Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

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Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by Mountain » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:36 pm

MOD EDIT: This material has since been independently sourced, transcribed, & added to the "Press Archive" on the main Kanzenshuu website

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Hey guys. When I was in Goodwill yesterday, I got really lucky and came across the very first issue of the American "Shonen Jump", dated: Vol. 1, #1, January 2003.

It contains what Viz called "DBZ:134 -- Namek's End" (as well as the first chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh!, SandLand, YuYu Hakusho, and One Piece).

What caught my attention was the Toriyama interview, which you may or may not have read, and the Q&A (scroll down below the interview), which has some really fascinating responses. So, I'm typing all of this up, regardless. Enjoy! =P


Dragon Power:
An Interview With DRAGON BALL Creator Akira Toriyama


ART STYLE

Shonen Jump: How old were you when you first started drawing? What sorts of things did you draw?
Toriyama: I started Copy-drawing other people's manga characters when I was about 5 years old, but I only started drawing manga with a proper storyline when I was about 22 years old.

SJ: What are some of your artistic influences?
T: I was an avid anime watcher from the age of 7 until I was about 10, when I moved to manga. I think I am influenced by Osamu Tezuka's and Walt Disney's works which I watched during that time, such as Tetsuwan Atom ("Astro Boy") and 100 Dalmations.

SJ: How did you become a manga artist?
T: I submitted a story to a monthly contest for amateur artists in Weekly Shonen Jump. It didn't win, but afterwards, I was approached by one of the editors [KAZUHIKO TORISHIMA, NOW WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP SENIOR DIRECTOR], and after I studied for about a year, I became a pro.

SJ: You have an incredible ability to draw anything in the world in your own distinct personal style. Do you often use reference material to draw different objects, places or things?
T: I almost never use reference material for places, but for objects--for example, if there's a particular model of a car that I like--I'll use a book as a reference to draw from.

SJ: What kinds of drawing materials did you use on Dragon Ball? What drawing materials do you work with today?
T: I'm not sure if these particular brands are available in the USA, but on Dragon Ball I used G-pens [A TYPE OF QUILL PEN], Kent paper [A BRISTOL BOARD-LIKE PAPER MADE IN JAPAN], water-proof ink, and color inks for coloring. Today, I use a Macintosh for coloring.


HOBBIES

SJ: I have heard that you are a fan of Jackie Chan. Out of all Jackie Chan's movies, which is your favorite?
T: Drunken Master (the first one). If I hadn't seen this movie, I would never have come up with Dragon Ball.

SJ: Are you a fan of pro wrestling? I ask because in Dragon Ball, there are some wrestling-style characters like Mister Satan.
T: Unfortunately, I'm not really a fan of pro wrestling.

SJ: What are your hobbies? How do you spend your spare time?
T: Actually, I have a lot of hobbies, but I've kept up with model-building the longest. In particular, I love military models.

SJ: I hear that Dragon Ball was inspired partially by a trip to China. Out of all the places you've been, which are particularly memorable? Do you do much sketching when you travel?
T: I've been to many places, but Australia, with what I felt was a pleasant balance between its cities and its magnificent natural spaces, moved me very much. I don't sketch anything in particular on my trips.


DRAGON BALL

SJ: From 1984 to 1995, what was your work schedule like on Dragon Ball?
T: The majority of manga in Japan are drawn in the shukan (weekly) format, so I was drawing one episode every week. [APPROXIMATELY 14 PAGES, PLUS A TITLE PAGE--EDITOR] But for me this pace was very hard, and I really didn't like it.

SJ: Dragon Ball developed from a comedy series to an action/fighting series. Do you feel that your art style changed in the process?
T: I wasn't particularly conscious of it, but my art style did change depending on the circumstances. But when it comes down to it, more than anything, I like drawing really silly, absurd comedies.

SJ: I've heard that many plot developments in Dragon Ball were influenced by letters from readers. Is this true, and if so, can you give us a concrete example?
T: Parts of it were, yes. For example, take Vegeta--when he first appeared he was just a bad guy, but because he became very popular, he stayed in the series from that point on.

SJ: Dragon Ball seems to have influenced many video games and manga. Where did you get the idea for the attacks that appear in Dragon Ball, such as the kamehameha and the whole idea of chi power?
T: Chi [ALSO SPELLED "Ki"--EDITOR] has been used in China since ancient times, but it's supposed to be formless and invisible. However, in manga, in order to make it easier for any reader to grasp, it was necessary to give it a shape. For the kamehameha, I myself did a lot of different poses and chose the one I thought would work the best.

