The Anime/Manga World Offers Condolences After Dragon Ball Creator Akira Toriyama’s Death – Interest

Creators all around the anime/manga worlds pay their respects to the manga legend

The world learned on Friday that legendary manga author and illustrator Akira Toriyama died on March 1. Almost akin to Osamu Tezuka in his status, Toriyama left an indelible mark on manga and anime around the world. Creators are paying their respects to the legendary manga author.

Both the official website and Twitter account for the Dragon Ball franchise initially posted a message to fans and partners of Toriyama on March 8.

The Weekly Shonen Jump, V Jump, Jump SQ., Saikyō Jump, and Shonen Jump+ editorial teams in conjunction with Yuji Horii (creator of the Dragon Quest video game series in which Toriyama served as artist), Eiichiro Oda (author of One Piece), Masashi Kishimoto (author of Naruto), and Masakazu Katsura (author of Zetman and I”s) released a joint message, as well as individual tributes.

From the Shonen Jump editorial teams:

Akira Toriyama, whose many works were published in Shonen Jump magazine, has passed away.
The entire Shueisha Editorial Department is deeply saddened by the news of his sudden passing.
Dr. Slump, DRAGON BALL, SAND LAND…The manga drawn by him have transcended national borders and have been read and loved all over the world.
In addition, the charming characters he created and his overwhelming design sense have greatly influenced many manga authors and creators. We would like to express our gratitude to him for his great achievements and pray for his soul to rest in peace.

From Horii (Dragon Quest):

I am still in disbelief at the news of Toriyama-san’s death, which was so sudden.
I’ve known Toriyama-san since I was a writer for Shonen Jump, and with the recommendation of Torishima-san, the editor in charge of Toriyama’s works, I decided to ask him to draw the art for Dragon Quest when I began developing the game.
In the 37 years since then, he has been involved in the character and monster designs and the creation of countless charming characters.
The history of Dragon Quest walked hand-in-hand with Toriyama’s character designs.
Toriyama-san and the late Sugiyama-sensei were friends of mine who worked on Dragon Quest with me for a long time.
That he would die… I don’t know what else to say. I’m really, really disappointed.

From Oda (One Piece):

It’s too soon. The hole he left is too large.
The thought of never seeing him again fills me with sadness. I’ve admired him so much since I was a child and even remember the day when he called me by name for the first time.
I also fondly remember the days when Kishimoto-san and I were giddy on our way home when he called us “friends.”
I also remember the last conversation we had.
He is one of the people who took the baton from an era when it was said reading manga would make you stupid and created an era where both adults and children could read and enjoy manga. He showed me, “You can do things like this with manga. You can go around the world.”
It was like watching a hero push forward.

The wonder and excitement when Dragon Ball was first published is probably rooted in the childhoods of not only manga authors but also creatives in all industries.
His presence is that of a great tree.
For manga authors of my generation who have stood on the same stage, the closer we got to Toriyama’s works, the more I realized how great his presence was.
It was awe-inspiring.
But I was just happy to see the easy-going man time and time again.
Because we love Toriyama-sensei to our bones.
I would like to express my respect and gratitude to the richly creative world Toriyama-sensei left behind and pray for his soul to rest in peace from the bottom of my heart.
I hope heaven will be the pleasant world as you envisioned it.

From Kishimoto (Naruto):

To be honest, it was so sudden I don’t know what or how to write about this.
However, for now, I would like to express my thoughts and feelings to Toriyama-sensei, which I wish I could have told him someday.

I grew up with Dr. Slump in the lower grades of elementary school and Dragon Ball in the higher grades, and it was natural for his manga to be a part of my life. Even if something bad happened, every week Dragon Ball made me forget about it. It was a solace for me, a country boy with nothing to do. It was because I enjoyed Dragon Ball so much!
It was when I was a university student. Suddenly, Dragon Ball, which had been a part of my life for so many years, ended. I felt an incredible sense of loss and didn’t know what to look forward to. But at the same time, it was an opportunity for me to truly understand the greatness of the author who created Dragon Ball.
I thought, “I also want to create works like yours!” and “I want to be like you!” And as I aspired to become a manga author, following in your footsteps, that feeling of loss began to disappear.
It was because making comics was fun. I was able to find new enjoyment by following you in your footsteps. You have always been my guide.
I admired you.
I’m sorry for the inconvenience this may cause you, but I am grateful to you.
For me, you are the god of salvation and the god of manga.

When we met for the first time, I was so nervous I couldn’t say a word.
However, after meeting you many times at the Tezuka Prize screening committee, I became able to talk to you.
I will never forget the embarrassed smile you gave when Oda and I, two “Dragon Ball children,” became children again. And as if we were competing, we talked excitedly about how much fun Dragon Ball is.

