The Dragon Ball franchise is one of the most successful ever, with millions of fans around the world. Anyone who is interested in Dragon Ball, especially the art aspect, will find a feast for the eyes in Dragon Ball: A Visual History.
The book includes a foldout poster with Goku and Gohan on a Harley with legs (which turns out to be creator Akira Toriyama’s favorite image). Toriyama offers a short and self-deprecating opening, and then the book starts in 1984, when Dragon Ball debuted. From there it goes year-to-year, showing (mostly) full-color images, though there are some black and white as well. There are title pages, calendar art, poster images, issue covers, etc. The art moves through the years all the way up to 2013 and the movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods. Then we have original cover collections for the graphic novels, original cover collections for the updated editions, portrait collections and original cover collections for the “perfect edition.”
This is followed by a few pages of interesting, illuminating and sometimes amusing interviews with Akira Toriyama. In the interviews he is asked about his art techniques (including what he uses for color ink, how his style has evolved, and references he uses while drawing action sequences). We also get to know more about his personality. Additionally, Toriyama has some comments in other parts of the book, such as his involvement in Dragon Ball movies. However, most of the book is all about art with very little writing.
Dragon Ball: A Visual History is pretty much for Dragon Ball fans exclusively, though artists and art students might also get some use from it, especially Toriyama’s comments. But if you’re wanting to get yourself a Dragon Ball art book, this is a pretty impressive one. It comes out to just under 250 pages and is even kept in a box that includes a bit more art on the inside.
Story & Art: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: VIZ Media
Danica Davidson, along with Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya, is the author of Manga Art for Intermediates. In addition to showing how to draw manga character types in detail, the book describes how professional Japanese manga creators work, including common techniques and what drawing utensils they use.