Updated: Oct 1
Akira Toriyama is a manga creator and character designer who is known to the world as the creator of successful manga series Dr Slump and ultrafamous manga-anime franchise Dragon Ball. Toriyama is considered as one of the most influential artists in the history of Japanese popular culture who played a pivotal role in revolutionizing the anime and manga industry in Japan. He is highly respected by other manga artists of this generation who claim to have found inspiration by Toriyama’s work, especially Dragon Ball.
Akira Toriyama is also counted in one of those pioneers of popularizing Japanese manga and anime in the western countries. His works like Dr Slump and Dragon Ball have received immense love in western countries as well as other parts of the world.
Akira Toriyama was born on April 5th, 1955 in Nagoya, Japan. Toriyama had told in an interview that he likes girls with short hair and went on to marrying shojo manga artist Nachi Mikami, who fitted his preference of a short-haired girl. Akira and Nachi had their first child in 1987, five years after their marriage, a son named Sasuke and then a daughter named Kikka in 1990. Toriyama prefers to live in calm and quiet areas where he can satisfactorily distribute his time among his family and work simultaneously. Akira loves playing video games in whatever little spare time he finds and riding motorcycles as stated by him in several interviews. His love for motorcycles comes right from his father who used to race motorcycles and also owned a repair centre. Toriyama has had a lifelong passion of petting animals; dogs, cats, birds and many more. He happened to own a dog named Turbo while he was busy with Dr Sump. Then, a dog named Mato during his time with Dragon ball and a cat named Koge. He has also liked birds and has patted many of them throughout his life.
The mangaka, as he recollects, has always had an infliction towards drawing characters and reading manga as he reasons that there weren’t many sources of entertainment back when he was a child. After winning a prize from a local art studio for one of his painting only when he was a teenager, he started liking art more than ever before. He spent entire of his childhood and some early years of teenage in Kiyosu, a rural town just outside of Nagoya with parents and an elder sister. Right at the dawn of his adulthood, he wanted to work and learnt about Shueisha, the largest manga publishing company in Japan. After a few failed attempts of having his work featured in Weekly Shonen Jump, he earned little success with Tomato, Detective Girl in 1979.
Career and Work:
Once Toriyama tasted his little triumph with Detective Girl, he was more encouraged to create more projects and get them published. This is when he created his first crowd-puller comedy series Dr Slump in 1980. In just the next year of its release, Dr Slump earned Toriyama the Shogakukan Manga Award in 1981 for the best shonen series of the year. The anime series to Dr Slump manga aired from 1981 till 1986, with a remake series from 1997 to 1999. The anime aired a total of 317 episodes during its run. Dr Slump was a major success and gained Toriyama immense fame among other fellow manga creators and fans as well.
Akira Toriyama always liked the freedom to design his characters and to create his manga. Therefore, while working for Dr Slump, he founded his working junction, Bird Studio, in 1983.
Toriyama achieved the milestone of his career in 1984 when his revolutionary manga series franchise Dragon Ball started serialising in Weekly Shonen Jump. Dragon Ball was adopted into a global superhit anime show with the same name. Dragon Ball isn't considered as one of the major propellers of 'The Golden Age Of Jump'. The whooping success of Dragon Ball led to several anime shows spanning for about 11 years, titling Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT. Apart from manga and anime, Toriyama also tried his luck in video games, merchandise and feature-length animated movies based on his dragon ball franchise, and enjoyed success in all departments.
As of now, Dragon Ball holds the record of the second-ever best selling manga of all time with around 300 million copies sold by January 2019. Moreover, the success of the manga led to five anime adaptations, several animated movies, numerous video games, and mega-merchandising. Akira Toriyama, along with being one of the best mangakas of today, is an excellent character designer and has designed characters for many other hit manga and anime series.
The latest anime instalment of his dragon ball franchise is Dragon Ball Super which was also a commercial success all around the globe. DBS was highly praised for its sharp animations and was loved by its fans and also won the best continuing series on Crunchyroll Awards 2019.
Apart from his Dragon Ball and Dr Slump, Akira has worked on many other ventures. Given that he didn’t want to limit his skills and art to the success of just a couple of hits.
In 1993, Toriyama wrote Go Go Ackman, a manga with three platform games under its name and also as a 15-minute long animated movie that premiered at the V-Jump Festa.
In 2006, Akira collaborated with another legendary mangaka Eiichiro Oda, creator of the most selling manga One Piece for a one-shot named Cross Epoch in Weekly Shonen Jump.
From 2007-2008, a television anime series named Blue Dragon had all its character designed by Akira Toriyama.
From 2009-2010, a three-chapter manga named Jiya for Weekly Shonen Jump where art was illustrated by Masakazu Katsura.
Dragon Ball Super started in 2015 and released an anime with the same name and ran from 2016-2018, the second season is coming our way very soon.
Akira Toriyama’s favourite character in the Dragon Ball series is Future Trunks and Mr Satan. His favourite movie in Dragon Ball series is Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku.
In an interview with Shonen Jump Magazine in 2007, he revealed that he doesn’t like to think much while writing stories for his manga and that he just goes with the flow.
Akira told in a casual interview that he prefers to tell stories in more open and natural landscapes in daylight as drawing buildings and dark night scenes take much more time.
“The role of the manga is to be a work of entertainment through and through. I dare say I don’t care even if my works have left nothing behind, as long as they have entertained their readers.” – Akira Toriyama