TORIYAMA AKIRA SUPER INTERVIEW
From Coffee Table Books Vol. 3, Daizenshuu: TV Animation Part 1.

The Fusion with Animation

In talking about the story of Dragon Ball, the TV animation should not be left out. It has widened the fan base, and even now, many anime fans continue to send their support. The TV anime has developed with the author, Toriyama Akira, and now, he himself speaks about this aspect of Dragon Ball.


Interviewer: For the third Super Interview, I would like to focus the discussion on the TV animation. For starters, do you watch the TV anime Dragon Ball?

Toriyama Akira: Yes. I watch with my children, such as while eating dinner.

I: Do you watch as a "general viewer" instead of as the "author"?

TA: Yes. But, while I watch during meals, I often make observations like, "ah, they did this to this scene...." Therefore, perhaps I don't quite fit the definition of a "general viewer."

I: Are your ideas and concepts brought to life in the original episodes broadcast on the TV animation?

TA: There are times when my ideas reach piece meal, through my editor, to the animators at Toei. Other times when I don't have a hand in a story, when the original episodes are broadcast on TV, I become excited with anticipation. While watching, I would think, "oh, this is cool too."

I: Do you always have in mind the minute details for anime story plans that don't appear in the printed original?

TA: I usually come up with the plans that are supposed to capture the general gist of the story. For example, for the part of an episode that will skip to five years in the future, I create the story line, "These things must have happened within those five years."

I: Have you ever submitted ideas for original TV characters?

TA: Another character was wanted for the episodes when Goku was training under Kaio-sama (King Kai), so I created one named "Gregory" (Please refer to P. 136 [of the Daizenshuu]).

I: When the decision to make Dragon Ball into an animated TV show was passed, did you make any stipulations about it?

TA: At first, I really didn't have any thing to say. I'm usually a hands-off type of person, but after seeing the actual broadcast, I wanted to make Dragon Ball more fantasy-like, so I do remember making that suggestion. Basically, I leave it up to the animators, and I only make inputs when I feel I really need to.

I: With the Dragon Ball animation, are there any roles that you yourself directly participate in?

TA: When the submitting of color samples for characters become more urgent than attending to my serial, I contact the Toei animators through the editing department. Also, it was my duty to listen to the audition tapes and decide the parts for the voices. When deciding on Goku's voice, I listened to five or six candidates before finally settling on Nozawa Masako-san.

I: What was your impression when you actually heard Goku's voice when the show was finally broadcast?

TA: I thought, "So, this what Goku sounds like." Thereafter, every time I sat down to draw the manga, his voice would come to mind. When this happened, the voice would be exactly like Nozawa-san's, so I thought, "She's good." Now, Goku and Nozawa-san are one such that I can't separate them.

I: So, did you choose the voices for the other characters?

TA: I participated in the voice selection process for the main characters. Also, I specifically named Tanaka Mayumi-san to act out Kuririn's voice. When I was watching Ginga Tetsudou-no Yoru1, I heard the main character's voice and thought it was a nice one, and a friend of mine who was knowledgeable about voice actors informed me that the voice was Tanaka Mayumi-san.

I: Have you been to the anime production studio or the post-recording site?

TA: About two or three years after starting the Dragon Ball serial, I went to the post-recording site. I visited the place where they were recording the voices, and my honest opinion was, "What an arduous task!"

I: Have you ever thought of trying your hand at voice acting?

TA: No way, not at all!! Not on your life!! (enormous laughter) I can never do anything like that!

I: What are your thoughts about the fact that "pictures move" in anime?

TA: I'm always impressed, "Animators are amazing." They have to draw the steps between one movement and another, so I'm impressed that they can get the timing down so well. That's something that I can't imitate. Also, I am jealous of the way anime can render sudden movement so well.

I: How about the way waza (special techniques) are rendered in special effects?

TA: I am very envious of the fact that they can use "light." In anime, a scene with an explosion can be rendered with a brilliant flash of light and sound, but with manga, the only thing I can do is to put in an onomatopoeia for an explosion, so it seems to lack a little punch (laughter).

I: So, I gather the area of sound concerns you?

TA: Yes! The fact that they can use sound effects like explosions and use sound tracks makes me jealous.

I: When you actually draw manga, do you ever try matching sound tracks with the scenes you draw?

TA: No, that never happens. However, when seeing the actual animation, and upon hearing the sound track to a climatic scene, I'd often comment, "This is nice." Verily, with the manga, I just can't draw while humming "fa la la la" (laughter). I'd turn into an idiot (laughter).

I: Do you have any songs that fit the image of Goku?

