TV Anime Guide: Dragon Ball Z Son Goku Densetsu

Akira Toriyama × Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru

The first-ever interview between the genius who gave birth to Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama, and his most trusted animator, Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru, becomes a reality. But that’s not all — also included are some of Nakatsuru’s rough sketches, published for the very first time!

So, when did the two of you first meet?
Toriyama:
Well, I’m pretty sure it was here [Toriyama-sensei’s house], the first time we met.

Nakatsuru:
That’s right; it was about seven years ago.

Toriyama:
Was the Dragon Ball anime still on the air by then…?

Nakatsuru:
It was right around when Dragon Ball GT was getting ready to end, and a new show — a remake of Doctor Slump — was just about to get started.

What was your impression of Toriyama-sensei prior to meeting him in-person?
Nakatsuru:
I think comics are a medium where your personality really comes out; you were always drawing short little things on the empty pages of the tankōbon — “Me Back Then” and the like. Seeing that, I thought vaguely to myself, “he seems like a pretty fun guy”.

Toriyama:
I remember being told by my editor, “Over at Toei Animation, there’s a bunch of animators who can draw just like you,” and one of them was Nakatsuru-kun. It was like being told, “so now you can just relax”. (laughs)

Nakatsuru:
What do you mean, “relax”? (laughs)

Toriyama:
Maybe, that I’d be able to have you draw for me. (laughs) Anyway, when I had them show me one of your actual illustrations, it was really amazing! Even now, I sometimes can’t tell them apart — “did I ever draw something like this?” But then, I think, “the muscles are drawn better than I can do… so it must be Nakatsuru-kun’s.” (laughs)

Was it a Dragon Ball illustration?
Toriyama:
What was it, again? I forget, but you drew Savings Warrior Cashman1 for Monthly V-Jump, right? At that time, I thought even more, “he’s this amazing?” It’s like, Nakatsuru-kun’s illustrations are even more me than my own work.

Nakatsuru:
Really, you’re much too kind.

Toriyama:
Being an animator, you can draw properly from any angle. For example, your high-angle views and such are really, really good. Also, the poses in the middle of the action. In comics, I can just do poses I like, or poses that are easy to draw, but the fact that you can correctly draw a pose in the middle of walking is just great.

Nakatsuru:
I wasn’t aware of that at all. At the time, I wouldn’t just buy the tankōbon; I’d buy Shōnen Jump and always cut out Dragon Ball and keep it on hand. All the keyframers, who wanted to match the latest art style, did it; perhaps it was thanks to that…

Toriyama:
There were often spots where I’d think, “I wouldn’t draw that angle if it were me”. So, then, do you actually practice to draw things from all sorts of angles? Or is it something you have to be born with?

Nakatsuru:
With people walking or running, in animation, a “moving picture” is just a series of illustrations one after another; in this work, you just have to draw them. Birds, horses, you name it…

Toriyama:
Ah, even now, I can’t draw a galloping horse. (laughs)

Nakatsuru:
Things like, right here, you can’t raise the knee too far — at work, I suppose you come to remember while you’re doing it. But I’m not really “there” yet; the really “amazing” people in the anime industry are unbelievably good, and even I couldn’t match them.

How do you feel about drawing one frame at a time, like an animator? Don’t you want to try it?
Toriyama:
No way. (laughs) I mean you have to draw them even for one second, right? Absolutely not. (laughs)

Nakatsuru:
On average, you need about eight drawings for one second.

Toriyama:
Now I really don’t want to draw all the in-between movements. (laughs)

What sort of influence did you get from the anime?
Toriyama:
The angular illustrations. In the anime version, maybe it was a habit of the animators, but when it was animated, it always had this angular touch to it. Seeing that, I felt that its hardness went well with fighting, and in drawing the original, I’d try and imitate it. Doing that gave it a sense of speed, and also allowed me to speed up my work. Really, during the serialization, I was always working frantically to slack off. (laughs) Like in the method of doing shading, filling in discrete sections like in cel animation was much easier.

