Akira Toriyama did an exceptionally fine job while creating the masterpiece manga and anime series Dragon Ball, which is also regarded as one of his best works to date. Although compiled from a lot of different ideas taken from martial arts films and loosely adapted from the famous Chinese novel Journey to the West, Toriyama added some of his own remarkable personal touches to make the story a truly unique work of art.
These personal touches also include him trailing off the regular tracks expected of the protagonists to give a whole new vibe, like how it took extraordinarily long for Goku to finally win the Tenka’ichi Budōkai championship. But Akira Toriyama has an exceptional reasoning behind that as well, even though a rather ‘perverse’ one.
Akira Toriyama Made Dragon Ball An Immense Success With The Tenka’ichi Budōkai
When Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball manga series initially took off, it received a thoroughly positive response from the audience. Yet even then it didn’t achieve the immaculate success that it is renowned for today. Sharing his experience of this realization, Toriyama said in an interview with Kanzenshuu:
“Up until the Tenka’ichi Budōkai began, the series hadn’t been all that popular. That’s what Torishima-san had told me. ‘Your protagonist is rather plain. That’s why it’s not popular,’ he said. Personally, since I was doing a fighting story for this series, I had intentionally made the protagonist’s clothing excessively plain. So this annoyed me, but then I figured it out. ‘Well, let’s increase its popularity,’ I thought.”
For this, he took inspiration from his previous manga series Dr. Slump, and decided to turn the entire story plot into a tournament format. This led to the inclusion of Tenka’ichi Budōkai in Goku’s manga series.
“When I had designed Goku’s character, the words that best represented him were ‘I want to become strong.’ So I thought I’d bring that to the front. Even during ‘Dr. Slump’, the tournament-like events such as the Penguin Village Gran Prix or the Mini-Event had been amazingly popular. So I’d simply make the story into a tournament format. From there the Tenka’ichi Budōkai was born. I temporarily withdrew the other characters besides Goku, brought back Kame-Sen’nin, and added Kuririn as a new character. From there it got popular before I knew it.”
As expected, a remarkable part of its popularity was earned all thanks to the Tenka’ichi Budōkai championship, but that too was mostly because Goku didn’t end up winning the competition on his first try, which confused the readers because everyone expected him to win.
Akira Toriyama Didn’t Let Goku Win The Tenka’ichi Budōkai Championship On First Try
Jumping on to one of the most curious parts of the entire series, Akira Toriyama then discussed how and why Goku didn’t win the Tenka’ichi Budōkai championship in one go in the interview with Kanzenshuu. He said:
“It took him until his third try to finally win. Everyone around me was saying ‘I’m sure Goku will win in the end.’”
Although it was his intention right from the beginning to make Goku win, he just couldn’t go ahead with the plan because he didn’t want his audience to see the story as an easily predictable one. Wanting to add a twist to it, he didn’t let Goku win the Tenka’ichi Budōkai Championship on the first try like other regular protagonists.
“Even though I had wanted him to win, but since I’m perverse, when they said that to me I went ‘Like I’d let him win!’ [laughs]”
As it turns out, Akira Toriyama‘s plan to make the series more and more interesting and less and less predictable certainly paid off for Dragon Ball has been creating history ever since, and will most probably continue to do so until the end of time.