One Piece author Eiichiro Oda appeared (albeit in voice form) in a recent episode of a Japanese TV program, “Paper and Sama-zu” on Dec 21, 2021 and talked about the influence of Dragon Ball in his art style among other things.
During the discussion, Oda brought out his inner Dragon Ball fanboy by saying that he re-read Dragon Ball the most to imitate Toriyama‘s drawing style.
It’s not the first time Oda mentioned Dragon Ball as an inspiration.
In a famous interview with Toriyama himself, Oda described Luffy in one word and revealed the source of Luffy’s character traits:
Manliness. Dragon Ball has already done all the things that a child could possibly be happy about. (laugh) So, I used that as the basis to start from so I didn’t go against it.Akira Toriyama and Eiichiro Oda, One Piece artbook, Color Walk 1
Suguru Sugita, One Piece’s eighth editor, remarked in a separate interview that Oda once told him “One Piece was a deliberate subversion of Dragon Ball due to its significantly more complex tale and characters, whereas Dragon Ball is a Manga renowned for its simplicity.”
Eiichiro Oda expressed many a time how much he loves Dragon Ball ever since he was a kid. In the same interview along with Toriyama, Oda described his first experience with the world-famous Shounen series:
How I first encountered Toriyama-sensei’s manga was the second episode of Dragon Ball, regardless [of when it was] I fell in love at first sight. I thought, “He’s too good!” At that time, I loved Disney, but I was thinking, “This is even better than Disney stuff!”
In 2002, Oda talks about another experience with Dragon Ball, specifically referring to characters like Krillin and Goku, which was published in the first volume of a children’s edition of Dragon Ball:
“Kuririn died!!” On a summer’s day I will never forget, at the minshuku my school club was staying at for its retreat, someone was shouting and running down the corridor. In that week’s Jump, Dragon Ball had met with a big development. For us, this was a bigger event than any real-life news. We would all confirm it in Jump, collapsing in shock, and reciting the words we’d grown used to saying every week: “What’s gonna happen next week?” Oh, man, what’s gonna happen? Seriously, what’s gonna happen?
Over the 11 years of Dragon Ball’s serialization, I wonder just how many times we said, “What’s gonna happen?”
There’s the saying “God only knows”, but in this case, frighteningly enough, the creator and God, Akira Toriyama-sensei himself, is said to have uttered these words: “What’s gonna happen?” Ah…! Writing by the seat of your pants has gone too far.
However, regardless of the situation behind the scenes, the man named Akira Toriyama — no, Goku — would never betray our expectations. Every week, boys all over Japan would think together, “Where is this place?” when Goku went somewhere unknown, and we would howl, “They’ll pay for this!!” when Goku got angry. Birthed by the uniquely Japanese culture of weekly serialization, this is a shōnen manga for boys.
Dragon Ball is a masterpiece.
Years later in 2015, the One Piece author expressed his excitement to watch the Dragon Ball Z feature film: Ressurection ‘F’.
In December 2006, Oda and Toriyama worked together on Cross Epoch, a crossover story featuring characters from both One Piece and Dragon Ball. It was published along with Chapter 439 in the Weekly Shonen Jump.
Over the years, Oda drew many illustrations of Dragon Ball and its characters. The following is a list of sketches he has done so far:
Oda drew this on the occasion of Dragon Ball’s 30th anniversary. The translation of his comments are as follows:
“Toriyama-sensei, congratulations on the 30th anniversary of Dragon Ball!!
So, what is it like to have the characters you created 30 years ago to still be loved all around the world? Amongst all (manga) characters in this world, of which there are as many as there are stars, Goku is most likely the most genuine one of them all, which is why I think he’s so beloved. And he will continue to be so from this point on as well.
To be honest, I also liked Yamcha. He was always treated badly (“that way”), but I STILL believe that his day’ll come, some day!”
Oda comment for this illustration is as follows:
I’m working hard to draw fights with dramatic stories. If I had drawn a pure battle manga, it’d have been easily overwhelmed by Dragon Ball. I had to avoid competing with Dragon Ball, which was so entertaining that I myself was addicted to.Source: Twitter
To wrap this up, Oda shared his view in WSJ issue 33 on his dreams of becoming a Mangaka and how Toriyama’s art fascinated him as a child.
Oda began serializing the One Piece manga in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump on July 19, 1997. He published the 1,000th chapter in this year’s combined 5th/6th issue of Weekly Shonen Jump magazine on Jan 4.
The 101st volume of One Piece was released in Japan on Friday, Dec 3, 2021.
Commemorating the release of the 100th compiled book volume of the manga, a newspaper advertisement revealed a photo of Oda drawing at his workspace with the words, “The story is in the final stage. (物語 は 終盤 で す)” back in September.
Oda previously said in an interview in August 2020 that he plans to end the story in four to five years.