Father of the Dragon Ball-The Legendary Path of Akira Toriyama

Father of the Dragon Ball-The Legendary Path of Akira Toriyama

The death of Japanese cartoonist Akira Toriyama has made many people suddenly appear in their memories, because his masterpiece Dragon Ball is a childhood memory for many people. In that era of relative material scarcity, comics are the best reading materials that accompany us to grow up.

Akira Toriyama

The reason why Akira Toriyama is called the God of Manga is not only because of its extreme style, extraordinary story and huge world view, but also because the Dragon Ball world is full of fighting friendship, family and love, which can be said to be the best Manga in history.

At the same time, Dragon Ball also borrowed a lot from Chinese culture. Why did Akira Toriyama set it like this? Why did the Dragon Ball painting style change from relaxed and happy to warm-blooded fighting in the later period? Today we are going to talk about the story behind Dragon Ball Manga and the painful struggle of Akira Toriyama in the creation of Dragon Ball Manga.

Dragon Ball

Rejection maniac

After graduating from high school, Akira Toriyama entered an advertising company as a designer. Because Akira Toriyama did not want to get up early, was late repeatedly, and liked to wear pajamas in the company, he was always criticized by his boss, and finally he left the company after two years. After leaving office, Akira Toriyama has been doing part-time painting, because of poverty, began to contribute to some comic magazines, but were not selected, the desire to become a cartoonist seems to be shattered.

But after seeing his contribution, the editor of a magazine thought that although his painting was not so good, it had great potential, so he contacted Akira Toriyama and asked him to continue to contribute. This person is the person who has the greatest influence on Akira Toriyama’s career, called Kazuhiko Torijima. Although Torijima was only a manga editor at that time, because of his unique vision, he later discovered Akira Toriyama and Masakazu Katsura, and eventually became the chairman of Shueisha, Japan’s largest publishing house. But Torijima is also a rejection maniac. While encouraging Akira Toriyama to create, he rejected his manuscripts crazily, as many as 500 times in a year.

Akira Toriyama grew up in a series of blows and failures. Encouraged by Torijima, Akira Toriyama finally published his first official work Wonder Island in the magazine a few years later, but he did not expect to rank last in the reader questionnaire. Akira Toriyama is very disappointed, but Torijima still encourages him. At the same time, Torijima suggested that Akira Toriyama could make the comic more interesting. So Akira Toriyama created a funny comic book, in which the main character is a talented scientist named Senbei, and he made a robot doll called Arale. After watching it, Torijima asked Akira Toriyama to take Arale as the protagonist and the doctor as the supporting role, and suggested changing the name of the comic to Arale. Akira Toriyama was not happy at first, after all, for the cartoonist, the works he drew were like his own children, and he was almost forced to accept Arale as the protagonist and promote the following plot.

Unexpectedly, after the publication of this comic, as Torijima thought, it won a great victory. Readers liked the character of Arale very much. In the first year of serialization, Akira Toriyama could only sleep once every three days, and had a record of staying up late for six consecutive days. He even did not remember how to draw some chapters at all. Later in the series, due to the exhaustion of inspiration, Akira Toriyama and Torijima discussed the end of Arale, but Torijima told him that Arale could only be ended within three months with new works. So Akira Toriyama had to bite the bullet and conceive a new work within three months to finish Arale. This new work is the later famous “Dragon Ball”.

Chinese culture

The new film, called Dragon Ball, continues Arale’s lighthearted and funny style, but incorporates some new settings. What many people don’t know is that Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball borrowed a lot from Chinese culture.

At that time, Akira Toriyama wanted to create a unique comic book, and because Chinese Kungfu was very popular in Japan, he began to think in this direction. Finally, he chose Journey to the West, one of the four masterpieces of China, as the blueprint to create stories. For example, the protagonist Son Goku directly borrowed the role of Sun Wukong, the golden cudgel and the somersault cloud were copied in full, the strongest supporting role krillin borrowed the image of the Tang monk, Oolong borrowed the image of Zhu Bajie, And Tien Shinhan borrowed the image of Erlang God Yang Jian.

