Akira Toriyama (1955-2024) – All anime

The manga creator Akira Toriyama, who died on March 1, was quoted by the editor-in-chief of Weekly Shonen Jump as the main catalyst in taking the magazine to its circulation of six million in the 1980s. His antique sense of humor Doctor Sneak (1980-84) and the sprawling, combative science fiction saga Dragon Ball (original series 1984-95) made them definitive works in Bubble era boys’ manga, bringing them to worldwide success through their anime incarnations, especially in Europe and South America. Dragon Ballin particular, would become a much-discussed trope in international popular culture, in everything from French rappers Saïan Supa Crew to Hungarian rock band AWS, who Dragon Ball “ginyu force pose” upon arrival on the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.

A shy and withdrawn figure, Toriyama sometimes admitted that his discomfort during interviews led him to be more joking and dismissive about his work than he should have been. He was a heavy smoker and once claimed that he only entered a manga competition to win more money for cigarettes. After a brief stint making posters at a design company, he claimed he turned to making manga because it better suited his over-dressing and sleeping-in habits. Rather, such a claim ignored his fiercely productive output in a high-pressure environment that required him to write weekly chapters without fail for fifteen years.

In his youth, the animal-loving Toriyama was taken with that of Osamu Tezuka Astro Boy and Disneys 101 dalmatiersbut his true love was Bruce Lee Enter the Dragon – released when Toriyama was in his late teens, the kung fu classic lured him back to the cinema three times a day for almost a fortnight. After he married manga artist Nachi Mikami in 1982, his wife introduced him to the work of Jackie Chan. A special fan of the Drunken fist In movies, Toriyama could reportedly work on his manga while the movies played in the background, not watching them, but excited by the “Hyaaaghs!” and “Aiiees!” on the soundtrack.

Often Toriyama would make up the story as he went along, coming up with a ‘Dragon’ title Enter the Dragon and its imitators, and a quest-based collectible story inspired by the eight magic stones from the samurai-era classic The Hakkenden. He named his hero Son Goku, the Japanese pronunciation of Sun Wukong, the name of the Monkey King in the Chinese novel Journey to the West, and expected the journey to collect the magical, wish-fulfilling “dragon balls” to take only a few minutes. year to complete. Instead, it kept him busy for more than a decade, switching to an animated adaptation halfway through, which in turn generated several spin-offs.

Along the way, Toriyama also enjoyed a parallel career as a character designer for the Dragon quest series of computer games, as well as Chrono trigger And Blue dragon. But it was Dragon Ball that really made a name for itself, with the manga often sneaking into foreign markets behind the anime, which would eventually go on air in eighty countries. In fact, it was probably Toriyama’s influence as a manga creator that pushed the overseas manga world to print from right to left. It used to be standard practice for foreign manga publishers to reverse their pagination so that it read from left to right. When Dragon Ball was released in Spain, Toriyama is said to have insisted that his work be printed in its original format, opening the floodgates for the unmirrored standard in today’s manga world. Dragon Ball was not the first manga to appear unmirrored, but the first to do so as a result of creator preference – or so the manga publishers of the world were led to believe.

Toriyama’s breakneck schedule and relatively small number of assistants led him to invent a number of groundbreaking measures to streamline the manga production process. He liked to zoom in on characters whenever possible to reduce necessary backgrounds, and when long shots were necessary, he sent his fighters as quickly as possible into the wilderness, where there were fewer trees and buildings to worry about. After his assistant, Takashi Matsuyama, complained about spending an unreasonable amount of time inking Son Goku’s spiky hair, Toriyama came up with the idea of ​​a “Super Saiyan” transformation that turned the hero blonde.

Similar behind-the-scenes hacks contributed to his idiosyncratic style. As the son of a car mechanic, he preferred to focus on weird and wonderful constructions, while his desire to distinguish between faces and expressions inspired him to create multiple anthropomorphic animal characters simply to add variety.

He received his first Macintosh computer from the animation company Bandai and quickly embraced the possibilities of digital media. “People often say that drawing on a computer is tacky,” he once joked, “but it’s not like I’m creating a work of art!” In his early days of analog artwork, he avoided using screen tones because they were difficult to apply; as a digital artist he embraced them with enthusiasm.

The Dragon Ball series and its numerous spin-offs have not only made Toriyama a fortune, but also set solid benchmarks for success in the world of boys’ manga. There are shades of it in all of today’s modern achievements, including Naruto, A piece, Bleach And Fairy tale. It’s everywhere in popular culture, in sports stars’ goal celebrations, in-ring wrestlers’ performances, in martial arts moves and hip-hop dances, gifs and memes… and of course in Hungary’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.

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