Nakatsuru:
Sorry, but I’ve been meaning to ask when I met you today: They’ve decided to make a Hollywood live-action Dragon Ball movie, right? How does that make you feel?

Toriyama:
Ah… I have absolutely no idea. (laughs) When I went to New York recently,2 someone from the movie studio also spoke to me, but anyway, they look at a work over a really long span of time. From setting up the project to completion, taking ten years isn’t all that uncommon. So I really have no clue. I don’t even have any sort of image as to what actor should play Goku. They actually asked me, “who would you want for the part?” but nobody came to mind, and I couldn’t answer.

Nakatsuru:
You didn’t have a model for Goku, even back when you were drawing the comic?

Toriyama:
I didn’t.

Nakatsuru-san, when did you first get involved in Toriyama’s works?
Nakatsuru:
I started on Dragon Ball. Episode 4, where Oolong first appears.

Toriyama:
The fourth episode? That early?

Nakatsuru:
Yes. Also, the part where Kame-sen’nin first does a Kamehameha in front of Goku, and his muscles bulge out all of a sudden, and whatnot.

Were you doing in-between animation at the time?
Nakatsuru:
No, I was doing key frames.

Toriyama:
Huh? What are key frames and in-between animation?

Nakatsuru:
Key frames are the drawings that make up the main points of the movements in the animation, while in-between animation draws the images that make up the movements between them. The action and timing are determined by the key frames. There are key framers and in-betweeners, and the work is divided up between them.

Toriyama:
Ah, so that’s how it’s made.

Nakatsuru:
Dragon Ball was way back, not long after I got started, so I was always drawing intently, worrying all the while.

Sensei, I heard that you were responsible for suggesting the title Dragon Ball Z.
Toriyama:
Ah, that’s right.
Rumor has it that you titled it after an energy supplement with “Z” in the name.
Toriyama:
That’s not true~. (laughs) “Z” is the last letter of the alphabet, right? Anyhow, from that time, I really already wanted to end the comic, (laughs) so I gave the title a “Z” with the meaning of “that’s all, folks~”. I don’t remember saying a single thing about there being an energy supplement. Rumors can be so wild. (laughs)

Nakatsuru:
Did you have any image of something other than the “Z”?

Toriyama:
No, I probably didn’t. I myself thought, “they don’t really have to change the title, do they?” but someone from the anime staff demanded it, saying “we want to freshen it up”, so I was just sort of like, “this should be fine”.

Nakatsuru:
Dragon Ball ends right with Goku getting married, then Dragon Ball Z starts with Goku’s older brother Raditz arriving.

Toriyama:
Wow, is that so? So it made a perfect dividing point, then.

… That’s [over] a decade ago, and you never realized it? (laughs)
Toriyama:
Hahaha. (laughs)
For the characters’ costumes and such, did you think about the materials?
Toriyama:
Only roughly, but I did think about them. With Goku, mainly cotton, for instance. Goku and Piccolo would be cotton, as you might expect. For Freeza’s forces, I suppose I had the image of the chest protector being hard rubber, while the underwear would be a tights-type material.3

Nakatsuru:
What about the colors?

Toriyama:
With Goku, I had the image of a Shaolin temple, like the ones that appear in Kung-Fu movies, so I decided on yamabuki-iro.4 However, that would leave the outfit pretty bland in terms of color, so I suppose that’s why I made the obi and such blue. Overall, what I took the most care in was choosing colors that would contrast with the background, and wouldn’t blend in with it.

Nakatsuru:
Freeza’s naked in his final form, isn’t he?

Toriyama:
Hmm, it’s hard to tell. I think he’s probably nude, but in his first form and such, I think he’s wearing pants.

Nakatsuru:
During the Freeza arc, I was always worried about how to handle the shoulder guards on the chest protector — what it should do when the arm is raised. It looks pretty stiff, but I thought, “Maybe it’s OK if it bends?”

