It is rare for Japanese production staff to grant major interviews to foreign press, particularly deep-dive conversations devoid of excessive oversight from management behind the scenes. Two interviews have recently been published on other websites that are very much worth your time:
In an interview with former Shueisha heavyweight Kazuhiko Torishima, the Weekly Shōnen Jump editor discusses his entry to the workforce and multiple (sometimes frustrating!) project collaborations with original Dragon Ball author Akira Toriyama.
Around that time, I met and started working with Akira Toriyama. So when he started he was obviously a newcomer as a manga author but I was also a relative newcomer as an editor as well. While I felt I had a very good grasp and skill on pane layout, we’d often argue and there was a lot of trial and error.
In addition to the standard stories regarding the move from Dr. Slump to Dragon Ball, Torishima also specifically addressed the challenges of having the manga adapted into a television series combined with evolving character designs and storytelling styles.
Around the same time, Saint Seiya was a very popular anime. This was interesting because the Saint Seiya manga was rather average but the anime by comparison was a lot better. So I wanted to know why the Saint Seiya anime was doing so well and we did some research on that. We found that there were two key figures. The first was Kouzou Morishita, who was the director, and the second was Takao Koyama, who wrote the script. So I visited these two guys and asked them if they’d help me reboot Dragon Ball and they both agreed.
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In an interview conducted at this month’s New York Comic Con, Toyotarō (of the Dragon Ball Super manga currently serialized in Shueisha’s monthly V-Jump magazine) discusses his gratitude at the opportunity to work on the franchise in an official capacity as well as his collaborations with original author Akira Toriyama.
What I receive from Toriyama is literally words on paper, without drawings or anything. So when I’m reading it, I have to fill in the blanks as far as the specifics are concerned. I think of what kinds of expressions the characters wear, which way they’re looking when they say a certain line. Many times, Toriyama-sensei doesn’t give me specific feedback on the details that I fill in, so I put a lot of thought into those aspects, knowing that my interpretation is what the readers will see.
Toyotarō also seems to confirm that the Dragon Ball Super manga will once again charge ahead of the TV series’ continuity, something previously done in debuting the Champa arc ahead of the TV series:
At this point, I’m not very involved with it. I think going forward, I’ll be more involved, but at this point in time, I actually receive more information from the anime team than I give to them. The anime is a little bit further along than I am, but in the near future I’ll be ahead, so the information will be going back to them. Regardless, we’ll continue to support one another as we go forward.
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Toyotarō currently works on the Dragon Ball Super manga adaptation, which runs monthly in Shueisha’s V-Jump magazine, having previously contributed the Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission series and a three-chapter Resurrection ‘F’ introduction. “Toyotarō” is, in all likelihood, a second pen-name used by Dragon Ball AF fan manga author and illustrator “Toyble”.