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Legendary ‘Dragon Ball’ creator Akira Toriyama passes away at 68

2024.03.20 03:28:54 Alvin Song

[A drawing of Krillin, one of Dragon Ball’s most iconic characters. Credit: Pixabay]

Akira Toriyama, the visionary creator of the manga series Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump, and the lead designer of the beloved video game franchise Dragon Quest series, has tragically passed away at the age of 68 due to subdural hemorrhage.


The news of his untimely death was officially confirmed by Bird Studio a week after his passing on March 8th.


Expressions of grief poured in from fans around the world, with many prominent social figures joining in mourning the loss of a true creative genius.


In Japan, fellow manga artists paid homage to Toriyama’s legacy through a series of heartfelt memorial posts, including Eiichiro Oda of One Piece fame, Masashi Kishimoto, creator of Naruto, and Takehiko Inoue, the mastermind behind Slam Dunk.


Outside of Japan, a multiude of prominent figures and organizations, including numerous European football clubs, the NFL, the MLS, the NBA, and even The Weeknd, united with billions of fans worldwide to mourn the passing of a legend.


As the world reflects on Toriyama’s contributions, his journey from humble beginnings in Nagoya, Japan, to international acclaim comes to light.


Born on April 5th, 1955, Toriyama first entered the manga industry by submitting storyboards to Weekly Shonen Jump, one of Japan’s premier manga magazines.


He officially made his debut in 1980 with the publication of Dr. Slump, a comedy manga well-known for its iconic female protagonist Arale.


Dr. Slump’s unique backdrop of a world where animals, robots, humans, and aliens all coexist, easily gained massive fame among young generations of Japan.


In 1981 and 1982, Akira Toriyama became the first manga artist ever to make more than 500 million yen per year.


Ironically, the manga’s success ended in Mr. Toriyama’s own hands when he started to establish the first episodes of Dragon Ball after his editor-in-chief allowed him to take a break, under the condition that he produce a manga more successful than Dr. Slump.


Dragon Ball, his second manga, which began publication in Shoen Jump in 1984, quickly became the most successful and influential manga in Japanese history.


As of most recent data, Dragon Ball’s global impact is undeniable, with over 350 million copies sold worldwide and an annual revenue exceeding $750 million, setting unprecedented benchmarks in the industry.


Toriyama’s influence extended far beyond the manga sector, as he played a vital role in shaping the landscape of video gaming as a founding member of the Dragon Quest franchise.


With its first entry released in 1986, the video game series is widely considered as the first JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game) franchise ever.


Collaborating with esteemed colleagues like scenario director Yuji Horii and music composer Koichi Sugiyama, Toriyama’s vision brought to life a rich universe filled with memorable characters and adventures.


While Toriyana’s passing leaves a void in the world of entertainment, his legacy endures through the works of those he inspired.


Notably, Toyotarou, a manga artist known as one of Toriyama’s greatest admirers, has been publishing the ongoing sequel to Dragon Ball since 2015.


As fans eagerly await the release of Toriyama’s posthumous works, Dragon Ball DAIMA and Dragon Quest XII: The Flames of Fate, the indelible mark of his talent, dedication, and influence on popular culture remains unmatched.


In the temple of Japanese media, where many luminaries have risen and fallen, Akira Toriyama stands as an enduring symbol of creativity and innovation, his legacy destined to inspire generations to come.

Alvin Song / Year 11
North London Collegiate School Jeju