TA: Hmmm..., I'm not sure. In any case, I think the song would probably be bright, with a good tempo; the tempo would be upbeat, yet have a carefree air to it.

I: When you are drawing the manga, do you ever unconsciously mouth the lines?

TA: I don't speak the lines, but apparently, my face unknowingly gestures the same facial expressions as the characters that I draw (laughter). People such as my assistant and my wife point this out to me. During fighting scenes, a character's face is often severe, you know, "Rrrrr." So, my face would look just like it, "Rrrrr" (laughter). Therefore, afterwards, my face would all ache (laughter). I guess I'm a type that gets sucked into the story.

I: After seeing the animated Dragon Ball, were there any influences of the anime on your work on the manga?

TA: I once worked with Animation Director Ashida Toyo'o, and after speaking to him and seeing some of his anime work, I realized "Sharper lines are better for rendering battle." Also with coloring, I used to blend them together, but afterwards, I began to distinctly differentiate the transition of colors, just like in anime. I discovered that differentiating the colors had just the same effect as blending the colors. Furthermore, the sharp coloration seemed more fitting to a shonen-shi [boy's comic magazine], and coloring also became easier for me. These were the twin influences of Ashida-san and anime.

I: Have you ever seen any foreign broadcasts of the TV series Dragon Ball?

TA: I havenšt seen any directly, but I have seen parts of some that were introduced on a special TV program. I was very weird, but I just thought, "oh well." Particularly, I saw a scene where Goku was eating something, and he exclaimed, "Ah, c'est bon!", and I couldn't help but think it just didn't match (laughter).

I: Do you ever watch tokusatsu [sentai] programs?*

TA: Around the time I was doing the "Ginyuu Tokusentai" [Ginyuu Special Combat Team] episodes, my kids were watching them, so watched along with them. Tokusatsu shows are pretty funny.

I: Is the Ginyuu Tokusentai pose the result of influence from tokusatsu shows?

TA: Yup (laughter).

I: Did you watch cartoons as a child?

TA: I watched anime like Tetsuwan Atom 2 and Tetsujin 28 Gou 3 until about fourth grade. Later in my elementary years, I liked watching live action stuff and kaijuu [monster] movies, and by middle school, I started watching regular movies.

I: Do you remember the first anime that you ever watched?

TA: I donšt remember the first one that I saw, but one that really left an impression on me was Tetsuwan Atom. I would send away for Atom stickers and avidly collect them. Later, I saw 101 Dalmatians 4. I remember that this work too, had wonderful drawings. I also saw, on TV, shows such as Osomatsu-kun 5. We would all imitate the "Sheeeee" pose of the character Iyami (laughter). In addition, I liked Eightman 6.

I: What do you think about Dragon Ball, whose popularity today is comparable to the popularity of yesteryear'sTetsuwan Atom?

TA: Is that so?

I: Yes, it is! (Enormous laughter) Well, now that we got a lot of laughs in, I would like to close this interview. Thank you very much for the long time today.

* Information about anime will be continued in DB Daizenshuu Volume 5.

(June 5, 1995, At Toriyama Akira's residence)


1. The Night of the Milky Way Train, theatrical release anime, released 1985
Based on Miyazawa Kenji's novel of the same name. A cat was setup as the main character, and the novel was turned into anime. [translator's note: Miyazawa Kenji was a poet, a novelist, and an amateur astronomer, born 1896. Famous for other works like Sero Hiki no Gooshu, Kaze no Matasaburou, his work had a significant impact on Japanese literature.]
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2. Astroboy, TV anime, broadcasted 1963~1966
Story by Tezuka Osamu. Japan's first continuous TV cartoon series.
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3. Ironman #28 / Gigantor, TV anime, broadcasted 1963~1967
Said to be the origin of Japanese giant robot anime. Story by Yokoyama Mitsuteru
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4. Theatrical release anime. released 1962 in Japan
Walt Disney's representative work. Features Pongo, a Dalmatian, and 15 other pups. A masterpiece of animal anime.
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5. TV anime, broadcasted 1966~1967
Story by Akatsuka Fujio. A romping comedy anime featuring the antics of a sextuplet of brothers.
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6. TV anime, broadcasted 1963~1964
Story by Kuwata Jirou and Hirai Kazumasa. SF action anime. Eightman battles enemies to protect peace.
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Tokusatsu literally means "special filming" or "special effects." The term refers to the genre of live-action shows that uses special effects and are science fiction and fantasy based. (ie. The Godzilla series) The category includes the sentai shows, such as the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Jyuu Rangers). BACK