In addition, the setting of the comic book also selected a novel from the Japanese Jianghu period, The Legend of the Eight Dogs in the South, and used the idea of searching for beads scattered all over the place. The main story of the Dragon Ball is that Goku and his friends go together to find seven Dragon Balls scattered around the world. By gathering them together, they can summon a dragon to fulfill any three wishes. In this process, they will encounter a variety of enemies, a bit of a journey to the West master and disciples four people to the West, experienced ninety-nine and eighty-one difficult feeling.

And although the background setting of the Dragon Ball at the beginning did not say where it was, it can be seen from the style of painting that there is a strong Chinese landscape style, which was actually painted by Akira Toriyama after he went to Guilin, China. In 1984, Akira Toriyama traveled to China, visited Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin and other places, and drew his travel itinerary in cartoons. Akira Toriyama especially likes the landscape of Guilin, so the first few episodes of Dragon Ball can feel that this is also a small village in China.

Akira Toriyama and Jackie Chan

At the same time, Akira Toriyama was fond of Chinese martial arts, and the archetype for the character of Master Roshi in his manga was based on Jackie Chan. Because Jackie Chan’s kung fu movies are popular in Japan, Akira Toriyama once said that he was a fan of Jackie Chan, and later the two became good friends. Akira Toriyama also drew comics for Jackie Chan’s film “Plan A”, which is a proper style of Dragon Ball comics.
The initial story of the Dragon Ball is also going in the direction of easy and funny fighting. Although the reader’s expectations were high and the response was good at the beginning of the serialization, the word of mouth of the Dragon Ball began to decline gradually in the reader’s survey.


After many analyses by Torijima and Akira Toriyama, they concluded that the main character Goku was still not attractive enough, and that the story and plot of the comic book could not be distinguished from the popular comic books at that time, so they made a bold decision to speed up the story of Dragon Ball, emphasize the character’s desire for strength and combat, and set up a tournament. It is “the best martial arts club in the world”. The conference set up a high prize, let the world’s masters to fight, and these masters have all kinds of strange people, so that the promotion of the plot to attract readers to watch a little bit, to find out what powerful role behind the appearance.

As expected, Torijima’s vision is still vicious, such a change makes the praise of the Dragon Ball rise in a straight line, from then on. The main story line gradually shifts from the search for the Dragon Ball to Goku and others fighting one powerful opponent after another. However, with the increase of battle scenes, Goku’s short stature has great limitations in action, and painting becomes more and more difficult. Akira Toriyama once proposed to end the serialization, but in the face of the expectations of a large number of readers, Torijima persuaded Akira Toriyama to agree to let Goku grow up quickly and continue to fight in the martial arts convention. It can be said that the setting of this martial arts conference has brought the Dragon Ball back to life and returned to the expectations of readers. But it was not enough to rely on this setting alone, so the later Dragon Ball played some very cutting-edge settings at that time.

Special settings

In addition to collecting seven Dragon Balls to summon the Dragon to fulfill his wish, there are many wonderful settings for Dragon Balls.


The main character, Goku, is not an earthling, but a Saiyan from a planet called Vegeta, who was transported to Earth by a spherical UFO before the Saiyans were exterminated by the cosmic bully Felisa. At that time, Goku was just a baby. He was picked up and raised by an earth grandfather. The grandfather became Goku’s grandfather and taught Goku kung fu. This was also the beginning of the comic book, giving people a warm feeling. What Grandpa doesn’t know is that the Saiyans have a hidden skill, that is, when they see the moon on a full moon night, they will turn into a giant ape, then go on a rampage and lose their minds. Goku is the grandfather who trampled to death in this state. Finally, Goku regrets the truth.

