goodnight, king

goodnight, king
The last page of the last chapter of Dragon Ball (1995)

By now you've probably heard that Akira Toriyama is dead. If you haven't, well, I'm sorry that this is how you're finding out. But the fact remains: on March 1st, at 68, the most famous manga artist of his generation left this world.

A lot of people are taking the news pretty hard. Because the work that Toriyama created — the work that made him a household name across the entire planet — was enduring. The characters, their relationships, their sense of humor about the whole thing. He was the force behind Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump, and the character designer behind Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger.


♬ original sound - Christian Divyne

Doing just one of those things would be enough for anyone to hang your metaphorical jersey up from the rafters; it is mind-boggling to think the same person did all of those things, had that much of an influence on the ways and culture of the world.

Dragon Ball was a large part of my childhood. Watching some of the early animated episodes on VHS back in the day opened my eyes to a whole new world; it also probably made me into the weeb I am today. Of course, this isn't a unique story: millions and millions of people feel the same way, had the same kind of experience.

I guess what I'm actually interested in talking about is just that: influence. To me, it feels like a second-order effect of artistic bravery. It takes courage to put creative work into the world, a lot of it. Because art is fundamentally about articulating the very particular way you see the world: its ways, its means, the secrets known only to you. It also embodies a longing to connect with other people, their ways and means and secrets — their humanities, in other words. Influence happens at that juncture, at the border where one mind meets another and lets it in. Influence is incorporating another person's subjectivity into your own; it is intimate, it is tough, and it is vital.

Toriyama was influential, full stop. He put his works into the world, and inspired generations of people — influenced them, I mean. My view of the world has a part of him in it. It's not something I take lightly.

RIP to one of the greatest to ever do it.


things i'm consuming:

When the Clock Broke, John Ganz

Chrono Trigger (yes, I'm starting a replay, RIP king)