Best 'Dragon Ball' Drawings by Top Manga Artists Part 2
Featuring the illustrators of ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!,’ ‘One Piece,’ ‘Bleach’ and more.
Dragon Ball is the most successful and profitable anime franchise in the world. Funimation revealed in 2014 that the Dragon Ball franchise sold over 25 million DVDs & Blu-rays in the US alone. In addition, Over $5 billion in Dragon Ball merchandise has been sold worldwide. It didn’t end there. With the popularity of Dragon Ball Super, the films Battle of Gods and Resurrection ‘F’ and the success of Dragon Ball FighterZ, the figures are currently even higher. According to Toei, Dragon Ball sales have quadrupled since 2015 earning $86.7 million USD in 2017.
Last week, we highlighted 24 Dragon Ball renderings drawn by some of the top manga and comic book artists in the world. Included in the roundup were Naruto‘s Masashi Kishimoto, One Punch Man‘s Yusuke Murata, Death Note‘s Takeshi Obata, My Hero Academia‘s Kōhei Horikoshi, Marvel/DC/Images Comics’ Jim Lee and many more. Now, we are returning with the second installment of tributes to Akira Toriyama’s beloved mega-franchise. Featured on this list are the creators of successful series like Yu-Gi-Oh!, One Piece, Bleach, Gin Tama, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Slam Dunk, Hellsing, Rurouni Kenshin and others. A majority of these artists have credited Dragon Ball as one of their major inspirations — many even decided to become a mangaka because of Toriyama’s work.
Check out part two of the best Dragon Ball tributes below and make sure to revisit part one.
Notable work: Yu-Gi-Oh!
Kazuki Takahashi is a manga artist and game creator best known for creating Yu-Gi-Oh! Even though he started as a manga artist in 1982, he didn’t find success until 1996 when he created the series. In an interview with Shonen Jump, Takahashi said that his favorite manga from other authors included Akira, Hirohiko Araki’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and of course, Dragon Ball. In addition, he also enjoys reading American comics – Hellboy is his favorite comic book character. He drew Goku and Shenron for his tribute to Dragon Ball.
Notable work: One Piece, Wanted!
Eiichiro Oda is a manga artist, screenwriter and film producer who is known for One Piece, the best-selling manga series of all time — it has 430 million copies in circulation worldwide. Oda decided to be a manga artist at age four in order to avoid getting a real job and he cites Akira Toriyama and Dragon Ball as his biggest-ever influence. Over the years, he has collaborated with Toriyama several times on One Piece and Dragon Ball crossovers. Oda drew Yamcha doing his signature Wolf Fang Fist move for his tribute to Dragon Ball.
Notable work: Bleach, Zombiepowder
Tite Kubo, also known as Kubo Taito, is a manga artist best known for his manga series Bleach which has currently sold over 120 million copies. Kubo initially expected the series’ serialization to run for no longer than five years. The original story concept was initially rejected after it was submitted to Weekly Shōnen Jump. Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama, however, saw potential in it and wrote Kubo a letter of encouragement. Kubo stated in an interview that Dragon Ball taught him that all villains must be, without exception, “strong, scary and cool.” He also says that to this day, no fight scene has shocked him more than Future Trunks’ first fight with Frieza. Kubo illustrated General Tao, Vegeta, Piccolo and more in his tributes.
Notable work: Gin Tama
Hideaki Sorachi is a manga artist known for his work Gin Tama which has sold 50 million units in Japan as of 2016. Sorachi became interested in manga during his childhood and in fourth grade. He showed his work to his father who laughed at him. After that, he stopped his dream of being a manga artist but after graduating from college, he couldn’t find a job and began drawing manga to make money. Sorachi sketched Bardock for his tribute to Dragon Ball.
Notable work: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Hirohiko Araki, formerly known as Toshiyuki Araki, is a manga artist best known for his long-running series JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, as well as Cool Shock B.T., Baoh and The Gorgeous Irene. To date, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has sold over 100 million copies in Japan alone. The anime is known for its references to Western rock music and Italy, both of which Araki is a fan of. Araki drew a young Goku for his tribute to Dragon Ball.
