Creators You Should Know: Akira Toriyama

Akira Toriyama is an amazing writer and manga artist. Toriyama’s work continues to be highly influential in both manga and television anime. His contribution to the world of anime is a well-known one, and that is the creation of Dragon Ball which has become one of the most popular franchises in the world. But who is this man? Anchor News is expanding on their brand new series ‘Creators YOU SHOULD KNOW’ by voyaging across the Pacific with an exploration of Akira Toriyama.


Early Life

Akira Toriyama was born on April 5, 1955, in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. At a young age, Toriyama had a love for cars he got from his father. His father owned an auto repair shop and being surrounded by different cars, Toriyama spent hours working with mechanical parts. In elementary school, Toriyama’s friends would try to draw anime and manga for their entertainment. During this time, Toriyama would draw his friends which would improve his drawing skills. 


Early Career

According to famous, Akira Toriyama would enroll in high school in 1974 to study art, but soon left in 1977 to focus on drawing cartoons instead. He took a job-creating advertising posters for a company in his hometown, but after three years of working, Toriyama quit to pursue another job. He entered an amateur contest that would demonstrate his artistic abilities to employers. Toriyama didn’t win the competition, but his work was recognized by Kazuhiko Torishima who gave Toriyama encouragement and appreciation for his work. 



Akira Toriyama made his debut in 1978 by publishing his story called “Wonder Island” which was published in the weekly publication Shonen Jump. His popularity didn’t kick in until he created “Dr. Slump.” “Dr. Slump” is a comedy series about a professor and his tiny, but powerful robot named Arale. While “Dr. Slump” was popular, Toriyama’s upcoming work would change his life and the genre itself forever. 


Dragon Ball

The Dragon Ball franchise started on November 20th, 1984 up to 1995. The Manga was first published in 1984, which gained massive popularity and earned many positive reviews for its adventurous storytelling. Dragon Ball started as an adventure manga and soon turned into a martial arts manga. The story begins with Goku, a young boy who lives in the woods and meets a girl named Bulma.  The two of them proceed to wild adventures to find the mystical Dragon Balls. 


The series would go on to sell over 156 million copies in Japan alone.  The series became a massive success and the manga lasted 11 years. Dragon Ball has also become popular in other areas as well such as Europe and North America, selling over 240 million copies worldwide! 


The manga did so well, it became inevitable that an anime adaptation would rise as well. Three installments are based on the manga. The anime starts with Dragon Ball showing Son Goku’s early adventures as a child and learning the martial arts. The series ran for 3 years, ending in 1989, but after "Dragon Ball," the next anime installment of the series would become remembered by many as an instant classic.


Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z is the continuation of Dragon Ball and became an instant hit with audiences everywhere. Toriyama’s work at this point of the series is where it influenced the anime we know today. The series continues the story of Dragon Ball but it changes it in a way that sets it apart from Dragon Ball and other anime shows as well. The show is known for its action which has made it fun for every kid in the 90’s to enjoy. 


Dragon Ball Z has become so popular that it led to several sequel series, such as Dragon Ball GT. Dragon Ball GT isn’t based on Toriyama’s manga and instead, it’s more of a non-canonical continuation of Dragon Ball Z. Toriyama was not involved in GT's production; however, Toriyama only oversaw the project in more recent history. 


Dragon Ball Super is the direct sequel series to Z and is the newest brainchild of Toriyama. Dragon Ball Super introduces us to many new characters, settings, and more importantly newer fights. The series ended its first season in 2018 which ran since 2015. After the series finished, audiences received a movie that brought back an old fan-favorite character into the main continuity. Toriyama is still working on the next Dragon Ball Super movie and it’s going to premiere in early 2022.


Akira Toriyama is a manga artist and a writer that brought so much inspiration into the world of anime. Akira Toriyama is still alive as of today and is still contributing to the Dragon Ball franchise. Toriyama used his skills to get where he is today, which shows if you put hard work into what you want, then success will come your way. 


Photo Credits:

Header photo courtesy of Dice Breaker

Thumbnail photo courtesy of Japan Objects


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