Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball Creator, Dead At 68

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Published

dragon ball

In a sad development for the world of manga and anime sure to leave a profound impact, the visionary behind the legendary Dragon Ball manga that spawned the Dragon Ball franchise, Akira Toriyama, has passed away at the age of 68. The news, which his studio confirmed, revealed that the cause of death was an acute subdural hematoma–a serious medical condition involving bleeding near the brain. 

Akira Toriyama And Dragon Ball

Akira Toriyama

More than a mere manga, Dragon Ball was a global phenomenon, inspiring a generation that popularized both manga and anime worldwide. The series debuted in 1984 and chronicled the adventures of Son Guku, a martial artist with an alien heritage who quests for magical dragon balls. 

As any Akira Toriyama manga fan will tell you, collecting these orbs grants the bearer any wish. As Goku scours the universe for dragon balls, he is opposed by the Saiyans, extra-powerful extraterrestrials, in addition to several other alien warlords, martial artists, and magical beings.

Goku’s confrontations with his foes and alliances with emerging friends eventually determine the fate of the Earth itself. 

Fans Worldwide

As is well known, the saga’s reach greatly surpassed the printed page. It gave rise to animated series, movies, and abundant merchandise. More than anything, the Dragon Ball universe embedded itself in the hearts of fans worldwide.

Akira Toriyama’s legacy is vast. He leaves behind unfinished works, over which he labored at his death, and a franchise beloved by millions.

Dragon Ball And International Fame

Toriyama was born in Nagoya, Japan, in 1955; the artist first made a name for himself in the early 1980s with Dr. Slump, a comedic manga chronicling the story of a girl robot and her creator. 

However, it was Dragon Ball that rocketed the creator to international fame, introducing the world to Son Goku, the manga’s irresistible blend of sci-fi and martial arts, and a winsome aesthetic enriched by a one-of-a-kind action sensibility. 

Outpouring For Akira Toriyama

Akira Toriyama’s passing has inspired an outpouring of grief and gratitude from fans worldwide, especially on social media platforms flooded with tributes.

Whether on X, Facebook, or forums, fans highlight how the Dragon Ball franchise strongly shaped their childhoods and provided them with a thrilling adventure alongside camaraderie. 

A poignant message on X particularly nailed the sentiment of many: “Thank you for creating a manga that represents my youth. Rest in peace; thank you for your hard work.” Within hours, this post had garnered hundreds of likes. 

Admirable Humility

While the Dragon Ball universe achieved titanic popularity, Akira Toriyama maintained admirable humility.

In a rare interview in 2013, the iconic author and artist expressed astonishment at the series’ global success—a success he attributed to a “miracle.” Toriyama further reflected that his desire was simply to entertain boys in Japan. 

However, the manga and subsequent TV shows and products did much more than that. The brand’s universal themes of growth, challenge, and friendship resonated well beyond its initial Japanese audience, eventually making it a household name in pop culture. 

Loved By Everyone

Reportedly, Akira Toriyama’s funeral was a private affair attended only by family and close friends.

His studio, in a touching message, expressed hope that the “unique world of creation continues to be loved by everyone for a long time to come.”

Source: Dragon Ball Official Site