Toriyama:
Yes, that’s right; at first, I had the image of the protector being stiff, like plastic, but over the course of the serialization, I realized, “They can’t wear it if it’s stiff. They can’t raise their arms, can they?” (laughs) So I made it seem more like, “maybe it’s rubber?”

Nakatsuru:
As the serialization progressed, illustrations came out showing the shoulders of the protector bending, so we also realized, “Oh, so it’s OK for them to bend”; in other words, it was the sort of thing where “the answer always lies in the original”. When in doubt, you should come back here (to the original work). Also, I’m saying too much here, but when I designed characters for other works based on the same feeling, people at the animation studio would always get angry at me, saying “I can’t understand it with just this”. (laughs)

For the cover illustration of this book, Toriyama-sensei, you were in charge of the layout and rough sketch, while Nakatsuru-san handled the clean-up and coloring. Has it been a long time since you drew a Super Saiyan?
Toriyama:
Not too long ago, I drew a cover page for V-Jump, but it’s probably the first since then. “I will absolutely never draw Goku again,” I had thought. (laughs) But I have to draw the Dragon Ball Kanzenban covers, too.
How was collaborating with Nakatsuru-san this time out?
Toriyama:
It was fine, but what I’d really like to do is have Nakatsuru-kun illustrate after I’ve just dashed out a storyboard. (laughs)

Nakatsuru:
I can’t do that.

Toriyama:
That’s my ideal, though, Nakatsuru-kun (laughs) — having you polish up something I’ve drawn completely half-arsed.

It’s rare to find a partner one can be so completely enamored with.
Toriyama:
I certainly think so. With him, I have this feeling of relief, like, “If it’s Nakatsuru-kun, it’ll be all right.” So, like with the rough sketch for this book, I can just draw something sloppy. (laughs)

Nakatsuru:
You’re wasting your flattery. Even if I try to make it sort of resemble the original, it’s completely different. What I always sense — the aura a drawing gives off, I suppose — it’s impossible to imitate.

Toriyama:
You’re overestimating my abilities a bit, here.

Nakatsuru:
No, it’s just what I arbitrarily felt, looking at it. (laughs) I always think that if I can understand that, I can draw a little bit better, but it never seems to do me any good.

For this rough draft, did you go through a number of different layouts?
Toriyama:
The concept and characters were already set, so it was pretty much just the positioning and size of the characters.

Nakatsuru:
And as I said before, I just finished it up.

Had it also been a while since you’d drawn characters such as young Goku and Trunks?
Toriyama:
It was. I couldn’t even remember clearly what Trunks’ outfit looked like. (laughs)
Sensei, how were you about watching the anime?
Toriyama:
Awww, I was so shy about watching my own work broadcast on TV. I always put it on the right channel, but then I’d just steal glances at it the whole time.

Nakatsuru:
Did your kids watch with you?

Toriyama:
No, I don’t think they watched it. (laughs) Maybe it was embarrassing for them.

At the time that it was animated, did you put in any special requests, or anything?
Toriyama:
No, I didn’t really say anything. Only, at the start of the anime, I do remember mentioning to them, “I think maybe you’re forcing the color palette of Dr. Slump — Arale-chan on it a bit too much.” It was a little too colorful, is what I mean.

Nakatsuru:
So, then, you did have the sense that “the original and the anime are different things”?

Toriyama:
Ah, I did feel that way, actually. There’s a lot I don’t know about the world of animation, so I thought it would be best to leave that to the professionals. Besides, there’s really no way I could have checked the anime all that closely every single week. But, how do you feel about that? Is it best that the creator of the comic not be too outspoken about the anime?

Nakatsuru:
It’s a case-by-case basis. We’d be grateful to have them explain parts that we don’t understand and such. On the other hand, if we get a request like, for instance, “give the characters the same touch as the original”, it’s really difficult to do because of the way we do our work. It’s a group effort, so there are some nuances we’re not able to replicate all that closely.

Toriyama:
Indeed.