I have just received the news of your passing. I felt an even greater sense of loss than when Dragon Ball ended… I still don’t know how to deal with this hole in my heart. I can’t even read my favorite, Dragon Ball. I don’t feel like I’ve been able to properly write what I want to say to you in this statement.
Everyone around the world was still looking forward to seeing your work.
If I could make one wish with the Dragon Balls…I’m sorry… Maybe that’s selfish of me, but I’m sad, [Toriyama-sensei].

Thank you, Akira Toriyama-sensei, for all your enjoyable works over the past 45 years.
And thank you very much for your hard work.

I am sure your remaining family members are still deeply hurt.
Please take care of yourselves.
I pray that Akira Toriyama-sensei will rest in peace.

From Katsura (Zetman, I”s):

I feel weak and have no energy.
I don’t want to comment on things like this.
But I’ll write something. If I start writing it out, it will probably end up being quite long since there are so many things I want to say, but I will try to keep it as concise as possible. However, I’m not in the right mood, so please forgive my ramblings.
Even if I think back – I’m not exaggerating – I have nothing but happy memories of when I went to visit his house, when he stayed at my house, when we went out together, and every time I called him, I laughed until I was tired.
He was an amusing person.
Lewd, cute, with a sharp tongue, and humble.

As professionals in the manga field, we did some collaborative work, but that was fun too. But 99% of the time, we never talked about manga.
As a manga author, the scenery we saw and our level as artists were so different I never really thought about his greatness. I understand. However, whenever I met him, I didn’t feel that in the slightest. It’s his personality. That’s why I still think of him more as a friend than a great manga author.
Last summer, before I had surgery, he seemed to have heard about it somewhere and sent me a message. Honestly, it was rare for him to send a message, especially one where he seemed concerned about my health. We’ve known each other for 40 years, but that may have been the first time I’ve been treated so kindly by Toriyama-san. I thought it was going to snow. Usually, we only joke or talk nonsense. It was like, “this isn’t the time to worry about other people at all.”
When I called him a little while ago, I was feeling unwell and said, “I might pass away first, so please have a farewell party for me, and you’ll be in charge Toriyama-san! Also, give a speech since it’ll come with prestige!” But he couldn’t keep his promise.
I really regret not calling him after he messaged me. It’s a shame we can’t call each other anymore to talk nonsense for a long time. I have a lot of things I want to talk about. There are many things to say. I want to talk to you again, even if you’re listening blankly to something you’re not interested in, like you did. It’s no good that the last time you replied to my message asking you to get a hold of me you wrote a light “OK.” It hurts from the bottom of my heart.

One of the most influential people in getting Dragon Ball off the ground was Kazuhiko Torishima, Akira Toriyama‘s editor in the 1980s. Torishima is currently the President of Hakusensha and submitted a statement to the online magazine Den-fami Nico Gamer. In his statement Torishima writes:

Last year’s book, Dr. Mashirito Saikyo Manga-jutsu, was the last project we worked on together. And it was the last manga the “Torishima and Toriyama from back then” pair created. Thank you very much for the past 45 years. Toriyama-san, you were the best manga author.

Toyotarō, the author to take on the mantle of the Dragon Ball Super manga series, posted his respects on Twitter.

I drew manga because I wanted to be praised by Toriyama-sensei. He was everything to me.

If the Dragon Ball manga was big, then there’s no doubt the anime was huge. And the company that brought it to the anime world, Toei Animation, paid their respects to Toriyama in a statement on Oricon News.

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Toriyama-sensei.
We would like to express our deepest condolences.

Our company has many staff members who respect Toriyama-sensei, who worked on masterpieces such as Dr. Slump & Arale-chan and the Dragon Ball series, and we are truly grateful for his guidance regarding production.

Toei Animation was very honored to animate the work of a manga author who is loved all over the world.
We pray for his soul to rest in peace.

Oricon News also obtained Toei CEO Fumio Yoshimura‘s condolences. In it, Yoshimura writes:

I would like to express my heartfelt condolences of the sudden passing of Akira Toriyama-sensei.
The worlds and loveable characters Toriyama-sensei created have always excited our hearts and given us courage.
I truly wish I could have continued to see the worlds overflowing with love and adventure created by Toriyama-sensei.
Toriyama-sensei has left many treasures in our hearts.
Thank you so very much.

I humbly pray for your soul to rest in peace.

When the Sponichi newspaper reached out to talent agency Aoni Production, which represents voice actress Masako Nozawa, who played Goku and his sons Gohan and Goten, the agency said since she recently found out about Toriyama’s death, she was “too shocked to comment.” Aoni Production later gave a comment from Nozawa to Nikkan Sports:

“I don’t want to believe it. My head feels empty because I don’t want to think about it. Still, I remember the words Toriyama-sensei said to me, ‘Take care of Goku, please.’ It makes me think, “I will stay near Goku’s side until my energy runs out.” Sensei, please watch over us from the heavens. I hope you depart in peace.”

