Akira Toriyama's final color schemes

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Akira Toriyama's final color schemes

Post by Cold Skin » Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:54 am

Since I'm new here, I hope you won't get mad at me if such a subject already existed, but if it does, it's pretty far away on the list!

It's a secret to nobody (I think) that for some characters, Akira Toriyama's choice of colors is different than the colors of the anime. Sometimes there is no doubt as to what Mr. Toriyama wants for his characters, as it remains constant for the main part, if not all, of the story and illustrations. But sometimes there are less clues as to what colors he chose in the end, so I thought it would be a pretty good subject to discuss (I don't mind the anime having differences in colors at all, I just think it's interesting to know about the author's own vision of his own creations).

I tried to gather as much info as I know, but I don't have all the elements to judge. I do have a book which collects the author's illustrations, which I think is internationally called Daizenshuu vol.1, but I may be wrong on the name itself cause it was not featured on the French version. I only have the Kanzenban up to volume 2 (we're waiting for the third volume this month in France), and some colored pages of the manga which are shown on the Daizenshuu vol.1, so you guys might be able to bring more elements in the balance than me.

Don't hesitate to share your opinion, say if there's something wrong (which can totally happen, I'm a fan, but not as much an expert as some members around here!) and if my English seems clumsy, remember I'm French!

Yeah, let's start with what is probably the most noticeable difference between Toriyama's vision and the anime's interpretation. Though Bulma does appear with blue hair in the anime, she only has those for the first chapter of the manga and the first illustrations. From then on, Toriyama always had her hair being purple, including years later on the Kanzenban covers (thank you guys for showing those on your website)! So that one's pretty clear, according to Toriyama's perspective, Bulma has purple hair, which she logically passes on to her son.

Another difference where there's not much to debate: as far as I know, he always made Piccolo have... I don't know the name of the color in your language, but call it whatever you want, I'll say "skin-like color", as opposed to the anime's pink color, for the circles on his arms (sorry I can't find a way to define it in another way...). So we know what he thinks about it.

I may not have all the elements to judge, but Karin does appear as having blue fur in the manga as opposed to white in the anime. We can see it on the colored pages when Goku uses the Nyoï Bo to meet God (or Kami-sama, I don't know which is used around here), and also on the picture formed by all tankobon together.

Now this is getting harder. It's yellow on the anime, but Toriyama has made it at least yellow, white, blue and purple depending on the illustrations or chapters. The main ones are yellow and purple though. I would tend to say that he chose purple, because from a certain point in his illustrations (when Goku is adult, but maybe even before that), he only made Kinto-Un look purple, including on recent guides. Looks like he had made his choice. But then, what about the recent Kanzenban new ending, where we can see Oob (or Uub) ride a clearly yellow cloud? Maybe it was to keep the chapters' coloring fitting, so that the last appearance of the Kinto-Un has the same colors than its first appearance. But only you guys can know if in any other chapter along the story, the Kinto-Un appears purple, or even blue. I would still say Toriyama sees the Kinto-Un as being purple, as it is the most often seen form, even recently.

Tough one! It changes all the time on the illustrations! Red, green, blue, purple... You got all the colors you want, but never twice a same color scheme. It is noteworthy that the last time he drew Baby Gohan was seemingly during the "Gohan's evolution" illustration (it's not an official title, it's just how I call it, you can see it on the Wikipedia article about Gohan though) from 1993: green on the outside part and blue on the inside part and the hat, with edge lines being red. Having no real constant color scheme, should we just consider the last one as the definitive one Toriyama would want?

This outfit does exist in green in at least one illustration and one colored chapter (Gohan battling Vegeta). However, other chapters show it as being purple (Gohan and Krilin pursued by Dodoria) and many other illustrations too, showing Gohan and Goku, Gohan and Piccolo, or the "Gohan's evolution" illustration of 1993 which is seemingly the last one to date (at least in the Daizenshuu vol.1). I guess Toriyama's vision of the outfit is having purple then, which is not illogical since it echoes Piccolo's clothes, so it's no wonder the pupil wears clothes echoing his teacher.

