Akira Toriyama’s art is easily recognizable by any anime fan. These games benefit from having his amazing character designs in them.
By Paul DiSalvo
Published Apr 09, 2021
Akira Toriyama is one of the most beloved mangaka of all time, responsible for writing and illustrating manga such as those in the?Dragon Ball?franchise and?Doctor Slump.?In addition to being a mainstay in the fields of anime and manga, Akira Toriyama has also had his hand in video games for decades, first contributing character designs to the first entry of the?Dragon Quest?series all the way back in 1986.
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Toriyama’s designs are incredibly?animated and expressive, breathing life into any game they’re featured in. So today, we’re going to examine the ten best video games that feature designs by Akira Toriyama!
For fans of the?Dragon Ball Z?series, it’s hard to match the enormous roster of characters found within?Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3. A solid arena fighter in its own right, the main appeal of?Tenkaichi 3?is its roster of over 150 characters, including characters from the original?Dragon Ball,?Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and even a cameo appearance from Arale from one of?Toriyama’s?earliest works,?Dr. Slump.
Blue Dragon?is a JRPG boasting character designs from Akira Toriyama, released in 2006 exclusively for the Xbox 360. A traditional turn-based JRPG,?Blue Dragon?was notably the first game released for the Xbox 360 to require numerous discs, with a lengthy adventure that spans three discs.
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The game features a distinct visual style in which the protagonists fight by summoning large expressive “shadows,” setting it apart from a more traditional fantasy affair like?Dragon Quest.
While the majority of?Dragon Ball Z-based?video games take the form of fighting games,?Legacy of Goku?and its sequel,?Legacy of Goku 2?each take the form of action RPGs. Released for the Gameboy Advance in 2003,?Legacy of Goku 2?is a great action RPG in its own right, featuring several playable characters and numerous side quests.
As previously mentioned, Akira Toriyama has been the character designer for the?Dragon Quest?series since the release of the very first entry.?Dragon Quest IX?is an incredibly underrated entry in the?Dragon Quest?franchise as well as one of the most underrated co-op JRPGs of all time. With a flexible class system,?after completing the first dungeon, the remainder of?Dragon Quest IX?can be played co-operatively with up to four players!
While?Dragon Quest I?laid the groundwork for the series,?Dragon Quest III?set the standard for what players should expect from the series. Rather than controlling a single hero,?Dragon Quest III?has a player create and control a party, with iconic class designs by Toriyama that are still present in the series to this day.
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While the first two entries in the series were much smaller adventures,?Dragon Quest III?was a genre-defining JRPG that incentivized exploration.
Released for the PS2 in 2004,?Dragon Quest VIII?is one of the most beloved entries in the?Dragon Quest?series between its memorable cast and art direction. While far from a complex game,?Dragon Quest VIII?is a traditional JRPG through and through that sets itself apart through charm, enduring monster designs, and unforgettable characters.
Available for PC, PS4, and the Nintendo Switch,?Dragon Quest XI?is the most recent core entry in the?Dragon Quest?series, using the game’s graphical style to bring Toriyama’s character designs to life. While Toriyama’s designs always bring a distinct energy to the table,?few games can match how well they’re rendered and animated than in?Dragon Quest XI.?Paired with fleshed out and likeable characters and some of the strongest gameplay in the series history, and you have one of the strongest entries in the entire?Dragon Quest?series.
While this may feel like cheating, due to the inclusion of the Hero from the?Dragon Quest?series as DLC in?Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Akira Toriyama did in fact contribute character designs to the game. In addition to the four versions of the Hero players can access, (the Heroes of?Dragon Quest III, Dragon Quest IV, Dragon Quest VIII, and Dragon Quest XI?specifically, the game also features several monster designs from the series through the spirit board.
It’s no secret that Arc System Works makes stellar fighting games. So when it was announced in 2017 that the developer would be producing a fighting game using the characters from the?Dragon Ball Z?franchise, many were understandably excited. A team-based 2D fighting game much like?Marvel Vs. Capcom,?Dragonball FighterZ?blends fast-paced finely tuned gameplay with gorgeous visuals that frequently make references to Toriyama’s original series!
Released for the SNES in 1995,?Chrono Trigger?is widely regarded as one of the best JRPG’s of all time. With many groundbreaking features that have since been popularized such as the inclusion of numerous possible endings and several side-quests that help to flesh out the cast,?a major portion of the cast’s charm can be traced back to the excellent and memorable character designs by Akira Toriyama.
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About The Author
(112 Articles Published)
Staff Writer, Paul DiSalvo is a writer, comic creator, animation lover, and game design enthusiast currently residing in Boston, Massachusetts. He has studied creative writing at The New Hampshire Institute of Art and Otis College of Art and Design, and currently writes for CBR, ScreenRant, GameRant, and TheGamer. In addition to writing, he directs and produces the podcast, “How Ya Dyin’?”
He enjoys collecting comics, records, and wins in Samurai Shodown.
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