SJ: Where did you ge the idea for the cosmology/mythology/religion of Dragon Ball, with deities like Kami-sama, Kaiô-sama, Kaiôshin-sama, etc.?
T: To be honest, I wasn't really thinking about it too deeply. For example, as the story progressed, when it became necessary to have something exist that was greater than Kami-sama [JAPANESE FOR "GOD"--EDITOR], I created Kaiô-sama [JAPANESE FOR "LORD EMPORER OF THE WORLD, OR WORLDS"--EDITOR], and so on.

SJ: Why did you decide to incorporate science fiction elements into Dragon Ball, such as the Namekians, Saiyans, other alien races and space travel?
T: I love sci-fi movies. Especially the first Alien movie--that's my favorite. I incorporated science fiction into Dragon Ball to expand its scope.

SJ: How did you come up with ideas for different power-ups and transformations?
T: When you draw a fighting manga, stronger and stronger enemies keep appearing. If a new enemy is weaker than the previous one, the readers won't be satisfied. However, the main character is the same Goku, so it becomes necessary to make him power-up quickly and immensely. Transformation is a way of putting that in drawing which is easy for readers to understand.

SJ: Who is your favorite Dragon Ball character?
T: It's Goku, naturally. For one thing, I'm a very perverse person, so I'm drawn to a pure, innocent character like him.

SJ: What is your favorite fight in Dragon Ball?
T: I don't remember that well, but probably the battle with Piccolo.


TORIYAMA TODAY

SJ: I've heard that you are re-coloring, and probably even re-drawing, parts of Dragon Ball for a new "Perfect Edition." What is it like drawing Goku and Co. for the first time in a long while?
T: I haven't redrawn any of the actual manga, because then I'd start getting nit-picky about everything. Just new cover art. To draw it again for the first time in so long produced a very complicated mix of emotions, combining nostalgia with the feeling that I don't want to draw Dragon Ball any more.

SJ: Dragon Ball has been translated into many different languages around the world, and seems to have an extremely universal appeal. How do you feel about it being translated into more and more languages?
T: Of course it makes me very happy, but I'm still trying to live like I always have, without really thinking about it.

SJ: What new projects or manga are you working on currently?
T: Right now, I've taken a step away from manga, and am studying things that I've always wanted to do, such as design and book illustration.

SJ: What message would you like to give to American fans?
T: That people in faraway America are fans of Dragon Ball truly makes me happy. The method of producing comics in Japan is very hectic, but it's also rewarding because it's possible to do both the story and art all by yourself. In this way, it's possible to bring out one's individuality. If this idea appeals to you, I call on you to try drawing your own manga. Because the people who can draw manga that Americans will truly love are other Americans like you.

END


ASK AKIRA TORIYAMA!
From 1998 to 2002, the DRAGON BALL and DRAGON BALL Z monthly comics received thousands of letters from fans in the U.S., Canada, and around the world. We've taken the most interesting questions from the letters and asked Akira Toriyama himself!

(1) Why are almost all the characters named after food or clothes?
- Readi Alexander, Missouri
T: When there are a lot of characters to keep track of, it's easier to give them names if you choose some pattern ahead of time. That way, it's also easier for the reader to tell which group they belong to by their name alone.

(2) Do any of the characters have family names?
- Cora "Chi-Chi" Warden, New York
T: Some do, some don't. For example, "Son" is Son Goku's family name, but Vegeta doesn't have a family name.

(3) Is there such thing as a female Saiyan?
- Erin Holt, Alabama
T: Of course there are. Even though they don't appear in the manga, they do exist.

(4) Is Son Goku a black belt or what? What form of martial arts does Goku and everybody else train by?
- Laura Mickelberry, Army Post Office; Mike, Via Internet
T: They're various imaginary forms of kenpo (kung fu), but because they're fundamentally based on Chinese forms, there are no belt colors. [ALTHOUGH CHINESE KUNG FU USES SASHES, LIKE THE ONES THE DRAGON BALL CHARACTERS WEAR, BELTS PER SE ARE SPECIFICALLY A FEATURE OF KARATE AND TAE KWON DO--EDITOR]

(5) Is Pu'ar male or female?
- Cari Wynne, Virginia
T: For what it's worth, I thought of him as male when I was drawing him.

