Dragon Ball: Japanese manga author Akira Toriyama dies

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Dragon Ball is a part of many Japanese anime fans' childhoods

The creator of the Dragon Ball series, one of the most influential and best-selling Japanese comics of all time, has died at the age of 68.

Akira Toriyama has suffered an acute subdural hematoma, a type of bleeding near the brain, his studio said Friday.

Dragon Ball is hugely popular around the world, and the comic series has also spawned anime and film versions.

Fans praised Mr. Toriyama for creating characters that became part of their childhood.

The Dragon Ball comic series debuted in 1984. It follows a boy named Son Goku on his quest to collect magical dragon balls to defend Earth against alien humanoids called Saiyans.

Mr. Toriyama had unfinished business at the time of his death.

He died on March 1 and only his family and a very few friends attended his funeral, according to a statement from the Dragon Ball website.

“He will have a lot of things to achieve. However, he has left many manga titles and artwork to this world,” his studio said.

“We hope that Akira Toriyama's unique creative world will remain loved by everyone for a long time to come,” she added.

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Akira Toriyama in a photo taken in 1984

Fans expressed their sympathy on social media.

“Thank you for creating a manga that represents my youth. Rest in peace. Thank you for your hard work,” read a post on X, which immediately received 500 likes.

“It's too soon, it's very sad,” another Japanese user wrote to X.

“His legacy will live on forever. Thank you for creating the most iconic anime character of all time Akira,” another user wrote.

Born in Nagoya, Japan, in 1955, Mr. Toriyama entered the world of comic books in the early 1980s with Dr. Slump, which told the story of the young robot girl Arale and her scientist creator.

But Dragon Ball was his most famous work. For many fans, Son Goku's journey from a child stumbling in his martial arts training to a high-flying hero who can shoot electric bolts from his hands reflects their struggle against self-doubt as they progress into adulthood.

Dragon Ball has inspired fan fiction writers and cosplayers who style their hair like the characters' sharp, spiky locks.

The animated version has been dubbed into many languages ​​and Dragon Ball characters are staples in toy stores from Japan to China and Southeast Asia.

In a 2013 interview with Japanese newspaper Asahi, Toriyama said he had “no idea” why Dragon Ball became so popular around the world.

He described the series as a miracle “since it helped someone like me who has difficult and twisted personalities to do a decent job and gain acceptance from society.”

He said, according to Agence France-Presse: “When I was drawing the series, all I wanted to achieve was to please the boys in Japan.”

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