'Dragon Ball': Here's How Goku's New Design Came Together Under Akira Toriyama

Dragon Ball Super's weekly TV series may be gone, but that does not mean the franchise is done. Toei Animation still has plans in store for Son Goku as it recently created something known as the Dragon Room to brainstorm new projects for the series. And, in a recent interview, the leader of that group opened up about how Akira Toriyama hired the man who gave Goku a makeover for the first Dragon Ball Super film.

Not long ago, Akio Iyoku sat down for an interview that went live on the Dragon Ball Super website. The man is the chief of the Dragon Room, and the creator talked at length about the series' next film which comes out this May, and netizens were quick to turn over translations of the Japanese interview for international fans.

According to translations by Herms98, Toriyama gave the folks at Toei's Dragon Room rules for finding a new designer. The man said those auditioning to be Goku's character designer needed to be sure they could make anyone look cool while standing face forward. As the creator explained, it's easy to make characters look cool in profile, but they can look "awkward" when staring dead ahead.

So, as Iyoku said, it wasn't important at first whether the new designer could draw Goku. They could learn how to do that later if they were good enough and already had their fundamentals on lock.

By the end of the auditions, Toriyama was brought in to check the best applicants' work. He studied how they drew characters and to see if they "properly understood the body inside the martial arts uniform" that Goku wears. And, in the end, it was Toriyama who handpicked [Naohiro] Shintani to be the next character designer for Dragon Ball Super.

If you are not familiar with Shintani, then you are most likely aware of his work. The animator is a fan-favorite at Toei Animation. He's overseen key animation on everything from Toriko to Precure. Still, Shintani is best-known for working on One Piece as he did key animation on One Piece Film Z, the movie which many say is the franchise's best to date.

Are you a fan of Shintani's take on Goku for Dragon Ball Super? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!


Currently, Dragon Ball Super airs its English dub on Adult Swim during the Toonami programming block Saturday evenings at 9:30 p.m. It is also available to stream on FunimationNOW and Amazon Video. The Japanese language release of the series is complete, and available to stream on FunimationNOW, VRV, and Crunchyroll.

If you want to catch up with the English dub, the first 52 episodes of Dragon Ball Super are now available to stream on FunimationNOW, VRV, and available to purchase on Amazon Video as well. The 52 episodes span the full range of what has aired in the North America and covers the "Battle of Gods" arc, "Revival of F" arc, the "Universe 6" arc, and bringing the series right up to the current TV airings of the "Future Trunks" arc.