It’s absolutely no secret that I have always adored Dragonball, be it the original, Z, GT or Super. I just can’t get enough of Goku and his super powered antics. So, when last week i heard the news of Akira Toriyama, The man being Dragonball passing away at 68, I was heartbroken.  

I obviously have no ties to Toriyama as a friend, confidant or colleague, my one link is being a near obsessive fan of his work, but the news of his death hit me like Piccolo’s Special Beam Cannon, a shot straight to the chest. I’ve been a fan of Dragonball since i was about 6 years old and first watched the Saiyan Saga on American TV. I was hooked from the beginning, often attempting to use moves from the series in real life. I swear one time i tried Krillin’s Kienzan (Destructo Disc) and felt the air above my hand circle…I’m not crazy just hopeful!  

Now, I’m not going to sit here and pretend like Dragonball is a perfect series. I’m perfectly able to see its flaws and am aware of its status as “Babies first anime” but you know what? It WAS my first anime, and it was certainly the same for many of us. It was a gateway to a new form of media for so many and based on interviews with Mangaka, Toriyama’s approach inspired many of them! Oda of One Piece, Bleach’s Kubo and Masashi Kishimoto who created Naruto all acknowledge Dragonball as being a major inspiration in their work. In fact, there are some out there who would go as far to say Toriyama laid the fundamentals of the entire Shonen genre going forwards. Many now rely on Tournament arcs, training sagas and villainous characters becoming friendly rivals and antiheroes. 


Growing up, watching and reading Dragonball set the tone for who I wanted to be. Goku’s simplicity and good nature is something I’ve often tried to emulate in my life with varying states of success. Alongside other features like his love of food and appreciation for a decent meal, love for his friends if sometimes being a little distant with them (sorry if I haven’t called in a while!) and even an unwillingness to drink, not for any moral or health reasons simply because alcohol doesn’t taste very nice! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve branched that emulation out to include other characters traits such as Piccolo’s patience, Gohan’s desire for knowledge and Vegeta’s deep (if somewhat hidden) love for his family and home. It’s absolutely not an exact science but it helps keep me on what I see as a positive path, even if I won’t ever have the strength to blow up a mountain!   

So, while Toriyama my have passed to otherworld and is probably running along Snake Way as we speak. His work will continue to live on and inspire and entertain millions around the world to be better, stronger and probably have a ton more pride than they did before!  

Rest in Peace Toriyama-Sensei!