“The series wasn’t popular” – Akira Toriyama saved Dragon Ball with a bow

“The Series Wasn’t Popular” – Akira Toriyama Saved Dragon Ball With A Bow Dragon Ball Goku 1 1.Webp

Dragon Ball, today a giant among anime and manga, did not have an easy start. Its creator, Akira Toriyama, faced significant challenges in the initial phase. The series gained momentum and popularity with the Tenkaichi Budokai arc, known in English-speaking countries as the World Martial Arts Tournament. This event was a turning point, laying the foundation for the series’ future developments.

Initially, Dragon Ball differed greatly from its sequel, Dragon Ball Z. The narrative revolved around young Goku, with inspiration from the classic story “Journey to the West”. The tone was predominantly comedic, with an emphasis on Goku’s physical humor and innocence. This approach, however, did not appeal to audiences in the way Toriyama and his editors had hoped.

The Tipping Point: World Martial Arts Tournament

In a 1995 interview, translated by the website Kanzenshuu, Toriyama revealed that Dragon Ball did not achieve immediate popularity. His editor criticized the protagonist’s simplicity, but this simplicity was intentional. Remembering the success of the competition-based arcs in his previous work, “Dr. Slump”, Toriyama decided to incorporate a tournament into Dragon Ball, resulting in the Tenkaichi Budokai. This arc introduced characters like Krillin and rescuing Master Roshi.

This tournament marked a significant change in the direction of the series. The emphasis shifted from comedy to action and fights, setting the stage for the Dragon Ball Z era. Humor, once predominant, became secondary in comparison to the dramatic battles.

Impact and Legacy

“The Series Wasn’t Popular” – Akira Toriyama Saved Dragon Ball With A Bow 1706895609 171 The Series Wasnt Popular – Akira Toriyama Saved Dragon Ball.webp

The Tenkaichi Budokai not only saved Dragon Ball, but also profoundly influenced the shonen genre. It has become difficult to imagine the series without these tournaments, which have been instrumental in its lasting success. This arc also inspired similar trends in other manga series, reflecting Toriyama’s influence on younger manga artists.

Tenkaichi Budokai was not only revolutionary for Dragon Ball, but also for the shonen genre as a whole, laying a foundation that other great works would continue to build on. The success of this arc demonstrated the importance of evolving and adapting a series to meet audience expectations and interests, a legacy that continues to influence the world of anime and manga.

The Dragon Ball anime is available in full on Crunchyroll.

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