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Akira Toriyama

Akira Toriyama Akira Toriyama[2†]

Akira Toriyama (Japanese: 鳥山明, Hepburn: Toriyama Akira, 1955-2024) was a renowned Japanese manga artist and character designer. He gained fame with the manga series Dr. Slump and achieved global success with Dragon Ball, his most iconic work. Toriyama's creations have been highly influential, inspiring numerous manga artists. In recognition of his contributions, he was honored as a Chevalier of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2019[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Akira Toriyama was born on April 5, 1955, in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan[2†][3†][4†]. His father owned an auto repair business and enjoyed motorbike racing[2†][3†]. Toriyama inherited the love for cars and motorbikes from his father[2†][3†]. As there were limited means of entertainment during his school days, all his elementary school friends tried to draw anime and manga[2†][3†]. He, too, followed the trend and then, his entry of ‘101 Dalmatians’ won him a prize at the local art studio[2†][3†]. This achievement sparked his interest in this work[2†][3†].

In 1974, he joined high school to study art, specializing in publicity[2†][3†][1†]. However, in 1977 he left it to enroll in ‘cartoon drawing’[2†][3†][1†]. Then he took up a job of designing posters in an advertising company in Nagoya[2†][3†][1†]. He worked for 3 years before quitting the job to become a manga artist[2†][3†][1†].

Toriyama drew pictures since a young age, mainly of the animals and vehicles that he was fond of[2†]. He related being blown away after seeing One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), and said he was drawn deeper into the world of illustration by hoping to draw pictures that good[2†]. He was shocked again in elementary school when he saw the manga collection of a classmate’s older brother, and again when he saw a television set for the first time at a neighbor’s house[2†]. He cited Osamu Tezuka 's Astro Boy (1952–1968) as the original source for his interest in manga[2†].

Career Development and Achievements

Akira Toriyama’s career as an artist began due to sheer luck and happenstance[5†]. After a couple of mediocre manga works, he gained fame and appreciation in 1980 for creating the comedy manga series ‘Dr. Slump’[5†][1†]. ‘Dr. Slump’ became a runaway success and launched Akira Toriyama’s career[5†]. It was largely successful and sold over 35 million copies domestically[5†][6†][2†]. It was adapted into a successful anime series, with a second anime created in 1997, 13 years after the manga ended[5†][2†].

Toriyama achieved tremendous success after making the globally popular manga series ‘Dragon Ball’[5†][1†]. His next series, Dragon Ball, would become one of the most popular and successful manga in the world[5†][2†]. Having sold 260 million copies worldwide[5†][2†], it is one of the best-selling manga series of all time and is considered to be one of the main reasons for the period when manga circulation was at its highest in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s[5†][2†]. Overseas, Dragon Ball’s anime adaptations have been more successful than the manga and are credited with boosting anime’s popularity in the Western world[5†][2†].

In addition to his manga work, Toriyama also acted as a character designer for several popular video games such as the Dragon Quest series, Chrono Trigger, and Blue Dragon[5†][2†]. His work has become so integrated into the very fabric of anime and manga that even those who do not know anime can instantly recognize his characters and series[5†]. Manga creators such as One Piece’s Eiichiro Oda, Naruto’s Masashi Kishimoto, and Bleach’s Tite Kubo (among countless more) have all cited Akira Toriyama as being a major influence on them[5†].

In 2019, Toriyama was decorated a Chevalier of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for his contributions to the arts[5†][2†]. His works have reached the hearts and minds of fans across the world for decades[5†]. He became not only one of the most successful manga artists of all time but also one of the world’s most successful artists[5†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Akira Toriyama’s career as a manga artist took off with the creation of the popular manga series ‘Dr. Slump’ (1980–1984)[7†]. This science fiction comedy series was his first major work and it quickly gained mainstream recognition[7†][8†][7†].

Following the success of ‘Dr. Slump’, Toriyama went on to create ‘Dragon Ball’ (1984–1995), which became his most famous work[7†][2†]. ‘Dragon Ball’ has been adapted into four animated series: ‘Dragon Ball’ (1986-1989), ‘Dragon Ball Z’ (1989-1996), ‘Dragon Ball GT’ (1996-1997), and ‘Dragon Ball Super’ (2015-2018)[7†][8†].

In addition to these, Toriyama continued drawing manga, predominantly one-shots and short (100–200-page) serials, including ‘Cowa!’ (1997–1998), ‘Kajika’ (1998), and ‘Sand Land’ (2000)[7†]. His last manga that he wrote and illustrated entirely by himself was ‘Jaco the Galactic Patrolman’ in 2013[7†].

Toriyama also collaborated with other manga artists, such as Masakazu Katsura and Eiichiro Oda, to produce one-shots and crossover shorts[7†]. He began ‘Dragon Ball Super’ with illustrator Toyotarou in 2015, and continued to work on the manga until his death in 2024[7†].

Apart from manga, Toriyama also created numerous character designs for various video games such as the ‘Dragon Quest’ series (1986–2024), ‘Chrono Trigger’ (1995), ‘Blue Dragon’ (2006), and some ‘Dragon Ball’ video games[7†][2†].

