In 1999 Akira Toriyama illustrated a tribute to Stars Wars to commemorate the premiere of a new episode in his favorite series.
His comments in the illustration have never been translated, until now.
STAR WARS Episode 1
Whew! It feels like forever but finally, Star Wars is back!!
To say nothing of the story, the atmosphere of the world and the designs are wonderful. I am one of those who have been bitten by the bug and I am bursting with excitement.
It’s been a loooooooooooooong wait for the 4th movie.
I’m really excited!
Personally, I don’t have much interest in the people in this series, so Darth Vader appearing as a child doesn’t do much for me, (I’m only looking forward to Ewan McGregor). But watching the trailer, the mecha, robots, aliens and such, all have really great designs. The SFX also look considerably impressive.
It’s going to be really fantastic! I can’t wait!
– Toriyama Akira Sensei
The Full Story
The year is 1999 and everyone and their dog are excited to see the new Star Wars movie. It’s been the lifeblood of science fiction nerds since Return of The Jedi concluded in 1983.
Toriyama’s a huge fan of the Star Wars series. He parodies the films countless times in his manga, such as in Dr. Slump, Mysterious Rain Jack, and even in Dragon Ball.
So when this movie is announced, everyone gets on board the hype train and expects great things.
Fans wonder, ‘Does George Lucas still have the magic touch?’
In honor of the film’s release, Weekly Shōnen Jump asks their authors to draw Star Wars tribute illustrations in their own style.
Toriyama draws his version of the young Anakin Skywalker and a battle droid riding a gun platform.
The illustration is published in Weekly Shōnen Jump #25, with a print date of May 31, 1999, but an official release date of May 18, 1999.
Then Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace premieres on May 19, 1999 in the United States. And the rest is history.
Star Wars in Dragon Ball
You may not have known that Akira Toriyama is a Star Wars fan.
Here are some examples of where Star Wars appears in or inspired Dragon Ball.
For example, in the Red Ribbon Army arc when Goku goes to West City and visits Buruma, there’s an R2-D2 droid in her room.
The R2-D2 droid is connected to an air car that looks like Luke Skywalker’s X-34 Landspeeder on Tatooine.
Behind them is the Imperial Shuttle used for transporting the Emperor.
Here’s Luke Skywalkers X-34 Landspeeder compared to Yajirobe’s air car.
In Dragon Ball, Yajirobe takes Goku to Karin-to. Here’s a comparison between the Bespin Cloud City in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and the Karin-to.
Here’s Luke Skywalker in a healing chamber recovering from his wounds, and Goku in Dragon Ball Z doing the same thing.
The anime staff in GT continue to use Star Wars for inspiration.
Here’s Han Solo in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi frozen in carbonite, and Trunks in GT frozen in metal.
Think Toriyama likes Star Wars much?
The Translation Process
I can read Japanese, but I’m not skilled enough to translate full paragraphs like this.
So to get around that I hired a guy on fiverr.com to do it for $5.
Then I cleaned it up a bit.
There are other interviews by Toriyama that still need to be translated.
Do you want more articles like this?
It’s fun seeing how excited Toriyama is to see the movie.
One of his favorite aspects of the Star Wars series are the designs of the vehicles, and it’s interesting that he cares more about the new designs than he does the story and characters.
As a designer and lover of plastic models, that makes sense, though I find his apathy toward the plot revealing of how his mind works in general. It’s all about the mecha.
And of course we all know how the movie itself turned out.
But even so, it’s fun to see this illustration of Anakin and the droid in Toriyama’s signature style.
If the movie looked like this, it might have almost been good.