He was the author of the first globally successful manga, Dragon Ball. Akira Toriyama has largely contributed to the international triumph of Japanese comics. The mangaka died at the age of 68 from a subdural hematoma, his publishing house and studio announced on Friday March 8. Available in anime, film or video games, its main saga has accompanied entire generations of authors who grew up with it.

Also read: Dragon Ball, from a Chinese tale to scandalous panties, four anecdotes about the king of shonen

In Japan, Eiichiro Oda, creator of the manga One Piece and worthy heir of the master, regretted in a press release the “too early” death of Akira Toriyama, which leaves “a great void”. “To think that I will never see him again… I am overwhelmed with sadness,” he added.

Jacques Glénat, who met the master mangaka and published a large part of his works in France, salutes his immense talent. “The naive smile of little Son Goku died with the sudden disappearance of the creator of Dragon Ball, the mangaka Akira Toriyama. In a world of not-so-bad big bad guys, the little monkey-tailed boy and the actors in his little theater have enchanted millions of readers on planet Earth. The story of this long quest in the universe of good and evil, according to Japanese tradition, will remain an eternal manga masterpiece.”

Comments corroborated by Benoît Huot, manga editorial manager at Éditions Glénat: “The first reaction is amazement, he was only 68 years old. Then, we obviously go through a phase of sadness because Akira Toriyama is the author through whom a lot of people discovered manga in France. Dragon Ball was my first manga. I also have a heartfelt thought for the fans. A series like Dragon Ball has had a huge impact on readers who grew up with its many stories. The publisher recalls the immense impact of the series: “Dragon Ball was a real shock. Before his arrival, readers did not know this grammar. This iconic version of the genre conveys strong values ​​such as action, friendship or surpassing oneself and has developed the codes of shônen. His influence is enormous. Akira Toriyama is the first mangaka to have been honored for all of his work in Angoulême.”

Akira Toriyama accompanied a whole generation of authors who measured the full extent of his graphic strength and the depth of his hero’s adventures. Like the great fan of the genre Julien Neel, author of the successful children’s series Lou! : “Akira Toriyama was one of those designers, like Moebius, Zep or Mordillo, who I describe as “tactile”. There is a particular care for volume in his line. Characters, vehicles, objects and scenery: everything feels touchable and inflated with helium. This is why, in my opinion, Toriyama’s subtly absurd universes, where humans and anthropomorphic animals coexist, nevertheless seem strangely tangible. I particularly appreciated the beginning of his work, when it was schooly and light while offering a real call to adventure. I really liked L’apprenti mangaka, a charming little method of funny and uninhibiting comics, aimed at young people but full of valuable advice.

Midam, the author of another children’s success, Kid Paddle, also expressed, not without humor, his pain on Twitter, while saluting the genius of the mangaka. “Pfff… you don’t live long in this profession, always bent double over your drawing table. RIP Genius

Moved, Sylvain Ferret, author with Nevan of the manga L’Ombre de Moon and the gothic trilogy Talion, gives a vibrant tribute to the one who gave him his first great reading excitement: “It’s strange for me. I’m rarely touched by the death of people I don’t know personally, even those whose work I appreciate, but Dragon Ball is my first discovery of emotion in comics. The first time I opened a Dragon Ball I felt my first strong emotions, my first moments of tension, of laughter. And I looked for this emotion in all the works. I reread the 42 volumes of the series approximately every two years. Even today I feel this adolescent nostalgia of the first emotions. All my codes of humor, drawing, lines, expression, everything comes from there. Toriyama excels at humor and character creation. The attachment to heroes, the combativeness, the notion of effort, all this shônen spirit comes from Dragon Ball. It was educational for me. I grew up in a small remote village where telling myself that one day I was going to become a comic book artist was an unattainable dream, but the notions of effort that Dragon Ball conveys touched me and kept me going. »

No less touched, Michaël Sanlaville, who with Balak and Bastien Vivès imagined the French manga Lastman, says nothing else: “It’s an astonishing day for me today. Akira Toriyama was not close to me and yet his death upsets me. He was such a pioneer in a culture that transcends borders. A mentor passed away today. I learned to draw with him, action poses, hands, a whole bunch of details that are precious today. The fabulous universe of Dragon Ball, its richness, its subtlety made a whole generation of authors want to get started. For me it was a detonator. I owe the basics of drawing to him. As a middle school student, I copied the Dragon Ball boxes obsessively. Like Sylvain Ferret, the author of Banana Sioule, another series using the codes of shônen, remembers his first great exaltations of reading as well as the contribution of strong values: “It’s the first time that I was transported, as a child, by a story drawn beyond reason. These characters who express their anger through all this depiction of energy, like balls of fire, this rage which is expressed in an aesthetic which goes beyond the boxes, for many children of my generation it was a real outlet. After a somewhat difficult week at school, we read Dragon Ball and felt like we were letting off steam.”

Tributes which are added to that of the Minister of Culture, Rachida Dati. “For millions of readers who passionately followed the adventures of Son Goku, Awesome Turtle and Son Gohan and who sometimes dreamed of becoming Super Saiyan themselves, he was an immense reference in the art of manga,” he said. – she underlined in a press release.