Here is a list of some of his main works:

Analysis and Evaluation

Akira Toriyama’s work has had a profound impact on the world of manga and beyond[9†][10†][5†]. His distinctive style, characterized by humor, dynamic battle scenes, and unique character designs, has captivated readers and viewers globally[9†]. His artistic talent played a significant role in the wide acclaim his works received[9†].

Toriyama’s influence extends beyond the realm of manga. His insistence on maintaining the right-bound format of his books when translated has been credited with setting a global standard for manga[9†]. This, along with the popularity of his works, particularly ‘Dragon Ball’, has contributed to the widespread global readership of Japanese manga[9†].

His works, especially ‘Dragon Ball’, have been highly influential, inspiring many other manga artists[9†][2†]. To say that Akira Toriyama is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential manga creators of all time is an understatement of the highest order[9†][5†]. The works that Toriyama created have reached the hearts and minds of fans across the world for decades[9†][5†].

Toriyama’s works have transcended national and cultural borders, fostering mutual understanding[9†]. His influence on Japan’s global image has been decisive, and his works continue to touch the hearts of many across the world[9†][10†].

In conclusion, Akira Toriyama’s legacy in the manga industry is undeniable. His works have not only entertained but also shaped the industry, influencing many artists and readers alike[9†][10†][5†][2†].

Personal Life

Akira Toriyama was married to Yoshimi Katō, a former manga artist from Nagoya, who occasionally helped Toriyama and his assistant on ‘Dr. Slump’ when they were short on time[2†]. She was known under the pen name "Nachi Mikami"[2†]. They got married on May 2, 1982[2†]. The couple had two children: a son named Sasuke (佐助), born in 1987, and a daughter, Kikka, born in late 1990[2†][11†].

Toriyama had a preference for girls with short hair[2†][11†]. His personal interests and hobbies outside of his professional career have not been widely publicized, maintaining a level of privacy in his personal life[2†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Akira Toriyama, who passed away on March 1, 2024, left an indelible mark on the world of manga and anime[12†][13†][14†][15†][16†]. His works, particularly the iconic ‘Dragon Ball’ series, have had a profound impact on global manga culture[12†]. Translated into 25 languages, ‘Dragon Ball’ became a worldwide hit, marking the beginning of the Japanese anime and manga boom[12†].

Toriyama’s work was not just about entertainment, but also about crafting high-quality works that resonated with people across languages, borders, and cultural experiences[12†][13†]. His storytelling was simple yet inspiring, testifying the virtues of perseverance and consistency[12†][13†]. His characters, particularly Goku, inspired us to believe in the unstoppable goodness resting within us all[12†][13†].

Toriyama’s passing marks the end of an era, but his influence will undoubtedly persist, continuing to inspire new generations of artists and storytellers[12†][14†][15†]. His life reminds us that great art can emerge from humble beginnings, and that with imagination and perseverance, one can leave an indelible mark on the world[12†][14†].

For fans, Akira Toriyama’s passing marks the end of an era, yet his legacy lives on through the enduring impact of his work[12†][15†]. From fan fiction to cosplay, ‘Dragon Ball’ continues to inspire creativity and passion among enthusiasts who pay homage to Toriyama’s imagination and vision[12†][15†].

On March 1, 2024, the world bid farewell to Akira Toriyama. His passing was mourned globally, but his legacy as a storyteller and artist will forever be celebrated[12†][16†]. His ingenuity and narrative prowess have irrevocably altered the manga and anime landscape[12†][16†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Biography Host - Akira Toriyama - Bio, Age, Manga, Art & Networth - Biography [website] - link
  2. Wikipedia (English) - Akira Toriyama [website] - link
  3. The Famous People - Akira Toriyama Biography [website] - link
  4. The Guardian - Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragon Ball manga series, dies aged 68 [website] - link
  5. CBR - Honoring Akira Toriyama's Life and Legacy [website] - link
  6. Bokksu - Master of Manga: Exploring the Legacy of Akira Toriyama [website] - link
  7. Wikipedia (English) - List of works by Akira Toriyama [website] - link
  8. IMDb - Akira Toriyama - Biography [website] - link
  9. The Government of Japan - JapanGov - None [website] - link
  10. SOAS - Dragon Ball, Japan and the world: The legacy of Akira Toriyama [website] - link
  11. Fandom - Dragon Ball Wiki - Akira Toriyama [website] - link
  12. The Government of Japan - JapanGov - The Impact on World Manga Culture and Legacy of TORIYAMA Akira [website] - link
  13. Nerdist - An Ode to Akira Toriyama and the Enduring Global Legacy of DRAGON BALL [website] - link
  14. Medium by mazeshirt clothing - Akira Toriyama: The Legendary Life and Legacy of the ‘Dragon Ball’ Creator [website] - link
  15. The Movie Blog - Remembering Akira Toriyama: A Legacy of Creativity and Inspiration [website] - link
  16. Neon Music - Akira Toriyama: The Mastermind Behind Dragon Ball [website] - link
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