Press Archive

Shonen Jump (Issue 3, March 2003)

NYC Launch

■ Akira Toriyama Stuns Big Apple!

Shonen Jump had already flown off the stands and achieved escape velocity by the time of the official launch (December 6, 2002), but…a party is a party. Shueisha dignitaries, VIZ LLC VIPs, business big shots and assorted other hangers-on crowded into Powder Deep Studios in Manhattan for a night of tapping feet and fluorescent beverages. Little did they know that a lone manga creator lurked in the darkness, waiting for the signal to unleash his artistic fury. At the appointed time, Akira Toriyama leapt onto the stage and–armed with only a fat permanent marker–silenced the crowd with a majestic Dragon Ball Z sketch!

■ Dragon Ball Found Under Big Top

The day after the party, a massive tent city as Chelsea Piers was teeming with curiosity seekers. Word had leaked out that savage Dragon Ball Z card battles were under way. Frenzied fans put pen to paper, churning out reams of amazing drawings–only to be harshly judged by…judges (in the FUNimation Productions drawing contest). Somewhere beyond the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai kiosks, tucked into a remote corner of the room, sniveling SHONEN JUMP editors peddled their wares. Suddenly, at the appointed time, Akira Toriyama leapt onto the stage and–armed only with a fat permanent marker–silence the crowd with a majestic Dragon Ball Z sketch!1


Kids from New York’s Communities in Schools organization managed to wrench the microphone from FUNimation Productions voice actor Chris Sabat at the SHONEN JUMP launch event at Chelsea Piers. In the short time they controlled the podium, the kids fired off a few probing questions for Dragon Ball Z and SandLand creator, Akira Toriyama. Let’s listen in…

Why did you become an artist?
The reason why I started drawing manga is very simple. I used to work at a design company. I didn’t really enjoy it very much, so I left–and then I began to run out of money. Weekly Shonen Jump magazine has a monthly amateur contest for manga artists, and I wanted to win that monetary prize.
Where do you get your ideas?
Obviously, I was an adult at that time, but whenever I got stuck in a storyline I would try and imagine myself when I was a child. I’d think to myself, “Okay, what did I enjoy or what did I want to read or to see when I was a kid?” That’s how I thought up my storylines.
I noticed that Lunch disappeared after Raditz came, what was she doing?
To tell you the truth, I totally forgot about her at one point. And then I remembered her after a while and I had to think of a reason why she disappeared. So I made it seem as if she was running after Tenshinhan.
Who’s your favorite character?
I’m actually quite fond of Piccolo and Mr. Satan [Hercule in America–Editor]–he was very easy to draw, so I like him.
Which of your manga did you enjoy creating the most?
You probably aren’t familiar with the title, but my favorite out of all my work is probably Neko Majin (“Cat Genie” or “Cat Demon”). But because Dragon Ball is my longest work–it’s 42 volumes long–I have more memories of Dragon Ball than of anything else.
What do you like about NYC?
I don’t go overseas very often. If I do, I prefer warmer islands in the southern parts of the world. However, when I came to New York, I was amazed how each building has its own character and flavor. And everyone seems to be living life fully every day. So, whenever I’m walking through the streets, I can’t stop looking around. It’s a wonderful city.
Will you create more Dragon Ball Z stories?
I worked on the series for almost 10 years. When I reached about the third year, I was really pushing my limit, but the original editors of Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan made me continue the story. I have to thank them, because it was then that I really started to appreciate and enjoy creating the manga. I was able to continue for ten years, but ten years really was the limit.
What exactly is the point of getting the Dragon Balls?
It originally came from a mixture of two folktales: the Chinese “Monkey King” [also known as Saiyûki, or Journey to the West–Editor] and the Japanese Nanso Satomi Hakkenden (“The Eight Dog Warriors”). The idea of collecting balls actually came from the Hakkenden [in the story, a princess stabs herself, then eight magic balls scatter from her wound–Editor].
The following historical notes are included for the benefit of the reader as supplemental information and were not originally published in the book.

1 This is in fact repeated in the original magazine; the duplicate transcription here is not an error.
Transcription & Notes: VegettoEX