Today’s August 2015 issue of V-Jump in Japan contains a new comment from original manga author Akira Toriyama regarding the upcoming Dragon Ball Super TV series:
A Message From Akira Toriyama-sensei Has Arrived!!
You know, it suddenly occurs to me that somewhere along the line the Dragon Ball anime has become quite a big deal. Since I’m the guy who drew the thing, it’s a bit weird for me to say this, but when I first started out I never dreamed that the setting would move out into space (laughs). Don’t worry though, it’s still going to be the same sort of easy-to-understand content as always. Please be sure to watch Dragon Ball Super on TV!
We have archived Toriyama’s comments over in our “Translations” section.
Dragon Ball Super, which begins airing 05 July 2015 on Fuji TV, is the first all-new TV series for the franchise in 18 years. The story and characters will be developed by original manga author Akira Toriyama, will star veteran voice actress Masako Nozawa, and will be directed by Kimitoshi Chioka. The series will, “…follow the aftermath of Goku’s fierce battle with Majin Boo, as he attempts to maintain earth’s fragile peace.” A manga adaptation from “Toyotarō” will run each month in V-Jump starting this same August 2015 issue.
This kind of fits in with what I have been thinking. Its very hard for us to understand what Toriyama thinks/wants as fans, particularly fans that speak a different language natively (which has far more implications than simply the language barrier). Its very hard for me to reconcile the fact that I love something so much that the original creator doesn’t seem to care much about, or at least he didn’t.
What we do know is that he got burned out and ended DBZ because of that. That’s understandable. I don’t think Toriyama has the kind of respect or reverence for his work as we do. That might be because he never really tried very hard. It could be because he’s aware of all the different works that inspired his work and we generally do not talk about those. I mean to say, he knows that there is very little that is original about Dragon Ball. But we all see it and interpret it as the epitome of originality because its so unlike anything else we were used to. But its not. DBZ is part of a rich history of martial arts, wuxia, and folklore from Japan. Stuff Toriyama grew up with as we grew up with DBZ. Or maybe he doesn’t care as much about Dragon Ball as we do because he is aware of its flaws on a level we don’t even understand.
Whatever the case the winds seem to be changing. Toriyama is now taking an active interest in the series. It’s been talked about on this site before that the live action movie really awoke something in him. Just like he said here, it seems Toriyama is just now coming to grips with the fact that he accidentally created a classic. Something that will be remembered for decades like Mickey Mouse or Spiderman. It’s so strange to think about how he never caught on to this before, but everyone is their own worse critic. I bet he was thinking, “sooner or later this fad is going to die down”.
But it never did.
LUCKILY he’s in a position to do something about it. I feel like if Toriyama kept not giving a crap about Dragon Ball. Things would have gotten really bad really quickly. I love the movies and everything but I think we can all agree that there is something hollow about Dragon Ball when Toriyama isn’t involved. Bring it on Toribot. Let’s see what you got!
The funny thing is the exact same thing happened with Avatar: The Last Airbender. After Bryke saw the absolute garbage that was Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender, they wanted to be more directly involved with their own franchise, and that is why Legend of Korra’s Book One episodes were all written by Bryke themselves. Afterwards, they realized they had no time to continue doing that on the other three books, but still, it signaled a change in their way of thinking (not that they ever were nearly as nonchalant about Avatar as Toriyama was about Dragon Ball). It’s also possibly the reason why every single version of the new Dark Horse comics’ scripts goes through at least one of them.
So, apparently, if you think the author of a franchise you love doesn’t give a crap about it anymore, all you have to do is make Hollywood make a crappy movie adaptation. Results 100% guaranteed 😆
(Hmm… hope someone decides to make a Hunter X Hunter adaptation, then. Togashi’ll never go into hiatus again 😛 )
The bit about influence is certainly something that international fans are wont to miss. Dragon Ball really is a mishmash of bits of Asian pop culture, Journey to the West, Jackie Chan, and the like, things Toriyama likes, what with all the vehicles and spaceships, and galaxy-load of household puns! With the weekly chapter grind, Toriyama’s chronic procrastination, and the minimal input he gave to Toei, it would not surprise me in the least if he thought it a silly job for a silly man.
But it simply was not to be, in part, no less, because that same feeling that he was drawing schlock is what made Dragon Ball so unashamedly spontaneous, bluntly heartfelt, and casually bizarre. He seems to realize that now, and it makes a lot of sense that Evolution, a product of an entirely different national and film-making culture, would be the thing that made him sit down and ask why his comic was ever popular to begin with.