‘Dragon Ball’ Creator Akira Toriyama Dies at 68

His manga and anime franchise remains one of the best known around the world

Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest
(Toei Company)

Akira Toriyama, best known for creating the manga and anime franchise “Dragon Ball,” died last week at age 68.

His March 1 death was confirmed on Friday in a statement posted on X by his manga and design production company Bird Studio, as well as Capsule Corporation Tokyo. The cause of death was listed as acute subdural hematoma, which occurs when blood collects between the skull and the brain.

The statement notes that the late Toriyama was in the middle of creating “several works” at the time of his death. “He would have many more things to achieve.”

Over the course of his career, Toriyama was professionally creative for 45 years. “We hope that Akira Toriyama’s unique world of creation continues to be loved by everyone for a long time to come,” the statement continues. A funeral service will be held for his family. As per his “wishes for tranquility,” the family will not be accepting flowers, condolence gifts, visits or other offerings. The family will also not be participating in interviews at this time.

Toriyama first entered the manga industry at the age of 23 after he submitted his work to a monthly Newcomer Award competition hosted by “Weekly Shōnen Jump.” His work was originally deemed ineligible because it was a parody of “Star Wars,” but this contest put him in contact with Kazuhiko Torishima, who would become Toriyama’s editor. This working relationship led to Toriyama’s first published work, “Wonder Island.”

Throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s Toriyama created several manga for “Shōnen Jump” including “Tomato the Cutesy Gumshoe,” “Dr. Slump” and “Chobit.” Though some of these works had notable fanbases, especially “Dr. Slump,” it wasn’t until “Dragon Ball” that Toriyama achieved international success.

The original manga follows the adventures of Goku as he trains in martial arts and searches for mythical objects known as the Dragon Balls, seven orbs that summon a wish-granting dragon when they’re collected. “Dragon Ball” has become one of the most successful works of manga of all time. As of 2022, 260 million copies of the manga have been sold worldwide, and this universe has expanded to TV animation, movies, games and merchandise. That has included the anime adaptation “Dragon Ball Z,” which follows Goku in his adult years and stands as one of the most successful and widely-watched anime around the world.


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