We Asked Akira Toriyama
DRAGON BALL Z: BATTLE OF GODS — Production
Toriyama-sensei tells us that up to now, he left the anime up to its staff. But with the theatrical feature Dragon Ball: Battle of Gods [sic], he tried his hand at the outline, story, and character designs! We had him tell us his inner thoughts on how it felt to be deeply involved with the anime!
What is Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods?
It’s the first Dragon Ball theatrical feature to be released in 17 years. “God of Destruction” Beerus awakens from his long slumber and attacks Earth! It’s a work that depicts Goku & co.’s super battle against the god who would destroy Earth!
Things He Learned by Writing the Story
What I understood the least in being involved was how long of a script would be finished into how long of a movie.2 Writing it, I had the sense that there wasn’t enough story, and thought they would expand on it for me. But on the contrary, it had gotten so long that they had to cut it down. I wish I’d known that beforehand. But, to the extent that I think, “if there were 10 more minutes, I could have made it even more interesting~,” I also think it’s plenty interesting the way it is now!
Those who have seen the film gave me their impressions that, “Maybe it’s because you were involved, Sensei, but I thought it was a very Dragon Ball animation,” which made me happy. Everyone on the staff made [the movie] according to the scenario I wrote…but on the other hand, I also got the impression that it’s because they worked hard, saying, “this isn’t manga, so let’s do our best with it as animation!”
Satan3 is a hopeless case, but he’s a character who also feels that he wants to help in some way. I suppose this was left out for time issues. In the original story, for fun, I made Satan say lots of things like, “I have a stomachache, so I’ll protect everyone from here!” (laughs)
Surprised at the Movement! Battle Scenes
I thought that things would get out of hand if they fought right there at Capsule Corporation4, but naturally, the location changed. (laughs) To think that they’d go all the way into the stratosphereT1……but thinking about it, they’re both aliens5, after all. Maybe they can just barely breathe.
Surprised at the Movement! Characters
But, when the original creator thinks up a certain extent of the story, the ones drawing it are under pressure. I wouldn’t like it if it were me. (laughs) Even if they thought, “I’d like to draw it a bit more freely,” they might not have been able to…. Perhaps I should have told them more strongly from the start, “You can change it however you want, based on the story”? In all the anime up to now, if I had told them that the standard-fare developments connected to the world were “something only the creator can do”, it might have made it hard to draw.
This time as well, it’s as though I’ve come to mind even less if they change the story based on my own. When there the number of people involved grows, there’s that much knowledge gathered there, after all. I’m satisfied as long as something good comes out of it.
Feelings Towards Dragon Ball
Now, the world of Dragon Ball is expanding in a variety of genres, such as video games and card games8; if something interesting comes of that, then I’ll be very happy.
We Asked Akira Toriyama
Bonus Corner: Akira Toriyama Q&A
We bring you questions about Dragon Ball and Sensei in Q&A format! Unexpected secrets will also be revealed!?
2How long of a script would be finished into how long of a movie: A year earlier, a voluminous script with over 100 pages was completed. It would have gone over [the time limit] if it were made into animation, so the script was touched up more and more, and gained its current form.
3Satan: Ring name: “Mr. Satan”. A martial artist who won at the 24th Tenka’ichi Budōkai. The general public believes him to be a hero who saved the world. His daughter is Son Gohan’s wife Videl.
4Capsule Corporation: One of the world’s foremost major enterprises, which appears in Dragon Ball. The CEO is Bulma’s father, Dr. Brief, so Bulma’s family is very rich. That’s also the reason why she was able to hold such a lavish party.
5They’re both aliens: Goku is a Saiyan, and Beerus is a god called the God of Desruction. Piccolo is a Namekian; it’s a series with many aliens, with a variety of races in the mix.
6Super Saiyan God: The design for Super Saiyan God is, of course, Toriyama-sensei‘s. Apparently, recently he has been trying to draw the characters with a slim-yet-muscular build.
7At the time of the serialization: In the magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump, the serialization continued for about 10-and-a-half years, from 1984 issue #51 to 1995 issue #25. There are 42 [tankōbon] volumes in all from Jump Comics. Later, the Kanzenban was published (December 2002 – April 2004).
8Video games and card games: For video games, it first appeared in 1986, in the Famicom era. Since then, it has appeared on many different machines, starting with home- and portable consoles, as well as arcade, PC, and mobile phones. The cards released during the serialization were the “Carddass”, and surpassed an astounding two billion cards [sold]. Now, Dragon Ball Heroes (Bandai) has been in operation since 2010. In addition, all sorts of toys have been born, such as figurines, plastic models, and gashapon.
The following translator notes are included for the benefit of the reader as supplemental information.