(6) I like Goku. He is every girl's dream guy--big, handsome, good-hearted, never critical, always has a nice thing to say, etc. But I am totally fascinated by Piccolo (ain't it always like that?). He is a green Clint Eastwood. His character shows much postwar angst, as in the German nihilistic writers, like Hermann Hesse. I wonder if the Japanese mainstream post-WW2 writers have the same tendences?
- Nancy Peters, Alabama
T: I don't think so. Manga artists, especially the young manga artists who are currently considered mainstream, have pretty much had no contact with war. War is just something that happened long ago that's described in textbooks. Just think of it as one of many existing character types.

(7) What is Freeza really, I mean, what type of species? How did he get so powerful? Why does he have an army when he can blow up the universe with the blink of an eye?
- Joshua Dare, New York
T: There aren't many of them, but perhaps they are a new hybrid species that came into existence from an accidental spontaneous mutation in our grandfathers' time. As for Freeza's men, he doesn't consider them an "army" so much as convenient followers.

(8) Why do all the monsters have those ears that look like stubby volcanoes?
- Ali J. Agdeniz, Kansas
T: It's just my personal preference. When I was a child, I imagined that monsters had ears like that.

(9) Why don't Goten and Trunks have tails?
- Kakarotto, Via Internet
T: It seams that tails are a recessive genetic trait.

(10) I want to create my own comic series, but every time I sit down and try to plan the action, dialogue balloons, camera angles, etc., I get overwhelmed and quit. How do the pros know when to start?
- Patricia Calamaco, Texas
T: I always play the stories out as movie scenes in my head and imagine how they would unfold. Since America is the birthplace of movies, perhaps you can watch a lot of them and study them.

(11) What's up with the third eye on my main man Tenshinhan? Is Tenshinhan human?
- Charles Moyer, California; Evan Coltin, Via Internet
T: In certain parts of Asia, beings with a third eye on their forehead are thought to be godlike and are said to possess the power of true seeing. It seems that Tenshinhan, who was raised by the evil Tsuru-Sen'nin [Crane Hermit], lost the ability to use the myriad powers of his third eye for good purposes.

(12) What happened to Vegeta's tail after he was defeated on Earth?
- Marc LaCroix, Nova Scotia, Canada
T: The tail lets you gain tremendous strength instantly by transforming into a giant ape, but the risks are equally great--you'll lose your strength if it's squeezed. Once you're as powerful as Vegeta and Goku, the tail just gets in the way. It is thought that the bodies of Saiyans, who are a fighting species, decided that their tails are unnecessary appendages.

(13) Dear Akira Toriyama,

My name is Mike Sampson. I am your biggest fan. You may have gotten a lot of letters like this, but this is different! Everything I buy has to do with Dragon Ball Z. You are the best cartoonist that there is. I want to grow up just like you. And I was wondering if you could hire me in your business, I draw well and have great ideas. I would be so satisfied. Please. I don't mean to be rude, I just love your manga.
- Mike Sampson, Georgia
T: Thank you. However, unfortunately, I am not currently drawing any manga. And when I occasionally draw a short story, I intentionally do everything by myself. I think it would be much better if you yourself study what you're interested in and draw manga in your own style. That's how I did it too.

(14) How long does it take you to draw Goku?
-Nicole Jeanette, New Jersey
T: Do you mean, how long does it take me to draw one chapter of Dragon Ball? It varies wildly depending on each episode, but if it goes quickly, it takes about 20 hours. If it goes slowly, it can take a week.

(15) What is Majin Buu's power level?
- Giovanni Toso, London, England
T: The frightening thing about Majin Buu is his unknown, unfathomable power. Whether it's actually not that much, or whether it's really stupendous, Majin But himself probably doesn't know the answer.
Last edited by Mountain on Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by Great Saiyaman I » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:30 am

Thanks for posting this! Interesting how he mentions Freeza is some crazy hybrid species. I also like the question about all the volcano ears. :lol:
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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by mikezilla2 » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:28 am

thx , will read this later :D

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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by Mewzard » Sat Aug 13, 2011 3:31 am

Wow, I haven't read this in years. I missed the first and third jump issues when they first came out, but ordered the first online (and bought the third from a friend) a year or so later. Even still, that was probably back in 10th grade (jeez, it doesn't feel like it was that long ago, but I've already gone through years of college).

