Akira Toriyama didn't understand the success of his Dragon Ball: "I don't know why it's so popular"

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Akira Toriyama didn't understand the success of his Dragon Ball: "I don't know why it's so popular"

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The death of Akira Toriyama leaves manga and anime fans with a veil of sadness. His works remain, especially Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball, the latter universally recognized as one of the best manga in the history of Japan. It's to think that the Japanese master had repeatedly recalled in his interviews that he created Dragon Ball because he was pressed by deadlines: “Even today I still don't understand how it became so popular”, he said.

What Akira Toriyama thought of Dragon Ball

Akira Toriyama experienced the typical conflict of the story creator, unable to fully understand the importance of a work for the public. A typical aspect of art that somehow sublimates the always verified axiom that once created, art no longer belongs to its owner but belongs to everyone. At Weekly Shonen Jump, Akira Toriyama said in 2018:

After many years I reread the entire series and although I believe that the part with Frieza is really full of suspense, although I find it interesting, I still don't understand today how it became so popular. Why? I always thought I drew wrong.

There is one reason in particular. In the period in which he drew Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama was overwhelmed by deadlines: “Drawing for me has always been so easy, but when today I read a manga on Jump I am surprised by the skill of the artists and by all the details they manage to insert into a table. I have always felt embarrassed to be published in the same magazine with those same authors.” And again: “I was always late with deadlines and tried to do things as quickly as I could. Drawing in that simple way was the easy way.” But it was precisely thanks to that simplicity that Akira Toriyama managed to find the key to Dragon Ball's success: “In the end I got credible characters”.

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Toriyama's latest Dragon Ball comes out in the spring

Akira Toriyama's latest Dragon Ball is called Dragon Ball Daima and comes out in the spring of 2024. It is a completely new story, created especially for television in which from the trailer we discover that Goku, Vegeta, Krilli, Bulma and all the others they turned into children. A choice that therefore seems to want to bring old and new viewers back to the dawn of the saga. An operation that in some way has already been done with Dragon Ball GT. The only difference is that, this time, Akira Toriyama was involved directly with a story written and drawn by himself: “He is deeply involved beyond all ability and has already planned completely new episodes for the plot”, said the Toei Animation executive producer Akio Iyoku.

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