Akira Toriyama, one of the all-time great cartoonists, has passed away. He died on March 1st of an acute subdural hematoma at age 68. The news broke on the official Dragon Ball twitter account. 

His family marked his passing in private and asks for continued privacy. 

Toriyama’s career began with the manga Dr. Slump, but he burst into the consciousness of the world with Dragon Ball, which in 1984 and ran in Weekly Shonen Jump. Running until 1995, it went on to become one of the best selling manga of all time, selling more than 159 million copies, as well as one of the best known anime series of all time. 

Rarely giving interviews or making public appearances, Toriyama was nonetheless one of the world’s best known cartoonists, constantly working and recently collaborating on the Dragon Ball Daima anime. He also did character designs for the video games Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, and Blue Dragon.


While an absolute master at all aspects of storytelling, it was perhaps his character designs that had the greatest impact. Dragon Ball hero Goku was an instantly recognizable character even before manga and anime swept the world. Toriyama’s style has influenced countless mangaka and comics, translating seamlessly into animation, games, and collectibles. To name just a few examples, One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda and Naruto’s creator Masashi Kishimoto have both expressed Toriyama’s influence on their own work. 

Toriyama is truly a legendary artist whose influence is ubiquitous and universal. As David Brothers wrote on Comics Alliance, “Like Osamu Tezuka and Jack Kirby before him, Toriyama created a story with his own two hands that seeped deep into the hearts of his readers, creating a love for both the cast and the medium at the same time.”

While this sad news is just breaking, outpourings of gratitude for Toriyama’s work are already appearing everywhere. We’ll have more coverage in the days to come. 

Rest in power, Toriyama-sensei. 

Dragon Ball Z (VIZBIG Edition), Vol. 1 | Book by Akira Toriyama | Official  Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster


Excellent Visual Storytelling in Comics | The Amazing Comic Book Reviews