It exists as purple with red accessories (one illustration), blue with orange accessories (one illustration) and green with orange accessories but a white belt (two illustrations). I guess if Toriyama designed Gohan has having the last one twice, it means something, we might guess it is probably his vision of High School Gohan's home outfit.

His articulations are purple in the first illustrations and some chapters (battle with Trunks), but then he constantly made them blue in afterward illustrations and chapters (battle with Gohan). I guess his ultimate choice goes to blue, right?

Kaio changes colors frequently I guess. In the side picture of all tankobons together, he has a different color scheme than in the anime. But most importantly, he has different colors in the Kanzenban release. Being the latest, should we consider this as Toriyama's ultimate choice?

Well that's one of the changes that jumped to everyone's eyes I guess: these characters have whole new color schemes in the Kanzenban edition, including their skin! It doesn't seem to be an "isolated fantasy" since they had exactly this same new color scheme on one of the next covers. That would hint that Toriyama's version is definately wearing these colors nowadays. The general outfit of the Kaio Shin seems different, no matter who wears it anyway, though Gohan's Kaio Shin outfit is more subtle in its changes.

I'm not too sure about that one, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I remember in the anime Goten's inner clothes are blue, while they're constantly black in Toriyama's illustrations, so I guess there's no trouble here guessing what his vision of the character is.

Guess the whole Kanzenban covers can stand for updates, notably for otherworldly places on the latest covers (Snake Way with Goku and Kaio, and Kaio Shin Kai). The sky color is noticeably different from what the anime has done (and possibly the manga though I can't confirm it, the only page I have about the Snake Way the sky is white). Should we consider this as his definitive vision?

So tell me what do you guys think about all of this? What would be the final "manga colors" or "Toriyama colors"? Maybe you think the illustrations are simply subject to fantasies and that the real colors are the ones you can see on the chapters? Or maybe you think the illustrations colors are more important since there are more of them over time, which clearly shows what color schemes repeat and what color schemes were just a "single try"? Maybe you think the Kanzenban covers are just bonus pictures which shouldn't be accounted for? Or maybe you think they're nothing less than the updated final vision of the artist and therefore should prevail on any previous work? Maybe you think the latest illustration basically shows the final color scheme, or maybe you think the right color scheme is basically the one that repeats the most often?
So share your opinions, and don't hesitate to signal other debates there could be over Toriyama's colors, I'm sure there are plenty of elements to check (after all, I just noticed his illustration of Raditz features a blue scouter for example...).

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Post by Travis Touchdown » Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:08 pm

This doesn't helpat all, but I have no idea whatsoever. Because the anime's colors are mostly consistent compared to the ever changing colors in Toriyama's works, I just go with the anime colors.

Goku's gi was shown to be orange with blue accents, light orange with light blue accents, yellow with black accents.

Kid Goku's gi was shown as orange with black accents, orange with a black belt & red wrist bands, red with blue accents, green with orange accents, as well as the same colors as his adult gi.

And let's not forget Goku's end-of-Z outfit. On the cover for Vol 26, he has a green top, gray pants, and red boots. On the colored manga chapter, he has an all gray gi with kung fu shoes (for lack of correct term) with his ankles taped. Then he changed this outfit again when he designed Goku for GT with light blue top, orange pants. The anime shows him with a light blue top and dark green pants in DBZ. X_X

Finally, I think I've seen 2 illustrations of Teenage Gohan's personal gi as purple with orange accents, and also a black gi with orange accents.

If I remember correctly, in the Daizenshuu 1 interview, Toriyama said something about not really trying to be that consistent with the colors and changed them based on whatever color he felt like using at that time, or what he thought would look nice in his mind's eye.
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Post by jjgp1112 » Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:22 pm

And let's not forget about Piccolo and Cell-era Gohan having red wristbands and belts in the manga as opposed to sky blue in the anime.
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Post by Wojak » Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:30 pm

