Kenji Shimizu (Producer, Fuji TV) — A producer at Fuji TV, he has overseen Jump anime such as Dragon Ball, Z, and Captain Tsubasa J, along with major hits such as Chibi Maruko-chan.
Kōzō Morishita (Producer, Toei Animation) — A producer at Toei Animation, he has overseen a large number of animated Toriyama works such as the new Dr. Slump theatrical series, in addition to Dragon Ball and Z.
Shunsuke Kikuchi (Music) — He has composed the background music for many works, both live-action and animated. Beginning with Dr. Slump and continuing with Dragon Ball and Z, he has been involved with Toriyama works for many years.
Takao Koyama (Series Organizer / Scenario) — Representative of [writing collective] “Brother Noppo”. For animated Toriyama-works, he has participated in scriptwriting since the time of Dr. Slump. From Z onwards, he has also been in charge of series organization.
Shigeyasu Yamauchi (Director) — In the TV series, he has been an episode director since Z episode 45. For theatrical works, he has had a directorial or supervisory role since Spring ’93’s “Burn Up!! A Red-Hot, Raging, Super-Fierce Fight”.
Masako Nozawa (Voice of Goku, Gohan, & Goten) — Affiliated with 81 Produce. As you know, she does the voice of Son Goku. She manages the duties of the three men in the Son family — Goku, Gohan, and Goten — by herself. She possesses a dynamic voice.
Tadayoshi Yamamuro (Animation Supervisor) — He has handled key frames since Dragon Ball episode 7. From Z onward, and in theatrical works starting with Spring ’93’s “Burn Up!! A Red-Hot, Raging, Super-Fierce Fight”, he has also served as an animation supervisor.
Kikuchi: The characters truly are interesting. Whether it’s Dragon Ball or Dr. Slump, the characters in Toriyama’s works are interesting. They have universal aspects; that’s why they’re popular. Even at first glance, you’d probably think that both Goku and Arale-chan are cute, or cool.
Yamamuro: On the subject of a sense of the everyday, I have a feeling that Toriyama-sensei quietly and secretly injects them with a sense of the everyday behind-the-scenes. (laughs) With both Gohan and Goten, you don’t get much of what you could call a sense of the everyday in the way they interact with Bulma. But, it’s as though Sensei draws them after thinking about it behind the scenes… (laughs)
Koyama: In terms of the story side of things, for Dragon Ball, the amount of time until a chapter appearing in the serialization aired on TV was incredibly short. That’s because we would get to work on the script at the point where Toriyama-sensei had decided on the story, and started drawing the draft. I think that kind of immediacy was something that allowed the people watching to get into it easily.
Koyama: You know, I like Goku’s line, “Well, whatever”. No matter the situation, he accepts it with “well, whatever”, then thinks about what he should do from there. That sort of freedom, where he doesn’t get fixated on something from the start, takes whatever there is, and comes out from there — I really like that. I have a feeling that the fans are probably saved by that, as well. Just as they’re feeling cornered by a variety of things, such as cram school or whatever else, Goku accepts everything with a, “Well, whatever”; I like that sort of strength.
Yamamuro: It’s because Goku has a forthright personality. Regardless of carrying something incredibly heavy on his back, he’ll just handle it lightly. Ultimately, it’s like he’s enjoying doing it. Maybe that’s the reason why they accept it.
Nozawa: I say it, too. Things like, “Oh well; I’ll get through it,” or “Well, whatever; I’ll manage. It’s not gonna kill me,” are my favorite phrases. I mean, Gohan has his training, right? Goku or Gohan, they both do some incredible training, and yet it doesn’t feel like it’s too tough for them. After the training, the people watching breathe a sigh of relief, don’t they? I think things like that are also a lifesaver.
Yamauchi: In the special (“Defiance in the Face of Despair!! The Remaining Super-Warriors: Gohan and Trunks”), there are lines where Bulma is describing Goku. She tells Trunks that he may not be outrageously strong, but he’s a person who gives you the sense that he’d do something about the situation for you, one way or another. If Goku were stupendously strong, the story wouldn’t go anywhere. As soon as Goku came out, it would be over. That’s why, in all of the stories, it first makes you wonder whether it will really be OK even if Goku shows up, then he does something about it. It depends on age too, of course, but I think the reason why he’s accepted by such a broad demographic lies in that.
Shimizu: It goes without saying, but Dragon Ball‘s appeal is that the characters and story are wonderful. I think it’s the only type of software in Japan that would pass in Hollywood the same way as things like Indiana Jones. There is something of a gap in the characterization, but the fact that it’s accepted the world over is a testament to how good this work is. Regardless of what people might say, I think that alone is probably enough. Also, it’s not merely a hero-story. There are definitely good and evil, and Goku is incredibly strong, but I think the fact that he isn’t simply strong is what lends depth to the work. In the way he wins, as well, while building up such an absolute evil, in the end, that absolute evil comes to an amicable settlement. Strangely enough. Well, there are also ones who end up diced up and killed like Freeza, though. (laughs) Generally, in this world known as Dragon Ball, whatever evil there is, it is contained and forgiven. Whatever sort of person opposes him, Goku forgives them, as though everything comes together again in the end. That aspect is what keeps Dragon Ball from being simply a hero story. I believe that, without saying anything difficult, and while putting forward a face of simply being entertaining, it probably has that sort of worldview. I think Toriyama-sensei would probably deny it, though. “I’ve made something that’s simply entertaining,” he’d say. (laughs)
The diligent, half-assed, kindly, cold, cheerful, gloomy, unflappable, short-tempered, shy, perverted, silent, loudmouthed, even-he-doesn’t-really-know-how-severely-twisted bastard Akira Toriyama’s Me These Days.
Hmm… I’ve been putting a lot more effort into it than my actual work.
Go read Shadow Lady1 in Shōnen Jump.
His illustrations are really good~~
I had already thought that Takeya-kun‘s works were amazing, but when I saw them, they were unbelievably amazing!
I, too, had a little bit of confidence in things like models, but his works were in a different dimension. Just as you’d expect from a pro!
But, just as I thought, what I’d feared has come to pass…
THAT’S WHY I SAID I DIDN’T WANT TO DO THIS!!
In this column, we introduce prominent figures in various fields and have them tell of their love for Dragon Ball. For this third round, the extraordinarily bright super-fighter Masa’aki Satake-san makes his appearance!!
2 A type of coordinated mental state that martial artists are said to enter during combat, absent of extraneous thought and movement.