Universal capsule

This is a very interesting setting, because Akira Toriyama likes science fiction very much, so he set up a lot of things in the future world in the Dragon Ball comics, such as a universal capsule, which is a capsule-sized object, as long as it is thrown far away, it can expand into a vehicle or even a house after explosion, so that these large objects can be easily carried. It’s amazing, but when you think about it, it’s still too advanced. To reduce metal and mechanical things to the size of a capsule means to change one thing from one atomic state to another, which requires the re-division of each atom into protons, neutrons and electrons, and then re-combination, that is, a universal capsule. The manipulation of materials has reached the subatomic level, which is beyond the reach of modern technology.

Combat power detector

This is the standard equipment of the Saiyan, because Saiyan are warlike by nature. In addition to the combat uniforms they wear all day, they also wear this detector like Google Glass, which can automatically detect the combat effectiveness of the other side after wearing it on their heads. In terms of numbers, in the initial stage, hundreds of people are strong, and tens of thousands are super-strong enemies. So when Raditz, who appeared for the first time, saw an earthman with a gun, he said that the combat effectiveness was only 5 dregs, which was also the origin of the war 5 dregs. After the big boss Frieza appeared in the later period, everyone’s combat effectiveness increased rapidly, which had already exceeded the upper limit of the combat detector, and the detector exploded at every turn. So everyone didn’t bring it later.

Fairy beans

Fairy bean is a kind of magical food in Dragon Ball comics. It looks like a broad bean. This kind of bean can quickly restore physical strength when people are dying of beating. The more serious the injury, the faster the recovery of combat effectiveness. So when Wukong is facing a powerful enemy, they eat one when they are dying, and instantly restore their fighting power. However, the number of fairy beans is limited, usually calculated in pieces, which is an important strategic material. But Xiandou also has shortcomings, for example, Xiandou can only cure combat injuries, but can not do anything about diseases, which led to the story that Wukong died of heart disease and eating Xiandou was useless.

Artificial Human

The Artificial Human is a robot created by Dr. Gero of the Red Satin Legion, the evil group in the Dragon Ball comics. He usually takes the human body as the prototype to transform it, but the Artificial Human 1 to 7 failed. From 8 to 21, it was created, but many of them were sealed. Among them, Android 20 is the doctor himself, who transformed himself into a robot. The artificial people on the stage are mainly honest and honest artificial people No.8, men who look like women Android 17, and women with outstanding figures Android 18. The powerful but kind-hearted artificial man Android 16 and the ultimate artificial man Cell are the big bosses in the middle and late stages. This is a perfect artificial human, which can fuse the organisms of robots, and its strength is very powerful. All Artificial human beings are born in order to eventually give birth to Cell, and all human beings have a bomb in their bodies except for Seru.

Time machine

In the middle and later stages of the Dragon Ball comic, Torijima and Akira Toriyama decided to introduce more side plots to enrich the Dragon Ball world, which is the parallel world of the Dragon Ball. After the death of Goku, everyone was killed by the enemy, leaving only Gohan, the son of Goku, and Trunks, the son of Vegeta, who lived together.

Gohan teaches Trunks all kinds of fighting skills every day. The two are also teachers and friends. They use the time machine invented by Trunks’mother to go back to the past and cure Goku’s heart disease. In this way, everything in the future will change.

Gohan died in a battle with the artificial man, which makes Trunks sad and vows revenge. Akira Toriyama depicts a tragic future parallel world. When all of Trunks’ friends are gone, leaving him alone in the world, this loneliness is probably only Trunks can understand.

Although Trunks successfully travels back to the past, the world of Dragon Ball Comics, reviving Goku and changing the world, he finds that he can’t change the future world he’s in. This is the concept of parallel world introduced by Akira Toriyama. Trunks’ world is a fait accompli. No matter what Trunks has done in the past, the tragedy of his time and space is irreparable.

When Trunks knew this, he still chose to go back to the past, because although his time and space could not be changed, he could also change other time and space. Finally, after saving Goku, Thrax decides to return to his future world, because there are his mother and the people he wants to protect in that world, and he will continue to fight.

