Translations Archive

Dragon Ball 30th Anniversary
“Super History Book” (21 January 2016)

Akira Toriyama 30th Anniversary Message

It seems that Dragon Ball is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

30 years! That’s amazing. Even though it’s a series I started myself, I’m still surprised.

Of course, it’s not as if I kept the manga running for 30 years straight, so I shouldn’t get too carried away. The manga finished its serialization after about 10 years, meaning that it got through the remaining 20 thanks to the support of all the fans and staff.

That’s actually pretty incredible!

I’m so fortunate to have a manga like this!

When Dragon Ball began its serialization, I was stuck starting it up straight away with barely any preparation time. So right out of the gate I barely had a clue what would happen in the next chapter, let alone anything further down the road than that, and yet it turned out that I liked drawing it this way because it gave the story a thrilling unpredictability (even I didn’t know what would happen!) and so I continued to the very end.

While I obviously love Dragon Ball, it’s definitely not the sort of series I typically prefer, since I’m fond of more simple, silly stuff. I hardly ever read manga, but as I was drawing the series I remembered the excitement I felt back when I read manga in elementary school; in a certain sense I regarded working for a shōnen manga magazine as simply a job, but in an odd way I never stressed out too much in coming up with the story. I suppose it’s probably because I was able to loosen up and draw it without putting too much pressure on myself.

It was also a stroke of luck that the character Son Goku took on a life of his own at a fairly early stage, and as the battle-crazy protagonist his antics moved the story along. Then when the anime started up, Goku’s character was set in stone thanks to Masako Nozawa’s voice1, and as I was drawing the manga that cheerful voice would help keep him acting all on his own.

After the manga ended its serialization my attention turned to my next job2, so even though I didn’t do much myself, I’m truly grateful to everyone at Shueisha and all the rest for continuing to support Dragon Ball. Bandai in particular has really stirred things up and made lots of new fans.

It’s only because of all of them that I’m able to talk about this 30th anniversary.

My thanks once again.

I had put Dragon Ball behind me, but seeing how much that live-action film ticked me off3, and how I revised that script for the anime movie4 and complained about the quality of the TV anime5, I suppose somewhere along the line it’s become a series I like too much to ever leave alone.

Finally, to all the fans who like Dragon Ball:

Thank you so much!! From the bottom of my heart!!

— Akira Toriyama 2016

The following translator notes are included for the benefit of the reader as supplemental information and were not originally published in the book.

1Akira Toriyama has consistently stated that it was thanks to Masako Nozawa’s voice that he was able to solidify and continue writing the character. In Toriyama’s Daizenshuu 3 interview, he recounts listening to the original audition tapes and selecting Nozawa for the role.
2 Akira Toriyama provided early character and landscape designs for the anime-only TV series Dragon Ball GT, which picked up where the original manga’s and TV series’ story ended. Following this, Toriyama drew short, one-shot series for Shueisha such as Tokimecha. His only “longer” series (running 12-14 chapters each) following Dragon Ball were Cowa! in 1997, Kajika in 1998, and Sand Land in 2000. Toriyama would continue to collaborate on other one-shots and short series until his return to the Dragon Ball-fold with Jaco the Galactic Patrolman in 2013.
3 In an interview with Asahi Shimbun Digital, Akira Toriyama mentioned that the script for the 2009 American live-action film Dragon Ball Evolution, “…had too little of a grasp on the world and its characteristics,” that its production staff, “…seemed to have a strange confidence,” and that it was ultimately something he, “… couldn’t really call a Dragon Ball that lived up to [his] expectations.”
4 In an interview with Ure-Pia Sōken, original Battle of Gods scriptwriter Yūsuke Watanabe recounts the tale of providing Akira Toriyama with his initial script for the film, and ultimately receiving something back that essentially rewrote the entire film complete with new character dialog.
5 Akira Toriyama does not make clear which particular anime series he is referencing. In 1996 Japanese WIRED Magazine interview, Toriyama mentioned how he had, “… always been dissatisfied with the ‘righteous hero’-type portrayal they gave him” in the animation. In this 30th anniversary introduction, chronologically-speaking (following Evolution and Battle of Gods), Toriyama is likely referring to either Dragon Ball Kai or Dragon Ball Super.
English Translation: Herms