Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Creator, Passes Away at 68

Legendary Manga Artist Akira Toriyama, Creator of Dragon Ball, Dies at 68

The world of manga and anime lost a legend on March 1, 2024, with the passing of Akira Toriyama, the visionary artist behind the globally beloved Dragon Ball franchise. Toriyama, who died at the age of 68 from an acute subdural hematoma, leaves behind a rich legacy that has captivated audiences for over four decades.

From Humble Beginnings to Global Phenomenon

Born in 1955, Toriyama's artistic journey began in his early twenties. After submitting work to Weekly Shonen Jump, a renowned manga magazine, he saw his debut with Wonder Island in 1978. While this initial foray laid the groundwork, it was Dr. Slump, serialized from 1980 to 1984, that truly established his name. This wacky series, following the adventures of a robot girl and her eccentric creator, became a massive hit in Japan, selling over 35 million copies and receiving its own anime adaptation.

However, it was Dragon Ball, which debuted in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1984, that cemented Toriyama's status as a global icon. This action-packed martial arts series, infused with elements of science fiction and humor, captured the imaginations of readers worldwide. The story of Goku, a young alien warrior with a never-say-die attitude, resonated with fans of all ages. Dragon Ball's explosive popularity led to its adaptation into multiple anime series, including the iconic Dragon Ball Z, further propelling the franchise into a multimedia juggernaut.

Akira Toriyama's "Dragon Ball," which began serialization in 1984, became an international phenomenon. | BLOOMBERG
"Dragon Ball," which began serialization in 1984, became an international phenomenon. | BLOOMBERG

Tributes Pour In: A Legacy Remembered

The news of Toriyama's passing sent shockwaves through the industry, with fellow manga creators and fans alike expressing their grief and gratitude. Eiichiro Oda, the creator of One Piece, shared a heartfelt statement, acknowledging Toriyama's immense influence:

"It's too soon. The void left behind is too large.

The sadness overwhelms me when I realize I'll never meet you again. From my childhood, I've admired you. I remember the day I was first called by name. On the way home after the day you used the word "friends" for us, I remember the joyous moment with Kishimoto-san. I remember our last conversation.

Taking the baton from an era where reading manga was considered foolish, you helped create an era where both adults and children enjoy manga. You showed us that manga can do this, that it can take us to other worlds. It felt like watching a hero charging forward.

Not just for manga artists, but for all the creators who were children during the serialization of Dragon Ball, the excitement and inspiration remains rooted. Your presence is like a giant tree.

For manga artists of our generation who stood on the same stage, Toriyama's works became an even greater presence the closer we got. Almost scary. But meeting the laid-back you always made me happy. We love Toriyama-sensei to the core.

With respect and gratitude for Akira Toriyama-sensei's rich creative world, I sincerely pray for his peaceful rest.

May heaven be the delightful world you envisioned, Sensei."

Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of Naruto, echoed these sentiments, highlighting the profound impact Dragon Ball had on his own artistic journey:

"I honestly don't know what to write about this sudden event.
But for now, I would like to share my thoughts and feelings that I had hoped for one day Mr. Toriyama would ask me about it.

I grew up with his manga, Dr. Slump in the lower grades of elementary school and Dragon Ball in the upper grades, and it was natural for me to have his manga as a part of my life.
Even when I was having a bad day, the weekly Dragon Ball made me forget about it. As a country boy with nothing, that was a relief to me.

I really enjoyed Dragon Ball too much!
I was a college student. Suddenly, Dragon Ball, which had been a part of my life for so many years, came to an end.

I felt a tremendous sense of loss and didn't know what to look forward to.
But at the same time, it was an opportunity for me to truly understand the greatness of the master who created Dragon Ball.

I wanted to create a work like his!
I wanted to be just like him!
And as I followed in his footsteps to become a manga artist, I began to feel less and less lost.
It was because I enjoyed making manga.
By following him, I was able to find new enjoyment.
Sensei was always my guide.
He was my admirer.
I may be annoying to him, but I am grateful to him.
For me, he was truly the God of salvation and the God of manga.

When I first met him, I was too nervous to say a single word.
But after meeting him many times at the Tezuka Award judging, I became able to talk.
I will never forget the slightly embarrassed smile on his face when he and Mr. Oda talked excitedly about how Dragon Ball was fun, as if they were children again and were engaged in a competition.

I just received the news of Sensei's passing.
I feel a tremendous sense of loss, more than when Dragon Ball ended…
I still don't know how to deal with this hole in my heart.
I can't even read Dragon Ball, which I love.
I don't even feel like I can write this message to Sensei properly.
Everyone in the world was still looking forward to your work.
If I could really have one Dragon Ball wish come true…I'm sorry…
That may be selfish of me, but I am sad, Sensei.

Akira Toriyama-sensei, thank you for 45 years of enjoyable works.
And thank you for your hard work.

I am sure that his family members are still deeply saddened by this loss.
Please take care of yourselves.
I pray that Akira Toriyama-sensei may rest in peace

Akira Toriyama: A Lasting Impact and Continued Legacy

Toriyama's influence wasn't limited to Dragon Ball. He is also credited for designing characters for the popular Dragon Quest video game series, another testament to his versatility and creative genius. Following the news of his passing, tributes poured in from fans and fellow creators alike, all acknowledging the immense impact he had on the world of entertainment.

“He was supported by so many people from around the world who allowed him to be able to continue his creative endeavors for over 45 years,”

From the post, expressing gratitude to Toriyama’s fans.

While his passing leaves a void, Akira Toriyama's legacy lives on. Dragon Ball remains a cultural touchstone, inspiring new generations of artists and storytellers. His dedication to his craft and his ability to create captivating characters and stories will continue to be celebrated for years to come.

source: The Japan Times

Cedric is the founder of Geekin' and is passionate about pop and geek culture. He's been a geek for as long as he can remember and decided to create the Geekin' online platform to regroup geeks in Mauritius. He loves to write about different subjects, namely tech and gaming!

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