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By Bonginkosi Tiwane

Digital Journalist

Dragon Ball Z creator dies, leaving South Africans reminiscing on their 5PM on weekdays

Akira Toriyama died due to a blood clot in the brain on 1 March. Mzansi kids ardently followed Dragon Ball cartoon series.

Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball has died due to a blood clot on the brain at the age of 68. This was confirmed on the Dragon Ball’s official website.

The website revealed that Toriyama actually passed away on 1 March.

Toriyama made his debut in 1978 with Wonder Island. He then produced many popular works such as Dr. Slump and probably his biggest work, Dragon Ball, for Weekly Shonen Jump comic book.

South Africans who were kids in the noughties had their 5PM on weekdays committed to indulging in Toriyama’s work on SABC 2, albeit fighting to possess the tv remote control from elders whose commitment was to Days of Our Lives.

Dragon Ball Z in Mzansi

Dragon Ball Z’s storyline always at the end, after elongated episodes that kept Mzansi teens glued, brought out Goku’s messianic character that overcame terrifying villains such as Frieza.

In the same way elders in the house would be immersed in Marlena Evans and John Black’s topsy-turvy relationship on the aforementioned SABC 1 soap opera, millions of South African kids watched young Gohan grow up to be a man with his own family.

Dragon Ball Z was more than just a cartoon series; it was a safe escape which was rooted in the pillars of honour, strength, resilience, family and love. Things which primary protagonist Goku epitomised.

Hearing that theme song represented 30 minutes of uninterrupted bliss, bar the ads of course.

Dragon Ball Z which began serialisation in 1984, became an international phenomenon and has been adapted into animation and live-action films. It continues to be loved across the globe to this day.

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The fans

The statement on the website expressed sadness and regret at Toriyama’s sudden passing, saying that he was “passionately working on many projects” and that “there was so much more that he wanted to accomplish”.

The statement also expressed gratitude to Toriyama’s fans.

“He was supported by so many people from around the world, who allowed him to be able to continue his creative endeavors for over 45 years,” it said.

“We sincerely hope that the world of Akira Toriyama’s unique works will continue to be loved by everyone for a long time to come. Please accept our deepest gratitude for your kindness and friendship during his lifetime,” it added.

According to the Japan Times a funeral service was held with members of Toriyama’s immediate family. Dates for official farewell events have not yet been announced.

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