During your time with Dragon Ball, how did you come up with developments in the story?
Toriyama:
I always approached it as, “do the opposite of the readers’ expectations”. So, with the Tenka’ichi Budōkai, I heard from my editor that I was getting a lot of postcards saying, “Goku’s gonna win, right?” So I decided, “I’ll let Goku lose the championship, then.” That’s my bad habit. Even at the very beginning, I started out by making Goku “the most plain-faced main character I can think of”.

Nakatsuru:
Oh, really?

Toriyama:
Giving him old-fashioned, rounded eyes and such. But I was told by my editor things like, “change the hair,” so he started to stand out more and more. (laughs) Even then, I was told, “Something’s missing. How about adding a tail, or something?” (laughs) He probably meant that as a joke, but I went along with it, thinking, “If it’s just a tail, why not?” And so, Goku as he appeared in the serialization was born. But with Goku’s hairstyle, was it difficult to do in the anime, when he moves?

Nakatsuru:
No, it was surprisingly not that bad. The spikes in Goku’s hair are basically divided into two big parts, and when he turned around, it was basically just a matter of drawing them as though they’d switched spots. Having him turn around slowly was a bit troublesome, though. Your drawings have a lot of points that are easy to imitate, Toriyama-sensei. All the parts are arranged very cleanly in your illustrations, so as long as you can grasp them, [it’s not that hard]. Only, the balance among the parts is a bit iffy. (laughs) Also, the female characters were tricky. The faces were too, but particularly the body lines. The balance between the size of the head and the body was pretty delicate, and hard to reproduce.

Toriyama:
I was also being pretty careful. Just a little bit off, and the face gets weird. Also, I can’t draw in such perfect lines, so even now, I have to be careful when drawing female characters. That’s why there aren’t many girls in Dragon Ball. (laughs) The easiest to draw was Kame-Sen’nin; his eyes are hidden by sunglasses, so no matter how well I drew him, he was still the Turtle Hermit.

Who do you prefer: Bulma or Chi-Chi?
Toriyama:
To be honest, I’m really not fond of Chi-Chi as a character. (laughs) In the middle of the comic, I started to think, “I don’t want to draw her anymore,” and, sort of as a way of spiting myself, I decided, “you’ll have to draw her if she gets married to Goku, so marry them off!” So, I drew her as a kind of punishment. (laughs)

Nakatsuru:
So that was your reason behind it! (laughs)

Toriyama:
The women I draw all have the same sort of personality. I can’t draw gentle girls; I only know how to draw ones who are strong-willed.

With the Dragon Ball Kanzenban, the series will be garnering new fans. And being fans, I think they will probably want to see some new Dragon Ball Z. How about it, Sensei — why not make a new animated work once a year or so?
Toriyama:
Ah, I’d like to see that.

Nakatsuru:
But in the final chapter, Goku’s getting pretty old. And what happens to him after is already covered in the anime-original Dragon Ball GT. Still, Goku is the main character, after all. If you’re going to make a new story without any difficulty, you’ll have to rewind time a bit, and tell a story from somewhere in the past, or something…

Toriyama:
I agree. Rather than continuing on strangely into the future, or digging deeper, I’d rather develop it with something like a separate episode, going back in time to say, “there was such-and-such a story, involving such-and-such an opponent”. As in, it wasn’t in the comic, but this kind of thing also happened. I think that’d probably be better.

By the way, Sensei, recently you’ve been drawing comics using a computer; has the pace of your work sped up?
Toriyama:
The speed itself hasn’t changed, but the amount of space I use is less, so it’s a real lifesaver. I work in the most cramped room of the house, after all. Especially since I also use it to build plastic models. (laughs) I can do everything sitting down now, so it’s much easier. Has digital made inroads into the animation studios, too?

Nakatsuru:
When we did Dragon Ball Z, we used cels for everything, but now instead of cels, we do almost all the coloring by computer. We don’t have to wait for the paint to dry, so the coloring stage has gotten remarkably fast.