Notable work: Slam Dunk, Vagabond, Real
Takehiko Inoue is a manga artist best known for the basketball series Slam Dunk, one of the best-selling manga series ever, and the samurai-themed manga Vagabond. Being a huge fan of basketball, many of his works are about the sport. Slam Dunk is sold in North America through Viz Media and in 2012, Inoue became the first recipient of the Cultural Prize at the Asia Cosmopolitan Awards. Inoue drew a bare-bottomed Goku for his tribute to Dragon Ball.
Notable work: Hellsing, Drifters
Kouta Hirano is most famous for his manga series Hellsing, as well as Drifters. Hirano stated in an interview that he learned how to be a manga artist from reading Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama and Akira Sakuma’s collaborative work Hetappi Manga Kenkyūjo. He began his career as an assistant for a manga artist and described himself to be a “horrible” and “lazy” assistant. He later became a hentai manga artist and also made relatively unknown manga like Angel Dust, Coyote, Gun Mania and Hi-Tension. He eventually found success with Hellsing. He drew a flustered Master Roshi for his Dragon Ball tribute.
Notable work: Rurouni Kenshin, Buso Renkin
Nobuhiro Watsuki is a Japanese mangaka best known for his samurai-themed series Rurouni Kenshin. The series is one of the most popular manga of all time, with over 70 million copies in circulation. He has since created three more series, Gun Blaze West, Buso Renkin, and the horror manga Embalming -The Another Tale of Frankenstein-. Watsuki has mentored several notable manga artists, including One Piece‘s Eiichiro Oda, Shaman King‘s Hiroyuki Takei and Mr. Fullswing‘s Shinya Suzuki. Watsuki drew a Kamehameha-wave-charging Goku for his Dragon Ball tribute.
Notable work: Angel Legend, Claymore
Norihiro Yagi is a manga writer and artist who is known for his work Angel Legend and Claymore. He started making manga in 1990 and won the 32nd Akatsuka Award for his very first series, Undeadman, which appeared in Monthly Shōnen Jump. His first serialized manga was his comedy-genre Angel Densetsu, which appeared in Monthly Shōnen Jump from 1992 to 2000. Claymore had run in the same magazine between 2001 and 2014. Viz Media brought the manga to the North American market and released all 27 volumes in English. He drew Goku and Piccolo in his Dragon Ball tribute.
Notable work: Letter Bee
Hiroyuki Asada is a mangaka best known for his fantasy series Letter Bee. All of Asada’s manga was serialized in the monthly shōnen anthology Monthly Shōnen Jump, has since been discontinued and is replaced by Jump Square. Hiroyuki Asada drew a motorcycle-riding Goku for his Dragon Ball tribute.
Notable work: Normandy Secret Club, Granada, Mysterious Murasame-kun
Mikio Itou is a manga writer for the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. He started off as an assistant for writer Nobuhiro Watsuki alongside One Piece writer Eiichiro Oda. His three most notable works include Normandy Secret Club, Granada -Ultimate Science Explorers- and Mysterious Murasame-kun. He drew a young Goku and Krillin in his tribute to Dragon Ball.
Notable work: Pretty Face, M×0, Kagami no Kuni no Harisugawa
Yasuhiro Kanō is a Japanese manga artist best known for Pretty Face, M×0 and Kagami no Kuni no Harisugaw. His work Black City, won Weekly Shonen Jump‘s Hop Step Award for new artists. Pretty Face and Mx0 both appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump. He drew a collage of characters in his tribute.
Notable work: Dragon Drive
Ken’ichi Sakura is a manga artist best known for his series Dragon Drive. He also worked on comedy/school life series Houkago no Ouji-sama and Kotokuri. Sakura illustrated members of the Red Ribbon Army in his tribute.
Notable work: Rising Impact, Ultra Red
Nakaba Suzuki is a manga artist best known for his work Rising Impact and Ultra Red. Suzuki has been published in Weekly Shōnen Jump, Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday and Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine. In an interview, Nakaba revealed that the first manga series he ever bought was Dr. Slump by Akira Toriyama. Growing up, he was a fan of Kinnikuman, Hokuto no Ken and Dragon Ball. He illustrated Super Saiyan Goku in battle with Frieza in his tribute.
Notable work: Love Wan!
Ryō Azuki is a mangaka best known for his series Love Wan!. The plot follows a girl who loves dogs and is one day given a magic wand to turn people into dogs. Azuki illustrated a perverted Master Roshi shamelessly putting his hands on a bunny costume-wearing Bulma for his Dragon Ball tribute.