Favorite Game Creator’s: Akira Toriyama (鳥山明)

Akira Toriyama art from Dragon Quest VIII

I thought that it would be fun from time to time to write-up a feature on my favorite game creator’s as something of a small token of my appreciation for the sheer joy they’ve brought fans for so long through their talented efforts. I don’t want to get too technical with the idea, just wanted to briefly introduce their work for those that may not be as familiar with it and include a short commentary on why they became my own favorites. Doing so usually helps me to put into words something that I don’t get to express all that often.

I thought it fitting then (given the blogs hefty DQ theme) that I should start with Akira Toriyama, best known for his artistic contributions to Square-Enix’ Dragon Quest series, Chrono Trigger and, of course, a little manga/anime property known as Dragon Ball. But first, by means of confession, I should probably state that I wasn’t always as impressed with Toriyama’s work as I am now. When I was first being introduced to his art style I thought it was a little too angular, blocky, and perhaps too unrepresentative of the human body. But as I began to look back at my perceptions a number of years ago I noticed that my opinion had been formed by attempts to imitate his style in animation than it really was his own work. In contrast to some of the choppier Dragon Ball animation I had been exposed to, Toriyama’s many contributions to Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger were stunning and when I finally got my hands on some of his earlier manga work, including the original Dragon Ball series, I quickly found that his line work was far more in keeping with the more organic DQ art and that it was extremely creative, very whimsical, and always fun to look at.

Akira Toriyama’s art is chock full of that sense of “wonder” I am after in my entertainment. I love the “cartoony” style and while one might be tempted to leave it at that, it would be an injustice not to mention how his simple style is deceptively sophisticated. His sense of design is impeccable and how he is able to keep his images as clean, with as much detail (seriously, take a moment to notice just how detailed something like the clothing is, with functioning belts and straps, imaginative ornamentation, and the overall appearance that they’re actually wearing unique pieces of gear that aren’t painted on). His worlds and characters come to life in a way that few others can and whether its on a distant mountain pass, dry desert, or a Quester’s Rest all of his worlds and locales are rich in detail and become places I want to visit as often as possible.

For these reasons, and more, Akira Toriyama is my favorite game creator.

  • Favorite Toriyama created character: Loto (Dragon Quest/Warrior)
  • Favorite Game based on Toriyama’s artwork: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)
  • Most recent Toriyama-related game played: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS; 150+ hours so far)

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