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