Here, I will put my thoughts on canon, some history about the term itself and its use as it has evolved in recent years, and our site's stance on the Dragon Ball media canon.
The English term canon originated to define the group of works surrounding the Bible, including Prophets and the other associated writings. Later, it was applied to works by a specific author, most notably the Sherlock Holmes series, to differentiate between works by Doyle and works by fans and other authors. Recently, fan communities (most prominently Star Wars) started to use the term canon more broadly to define anything that "counts." For Star Wars, they actually have an employee in charge of the timeline and what qualifies as canon: the majority of the entries are novels written by authors who are not Lucas himself, as well as comic books, video games, the films, and other selected works. A few years ago Star Wars changed/split the canon, and issued an official press release clarifying how they were treating the old and new story lines. For better or for worse, most franchises are not this forward about what defines their canon.
In terms of Dragon Ball media, there is no individual officially approved for making the decision of "in or out" regarding canon, so it is left to the fans. There are 3 basic options here as far as I can tell.
- A) If we consider how the Star Wars staff does it, it would be anything that generally agrees with the other currently accepted media, and that means all published Dragon Ball media that isn't a "what-if?" story. Keep in mind that the manga, DB, DBZ, GT, and Super all have contradictions with themselves and with each other, but nothing huge. A common argument against GT is that it has a handful of inconsistencies with DBZ, but rest assured that DBZ has nearly 10 times as many with itself as it does with GT (you can check out our List of Inconsistencies page for details). That having been said, there are very few major issues for any of the series, nor with most of the games or movies (the movies tend to have 1 or 2 small timeline issues each, but usually nothing ridiculous).
- B) If we consider the author-only connotation, we get the manga, the 5 TV series, the movies, the one-shot manga installments (such as Episode of Bardock), and some guides. This definition is truest to the historical meaning of the term "canon", but sadly one not used by many DB fans. It also creates a problem when deciding what is canon between the 3 conflicting versions of Dragon Ball Super, all of which were contributed to fairly equally by Toriyama.
- C) Some consider only the manga as canon, and I often hear this paired with "canon to the manga." This doesn't fit logically at all, as it has no official backing for the definition, and would eliminate the meaning of the word canon, since "canon to the manga" would be the same as "the manga." Canon always refers to a group, and has no place being used for just one thing. Some websites will go as far as to hide or even totally omit information that they don't consider canon, even if it is far more popular. A common example is showing manga info while hiding anime info, despite most users looking for info on the anime they are watching, not the comic book version in a language they don't know. Sites that do this are making life hard for the reader, and easier for no one. When asked why the anime is not canon, it is because it's not the manga. When asked why only the manga is canon, it is because that's what canon means. You and I know better though, which brings us to DB Wiki's position.
What we do here is a combination of the three, partially because it makes logical sense, partially to appease as many people as we can, and mostly to be as encyclopedic as possible. We have developed several levels of canon based on the above criteria. The levels of the various media are listed below, from most to least qualified as canon:
- Dragon Ball material written by original Dragon Ball author Akira Toriyama
- Toriyama's original Dragon Ball manga
- The movies Battle of Gods and Resurrection ‘F’, and the Jaco the Galactic Patrolman manga.
- The anime series and its adaptions:
- The Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Kai, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball Super anime and manga
- The Dragon Ball Z anime comic, the Dragon Ball GT anime comic, and the Dragon Ball Super manga
- The Dragon Ball movies, and the first thirteen Dragon Ball Z movies (and their anime comics adaptions), OVA's, specials (and their anime comics adaptions), and other Dragon Ball related manga created by Toriyama (e.g. Dr. Slump and Nekomajin Z)
- Authorized guides and statements as follows:
- Statements by Akira Toriyama (author of the original manga series)
- Statements by Toei (producer of the anime and author of the GT portion of the series)
- Authorized guides (discussion may be required to gauge relative importance)
- Licensed Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball related manga not created by Toriyama, and statements by their authors (e.g. Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission)
- Video games
- Licensed collectible card games
- Live action films and stage shows
When an issue comes up in an article that combines media, we list everything, since as discussed earlier it would be highly detrimental to omit information on a topic out of some sort of manga-only bias. Bias itself is of course against the purpose of Wikia, which insists on a neutral point of view at all times. However, if there is some specific element present in multiple media which is inconsistent between them, we go with the highest level of canon for what to write, or (more often) we list both versions of the element. Our naming convention is an example of us listing all of the known variations, which we do in the "Japanese name," "manga name," "anime name," and "alternate names" sections of the infobox. Out of convenience for our readers, we use the anime names for the article titles, since it allows for the easiest access to the information (via the search tool). We also make use of redirects for manga and other alternate names so that no one gets lost. For instance, Goku, Son Goku, Zero, and Kakarot all take you to the same place.
If you have any unanswered questions about the term canon, as it applies to our site or otherwise, let me know on my talk page and I'll do my best to help. -- .10X.Ka.me.ha.me.ha.....talk.....contrib. 08:52, October 13, 2011 (UTC)