Best known for creating Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama has been a world-renowned mangaka for years. However, he has not been drawing the franchise’s latest manga series, Dragon Ball Super. The responsibility was passed to Toyotarou, a Japanese artist who has worked on several Dragon Ball projects. A quote from a recent interview may explain why.

In an interview for the upcoming film, Sand Land, which has been translated and shared by Anime Senpai, Toriyama gave the reason he stopped drawing manga. The mangaka reveals that he has always worked with a particular pen holder, which he has a tendency to misplace in his workspace. Regarding using another pen holder, Toriyama says, “it just didn’t feel right.” While this may be a tongue-in-cheek answer, it would also make a great deal of sense considering how long he has used it.


According to a tweet shared by Dragon Ball Scholar Derek Padula, Toriyama has used the same pen holder for fifty-one years. The quote came from Dragon Ball: El manga legendario, published in 2008, which Padula translated to English from Spanish. This quote reveals that Toriyama has numerous pen holders, but has always returned to the same one, which he has now misplaced once again, as the quote from Anime Senpai reads:

‘SAND LAND’ was finished by scanning the inked paper manuscript into a computer and using software to apply solid colors and my own tones. I probably hardly slept at all…After finishing all the episodes, I lost my beloved wooden pen holder that I had been using since before my debut. It was a pen holder that had become familiar to my hand over a long time, being carved and worn down with a knife and sandpaper. It was a pen holder that had become familiar to my hand over a long period of time. I bought a new pen holder and tried sharpening it this way and that, but it just didn’t feel right. Since then, I have used it as an excuse for hardly drawing any manga (laugh).

Given Toriyama’s sense of humor evident throughout Dragon Ball, it wouldn’t be surprising if this was one of his many jokes since this is a question many fans have had. However, if true, it likely isn’t the reason that readers may have expected. Mangaka have often suffered from severe strain due to deadlines and intense working, which was likely what most fans would have assumed occurred. For now, the official reason is that one of his beloved tools for creating manga is missing. Given his prolific work and the fact that he’s predominantly used the same tool, it stands to reason it would feel strange NOT using it when creating further stories.

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Dragon Ball Super has been serializing since 2015. Still written by Toriyama, fans have received Toyotarou’s Dagon Ball illustrations rather well, with the series being a bestseller. Sand Land will release in Japan in August of this year, allowing fans to see another Akira Toriyama work on the big screen despite the loss of the Dragon Ball creator’s pen holder.

Source:, Derek Padula

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