Akira Toriyama’s Star Wars Tribute

akira toriyama star wars tribute

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.

The Translation

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

weekly shonen jump number 25 1999

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.

dragon ball star wars vehicles goku bulma

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.

star wars land speeder dragon ball yajirobe 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.

bespin cloud city star wars karinto dragon ball

Here’s Luke Skywalker in a healing chamber recovering from his wounds, and Goku in Dragon Ball Z doing the same thing.

luke skywalker son goku healing chamber star wars dragon ball z

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.

star wars han solo carbonite trunks dbgt 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.

Afterward, SaiyaJedi from Kanzenshuu.com made some corrections. (Thank you!)

There are other interviews by Toriyama that still need to be translated.

Do you want more articles like this?

My Thoughts

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.


Akira Toriyama’s Star Wars Tribute Illustration

Weekly Shonen Jump Number 25, 1999 Cover Image

11 responses to “Akira Toriyama’s Star Wars Tribute”

  1. Rex says:

    Thanks this was quite interesting. :) I’m sure he was probably disappointed with the sequel- everybody talks about how horrible the Prequels were (mainly because of what it was they had to live up to), but it was really the 2nd one that was the one that was really bad.

  2. Marianne says:

    It’s interesting to know that Akira Toriyama draws inspiration from thhese movies. His work reflected so much gadgets and technology from the movie. Was Super Saiyan Goku was also adapted from the protagonist Jedi? You can even compare the two starting from their personalities up to their values.

    • DerekPadula says:

      Yeah, it is interesting for sure. Toriyama also borrows a lot of gadgets and scenarios from James Bond films. Most of the Red Ribbon Army arc is inspired by Bond movies.

      I’m not sure I see the parallels between SSJ Goku and the Jedi. What types of similarities are you referring to?

      • Marianne says:

        Hi Derek,

        Heroism is definitely a number one trait: Goku’s strength to defend the foes and Jedi’s interest to sought for peace, equality, and justice in the Galactic Republic (usually against their mortal enemies). That’s one obvious trait I can point out when comparing the two. Also, I pointed it out because of the terms “Gokuism” and “Jediism” I read somewhere in your blog (the title’s Gokuism: The Church of Goku)


        • DerekPadula says:

          Ah, I see what you mean.

          Yeah, there are some universal characteristics of hero’s among the two, and I think they both speak to our humanity in that way. They make us want to believe that we can be the hero in our own lives. Fans across the world view both of these characters as ideals to live up to.

  3. Nightphoenix says:

    Good observation. The regeneration “healing” chamber also reminded me of the Weapon X’s Experiment X’s chamber that redesigned Wolverine, Sabretooth, Deadpool, and Leech

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