While Dragon ball fans can endlessly debate the comparative powers of Goku and Vegeta, a “fact” agreed upon by most of the fanbase that its creator, Akira Toriyama, never wanted the series to last this long and planned to end it after the Frieza story. However, this popular theory is actually far from the truth and Dragon Ball’s first editor has finally debunked it.
In the new book Dr. Mashirito’s Strongest Manga Techniques, Kazuhiko Torishima, the first editor to collaborate with Toriyama in developing, launching, and guiding Dragon Ball, details many of his conversations. with legendary mangaka for many years. Some of these conversations include discussions about Dragon Ball’s ending. As Torishima recalls, at some point during his time as editor, fans started spreading the idea that Toriyama had always planned to end the series after the Freiza story but was denied by the editor (Torishima). or forced by the publisher (Shueisha), to continue the series because it had become so popular. However, that is simply not true.
Toriyama never planned too far ahead for Dragon Ball
Knowing Toriyama as well as he does, the rumors of ending the series after the Frieza story seem to have confused Torishima. As he recalls, from the early days of planning the Dragon Ball series, Toriyama never had a fixed, long-term idea of how the story would play out. This point was corroborated by Toriyama, who in a 1995 interview said: “I never thought of it … and I only really prepared the storyboards for three chapters.” So the idea that he knew from the beginning that he would end the comic after the Frieza story is incorrect. The real truth, as Torishima recalls, was that Toriyama understood that if the series continued after the Frieza arc, he would have to come up with a more powerful “bad guy.” Believing that he was not up to the task, Toriyama thought it best to end the series there, but he was clearly dissuaded.
Torishima admitted that Toriyama never expected the series to last long, a fact Toriyama reiterated in a 1995 interview when he said, “I thought it would probably end in about a year.” However, as the series grew in popularity, it became increasingly difficult to stop it, especially considering the growing fan base, the expectations of editors, the demands of publishers and most importantly, Toriyama’s own wishes. So while Toriyama never planned too far ahead, Dragon Ball’s ever-expanding success was always the driving force to keep going.
Dragon Ball has grown far beyond its original goals and fan base and has become a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. However, if publishers and editors had not pushed Toriyama, Dragon Ball would have had a much shorter run and a much smaller chance of becoming popular and influential. However, thanks to Torishima’s memoir, those rumors can finally be put to rest Akira Toriyama originally intended to end Dragon ball after the Frieza story.
Source: Kazenshuu, Shenlong Times #2