The world we live in today has many talented and beloved artists, but I think one of the best is Akira Toriyama. Akira is an amazing manga and game designer artist in the world of art and he made one of the best and well known franchises that it is today which is called “Dragon ball.” I really love how he captures the characters he creates and sets well grounded tones to them as well.
Akira Toriyama’s early life was where the passion for this art came to be. Born on April 5, 1955, in Nagoya Aichi Japan he was very into cars and motorcycles in his early life because of his father who owned an auto repair business and till this day he loves cars and motorcycles, just something that any young boy loves and would go on with him forever into adulthood. Akira in his elementary school days didn’t have entertainment during those times, but all of his friends, including himself tried drawing in this style of anime or manga type art for some type of entertainment. He had an entry in “101 Dalmations” that won him a prize at the local art studio by where he went to school and from there his interest grew more about this type of work. In 1974, during his high school days to study art he specialized in publicity, but around 1977 he had left the high school to enroll in “Cartoon drawing.” Eventually Akira took up a job of designing posters in an advertising company in Nagoya. He stayed in that company for about 3 years before quitting that job to follow his dream to become a full time manga artist.
Akira Toriyama’s career is very influenced by early anime, manga style with his own twist that became his own style that everyone loved. During his early career, Toriyama created over 40 manga series mostly because he thought his illustration was not perfect enough, so he would not hesitate to redraw again and again until those illustrations was good enough to use, something I could relate to for sure. I find it really interesting that in his manga series some of the cover flaps in the manga reference parts of his life, some references would be about his wife “Nachi Mikami” and his kids were in some cover flaps which were mostly in 42 volumes of “DragonBall.” Now DragonBall may be his best manga and anime he created, but he did have one before that gave him the recognition he needed to grow his popularity and craft for future illustrations. This manga was called “Dr. Slump” and it was around January 1980 he achieved his first great success as a full time manga artist. This manga series was published in the weekly Shonen Jump from January 1980 to about August 1984. This series was also put together in eighteen Tankobon volumes for many to read. Akira even had short mangas that were fared well through 1981 to 1984 which were called “Pola & Roid ” and “Pink ” which allowed him to win best Shonen Jump manga artist which is truly amazing. Dr.Slump even won the Shogakukan manga award for the best Shonen manga series of the year. I said before that his style for the manga and anime is inspired by the older style, but up to now and even present days it’s not really the old style, it’s evolved into his own craft almost different than anyone at the time. Going back to Dr.Slump, this manga series was so good that it eventually got two animated adaptations from ‘Toei Animation” and that is truly an honor for him and his career going forward.
Akira was on a roll with his mangas becoming more out there in japan and with all the success that Dr. Slump made the Phenomenon of DragonBall was about to begin. Around 1984-1995, Akira continued his success of the manga series which all started around 1983 but wasn’t as popular at the time. Dragon Ball during this 11- year period Akira made up to 519 chapters collected into 42 tankobon volumes. Each of the volumes average to about 200 pages, so for this story it extends to almost 9,000 pages which is crazy to think about. Let’s talk Dragonball for a little, Dragonball is about a young boy named Goku he is from a race called the Sayians, an alien race that looks a lot like human beings and was sent to earth because his planet was destroyed, but he does not know that because he is young. Now on earth he meets people that become his friends for a very long time almost like family and he eventually starts learning the ways of martial arts and the power that comes with it. Together they all go on adventures to see the world and fight great evils that arise later on. That’s a little summary in my ways of explaining it, but it’s definitely better to check out for yourself. With DragonBall becoming so popular in japan and in the states, Toriyama eventually started working on a sequel to DragonBall which would be called “DragonBall Z.” These series of manga eventually got adapted to an anime series for television which was also created by Toei Animation, both of Akira’s manga, DragonBall and DragonBall Z were made. Toei Animation even went there own way to produce a sequel to DragonBall Z which was DragonBall GT, but it wasn’t from Akira’s story at all and decided to make it themselves. The art style is definitely Akira’s, but it wasn’t his sequel for his series so many of the fans count it as not cannon because later down the line when the series would pick up again the characters don’t even mention those events at all. It was never a real part of the story, but it is still a pretty dope show to watch especially it gave us a new form for Goku which was Super Sayian 4 or ssj4 for short. Either way that’s another topic for another day. Akira inspired many artists in the modern day era of manga art and anime, one of these talented artists is Eiichiro Oda who created “One Piece” and even Masashi Kishimoto who created “Naruto.” Toriyama inspired many to follow this path and show the world that many stories could be told from this similar style and create powerful impacts on the world.
In the modern day era from around 2013 to present day Akira returned to the DragonBall series he started to create the next big saga for the series and it’s first big animated film in 17 years. “DragonBall Z: Battle of Gods” became the next big chapter in the series and it was absolutely stunning to see the enhanced animation for DragonBall in the modern day era of anime and manga. This marks the first time Toriyama has been deeply involved in animation for the franchise which in this case was as early as the screen writing stages. Akira around this time as well also got his own “world of DragonBall exhibit” opened and it was something to behold especially when it had about 72,000 visitors in its first nineteen days. This place is broken down into seven areas in total which each talked about and showed different from the anime and manga as well. This included sketches, manuscripts and so much more. Eventually the next animated DragonBall film came out which was “Resurrection F” and surely this follow up to Battle of Gods did great for the fans and made a ton of money for the next chapter in the series which was DragonBall:Super the next anime series in the world of DragonBall. Shortly in the year 2018 the series was practically done with 131 episodes and the next film was coming out which introduced a non canon character that everyone wanted to be canon in the main series and now he finally arrived in the main series and the next chapter in the Super series. This character was Broly a fan favorite for a long time and the film DragonBallSuper: Broly came out and from there the saga continues with the manga around today’s time, but no news yet on when the anime will come back. Eventually it will come back to make those manga into animes to continue the series in anime form and not just in manga form. Out of all this though we know Akira is not stopping from making this art and he will continue for a while making fans and the world happy.
To sum up everything that has been stated so far Akira Toriyama is the guy who started this manga and anime train we have today. Lots of inspiration was taken from Toriyama for other artists to make their stories come to life and use their own style to draw and make these characters come to life in a book and into your television as well. It’s always great to see Akira work with others and appreciate their works as well because it’s all like one big family in this specific art world and it’s truly great to see that he continues to do this for the fans and for the wide success he made it out to be. For sure he is one of the best manga and anime artists till today, but it’s always cool to see others make amazing characters to see and feel about as well.
Video about his life and more info that some of these sources don’t show.
All the sources used for the information.