Toriyama:
The problem with computers is, how do you give your illustrations that special touch, or bring out its flavor? I think, from the perspective of our work, that there’s still a ways to go on that point, but there’s also no going back.

Nakatsuru:
In your recent illustrations, you’ve been doing even the main outlines on a graphics tablet, haven’t you? How is it, drawing that way? I mean, is it difficult to do?

Toriyama:
It is different; the touch of pen on paper isn’t there. I think a pen definitely moves more easily. Maybe it’s through the sheer force of it. Not only that, but with a pen, you can’t screw up, so you really give it your all. But recently, to balance things out, I’ve been telling myself that having a story to tell is everything to a cartoonist, so I shouldn’t get so bent out of shape about the art.

Nakatsuru:
Do you do all your comics by computer, too?

Toriyama:
No, I do comics with a pen and paper, same as always. I think comics are faster to draw with a pen, and then fill and tone by computer. But my illustrations are all done via computer. I even draw the lines on a tablet. Up to a certain point with the Kanzenban illustrations, I was drawing them with a pen, then scanning them and doing the coloring, but that also gradually became a nuisance, (laughs) so now I just use the tablet. When I started drawing the cover illustrations for the Dragon Ball Kanzenban, it had been so long that I had to start by looking for my pens. I turned the house upside down, shouting, “My Zebra pen-nibs are gone!!”

Nakatsuru:
Seriously?!

Toriyama:
Seriously. (laughs) All the ink was dried up, even. (laughs) It was easy to tell just how long I hadn’t been doing any work.(laughs)

Are there any episodes from the anime that left an impression on you?
Toriyama:
That would definitely be the Bardock TV special. It deals with a tragic past, and it really moved me. So I even gave Bardock a little space in the original comic.

Nakatsuru:
I had no idea that it would feed back into the comic like that, so I was really happy about that scene.

The anime staff weren’t contacted about it beforehand?
Nakatsuru:
We weren’t. At the time, we were being sent un-inked storyboards every week at the studio, and we went, “Huh? There’s a scene we drew for the anime in here.”

Toriyama:
With that episode, I also felt inside myself, “so that’s how it was in the past”; it clarified things for me, so it was a big help.

I hear that the detail about “there not being that many types of Saiyan faces”, which was the reason for Bardock looking exactly like Goku, was something the anime staff got directly from you.
Toriyama:
Yeah, I probably said that, too. (laughs) I have a whole lot of unwritten rules like that inside my head. It would get too exposition-heavy, so most of it I left out of the comic, but I did have those concepts, so things didn’t break down too often. I was writing the story by the seat of my pants, though. For example, in Vegeta’s case, I had already determined in my head that “he’s probably like this”. Although I didn’t leave any notes.

Nakatsuru:
But, Sensei, I’ve seen the note that you wrote about “the connection between the Saiyans and [Planet Vegeta’s] original inhabitants, the Tsufruians”.

Toriyama:
That’s probably one I wrote for the anime staff, then.

Nakatsuru:
We also got other character designs and notes from you while we were making the TV series and the movies. For Bardock, too, I designed him, but after I drew the first rough sketch and got it checked, Sensei, I got this back from you. (Note: See p.138, Toriyama-sensei’s memo about Bardock)

Toriyama:
Ah, so that was you, Nakatsuru-kun!

Nakatsuru:
Bardock’s chest protector doesn’t have shoulder guards; that was because the director, (Mitsuo) Hashimoto-kun told me, “I want to go with the image of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai“. In the second half of that film, Toshirō Mifune’s character wears only the chest protector of his armor over his bare skin, you see. That’s why Bardock doesn’t have shoulder guards.

Toriyama:
I see.

You also drew a lot of the movie villains, didn’t you, Sensei?
Toriyama:
I’d read the scenario, and get certain requests from the anime staff, “like this,” then I’d design them.

Nakatsuru:
I’ve seen some of those original drawings, you know.

