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akira toriama interviu[english] | martinis


akira toriama interviu[english]
Toriyama is shown here with his 1 year old son
Interviewer (IN): The fourth book of the Perfect collection is the World Guide, so I think I´ld like to ask your opions about the world. To start with, the world in Dragon Ball is different from the real world, isn´t it?

Toriyama Akira (TA): Yes, all the manga I´ve written until now are worlds that don´t exist. That´s the way it´s been from the first work I ever drew. In Penguin Village too, they call the world ´Earth,´ but it´s some Earth in some place where we don´t know....Cashman [sp?] (Published in Bui Jump) is kind of on the real world, but it takes place in a nonexistant country.

IN: Why do you choose to use nonexistant worlds?

TA: Because it´s really much easier that way. It´s because I choose the fundamentally easiest standard. If I chose to use the real world, I´d have to look at real-world things before I drew anything. Like buildings and vehicles and the like. If I change it a little bit, people could complain.

IN: I would think that just thinking about real-world things and drawing that be a bit easier, though, wouldn´t it?

TA: Do you think so? Even if you don´t look at real things, you can be free to create whatever you want and draw that, that´s why I choose to use nonexistant worlds.

IN: Don´t you even look at real things when drawing the landscapes?

TA: Normally I don´t. At first I used to look at Chinese buildings and the like, though. When I first started getting Dragon Ball published, I wanted to completely change the image I used with Dr. Slump. Because I felt that Dr. Slump was American/Western-like, I wanted to make this one more Eastern. At that time, my wife was really interested in China, and I drew stuff like I had seen in some photos of China she had bought. After that, I drew pretty much everything from stuff I thou ght up, including the Tenkaichi-Budokai´s fighting stage. Before I started getting it published, I went to Bari Island with my family and assistant. I modeled the island the Tenkaichi-Budokai was on, Papaya Island, on Bari Island. I thought up the types o f buildings and the like from looking at pictures I had taken on trips. But it was really difficult. (Smiles) And afterwards I used the Tenkaichi-Budokai´s fighting stage several times. I really had to go on that trip. (Smiles)

IN: Did you use any other landscapes you´d seen before?

TA: Hmm...After that, not really...Oh, that´s right, I patterned the land that Babidi´s spaceship was in after some photos I had seen of Africa. I thought that there were some really great fields, and I arranged that to draw. In the latter half, there was nothing but fields, so it was really tough. That is, it was tough to get through drawing.

IN: When I think about it, fields are a totally different landscape aren´t they.

TA: That´s right. I decided to make a different lanscape than I have ever used. I changed from using rocky areas, from using high mountains and the like. I really thought hard about that place. I had to figure out a type of place that I hadn´t use d before, because I thought if used a place like I always had before, it would be boring.

IN: You use lots of places like fields, where nobody lives, don´t you?

TA: If I had Goku and the others fight in towns, it would really be difficult. I´d have to draw all the people who lived in the town, and buildings being destroyed and the like. Therefore, I always have them fight in places like unpopulated fields. (Smile) Or else I have them zoom and use Bukujutsu to fly to a place like it. Come to think about it, since all of Goku´s friends learn Bukujutsu and come to be able to fly, it makes it a lot easier to advance the story.

IN: What do you mean?

TA: Well, because anyone can fly to any place they need to quickly. It makes it easier to think of plot advancement, and the story can proceed speedily, plus in terms of pictures, I can use birds-eye-view angles and the like to draw the scenery. T hat´s the main reason I brought Kintoun in in the beginning. Having to use vehicles like cars and planes all the time gets tedious.

IN: I suppose you used the Shunkanido for the same reasons.

TA: Right, right. Since I needed to have people go all the way to Kaio-sei and New Nameck-sei. Since he learned to use the Shunkanido, the way Goku fights got lots more variation.

IN: When I think about battle scenes, I´d think they´d be difficult all the time, wouldn´t they?

TA: Yes. As you might expect, that´s because I can´t make the fights be the same every time. At the beginning when Goku was little, it was pretty good, but in the second half where there began to be more and more fights, I really had to think up so me amazing techniques and the like. It was really fun to draw the fight between Majn-Buu and Gotenks. I thought up special attacks in gag-manga style. (Smile)

IN: How do you think up the names for special attacks?

TA: Actually, I don´t like thinking up names for special attacks that much. In a real life-and-death fight you wouldn´t say the names of your attacks, would you? While you´re sitting there saying the name of your attack you´re liable to get killed . (Smile) But it´s said that it´s good to give them names. My wife is the one who named the Kamehameha. Because I was worrying and saying ´Kamesennin´s special attack sould be called something-ha, something-ha...´ my wife said ´Why not Kamehameha?´ Tha t was great, it sounded really silly, and it just sounded right for Kamesennin. I thought of all the other technique names other than Kamehameha, though. Usually I make a name that the chararacter who uses the technique is likely to choose. Like wouldn´t Vegita be likely to name his techniques in English? (Smile.) And Piccolo would use techniques in Kanji.

IN: When you first created Piccolo, did you plan from the beginning that he would be an alien from Nameck-sei?