Hyperbolic Time Chamber

The Hyperbolic Time Chamber is also an interesting setting in Dragon Ball comics Later, Goku and his enemies become more and more powerful, from King Frieza to Android 17, 18 to Cell, and finally to the ultimate boss, Majin Buu. Majin Buu is a creature that has survived the great riots and long dormancy in the universe. When he is awakened again, almost no one can fight against it. So Goku and his team use a Hyperbolic Time Chamber in order to defeat it. It is a special space where the time inside is different from the time outside. It is equivalent to an interdimensional space. A year outside is only equivalent to a day inside. In this way, Goku and others can practice and improve themselves in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. When they came out of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber a few days later, they had been training for several years before they could compete with Majin Buu.

The Super Saiyan

If there is one most thrilling concept in the Dragon Ball manga, it has to be the Super Saiyan. Saiyans are a race of natural-born warriors, unlike earthlings, with every member – male or female – aiming to improve their fighting prowess. When the universe’s tyrant Frieza fought the ancient Saiyans, one Saiyan on the verge of collapse suddenly unleashed an incredible fighting power, transforming into a being radiating golden light – the Super Saiyan. Frieza was greatly surprised by this, and then decided to annihilate all Saiyans in the universe. At that point, the young Goku and Vegeta were the last two pure-blooded Saiyans, and they could only attain the Super Saiyan state under extreme emotional duress.

In the battle against Frieza, when Goku saw his childhood friend Krillin killed, the grief and fury made him transform into the first form of the Super Saiyan. In this state, his strength, speed, endurance and fighting will were tremendously enhanced, though his demeanor also became somewhat unhinged. This battle firmly established the immense power of the Super Saiyan transformation for readers.

As the story progressed, through arduous training, Goku and Vegeta not only gained the basic Super Saiyan form, but were also able to achieve even higher levels – the Super Saiyan 2, marked by longer, spikier golden hair, and the in-between Super Saiyan 1.5 state. Goku could even transform into the mighty long-haired Super Saiyan 3, powerful enough to contend with the formidable Majin Buu.

The introduction of the Super Saiyan concept was a watershed moment that propelled Dragon Ball to the peak of popularity and acclaim. This ingenious creation by Akira Toriyama was widely considered one of the most brilliant ideas in the history of manga. The emergence of the Super Saiyan overshadowed all other manga series, solidifying Dragon Ball’s status as a true masterpiece.


After the Super Saiyan transformation, another classic concept in Dragon Ball is the fusion of two people. This can be achieved in two main ways: through a dance-like pose, or by using the Potara earrings given by the Kaioshin. Any two people can fuse using these methods, and the resulting warrior will be far stronger than the individual fighters. The fused being will also have a personality that combines the traits of the two. The stronger the original fighters, the stronger the fused warrior.

However, if the fingers are not perfectly aligned during the fusion dance, it will fail, resulting in a fat or skinny hybrid form with reduced power. In this case, they must wait 30 minutes before attempting the fusion again. The fusion also has a 30-minute time limit, within which the fighters must defeat their opponent. This technique was devised to combat the ultimate villain, Majin Buu.

In contrast, fusion using the Potara earrings has no time limit, and the resulting fusion is even more powerful than the dance method. This is the technique used by Goku and Vegeta to become Vegito, who easily overpowered Majin Buu with their tremendous power. The fused warrior can also continue to ascend to higher Super Saiyan forms, further increasing their strength – delighting readers with this continual power boost.

Love in Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball is attractive, in addition to the extreme blood fighting, and the characters inside are all very distinct, with love and hatred. Akira Toriyama depicts a lot of love stories in the comics, which makes readers unable to extricate themselves.

For example, in the opening scene, Goku meets Bulma, who is looking for the Dragon Ball. The two are like childhood sweethearts. Readers think that they will be together in the future. However, because Goku is too naive and is totally different from Bulma, who likes adventure and excitement, they can only be brothers at most and go further and further on the road of love.

On the contrary, when Goku was fighting the Ox-King, he met the daughter of the Ox-King, a little girl named Chichi. Because Goku was too simple to distinguish between men and women, he kicked Chichi’s lower body to judge men and women. As a result, Chichi thought he had to marry Goku. After growing up, Wukong met Chichi again at the martial arts meeting. Although Wukong still had no concept of love at this time, Chichi identified Wukong, which was equivalent to Chichi’s active pursuit of Wukong. Wukong half-pushed and half-pushed with Chichi.

