“The Nearly Complete Works of Akira Toriyama”: Work #009
Published by 24 January 2018, 9:26 PM EST

The official Dragon Ball website’s ninth entry in “The Nearly Complete Works of Akira Toriyama” — an on-going series highlighting rare and important pieces of the author’s work over the years — is the title page and a brief overview of Akira Toriyama’s professional debut from the 1978 #52 issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump (released 28 November 1978), Wonder Island.

Wonder Island tells the story of a stranded ex-kamikaze pilot, Flight Petty Officer 2nd-Class Furusu, who washes up on the titular island, but only wants to get back to Japan. The setting and the character of “P-Man” later reappear in Dr. Slump.

Akira Toriyama’s author comment from the 1978 #52 issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump reads as follows:


I love American comics and I’m crazy about pinball. Check this far-out disco boy! <Akira>

Wonder Island was collected in “Akira Toriyama’s ______piece Theater” (Toriyama Akira [maru]saku Gekijō), the later “Akira Toriyama’s ______piece Theater REMIX” (Toriyama Akira [maru]saku Gekijō Aratame), as well as in the two-bunko release, “An Emperor’s Feast of Akira Toriyama” (Toriyama Akira Mankanzenseki).

In celebration of the Jaco the Galactic Patrolman collected manga volume release in April 2014, Shueisha began including new comments from Akira Toriyama on the obi (paper band surrounding the book, generally promotional in nature) of his seven other (non-Dr. Slump and non-Dragon Ball) manga volumes. For the first “Akira Toriyama’s ______piece Theater” volume’s obi, a drawing of Furusu was provided alongside an embarrassed reflection on his early work:

This is awful!
Even given the fact that I was still green, it’s awful!
I didn’t have the courage to read it.
This is Part 1 of my shameful history.
—Akira Toriyama

A month later, Wonder Island 2 debuted in the Shōnen Jump 25 January 1979 Extra Issue (released 27 December 1978). There is no “2” in the title prior to its being republished in Toriyama’s short-works collection; instead, it was originally Wonder Island: Detective Harry’s Big Panic. Furusu was also used in all the advertising and even this issue’s table of contents, despite not actually appearing in the chapter. In fact, the only character who carries over is P-Man. It may perhaps be better to think of this as a “second draft” rather than a true sequel, in that it shares little in common with the first except for the setting.

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