This week’s Dragon Ball 30th Anniversary “Super History Book” is a doozy, packed with an extensive amount of documentation, designs, and interviews spanning the entire three-decade run thus far.
Original manga author Akira Toriyama has contributed several comments throughout the book, including a lengthy interview of his own — stay tuned for a translation of that one in the near future! In the meantime, we have translated Toriyama’s introductory comments for the book:
It seems that Dragon Ball is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
30 years! That’s amazing. Even though it’s a series I started myself, I’m still surprised.
Of course, it’s not as if I kept the manga running for 30 years straight, so I shouldn’t get too carried away. The manga finished its serialization after about 10 years, meaning that it got through the remaining 20 thanks to the support of all the fans and staff.
That’s actually pretty incredible!
I’m so fortunate to have a manga like this!
When Dragon Ball began its serialization, I was stuck starting it up straight away with barely any preparation time. So right out of the gate I barely had a clue what would happen in the next chapter, let alone anything further down the road than that, and yet it turned out that I liked drawing it this way because it gave the story a thrilling unpredictability (even I didn’t know what would happen!) and so I continued to the very end.
The full introduction has been archived in our “Translations” section.
Perhaps most notable to fans is a choice quote that originally made its way online courtesy of Twitter user @mozumichael. In it, Akira Toriyama provides some rather candid comments on the state of recent Dragon Ball productions:
I had put Dragon Ball behind me, but seeing how much that live-action film ticked me off, and how I revised that script for the anime movie and complained about the quality of the TV anime, I suppose somewhere along the line it’s become a series I like too much to ever leave alone.
Toriyama references here his 2013 Q&A with Asahi Shimbun Digital in which he noted the script for the 2009 live-action Dragon Ball Evolution movie, “…had too little of a grasp on the world and its characteristics,” and that it was something that he, “…couldn’t really call a Dragon Ball that lived up to [his] expectations.” Additionally, the 2013 theatrical film Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods already had an established script and character designs by Yūsuke Watanabe and Tadayoshi Yamamuro, respectively, prior to Akira Toriyama’s involvement in which he rewrote the vast majority of the film.
This is not the first time Toriyama has publicly expressed displeasure with aspects of the Dragon Ball animation, either. In a January 1997 Japanese WIRED magazine interview, Toriyama noted that he had, “…always been dissatisfied with the ‘righteous hero’-type portrayal they gave him,” and that he could not quite get them to, “…grasp the elements of ‘poison’ that slip in and out of sight among the shadows.”
Chronologically-speaking, following Evolution and Battle of Gods would have been Dragon Ball Kai followed by the ongoing Dragon Ball Super. It is important to note that Toriyama does not specifically call out Dragon Ball Super in his comment here… though all signs seem to point to that having been the offending production prompting the comment.
Not related with this, but I noticed that you forgot to update Toriyama’s comments on Super in the Translation section.