But after marriage, Goku is a good warrior, but not a good husband and father. He has been pursuing how to become strong and protect the earth all his life. Neglecting family affairs, Chichi takes on the heavy responsibility of the family. He has the characteristics of a traditional woman, taking care of her husband and children. Goku’s love for Chichi is obviously insufficient, which is totally unacceptable to Bulma, so it is impossible for them to be together.

Bulma falls in love with a character that readers can’t imagine at all, that is, Vegeta, who appears as an evil villain at the beginning, which is also a reversal in the Dragon Ball comics, because in the early stage, there is a tall and handsome Yamcha pursuing Bulma, but Yamcha himself is a playboy and unmotivated.

After the appearance of Vegeta, Bulma completely fell in love with Vegeta, because although Vegeta is a villain in the early stage, ruthless, not to stop until he reaches his goal, but in fact he is a man of love and righteousness, the most important point is that he is very single-minded in love, so Bulma and Vegeta are a natural couple. The behavior that most stimulates Vegeta’s potential in the comics is when someone hurts Bulma, which also shows that Vegeta’s love for Bulma is true.

There is also a pair of CP in the Dragon Ball that everyone can’t imagine, that is, Goku’s brother Kuririn, This little earthling actually fell in love with an artificial person. This Android 18 has the appearance of a human, but is inside the machine.. Android 18 was originally a robot transformed by scientist Dr. Gero. It was based on the human body and transformed into an artificial human. So Android 18 was originally a human. Its original name was Lazuli. It was the number one beauty in the Dragon Ball world. It was handsome, had a good figure, had an outstanding temperament, and spoke in a cool and arrogant tone. It was estimated that it should be a Scorpio. But in fact, Android 18 also has a girl’s heart, and the first time he saw Krillin, he also had a good impression. After Krillin knew that there was a bomb in the artificial human body, he wished Shenlong to turn Android 18 into a human being. So on the Android 18 greatly moved, two people finally came together, but also very happy, gave birth to a lovely daughter. Android 18 is very gentle and considerate in front of Krillin, so Krillin is the winner of the Dragon Ball World.

android 18 figure
android 18 figures

The strongest character

Who is the strongest character in the world of Dragon Ball? It has always been a topic of great interest, because there are many versions of Dragon Ball, besides Akira Toriyama’s comic book, there are animated versions, theatrical versions, Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Super and so on. In addition to Manga and Dragon Ball Z, the others were produced by Toei after being authorized by Akira Toriyama. After retaining the main characters, many new characters were added, These later works introduced many new characters with fighting powers in the billions or hundreds of billions, which caused power levels to skyrocket. So here we only discuss the original story of Dragon Ball Manga drawn by Akira Toriyama himself.

The strongest single character in the Dragon Ball comics should be Gohan, the son of Goku. As the first hybrid of Saiyan people and Earth people, some Saiyan people’s blood and Earth people’s wisdom are highly gifted. Gohan’s most brilliant moment should be in the middle and late stages of the battle against boss Cell. At that time, Gohan turned into Super Saiyan 2 and killed Cell in the wave with only one arm. At that time, neither Goku nor Vegeta could defeat Cell. The serialization of this period also made Gohan’s popularity reach the highest level. Even Akira Toriyama said it himself. He had thought many times that he would replace Goku as the protagonist of the Dragon Ball, which led to the story of Goku’s death from a heart attack. But in the later period, the audience is more and more looking forward to the return of Goku, and Akira Toriyama has no choice but to revive Goku, while the status of Goku is gradually marginalized, but the strength of Goku has not diminished.During the final battle against Buu, Gohan’s natural talents were once again unleashed. Through the guidance of the Grand Elder Kai, Gohan was able to fully realize his complete potential, and this is known as “Mystic Gohan”. At this time, Gohan singles out Big Buu like a child’s play, and Gohan does not have to turn into a Super Saiyan state, and there is no time for awakening. But Gohan has a shortcoming, that is, he is too kind-hearted, does not like fighting, and has poor alertness, which also foreshadows his absorption by Buu.

