Akira Toriyama Creator of Dragon Ball Dies at 68

Akira Toriyama Creator of Dragon Ball Dies at 68

Japanese creator of enormously popular Dragon Ball series passes away at age 68

Akira Toriyama, the Japanese manga artist responsible for the immensely popular and influential Dragon Ball series, passed away last week at the age of 68 due to a brain condition, his production studio announced Friday.

Toriyama was the creative force behind the fantasy martial arts franchise starring Son Goku, a boy from outer space with extraordinary strength and a monkey tail who embarks on a quest to find the seven dragon balls.

The Dragon Ball universe endures as one of Japan's most internationally successful creations, capturing the imaginations of manga-loving teens and adults worldwide since its debut in the 1980s.

Toriyama's passing was announced on Friday via a shared statement released on Dragon Ball's official website by Bird Studio and Capsule Corporation Tokyo.

"We deeply regret to announce that his life's work was interrupted while he was still filled with great enthusiasm," the statement read.

"There was so much more he wished to accomplish. However, his many manga titles and works of art remain with us in this world," it continued, expressing gratitude to fans on Toriyama's behalf.

The artist passed away from an acute subdural hematoma, a type of brain bleeding, the statement revealed.

Born on April 5, 1955, in Kiyosu City, Aichi prefecture, Toriyama began his manga career at the age of 23.

His initial foray as a cartoonist came in 1978 with a short story submission to the manga fan magazine Weekly Shonen Jump.

His "Dragon Ball" series premiered in the same magazine in 1984, marking the start of a creative career spanning over four decades.

The sprawling franchise draws inspiration from the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West and has since expanded into anime adaptations and the 2009 Hollywood action film "Dragon Ball Evolution."

Son Goku's quest for the seven dragon balls pits him against a colorful cast of villains, leading to thrilling battles in defense of Earth. As the storyline progresses, the focus shifts to his descendants and trusted allies.

The dragon balls possess the power to summon Shen Long, a wish-granting divine dragon. Son Goku often ends up using these wishes to aid his friends or restore the balance of a heavily damaged Earth, underscoring the series' themes of courage, friendship, and kinship.

Yuji Horii, a celebrated Japanese author, game designer, and longtime friend of Toriyama, shared his grief on the social media platform X.

"I cannot believe he's gone," he wrote.

Eiichiro Oda, the creator of the manga series "One Piece," also expressed his sadness over the loss, stating, "The thought of never seeing my friend Toriyama again fills me with sorrow."

Toriyama "inherited the legacy from an era when reading manga could make you seem foolish, and built an age where both adults and children alike could read and enjoy manga. He showed us the potential of manga– its ability to excite and how it could reach out to the wider world," Oda wrote on the Shonen Jump website.

Fans worldwide mourned the manga legend, paying tribute to him online.

"Dragon Ball was my textbook for life. It taught me that I could overcome any hardship if I faced it with joy and determination," a fan wrote on X.

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