai episode 98 (Bring Peace to the Future! Goku's Spirit is Eternal / Peace For the Future! The Spirit of Goku is Forever!) watching it after the episode has finished is fine, you just have to image that you're midway through the episode instead and (SPOILER ALERT!!) Trunks has killed Future Cell but Goku, King Kai, Bubbles and Gregory haven't gone on their adventure and left the tree yet. :)
Broly: Second Coming
Where It Fits – During the Great Saiyaman and World Tournament Sagas, right after episode 208 (Welcome Back, Goku! The Entire Z Team Assembles!! / Gather For the Tournament), where Videl can now fly with ease and the whole team assembles at the tournament grounds where Goku appears.
The thing with this film is that it takes place in the 10 days that Videl and the others are training, more precisely during the days just before the tournament begins which are not shown to us, so you could be super accurate and pause the episode half way through but it's really unnecessary, therefore, I don't know if I even have to say this but, watch it after the episode has finished. Of course though, in the end, sadly the film doesn't fit into the timeline because of the simple fact that the previous film doesn't fit. (SPOILER ALERT!!! READ THE FOLLOWING AFTER WATCHING THE FILM!!!) That being said I want to clear something up which some people argue as a reason that it doesn't fit into the timeline, regardless of the fact that it actually doesn't fit, but anyways it's the argument that due to the dragon balls being activated in the film there is no way that they could be active in the Babidi and Majin Buu Sagas, but below I'm going to explain why this is false.
So because these dragon balls were "used" in this film it is an excuse to why it can't be a part of the timeline as there is no way that they would have "recharged" by the time of the Babidi and Majin Buu Sagas. The answer to this problem I think is simple and obvious, as you never see Shenron appear or be summoned in the film, you only see the dragon balls flash, which is obviously not an actual summoning as I've said, and instead was simply just the good will or spirit of Shenron helping them, since no Shenron actually being there, so the simple and honest answer is that Shenron kindly helped them out and it's just that. Anyways, great film and I hope I've cleared things up for a few people. Now keep on trucking through the best show ever. :D
Where It Fits – This film obviously but also sadly doesn't fit into the timeline simply due to the previous films, as they were non canon so therefore this one can't be either. If it did fit, I would place it during the Babidi and Majin Buu Sagas, right after/during the 'eyecatches' in episode 249 (Where is Gohan!? Ferocious Training in the Kaioshin Realm / Return to Other World), as between the 'eyecatches' some time passes and certain mentions in the episode are made which match up with events that happen in this film.
(SPOILER ALERT!!! READ THE FOLLOWING AFTER WATCHING THE FILM!!!) One example of the link between the episode and the film, and why the film it's located mid way through the episode/after/during the 'eyecatches', is because in the episode before the 'eyecatches' Goku mentions how they are going to "get a bite to eat", it may be suspected that the Supreme Kai is going to get them food but we are not specifically told where they are going or what's going to happen, and as in the film Goku is seen eating at the end it is possible that the Supreme Kai led them to Grand Kai's planet to eat as there is nothing to contradict this possibility.
Where It Fits – Sadly this one doesn't fit into the timeline either but would be near the end of the Fusion and Kid Buu Sagas, right after episode 288 (You're Late, Goku! Everyone Party!! / He's Always Late), where Bulma throws a party and invites everyone over for a barbecue but Goku is off in the mountains looking after some eggs that are ready to hatch. Read my explanation below to find out why it doesn't fit into the timeline of the series.
Why it doesn't fit into the original series timeline (!!!Only read after watching the film, as it does contain spoilers!!!) - Basically it has to be set afterwards due to not only Videl's watch saying so, but also because there would be too many differences between the show and the movie in terms of location in order for it to be any earlier, as with its placement here there's only 1 inconsistency which is the fact that Goku and Vegeta are dead when they are meant to be alive, which really sucks as we get to see Gogeta in action and he's epic. :(
Wrath of the Dragon
Where It Fits – Not a part of the anime either I'm afraid but it would be after the previous film. Read my explanation below to find out why this film takes place after "Fusion Reborn".
(!!!Only read after watching the film, as it does contain spoilers!!!) There is one simple and basic factor that places this film after "Fusion Reborn", it's because Videl is now, for the first time, seen as Saiyawoman whereas in the previous film she was not, and it's really that simple. This film has also sparked some debate on whether Future Trunks' sword is the one he is given in this film or not, so it's something very interesting to try and uncover. :)
Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!
Where It Fits – This is a Japanese short film that premiered at the "Jump Super Anime Tour" in September 2008. It takes place after the previous film "Wrath of the Dragon", and is set 2 years after the defeat of the evil Kid Buu. It takes place after the previous film as Mr. Satan has a hotel and in the previous one there is no mention that he does, so we'll say it's after "Wrath of the Dragon". (Read below to find out why the hotel was created) !!!Spoiler alert, and must be read after watching the film or won't be understood!!!
Although it is interesting that in this film Mr. Satan builds the hotel to commemorate his victory over Buu, where in the series they agree to wish away the memory of Buu from everyone's minds on Earth, but it could be that Satan could have asked the good Majin Buu to cause some "havoc", beat Buu, then increase his fame and then have Buu be known as Satan's "disciple", which is probably what happened, and is not a surprise since we're speaking about Mr. Satan here. :D
Battle of Gods
Where It Fits – This is an amazing film and will hopefully lead to many more in the future. It is a part of the series' story just like the previous film and the events that transpire in this film are set before episode 289 (Grandpa Goku! I Am Pan!! / Granddaughter Pan), as Pan is still yet to be born and everyone that was young, still is young. The wait for this film was worth it and it is a great revival to the series. :) :)
And there you have it! All of the films and specials in their respectful order, it was fun to see what the Japanese voices were like of the characters we knew, especially Goku who sounded like a kid in his Japanese voice (no offense), although hard it was to fit the films into the story line of the series that many have said don't, but with close examination, a lot of thinking and watching, and being a big BIG fan of Dragon Ball, I think that I have finally placed the films in their rightful and correct order as well as placing them in the series story line Hope you enjoyed the films and agreed with my way of order, but for now sit back, enjoy some more Dragon Ball F' YEAH!!! :D And with the introduction of this new film, there will hopefully be many more to come in the future! YAY FOR DRAGON BALL!!! :D :D :D :D :D