Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Creator, Dies at 68

Akira Toriyama, the famous Japanese manga artist whose manga and anime series Dragon Ball was a worldwide success with comedic characters and spectacular martial arts fights, died on 1 March at the age of 68.
On Friday, his manga and design production company, Akira Toriyama Studio, and Tokyo Universal Capsule Corporation issued a statement confirming his death. The statement said the cause of death was an acute subdural haematoma, a condition in which blood collects between the skull and the brain. The statement did not specify where Akira Toriyama died.
Akira Toriyama, whose credits also include “Arale” and “Desert Adventure,” was known far beyond Japan’s borders and influenced generations of manga artists and cartoonists. Akira Toriyama’s studio said he had several projects in the works at the time of his death.
His most famous work, Dragon Ball, tells the story of a young boy named Son Goku who embarks on a journey to collect seven magical pearls, the collection of which can summon a wish-fulfilling dragon. Since its introduction in the 1980s, it has published 42 volumes and sold millions of copies worldwide, making it one of the most famous manga of all time, inspiring television, film and video game adaptations.
In a 2013 newspaper interview, Akira Toriyama said that throughout his career he did not care whether his work served any purpose other than to entertain readers. He said he was different from “other manga artists who care about conveying didactic messages.”

Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Creator, Dies at 68

“The role my manga plays,” he said, “is that of downright entertainment.”
Born Akira Toriyama in Seisu, Japan, on 5 April 1955, he studied design at a technical and engineering high school in Aichi Prefecture and worked as a designer at an advertising agency in Nagoya after graduation, according to local news media.
He quit his job a few years later and began drawing manga at the age of 23. His first manga was the action-adventure manga Fantastic Island, published in 1978.
His popular sci-fi manga Alarai, serialised from 1980 to 1984, tells the story of a robot girl with a childlike personality and superhuman strength. It was adapted into an animated television series.
Mathieu Pinon and Laurent Lefebvre wrote in A History of Modern Manga (2023) that Akira Toriyama’s dystopian concepts and exaggerated manga techniques “triggered a real joyful madness” in Japan.
In 1982, Akira Toriyama reportedly married a former manga artist who goes by the pen name Minami Nachi. There is no complete information on survivors, but local news outlets reported that his survivors include his wife and children.
Dragon Ball became an immediate sensation after its first edition in 1984, making it one of the best-selling manga series of all time. According to Toei Animation, which produces the anime adaptation, Dragon Ball has sold more than 260 million copies worldwide.

Dragon Ball was serialised in the Japanese magazine Shonen Jump Weekly until 1995. According to Modern Manga History, the magazine lost about one million of its six million readers in the year after the series ended. The story continues through the anime Dragon Ball Z and video games. Akira Toriyama also designed characters for the G.I. Joe video game series.
Akira Toriyama is a prolific manga artist, however, as a reader, he doesn’t always enjoy the genre. “I’ve always had trouble getting into reading manga, including my own work,” he said in a 2018 interview with the Seisu City Public Library.
He is privacy conscious and rarely gives interviews. In a 2013 interview with Japanese singer and actress Shoko Nakagawa, he said he didn’t even share all of his work with his family.
“To be honest, no one in my family has seen Dragon Ball,” he said with a laugh. “I’m also a ‘homebody,'” he added, adding that “homebody” is the Japanese term for a person who avoids the world.

But his stories continue to captivate manga fans around the world years after they were created.
After Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama created a number of one-volume manga, including Fear! Kajika, and Galaxy Patrol Jack.Desert Adventure, published in 2000, was adapted into a film in 2023. An animated version of it is scheduled for release on Disney+ this spring, along with a video game.

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