New Anime

Toriyama, Thank You for Everything

A Fan’s Reaction to the Passing of Akira Toriyama

Hey, everyone. RJ Writing Ink here, writing on behalf of the D&A Anime Blog. Aaron and I aren’t in the best state of mind right now. You likely know this by now, but late March 7th, it was announced online that Akira Toriyama, the legendary creator of Dragon Ball and dozens of other works, had passed away more than a week ago. Aaron was the one who wound up telling me on Discord. And my reaction was one of shock and great sadness.

Information ; Dear Friends and Partners

— DRAGON BALL OFFICIAL (@DB_official_en) March 8, 2024

Over the next few hours, I watched the Internet cry out sorrowfully, including Aaron and me. So many people, fans, content creators, and those whom Toriyama inspired to do what they love for a living, all mourning the loss of the legendary mangaka. As for me, at Aaron’s behest, I wrote a post for this blog breaking the news for ourselves. It didn’t feel right not to say anything about Toriyama, especially since Aaron told me it was why he and Donte started this blog. Afterward, I went to bed and tried to sleep as best I could. But as I drifted off to sleep, still trying to process the death of the great mangaka, a realization came to me. While I had seen plenty of people, both idols and loved ones, die before, there was a reason why Toriyama’s passing hit me and everyone so hard. And it was more than the fact that he died at only sixty-eight years old. Truthfully, even if he died twenty years old, it still would have felt too soon.

My reason was that the culture we know today might not have existed without Akira Toriyama and what he created.

The Great Tree of Toriyama

Thank you, Akira Toriyama

— PlayStation (@PlayStation) March 8, 2024

Imagine what Akira Toriyama did when he created Dragon Ball forty years ago, like planting a tree in the middle of a field. He would then spend the next eleven years returning to it once a week to tend to it as it grew big and strong. Its trunk would start to reach for the heavens, its roots would burrow deep into the soil underneath, and its branches would become solid and sturdy. Eventually, it grew big enough to create seeds, and others would come and take them to grow their trees. Flash forward to the present day, and the original tree he planted will get big enough to tower in the skies, while the younger trees will grow just as big and potentially just as strong. If all goes well, then that field could become a forest generations down the line. But the man who planted the first tree would never live to see that. He would have to trust those who followed him to continue his work and make something unique out of it.

If you need clarification on this metaphor, then here’s the meaning. The tree itself is what Toriyama did throughout his entire career, with Dragon Ball primarily serving as the trunk. The branches represent everything that sprang forth from the popularity of the original manga: the anime, movies, video games, products, fan-made content, and all the people who found happiness, success, and more thanks to Dragon Ball. The roots are how the franchise has made its way into global culture. The younger trees represent the people who were inspired by reading Toriyama’s work to become mangaka themselves, giving us even more hit Shonen series like Naruto, One PieceBleachFairy Tail, and likely many more. When you put all of that together, the result should be clear. What Akira Toriyama managed to do was create something that managed to incorporate itself into human culture worldwide. Something that has come to unite people from all walks of life over their shared love of this man’s work. No matter how you look at it, that’s impressive.

Now imagine what life would be like if he had never made Dragon Ball or if it had never become as popular as it is. Suddenly, you might get a world where anime has never become more than a niche interest outside Japan. Where many of the series that you love reading never existed. The people whose lives Dragon Ball changed for the better never got that chance. Bonds that started thanks to that shared love never came about, people who never turned that love into their careers, and more. It would be like the alternate timeline from It’s a Wonderful Life, in which George Bailey was never born, and Toriyama is Bailey.

Toriyama’s Legacy Lives On

Rest in Power Akira Toriyama! Thank you for Goku!Thank you for everything! Here’s a rare Akira clip for those who would like to watch.

— JUMBLE BAG (@JumbleBag) March 8, 2024

Toriyama may be gone now, but his legacy lives on, and it’s more than just Dragon BallDr. SlumpDragon Quest, or whatever else he helped create. It’s the millions of people worldwide whose lives he changed, often for the better. The mangaka like Masashi Kishimoto and Eichiro Oda. The people who got to work on his series, both in Japan and abroad. The people who can make a living doing fanworks of Dragon Ball like TeamFourStar, DevilArtemis, Daitomodachi, and more. Even fans like me and Aaron. We’re all part of the legacy that Akira Toriyama left behind, and it’s mind-boggling when you put that into perspective. How many people throughout history can say they’ve affected so many people in such a positive manner? Not many.

Am I sad? Yes. I hate that Toriyama died so soon. But Dragon Ball can live on. If we want to do right by Toriyama, we need to ensure that people can continue to enjoy Dragon Ball for generations to come. I know that we’re all mourning for his passing, but no one is genuinely gone, so the world continues to remember him. And with the impact that Toriyama had on the world? I don’t think he’s going to be forgotten for a long, long time.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.