If you want to say the strongest character, it must be Vegito. Vegito was born by Goku and Vegeta using the “Potara Earring” combination of the ultimate warrior, according to the Dragon Ball Complete Works and the setting of the Super Excited Guide, Vegito is the world’s invincible, the strongest warrior in the universe, the combination of the two is simply invincible, but also can be transformed into a Super Saiyan after the combination, dealing with the big Buo is like trampling on a mole ant. Vegito often wears a confident smile, and his personality is not as arrogant as that of Gotenks, on the contrary, he is more calm. It can be said that Sun Wukong and Vegeta have complementary personalities and make up for each other’s shortcomings. They are the most perfect fighters in the history of Dragon Ball.

Of course, Dragon Ball featured several other extremely powerful characters in the later stages. If we were to rank them, the order would likely be: 1) Vegito, 2) Buu-absorbed Gohan, 3) Super Buu (absorbed Gotenks and Piccolo), 4) Mystic Gohan, 5) Super Saiyan 3 Gotenks, 6) Majin Buu, and 7) Super Saiyan 3 Goku. Any one of these characters could casually defeat the strongest characters from most other manga universes.

The famous scene of the Dragon Ball

The reason why Dragon Ball is a super classic comic book is that there are many memorable scenes, which are extremely tragic and impressive.

For example, there are scenes of Goku turning into a Super Saiyan for the first time, Gohan turning into a Super Saiyan for the first time to kill Cell, and Goku using teleportation to sacrifice himself.

But when it comes to the most empathetic scene, it is Vegeta’s self-explosion. By the time of Buu, Goku and Vegeta’s strength has become very strong, while Vegeta’s strength is always weaker than Goku’s. As a Saiyan prince, he has been unwilling. During the battle between Vegeta and Fat Buu, even though Vegeta knew he could not win against Buu, he decided to self-destruct in order to defeat Buu and protect the Earth and his family. He embraced his son Trunks and knocked him out, also knocking out Goten, and then had Piccolo take them away from the area. Just before the self-destruction, Vegeta said his classic line: “Farewell, Bulma, Trunks, and Kakarotto.”. These are the three most important people in his life, his wife, his son and his brother. These words are not only his affectionate farewell to his family and friends, but also the ultimate expression of his courage and determination as a soldier.

In this scene, we see a change in Vegeta’s mentality. Once he was a ruthless warrior who only cared about his own strength and honor. However, in the process of getting along with Goku, Bulma and others, he gradually understands what friendship and responsibility are. He began to care about the earth and his loved ones, and was willing to give everything to protect them.

At the moment before his self-explosion, Vegeta’s body began to emit a dazzling white light, which was the result of the release of energy in his body in an instant. Everything around him collapsed by this powerful force. The air was filled with smoke and flames, and Fat Buu disappeared. Vegeta finally used up all his energy, turned into a stone, fell to the ground, and was crushed to pieces. So Vegeta is also one of many people’s favorite characters in Dragon Ball. Vegeta’s self-explosion is also the most touching scene in Dragon Ball comics.

In 1995, with the end of the story of the Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama was finally able to unload the boulder, which has been serialized for a full decade since 1984. Akira Toriyama tried to end the story several times in the middle, but under the pressure of the magazine and fans, he continued the story of the Dragon Ball. Akira Toriyama once said that the Dragon Ball had exhausted all his efforts, so after the Dragon Ball finale in 1995, he had no new works in the next 30 years, and he himself admitted that he could not draw such works as the Dragon Ball, which was the work he had spent his whole life working for. Perhaps in the heart of Akira Toriyama, he has already transformed himself into Goku, depicting a wonderful fantasy world with love and righteousness. After Goku accidentally trampled his grandfather to death when he was a child, he said that he would go to find his grandfather in the future. Maybe Akira Toriyama has been reunited with his grandfather now.




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