The voice of eternal rival of Goku and Prince of the Saiyans, Ryō Horikawa, had two words of condolence for Toriyama. One from himself and one as the character he so lovingly voices, Vegeta.

It was like a bolt out of the blue and I still can’t believe it.
A new chapter of the series had just begun, too.
Just as more and more thrilling stories were going to be told.
It’s too sudden.
It’s such a shame.
Thank you very much for creating such a wonderful work.
Please rest in peace.

As Vegeta, Horikawa wrote:

Now, from Vegeta.

It’s too soon to die!!
Join your hands in prayer.

Toshio Furukawa, the voice of Piccolo from the Dragon Ball franchise, also released his respects to Toriyama on his Twitter.

My manager brought me the news of Akira Toriyama‘s passing… “After Mako-san [Meiko Nozawa], you’re the second person I’ve told Toshio-san…” The first thing I thought was “I wonder how Mako-san felt? For Mako-san, Dragon Ball is her life work and Goku is her alter ego. More than how I feel about Piccolo!”
…The last time I met [Toriyama] was at the preview screening of Dragon Ball Super Heroes. I would like to express my deepest condolences.

One of the first songs many anime fans heard when Dragon Ball first aired on February 26, 1986, was “Makafushigi Adventure” sung by Hiroki Takahashi. Having performed the song recently during the Bili Bili New Year’s performance, the song is still an important part of his career. He gave his condolences to Toriyama through Twitter.

I would like to offer my deepest respects and condolences to Akira Toriyama, the great creator and source of all things. As someone who is at the far seat of the table for his works, I hope to continue sharing his greatness with fans all over the world who love Dragon Ball. I will do my best to convey that message. Please rest in peace.

Sending off Dragon Ball fans after each episode was the ever-lovely song “Romantic Ageru yo” performed by Ushio Hashimoto. Hashimoto also took to Twitter to convey her sorrow at the loss of Toriyama. Hashimoto made the tweet private. However, the post was viewable before it became private.

I’d like to think it’s a lie.
But it’s reality.

Thank you for sharing so many fun works with the world.

I would like to send my condolences from the bottom of my heart.

Anime and manga were not the only industries Toriyama influenced. In the world of video games, the Dragon Ball franchise is one of the most consistently adapted series. While most are developed through Bandai Namco, CyberConnect2 developed Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. On March 8, the company temporarily closed due to the news of Toriyama’s passing. In a statement posted on Twitter, the President of CyberConnect2 wrote:

To everyone involved
Notice of temporary closure of CyberConnect2
Although I was shocked by the news of Akira Toriyama-sensei’s death, I always live by advocating “no despair.” So, I thought “Let’s turn this sadness into strength and work harder at our creative endeavors!” But it was impossible.
Just a moment ago I cried during an online meeting with another team and the meeting couldn’t be held. (I’m very sorry about that)
Tragic things are tragic.

As a game company that is entrusted with Dragon Ball, CyberConnect2 will be temporarily closed today as a form of mourning.

All staff members please go home.

When you’re sad, please grieve properly.

If possible, let’s work together again starting next Monday.

I will complete the work that I can do alone.

I’m planning on having some guests and a dinner party today, but I’ll be the only one, so it’s okay. (Sorry if I cry)

The CyberConnect2 staff will be off today in mourning.

We sincerely pray Akira Toriyama-sensei will rest in peace.

Famed manga creator Toriyama died on March 1 due to acute subdural hematoma. He was 68. His family held a private funeral.

Toriyama began his first serialized manga, Dr. Slump, in 1980, and it inspired two television anime and multiple films. Toriyama followed it up with Dragon Ball, which ran from 1984 to 1995, and is still inspiring manga and anime sequels and spinoffs today. The manga’s Dragon Ball anime adaptation, its sequel Dragon Ball Z, and its other numerous sequels and anime films are equally as well-known as the manga, and its hero Goku has become a character known throughout the world.

Toriyama is also well-known as the character designer for the Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, and Blue Dragon games.

Most recently, Toriyama was working closely with the production for the Dragon Ball Daima anime series, the most recent anime series based on Dragon Ball, and is credited for the new anime’s story and character designs. His Sand Land manga also recently inspired an anime film adaptation that opened in Japan in August 2023, an anime series that will debut worldwide on March 20, and a game that will launch on April 26.

Sources: Dragon Ball franchise‘s X/Twitter account and website, Shonen Jump, Toyotarō‘s Twitter account, Den-fami Nico Gamer, Oricon News (link 2), Nikkan Sports, Ryō Horikawa‘s Twitter account, Toshio Furukawa‘s Twitter account, Hiroki Takahashi‘s Twitter account, Ushio Hashimoto‘s Twitter account, CyberConnect2‘s Twitter account

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