Toyotarō-sensei asks original author Akira Toriyama-sensei about how to make characters and stories! He got to hear Toriyama-sensei‘s valuable insights!
As the story moves along, perhaps the most important thing is whether or not the plot developments can keep the reader interested. After that I think it’s important to have the story unfold so that it always feels like something exciting is about to happen. In addition, it’s probably best to add new elements to the story, while keeping things simple and easy to understand.
How do you come up with character designs and names?
First I think up their shape. Obviously I use trial and error to craft characters to suit the story, but I also try to make their designs as surprising as possible. Take Freeza for instance: instead of going with the stereotype of strong=big, I made him small. Then it seems like each time he transforms his design gets crazier and crazier, yet his final form is really simple. Stuff like that. When it comes to names, I basically just pick them based off how things sound and the images they bring to mind. But even here I try to be surprising. Like with “Piccolo”, I often intentionally give characters names that don’t fit their image. Also, when there are lots of characters it becomes real tough to name them one by one, so I think of an overarching theme and name them all based off that. Like with Freeza’s army, where everyone is named for something you’d put in the refrigerator or freezer.1 I often decide names that way since it makes things easier.
Can you tell me what drove you to create the characters for the movie Dragon Ball Super: Broly?
Broli started off as a character in one of the anime company’s original stories from way, way back.2 At the time I was busy putting out the manga every week, so I didn’t know what the story was about; they just told me the concept for the character and I designed him from that. To tell the truth, I had even forgot about having done his character design.3 Apparently Broli is quite a popular character, so for this new movie I went off the old design and gave it a new spin while remaining as faithful to the original as possible.
Cheelye and Lemo are soldiers in Freeza’s army, but not combatants. Almost everyone in Dragon Ball is a fighter, so personally it can get a little tiresome. Every now and then I like to give these sort of non-fighter characters a chance to shine. That’s why I’ve given these two a major role. It was fun to think up their stories and designs, and I put a lot of effort into it. With Cheelye, I suddenly realized I hadn’t drawn any cute girl characters lately, so I took a stab at drawing my idea of a cute girl for the first time in a while (^^).
Lemo is an old soldier. To be honest, these crusty characters are my favorite. I also gave him the sort of cliched alien design that I like. It’s tricky to get his design balance right, so the animators might find him a little tough to draw. Beerus also seems tough to draw, so as the designer I feel a little guilty.4
Thank you, Toriyama-sensei!