Dragon Ball Creator Akira Toriyama Will Be Especially Missed By The Hispanic Community
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Dragon Ball Creator Akira Toriyama Will Be Especially Missed By The Hispanic Community


Akira Toriyama is the creator of various IP like Dragon Quest, Sand Land, and many other beloved titles. Yet despite having a rich catalog of materials, he was most well-known for creating the critically acclaimed Dragon Ball series. The announcement of his passing shocked the world because the work he did with Dragon Ball spoke to so many people. What you might not realize, though, is how prevalent a shock that loss is to the Hispanic community.

A common joke I’ve heard growing up around other Hispanic friends is that Toriyama has a “chokehold over our people.” This felt especially true because every Hispanic person I knew growing up had seen at least one episode of Dragon Ball Z or, at the very least, understood its significance. This wasn’t just with my immediate community. This was a common trend among Hispanics as a whole, and Goku had almost become a household name.

The true father-son combo
The true father-son combo

A large reason why I believe Dragon Ball resonated with the Hispanic community at large is because, at its core, Dragon Ball is all about protecting the ones you love while striving to be the best possible version of yourself. At a very young age, most Hispanics are taught that “family is everything and to always help one another.” This is exactly what they do in Dragon Ball whenever Goku and the Z-Fighters aren’t screaming at the top of their lungs and punching each other in the face.

Even after Goku dies in the show, he’s still there, helping his family and friends to ensure their happiness and safety. To take it a step further, South America has a long history of rebelling against its local governments. Meanwhile, Dragon Ball featured a whole arc in which Goku fights against an oppressive government known as the Red Ribbon Army.

At its core, Dragon Ball is about family and striving to be better.
At its core, Dragon Ball is about family and striving to be better.

In fact, the impact of Dragon Ball hit so close to home in Latin American countries that they began having city-wide screenings for episode # 130 of Dragon Ball Super. These screenings weren’t exclusive to Mexico. Thanks to Reddit user Rijapega, we know these screenings were happening all over South America, including Chile, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Bolivia, and several other countries. This became popular enough that Toei Animation, the studio behind Dragon Ball Super, had to issue a statement saying that most of these screenings weren’t allowed. As pointed out by Kotaku, this became such a big issue that the Embassy of Japan sent a formal letter asking Mexico not to stream to the masses as they intended. Thankfully, Ciudad Juárez, a city in Mexico, was able to secure the rights to stream it, and as a result, thousands of fans came together to watch the episode.

And, of course, this fandom for Dragon Ball didn’t stick to screens of discussions. There’s even a local Mexican taco shop in Oaxaca called “Tacos Goku.” As the name suggests, it’s a taco shop centered around Goku, and what’s notable about this place is that the owner has continually updated the hand-painted mural of Goku to match whatever his strongest form is at the time.

But can he beat Goku?
But can he beat Goku?

But the love for Toriyama doesn’t stop there. After the news of his passing, people across South America came together to show their love for Toriyama. In a video posted by the Associated Press, we saw hundreds of people in Argentina gathered together at the Obelisk monument in Buenos Aires to honor him one last time. At the event, people raised their hands in the sky, a nod to the series when Goku would summon a Spirit Bomb. A similar thing happened in Zócalo, Mexico, as well.

If you look up “Dragon Ball Latin America” on virtually all social media platforms, you’ll find various posts expressing how much they loved Dragon Ball and how devastated they were upon hearing the news of Toriyamas’s death.

Dragon Ball has inspired so many.
Dragon Ball has inspired so many.

On a personal note, Dragon Ball played a considerable role in shaping me into the person I am today. Like many Hispanics who watched the franchise growing up, I strived to be as much like Goku as possible. Growing up in sports, I’d often find myself saying, “Come on, Goku would just want to do one more lap,” or something cheesy like, “Krillin could easily lift that, so I should have no problem.” Even now, early into my adult life, I sometimes ask myself, “What would Goku do in this situation?” whenever I’m uncertain about what to do. And all that’s before you consider that, like many others around the world, Dragon Ball was my introduction to anime. Without it, I’m almost confident I wouldn’t be watching the animation style or be as big a fan of it as I am now.

Although Toriyama may be gone, his legacy will continue to live on. There’s not a lot of media that can connect people the way Dragon Ball did and continues to do for countless Hispanics. Because of that, it’s something that many Hispanic people, myself included, will be forever grateful for. Even though this may not have been his original intention, Dragon Ball became a staple for Hispanic people everywhere while spreading a positive message.





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