Akira Toriyama, 'Dragon Ball' Creator and Acclaimed Manga Artist, Dies at 68

Photos: Tetsuko's Room via YouTube (Toriyama), Toei Animation (Dragon Ball)

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Mar 8, 2024

Akira Toriyama — the influential Japanese manga artist known best for creating the Dragon Ball media franchise — has died. News of Toriyama's passing was shared by his company Bird Studio, who shared in a statement that the artist died March 1 from an acute subdural haematoma. He was 68.

"It's our deep regret that he still had several works in the middle of creation with great enthusiasm," the studio's statement reads. "Also, he would have many more things to achieve."

Born in central Japan's Aichi prefecture in 1955, Toriyama drew throughout his youth and made his manga debut in 1978 with Wonder Island, an adventure comic published by Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine.

The artist then broke out with serialized manga Dr. Slump, following the adventures of robotic protagonist Arale Norimaki. The manga was published by Weekly Shōnen Jump between 1980 and 1984, and was also adapted for TV, animated films and video games.

Toriyama would achieve worldwide recognition with Dragon Ball. Serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump between 1984 and 1995, it would go on to become one of the most successful manga series and media franchises of all time. Dragon Ball follows protagonist Son Goku, a martial arts practitioner on a quest to find seven orbs known as Dragon Balls that will summon the wish-granting dragon Shenron.

Toriyama's manga has spawned numerous animated series — with Dragon Ball Z proving wildly popular around the globe — an English language comic book series, and myriad films and video games.

Toriyama also worked as a video game character designer for 1986 RPG Dragon Quest and subsequent series titles, in addition to 1995's Chrono Trigger, Blue Dragon and fighting games Tobal No. 1 and Tobal 2.

"Thanks to the support of so many people around the world, [Toriyama] has been able to continue his creative activities for over 45 years. We hope Akira Toriyama's unique world of creation continues to be loved by everyone for a long time to come."

The Associated Press reports that a TV adaptation of Toriyama's 2000 manga series Sand Land, will arrive on Disney+ in the spring.

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