TA: I didn´t think of it at all, of course. (Smile) Same thing with the Saiyajins. When I gave Goku a tail, I was thinking about him being a big monkey; I didn´t plan on Goku being an alien at all. Same thing goes for Piccolo. I was thinking abo ut him being like Kami-sama when I created him. I tried to think the stuff I thought up afterwards consistently. For example, Nameck-sei´s Saichoro was sitting in a chair. It was exactly the same as the chair we saw Piccolo-Daimao sitting in when he fi rst appeared. The only difference was that they were sitting in different chairs.

IN: Really! Naw that you mention it, they looked the same.

TA: I´m sure that Piccolo still had a few memories left of Nameck-sei and created that chair. Also, I patterned the Nameck-sei buildings and spaceship after the design of Piccolo-Daimao´s chair. I was told that it was a mistake to put space in a Shonen Manga when I made the part about going. So I really had to think to make Nameck-sei be consistent with what I did before.

IN: You make the story to go to places other than Earth, like Nameck-sei, afterwards, and Anoyo. [the afterworld] How did you think up the way that Anoyo would be?

TA: I felt it should look kind of like Kami-sama´s palace, and sort of mysterious too, and I wanted to make it look totally different than the real world. Therefore, I made Enma-sama and the Onis guys in suit like a Salaryman. I think that if you r ead in this book as it´s printed the map of the entire world, you´ll be able to see how Heaven is just some floating place. I made it so that everyone who goes to heaven gets there by plane. I was asked by the anime poele to draw this map, but I didn´t c urrently have a place in the picture to fit in Kaioshinkai, so I had to fit it in too. Actually, I had to make this map so it would fit in the story. (Smile) Usually, I think of the place beforehand, and write the story so it fits in with the place. I thi nk most manga writers do the same; they decide the places first and then write the story to fit in with the place. That way, they don´t have to think too much. But I had a vague image of it before I wrote the story. (Smile)

IN: Normal people can make a story consistent, but it´s not very often. From listening to you, you´ve given us the opportunity to look into your mind a little bit. Thank you very much.


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Here is the interview of Toriyama Akira in book #2, the Story book.
IN: Well, seeing as how this is the story guide, I´d like to ask you about the story of Dragon Ball. To start with, why did you start Dragon Ball?

TA: Well, after I finished ´Dr. Slump,´ I was wondering what to come up with next, and at the same time I was conferring with my boss Torishima-san a lot. Around that time, I really like watching Jackie Chan movies, and I had already seen ´The Drunken Master´ more than 20 times. Since I liked it so much, I decided to make a ´Kung fu kid´ manga, I proposed the idea to Torishima-san, and we finished writing ´Dragon Boy.´ The readers really loved it, and that´s how the basics got started.

IN: So that´s how you started to think up the basics [for Dragon Ball.]

TA: ´Dr. Slump´ was kind of a Western-style manga, so I decided to change it and make a Chinese-like series, and in order to make it that way, I decided to make it based on ´Saiyuuki.´ [the original Chinese legend that the characters from Dragon Ball are based on] ´Saiyuuki´ is really imaginative, and has lots of adventure-like elements, so I thought of making a kind of ´modern Saiyuuki.´ If I had a base to work off of, I thought it would be easier to arrange it the way I like. [Smile]

IN: Judging from your first drafts, it seemed like you were going to have Goku actually be a monkey.

TA: Right, just like ´Saiyuuki.´ But it didn´t really have much design potential, so I made him a normal human boy, but I wanted him to have a special physical trait. The hero of ´Dragon Boy´ had wings, so I wanted it to be a characteristic like that. And that´s how Goku´s tail got born. And then there was the 7 Dragon Balls that could grant a wish when all gathered. By having a journey to find them all, I thought I could make a journey like that of ´Saiyuuki.´

IN: So that´s when you started publishing it. Up until the Tenkaichi-Budokai, you really had ´Saiyuuki´ in mind.

TA: Yes. Bulma would be the Sanzou Priest, Oolong would be Chohakkai, and Yamucha would be Sagojou. At the start, I had thought of ending the series as soon as all 7 balls were gathered.

IN: And afterwards you started the Tenkaichi-Budokai, how did that develop?

TA: Until the Tenkaichi-Budokai, Dragon Ball wasn´t very popular. At one point, Torishima-san said to me, ´Your hero is kind of run-of-the-mill. That´s why he´s not popular.´ I thought he was trying to attack my character, since I deliberately made him that way. It really irritated me, but I understood what he meant. So I thought, ´Well, I´d better make him popular.´ When I stopped and thought of Goku, I realized the foremost thought on his mind would be ´I want to be strong,´ so I thought I´d bring that trait out. In ´Dr. Slump´ I had a Grand Prix, and as a tournament mini-event it was really popular. So I simply decided to make another tournament. And that´s where the Tenkaichi-Budokai came from. I got rid of all the characters besides Goku, brought Kamesennin back, and introduced Kulilin. And all of a sudden, Dragon Ball got popular.

IN: But Goku couldn´t win the Tenkaichi-Budokai, whereas most comic heroes would have.

TA: Yeah. I finally had him win the third time around. During the tournament, people would probably saying, ´You know in the end Goku is going to win.´ Knowing people would think this, since I´m so cantankerous, ...
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