It's nice to re-read this without having to dig into the back of my book shelf for it. Brings back good, hopeful memories. And remembering when Viz was less censor happy (though, I'm now able to finally collect Pokemon Adventures, so it's not all bad).

I found the information about his inspirations to be the most interesting. Well, that and Freeza's bit. I'm amused by the idea that he either never planned much of anything with his race, or completely forgot.
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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by Kingdom Heartless » Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:07 am

Huh, interesting to know he likes Australia. :P
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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by Drabaz » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:21 am

(9) Why don't Goten and Trunks have tails?
- Kakarotto, Via Internet
T: It seams that tails are a recessive genetic trait.
Haha no silly. You just forgot. :P

This interview was very interesting. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by Herms » Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:00 am

Mountain wrote:(7) What is Freeza really, I mean, what type of species? How did he get so powerful? Why does he have an army when he can blow up the universe with the blink of an eye?
- Joshua Dare, New York
T: There aren't many of them, but perhaps they are a new hybrid species that came into existence from an accidental spontaneous mutation in our grandfather's time.
Shouldn't that say "his" grandfather's time instead of "our"? That's what I remember it saying anyway. If it is "our", then it should be "our grandfathers' time".

Nitpicking aside, thanks a lot for posting this. I've just seen scans of the interview before and they didn't have the whole thing.
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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by TheDevilsCorpse » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:14 pm

Herms wrote:
Mountain wrote:(7) What is Freeza really, I mean, what type of species? How did he get so powerful? Why does he have an army when he can blow up the universe with the blink of an eye?
- Joshua Dare, New York
T: There aren't many of them, but perhaps they are a new hybrid species that came into existence from an accidental spontaneous mutation in our grandfather's time.
Shouldn't that say "his" grandfather's time instead of "our"? That's what I remember it saying anyway. If it is "our", then it should be "our grandfathers' time".

Nitpicking aside, thanks a lot for posting this. I've just seen scans of the interview before and they didn't have the whole thing.
You remembered wrong, but your nitpicking was right. lol I dug out my volume to double check for you, and it is grandfathers'.
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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by goku the krump dancer » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:26 pm

I love his answer about Majin Boo's power level.
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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by Herms » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:43 pm

TheDevilsCorpse wrote:You remembered wrong, but your nitpicking was right. lol I dug out my volume to double check for you, and it is grandfathers'.
Huh, well that is odd. I mean, what do our grandfathers have to do with anything? Although maybe we could take this to mean that Freeza's race have lifespans about the same as Earthlings and that Cold's father was the first super powerful hybrid?
goku the krump dancer wrote:I love his answer about Majin Boo's power level.
I remember in one of the interviews with Jason Thompson he mentions that they constantly got letters from fans asking what Boo's power level was, so I guess it's only natural they'd pass the question by Toriyama. Thompson also joked that they got so many questions asking if there was a GT manga that they considering making one themselves.
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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by TheDevilsCorpse » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:57 pm

Herms wrote:Huh, well that is odd. I mean, what do our grandfathers have to do with anything? Although maybe we could take this to mean that Freeza's race have lifespans about the same as Earthlings and that Cold's father was the first super powerful hybrid?
Hmm, I think I'll wait to see how Episode of Bardock plays out be for I decide what I think he means. Even if he's not the one writing it directly, he was requested to design Chilled, so there was some sort of intent in there. lol Since the special seems to warp Bardock back 1,000 years to be the original Super Saiyan, it depends on if Ooishi reveals how Chilled is related to Freeza. If it turns out Chilled is the/a parent of Cold or something, then they would have to have long lifespans to cover a 1,000 year gap.
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Re: Toriyama Interview and Q&A - Shonen Jump #1

Post by Mountain » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:19 pm

TheDevilsCorpse wrote:
Herms wrote:
Mountain wrote:(7) What is Freeza really, I mean, what type of species? How did he get so powerful? Why does he have an army when he can blow up the universe with the blink of an eye?
- Joshua Dare, New York
T: There aren't many of them, but perhaps they are a new hybrid species that came into existence from an accidental spontaneous mutation in our grandfather's time.
Shouldn't that say "his" grandfather's time instead of "our"? That's what I remember it saying anyway. If it is "our", then it should be "our grandfathers' time".

Nitpicking aside, thanks a lot for posting this. I've just seen scans of the interview before and they didn't have the whole thing.
You remembered wrong, but your nitpicking was right. lol I dug out my volume to double check for you, and it is grandfathers'.
Fixed! Thanks guys. =P

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