Translations Archive

Official Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods Website

Akira Toriyama × Shōko Nakagawa Interview

All humanity, and the universe, has been looking forward to this. Thank you so much. You’ve given dreams to children all over the world!

With Dragon Ball Z coming back after such a long time, it felt like, “I’ve been waiting for this! Yes!”, but since you’ve been involved from the scripting this time, Toriyama-sensei, what was the theme at its core?

The theme is that there is no theme! At any rate, I thought it’s good if people can enjoy watching through to the end. I wrote it, not to make people emotional, but to cherish the feeling of refreshment after having finished watching. I’ve aimed to have simple developments that will be as easy as possible for small children to understand, and I feel that being exclusively devoted to entertainment is my role and my distinguishing trait. I try to avoid teaching some kind of heavy-handed lesson.
Lots of friends have come back, and when I saw the movie, I thought it was something you could only have with Dragon Ball; all the developments were inconceivable, and it was bursting with love. This time, I thought Vegeta in particular was brimming over with love!
Vegeta was a nasty guy at first in the serialization, and I had thought about bringing an end to [his story] as just a villain, but as I was writing, I felt that his villainous sort of warped straightforwardness was unexpectedly interesting. I couldn’t imagine that a guy with this kind of hairstyle would become popular, and yet he’d get more votes than Goku in favorite-character polls, and even I consciously began to actively have him appear. He has a well-defined character, as a resentful presence with both a strong pride and a desire to get even stronger, so I could draw him without difficulty; the character would sort of move on his own, so to speak. It was fun to draw people like Piccolo, Vegeta, and Mr. Satan.
As a fan, the fact that “everyone’s here” of the characters who appeared in Dragon Ball is really something to be happy about!
The only parts I really wanted to have in there were the God of Destruction and Super Saiyan God, as well as everyone being there. Although the truth is, I wanted to bring out each individual character even more.
I was amazed at the title Battle of Gods1.
The “gods” that I draw don’t have much of a high-and-mighty feel to them. (laughs) I like a god who munches on takoyaki just like one of the plebs.

I don’t like enemies who seem unquestionably strong, and I’d done plenty of humanoid enemies already, so this time, I took a look at the cat we have at home and went, “Maybe I’ll make him like this.”

I had the pleasure of recording together with the gold-medalist in judo Kaori Matsumoto-san, but even with the absolute-opposite relationship between Matsumoto-san, who is part of the world of fighting, and me, who’s a shut-in2, we were able to hit it off from our first meeting with the topic of “liking Dragon Ball”.

Matsumoto-san, who went down the path of fighting because she aspired to Dragon Ball; I, who was a shut-in, but thanks to the Dragon Ball anime, found her first dream of wanting to become a singer of anime songs, and thinks that animation could possibly bring peace to the world; …and even Americans we’ve met for the first time, can all get along. Thank you so much!!

To tell the truth, nobody [else] in my family has watched Dragon Ball. (laughs) I’m also basically a shut-in, doing my work, and building models… By the way, about the Oracle Fish in this movie, I’m terribly sorry about having you go to the trouble of coming out, only to have one line.
I have three! I took one glance, and [thought], “It has such a Toriyama-World form!” The Oracle Fish appears for an instant, and says some arbitrary things, but it’s through that, that the grand destinies that are Goku and Beerus are set into motion, and I was thrilled to my very soul to have the honor of being in charge of that moment where history changes. What did you think when you saw it, Sensei?
It was interesting! I would have liked to bring out a little bit more liveliness in the exchanges, but I think you did really well. I thought, there were so many different battle scenes, it was amazing!
Dragon Ball especially — manga, anime, and movies — whenever I see them, they’re always fresh without getting old, and with this movie, there are things everyone has wanted to see, and things nobody could imagine, all packed in, so I think they’ll be excited, but do you have any points that you recommend, Sensei?
I guess number one is the battle scenes that are greater than I imagined while I myself was writing the story.

[The staff] gave it great treatment in completing it, so I’m happy. I like the inconsequential scenes the best. In a way, I like the feeling of pouring my heart and soul into characters who don’t have to be there. Incidentally, I didn’t imagine the Oracle Fish as being this size; I pictured it as being bigger than human height. Although, since I didn’t draw a chart for scale, it ended up this size. (laughs)

What would you like children to feel when they see this movie? After all, at the time [that the series was still ongoing], they didn’t have PCs or the Internet3, and animation was done with cels, not digitally; now that it’s the 2000s, a lot’s changed with the times, and I think there are even kids who will be seeing Dragon Ball for the first time.
Recent anime have also gotten to have pretty complex character relationships, but in that area, I developed things simply while leaving in a whiff of Shōwa4, so I’ll be happiest if I can get them to understand the fun of the characters. Something this simple and pure isn’t depicted all that much, so I’d like for them to enjoy simply seeing something that’s easy to understand!!
It’s an incredible work that parents and children can enjoy with the same feeling of excitement! It seems like it could be the catalyst that will bring parents and children closer together. I feel like peace might come to the universe thanks to this movie!
I always take care in drawing with the premise that it shouldn’t make people feel bad. I don’t like when something ends on a dark note. By all means, I’d like it if they’re excited.
The following translator notes are included for the benefit of the reader as supplemental information.

1 Nakagawa uses the Japanese title for the film, Kami to Kami (“God and God”) in this question.
2 The word used is hikikomori.
3 These things certainly existed back in the 1990s, and even the 1980s, albeit in a fairly primitive form.
4 The reign of Emperor Hirohito (25 December 1926 – 07 January 1989); this era ended coincidentally just a few months before the Dragon Ball anime ended and Dragon Ball Z began.
English Translation: SaiyaJedi