Akira Toriyama was born April 5, 1955. He is a Japanese manga artist and game artist known mostly for his creation of Dragon Ball in 1984. Toriyama admires Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy and was impressed by Walt Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians, which he remembers for the great art. Jackie Chan’s early movies had a noticeable influence on Toriyama’s stories.
He debuted in 1979 with the story Wonder Island, published in Weekly Shōnen Jump, and first gained popularity for the manga and anime series Dr. Slump, originally serialized weekly in Shōnen Jump from 1980 to 1984. In 1982, he won the Shogakukan Manga Award for Dr. Slump for best shōnen or shōjo manga series of the year.
In 1984, Toriyama was responsible for developing Dragon Ball which was initially serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump. It became an instant accomplishment—primarily selling over 35,000,000 copies in Japan, Dragon Ball eventually became a record-breaking best seller with over 120,000,000 copies sold. Aside from the Japanese fame, the series was equally successful internationally as well, including in Europe (1988), Canada (1996) and North America.
Toriyama is mostly acknowledged for his major hit Dragon Ball. This work was one of the linchpins for what is accepted as the “Golden Age of Jump”. Its success encouraged Toriyama to continue working on Dragon Ball from 1984 to 1995. During that 11-year period, he produced 519 chapters, collected into 42 volumes. Each volume has an average of 200 pages. Moreover, the benefit of the manga led to three anime adaptations, numerous feature-length animated movies, several video games, and mega-merchandising. Though Toriyama had been planning to end Dragon Ball for a long time, his editors agreed to let him end the manga so he could “take some new steps in life,” as he put it. The third anime adaptation, Dragon Ball GT, was not based on his manga; however, Toriyama was still involved in the project by supervising its production, although in a limited way. The Dragon Ball anime, including installments that followed, spawned over 500 episodes made in Japan, and are produced and licensed for North America and Australia by FUNimation.
Toriyama’s clean line and design sense led to jobs designing characters for the phenomenally popular Dragon Quest series of role-playing video games (formerly called Dragon Warrior in North America). Toriyama has also served as the character designer for the Super Famicom RPG Chrono Trigger, the fighting game Tobal No. 1 for the PlayStation (as well as its sequel, Tobal 2, released only in Japan), and the Mistwalker Xbox 360 exclusive RPG Blue Dragon (and its anime adaptation).
His works after Dragon Ball tend to be short (100–200 page) stories, including Cowa!, Kajika, and Sand Land, as well as one-shots, like Neko Majin. Toriyama worked on a one-shot called Cross Epoch, in cooperation with One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda. The story is a short crossover that presents characters from both One Piece and Dragon Ball respectively.
Toriyama’s studio is called “Bird Studio”, which is a play on his name, “tori” meaning “bird”. Toriyama does almost all of the work in Bird Studio; his assistant does mostly backgrounds. The studio has not been very active over the last few years and has only done occasional one-shots.
In an interview conducted in 2007 with Shōnen Jump, Toriyama revealed that he does not consider what is to occur in proceeding chapters of his stories. In 2009, Toriyama was commissioned by Avex Trax to draw a portrait of pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki, it was printed on the CD of her single “Rule/Sparkle”. Akira Toriyama collaborated with Shōnen Jump to create a video to raise awareness and support for those affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
The Adventures of Tongpoo
Go! Go! Ackman
Toccio the Angel
Character Designer: Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, Tobal No. 1, Tobal 2, Bitch’s Life, Blue Dragon