Akira Toriyama, the Father of Dragon Ball, Has Died

Akira Toriyama, one of the most famous and influential mangaka of all time, has died. He was 68.

The news was confirmed by the official Dragon Ball website, in a letter addressed to creatives and fans across the world. Toriyama passed away a week ago on March 1, 2024, from an acute subdural hematoma.

“Thanks to the support of so many people around the world, [Toriyama] has been able to continue his creative activities for over 45 years,” the letter reads in part. “We hope that Akira Toriyama’s unique world of creation continues to be loved by everyone for a long time to come.”

“We inform you this sad news, with gratefulness for your kindness during his lifetime.”

Toriyama began writing and illustrating manga in the late 1970s, having drawn the attention of editors at Weekly Shonen Jump, which published his debut work, Wonder Island, in 1978. He created a string of series for the magazine over the next few years, including his first breakout hit Doctor Slump, which made him a household name in the manga community. But he would rocket into the stratosphere in Japan and beyond in 1984, when the original Dragon Ball began serialization. Following the adventures of a young, monkey-tailed martial artist named Goku as he faced the menaces of the Red Ribbon army and travelled the world in search of the mysterious Dragon Balls, the series was an immediate smash, and remains one of the most popular and successful manga of all time.

Dragon Ball’s success would give way to the similarly wildly successful anime adaptation of the manga, and then of course a successor series starring an older Goku, Dragon Ball Z, one of the most influential anime of all time, and responsible for some of the earliest explosions in popularity of the medium in the west when it was dubbed across the world. All throughout Dragon Ball’s ever-increasing popularity, Toriyama kept creating new series and stories—and of course, would help provide character concept work and design for some of the most beloved video games of all time in series like Dragon Quest and the legendary JRPG Chrono Trigger.

Toriyama perpetually returned to Dragon Ball, on screen and in comics, helping to develop the continuation manga and its anime adaptation, Dragon Ball Super, from 2015. Even up until his death, Toriyama was working on new stories: an anime adaptation of his 2000 manga Sand Land is due stream worldwide on Disney+ this month, and Dragon Ball Daima, a brand new chapter of the series that would bring Goku back to his youthful self, is currently in development for release later this year.

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