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How Jackie Chan and late ‘Dragon Ball’ creator Akira Toriyama inspired each other

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“Dragon Ball,” which will mark its 40th anniversary later this year, traces its roots back to the inspiration of the iconic action star Jackie Chan.

The kung-fu manga: In a 1995 interview with Japan's Bird Land Press, manga artist Akira Toriyama expressed his admiration for Jackie Chan’s movies, particularly citing the film series “Drunken Master” as his favorite. When Toriyama’s successful manga series “Dr. Slump” was completed in 1984, his editor at the time suggested he create a “kung-fu shonen manga,” eventually leading him to develop the “Dragon Boy” one-shot, which served as a prototype for “Dragon Ball.”

Chan’s influence on Toriyama: Chan's dynamic, death-defying stunts in films like “Dragon Fist” and “Dragon Lord” served as a crucial influence on Toriyama, shaping his series’ signature kung-fu essence. Toriyama also paid playful homage to the martial arts master through the character Jackie Chun, an alter ego of Master Roshi. Toriyama said that the action star's impact on “Dragon Ball” underscores both the series’ inception and its subsequent success.

Toriyama’s influence on Chan: As for Chan, he also confessed to drawing inspiration from Toriyama’s “Dr. Slump” for his films. In fact, in his 1985 film “My Lucky Stars,” Chan wears the attire of the series’ protagonist, Arale Norimaki, in a notable scene. This reciprocal exchange of creative inspiration shows the mutual admiration between Toriyama and Chan, highlighting the interconnectedness across different mediums and cultures.

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When their paths crossed: Chan and Toriyama decided to meet in Japan while the martial artist was there to film the aforementioned scene in “My Lucky Stars.” Toriyama published details and photos of the serendipitous occasion in the December 1986 issue of Bird Land Press.

Chan as Goku: In 2013, Toriyama reportedly told Fuji TV that he wanted a younger Chan to play Goku in real life. The first official live-action adaptation of the franchise came in 2009's "Dragon Ball Evolution," which was received poorly by critics and fans alike. Chan, on the other hand, expressed his desire to play the character as early as 1995 in a Shenlong Times interview in "Dragon Ball Daizenshuu 1: Complete Illustrations."

Chan’s farewell: Toriyama, who was born in 1955 in Nagoya, died at the age of 68 on March 1 from acute subdural hematoma, which involves bleeding near the brain after a head injury. After the news was announced, Chan shared his final goodbye to the creator on Weibo.

Trending on NextShark: How Jackie Chan and late ‘Dragon Ball’ creator Akira Toriyama inspired each other

“Akira Toriyama-sensei, thank you for creating so many classic works, they will last forever. Farewell,” Chan wrote along with a photo of the two of them.

Far-reaching influence: Toriyama's far-reaching influence is also evident in the expressions of grief from fans, fellow manga creators Masashi Kishimoto (“Naruto“) and Eiichiro Oda (“One Piece“) and China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning, who extended condolences and recognized the creator’s renowned status and the popularity of his work in China. Toriyama’s legacy lives on through “Dragon Ball,” which continues to inspire generations of fans worldwide.

 

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