Toriyama:
Yes, that’s right, I sent them to you directly. (laughs)

Nakatsuru:
I was awed — “It’s the real thing!!” (laughs) You really feel the aura even more with the original drawing. How did you decide on the coloring for the villains?

Toriyama:
I did them after the designs. In Piccolo’s case, I decided on it, thinking “A green human feels unnatural, which is good”, but generally, I’d just sort of draw them, then go, “I wonder what color I should make them”.

Nakatsuru:
By the way, this is a question I came up with on a lark while I was thinking “what should we talk about next?”, but I’ll go ahead and ask. …How do I become as good at drawing as you are, Sensei?

Toriyama:
Nakatsuru-kun, that’s not something you should be asking me, when you’re as good as you are. (laughs) If anything, I should be the one asking you. But you know, what I was surprised about when we spoke before was, as good at drawing as you are, when I asked, “Don’t you want to draw something of your own?” you said, “No, my ideal is to draw other people’s characters perfectly”. Isn’t that right?

Nakatsuru:
That’s right. It’s my ideal to take the characters just as they were in the original, and make them move. Though it is difficult to do.

Toriyama:
Hearing that, I thought, “ah, he’s a true master of his craft”. Cartoonists are the opposite: a basic tenet of being a cartoonist is, as much as possible, to avoid imitating others.

When you were drawing original characters for the Dragon Ball series, in what ways did you add a “Toriyama flavor”?
Nakatsuru:
In your illustrations, Toriyama-sensei, the parts are always well thought-out, from the head to the tips of the fingernails. So I’d take those parts and put together a sort of photo collage, then add to that a hairstyle or outfit that I’d seen somewhere… like that.

Toriyama:
Ah, I’m the same way. A cool-looking character already has a set pattern, so you can only express them through differences in their hairstyle or clothes. That’s why I think the villains are easier to draw. Dragon Ball’s villains were easy to draw; Piccolo, Freeza, Majin Boo….

Nakatsuru:
What about Cell?

Toriyama:
Ah, Cell was pretty tough, I guess. He sort of came out without me first settling on something in my head; I personally think that giving him spots was a mistake. I added them because the illustration felt lacking without them, but every single time, I’d be going through with a felt-tip pen, adding spots. It was exhausting.

Nakatsuru:
That was also a pain for the anime as well. Especially because, in the anime, we had to add shadows and such on top of the spots, as well.

Toriyama:
Ugh. (laughs)

Nakatsuru:
Probably, apart from the key framers, we on the staff received it poorly. By “we”, I mean especially how with animators, even though there’s a feeling of camaraderie, at the same time we have this sense of being in competition, and things would heat up with more than one thing… To put a huge amount of shadows on one image, and then tell us to animate it… that’s the devil.

Toriyama:
And then, to escalate things, shadows on top of spots…

Nakatsuru:
Right. But you were working by yourself, Sensei; wasn’t it difficult to keep your spirits up?

Toriyama:
Hmm, but to put it in coldly analytical terms, work was something I divided up into sections; there were also parts that I drew as a disinterested third party. So as long as I kept my spirits at a certain level, I could do my work, and it wasn’t too painful. There were parts that I didn’t like doing, of course, (laughs) but it wasn’t as tough as it was with Dr. Slump. Basically, I had set my mind to making a respectable, straightforward story that boys would enjoy.

With regards to how you got started on Dragon Ball, the motif was Kung-Fu movies, wasn’t it?
Toriyama:
Yes. To begin with, I saw Enter the Dragon starring Bruce Lee, back when I was a student; I remember I got so hopped up on it that I went to the movie theater for about 10 days straight.

Nakatsuru:
You went every day?

Toriyama:
I did. (laughs) I saw it about three times a day, and even now, I watch it on video. As a film I first saw during the emotional turmoil of adolescence, it influenced me greatly.

After Enter the Dragon, the flow of action movies really changed, didn’t it?
Toriyama:
There was a boom in Kung-Fu movies, and everything had “Dragon” tacked on to it. But I thought, “Something’s different. It has the feel of a cheap knockoff,” and around that time, I saw Jackie Chan in Drunken Master and got hooked. Altogether, I must have watched that over 200 times, as well.

