Akira Toriyama: Late manga pioneer's seven greatest works beyond Dragon Ball

The beloved author has died aged 68, but his legacy extends far beyond his most famous creation

Akira Toriyama's studio announced his death on Friday. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball, has died aged 68.

The news was announced on Friday by his studio, citing a type of bleed near the brain as the cause.

While the manga series, first launched in 1984, was his best-known creation, his prolific work on other series helped shape the industry for ever.

Here are seven of his other comics, games and stories that continue to have an influence.

Dr Slump (1980)

Toriyama's breakthrough manga is a charming and fantastical comedy that showcases his stunning art and delightful sense of humour. Following a young robot who lives in a small village with an array of anthropomorphic animals and the man who built her. This fish-out-of-water story established much of the style and vibe that fans would come to love about Dragon Ball.

Dragon Quest (1986)

Toriyama wasn't solely a comics mastermind, he also made a huge impact on the games industry. His first foray into gaming came with Dragon Quest, which would launch a global franchise still going strong today.

His unique eye for character design and creature work was put to great use as he crafted both the human and monster designs as well as the famed box art. Following the hero Roto, the game leaned into the genres that defined Toriyama's career.

Chrono Trigger (1995)

Almost a decade later, Toriyama would play a part in creating another celebrated franchise when he teamed up with Final Fantasy's Hironobu Sakaguchi and Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii. This time-travelling adventure RPG became a hit on the Super Nintendo and is still regarded as one of the most important and influential games of its day.

Kajika (1998)

Putting his unique spin on a redemption story, Toriyama introduced readers to the titular young child who was born evil and, after committing a truly terrible act, has to spend the rest of his life becoming good. True to form given it's a Toriyama story, it's funny, sweet and steeped in intricate and fantastical lore. This is an easy read too as it's only a single volume.

Sand Land (2000)

Another single-volume entry into Toriyama's canon, this Mad Max-style story is set in a world where water is scarce and survivors battle harsh conditions. As a ragtag group head into the desert, they're unexpectedly forced into a resistance against their cruel king. Sand Land was recently adapted as a video game and an anime original video animation.

Blue Dragon (2007)

More than 20 years after Dragon Quest, Toriyama returned to gaming with this Japanese role-playing game. Blue Dragon brought a more traditional turn-based play style found in classic Japanese role-playing games to the Xbox 360. While the game wasn't a huge success on release, it's since garnered quite a following and inspired two seasons of an anime of the same name with awesome character designs by Toriyama.

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman (2013)

Toriyama excelled at crafting found family tales and he brought that skill to this short-lived series. It's an unexpected buddy comedy about a retired scientist whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of a futuristic alien policeman. While this is technically a prequel to the Dragon Ball series and takes place in the same world, it's different enough to stand-alone as its own creation.

Updated: March 08, 2024, 8:54 AM