Interesting and awesome second post!
I don't think that I've seen such a summary of the colors, manga vs. anime, that was so thorough.
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@ Travis Touchdown: I think that Toriyama, with his constant style changes, actually meant to change the colors, as they fairly often change into a new set of Gis, since they often are damaged.
It wouldn't be odd that they changed some of the accessories, such as wristbands and such, as I don't think that they had a storage of hundreds of them laying around.
And also, the anime may have kept to a certain set of colors for convenience, because of that constant changes in the animation colors leads to many errors and confusion.
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Post by Cold Skin » Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:08 pm

@ Travis Touchdown:
Lots and lots of points I didn't really pay attention to, regarding Goku's color schemes! I've always took for granted that it's orange and blue, but there ARE lots of nuances appearing to it. I guess it'll be more strinking as the Kanzenban are published, I'll discover the color chapters and see how I react (I was surprised enough seeing Goku wearing his usual colors on chapter 3, as if he already had his Kame Sen gi).

This point you mention about Akira Toriyama is actually something which I like a lot. I can easily imagine some fans are a little lost when suddenly seeing changing colors! But I love that, I love the fact that this man didn't let himself be prisonner of things others had done (anime fillers) and even things HE had done. He just went as he felt, and I think it is part of what made Dragon Ball a success. I mean, other than the colors, I think the way he did things, wrote the story, drew scenes and all, was always pure instinct without restriction. That reminds me very much of his own character Son Goku, carefree, like "Oh, that would look cool if I did that. Let's do it". It's as if somebody asked "why did you do this that way?", he'd answer "well... I don't know, I just felt it that way". To me, this is what has probably made Dragon Ball such a great series, just a free man letting the world on his mind come to life without any restrictions! Well mostly, cause he may have had a few restrictions like continuing his story when he wanted to stop (good for us though)!

@ jjgp1112:

Absolutely right, I remember I wondered about that one when I was a kid! I was coloring them with my brother (nowadays I would kill the one who dares to colorize them) and we were like "it's blue" - "no, look at this it's red" - "but on this magazine, it's blue on the picture!" - "what do we do then?"
I wish we had explanations for the choices they made for the anime version. Not that it's a bad thing, but there's got to be a reason why blue rather than red, why Piccolo would have pink circles instead of skin-like, why Karin would be white rather than blue, etc... We'll probably never know.

@ Wojak:
Good point, I thought about that too sometimes. For example, when trying to figure out about the outfit for kid Gohan, I checked the colored pages I have, and thought "maybe it's a green one on Earth, and then the one he made himself is purple since he says it's to honor Piccolo or something". But that would be forgetting the many more illustrations of Gohan with his "Saiyans invasion" haircut and yet purple outfit. However, it can be a point to work on and check.

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Post by B » Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:21 pm

I'm more partial to the anime's colors, but the idea that the characters actually change into different outfits definately makes them less static. The only thing with that is you have to wonder if Toriyama actually put that much thought into it or if he just forgot his color scheme.

I mean, he did forget Lunch and Taopaipai.
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Post by jda95 » Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:34 pm

With Piccolo's random little skin things, the anime gave Piccolo Daimao the original, yellowish color when he first appeared, but it turned pink when his youth was renewed.

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Post by Cold Skin » Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:11 pm

B wrote:I'm more partial to the anime's colors, but the idea that the characters actually change into different outfits definately makes them less static. The only thing with that is you have to wonder if Toriyama actually put that much thought into it or if he just forgot his color scheme.

I mean, he did forget Lunch and Taopaipai.
I agree that it would be interesting if the characters actually changed outfits. Sometimes we can have proof that they don't, but maybe there are times when we can safely imagine they changed clothes.
jda95 wrote:With Piccolo's random little skin things, the anime gave Piccolo Daimao the original, yellowish color when he first appeared, but it turned pink when his youth was renewed.
Interesting detail. There might be reasons in their choice of colors indeed. Maybe for Piccolo Daimao, they thought his youth would be better represented if changing the color to a more vibrant one, namely pink, as if the original color for the old Piccolo Daimao had actually faded with age or something...

I guess sometimes they just picked the color very quickly and were therefore stuck with it even when Toriyama changed it afterward (for example Bulma's hair or Kinto-Un). But sometimes they must have done deliberate choices, since I don't remember the author making Karin white even once, but then again I don't have all of the colored manga yet, so...

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