Nakatsuru:
So, did Dragon Ball’s “Dragon” come from Enter the Dragon?

Toriyama:
Of course. Anyway, something Kung-Fu has to have “Dragon” in it. Because, I thought, if it doesn’t, then it’s not Kung-Fu. Huh? Ah, I’m just like all those cheap knockoff movies. (laughs)

(All burst into laughter)
Toriyama:
So anyway, when my editor found out that I liked Kung-Fu movies, he said to me, “In that case, why don’t you draw a Kung-Fu comic?” I told him, “The things I like and the things that I can draw in comics are different, so I don’t want to.” But then he went ahead and set up a schedule for me, saying, “Finish it up by such-and-such a date,” and it was this sort of, “Whaaaat?!” feeling, you know. From the very beginning, I was drawing Dragon Ball going, “I don’t wanna,” (laughs), so I spent my time building plastic models and such until almost right up to the deadline, during the serialization. By the time I got down to work on the storyboards, it was already two days before the deadline, or thereabouts.

Nakatsuru:
What? The storyboard?

Toriyama:
I’d start at around midnight, finish up the storyboard around 6 in the morning, then spend until the evening of the next day inking everything… so I probably finished up everything in about a day and a half.

Nakatsuru:
Every week, you’d do your manuscript in a day and a half? But that’s incredibly fast!

Toriyama:
Well, it was telling a story, so it was pretty easy.

Nakatsuru:
You used to fax your storyboards in to Toei Animation, didn’t you, Sensei? — The ones that were almost entirely rough drafts. Were those the storyboards you’d drawn in six hours?

Toriyama:
That’s right. I always had the storyboards do double-duty as the rough drafts, because they’re such a pain to draw. (laughs)

Nakatsuru:
It’s amazing that you were able to do that in just six hours…

Toriyama:
When a new character would appear, or something like that, it would take a little bit more time, but once the design concepts and the story were decided, it was about a day and a half.

Dragon Ball’s popularity has been rekindled; what do you think about that?
Toriyama:
I’m happy, of course.

Nakatsuru:
It really brings back memories, for me to be working on a Dragon Ball-related project again. Taking out the original comic, and getting engrossed in it without even thinking.

Toriyama:
I also looked for the tankōbon in order to draw the covers for the Kanzenban. (laughs) Thinking, “what kind of story is it, again?” I read my own comic straight through for the first time; it had a lot of spirit, and was surprisingly enjoyable. (laughs)

In that same way, I think readers who say “Dragon Ball is enjoyable” will continue to increase in number, both in Japan and around the world. Thank you very much for your time today.

(Recorded 21 August 2003, at Toriyama-sensei’s home)

The following translator notes are included for the benefit of the reader as supplemental information and were not originally published in the book.

1Savings Warrior Cashman (貯金戦士キャッシュマン Chokin Senshi Kyasshuman) was originally a short work by Akira Toriyama serialized in V-Jump and collected in volume 3 of Akira Toriyama’s ____piece Theatre (鳥山明〇作劇場 Toriyama Akira [Maru]saku Gekijō). It was later remade as an ongoing serialized work (also in V-Jump), scripted by Takao Koyama and drawn by Nakatsuru. One tankōbon volume was released in 1998, but the remainder of the series after that volume has never been published in book format.
2Toriyama appears to be referring to a debut event for the English-language Shonen Jump, where he was also interviewed for that magazine.
3We think he’s probably searching for the word “spandex”.
4A dark yellow, nearly orange, represented as #f8b500 or (248, 181, 0) in RGB notation. This is lighter than the coloring used in the anime, which, as is explained on page 195 of the same book, was due to the lack of a suitable color in the cel paints available at the time. Its complementary color is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a vivid azure blue close to what Toriyama used for Goku’s obi, wristbands, and undershirt.
English Translation: Julian
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