Akira Toriyama’s Best Works That Aren’t Dragon Ball, Ranked

Akira Toriyama is one of the most famous mangaka in the world, being the creator of Dragon Ball, a media giant that has been going strong since the ’80s. Dragon Ball Z in particular has been extremely influential in anime’s huge swell in popularity during the 2000s.

Although Dragon Ball is Akira Toriyama’s most famous work, Toriyama is an industry veteran who has been working since the ’70s, and he has a huge body of work that most of his fans might not be familiar with. Whether it’s manga, video games, anime, or anything else, Toriyama’s art and creative sense can be felt all over.

Updated March 31, 2024, by Danny Guan: With Akira Toriyama’s recent passing, it’s become more important than ever to remember and celebrate his works and legacy. While many fondly remember Toriyama’s work on the legendary Dragon Ball, it’s important to also recognize his many works outside of his particular landmark series. While not much of his work is recognized by the public at large, Toriyama’s career has lasted decades and has touched a variety of entertainment media.


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11 Kajika

A Cursed Child On The Path To Redemption


  • Published in Weekly Shonen Jump
  • Debuted in 1998

Kajika is a short, one-volume story following the adventures of Kajika, a villainous young boy who killed a fox with a rock. As punishment, Kajika was transformed into a fox boy and kicked out of his village. In order to break the curse and recover his original body, Kajika must save the lives of one thousand souls.

Kajika is a simple story with a fascinating premise of a journey of repentance. While it may not be a very long story, fans of Toriyama’s work should check the series out if the concept appeals to them.

10 Neko Majin

A Cat-Centered Comedy Full Of Silly Hijinks

Neko Majin

  • Published in Weekly Shonen Jump & Monthly Shonen Jump
  • Debuted in 1999

Neko Majin centers around the titular creatures, who are anthropomorphic cats capable of feats like flying and using a technique known as the “Nekohameha.” The series was published as a scattered collection of one-shots before being collected into a single volume.

Though initially only loosely connected to the world of Dragon Ball, Neko Majin eventually reveals that it takes place in the same universe, with the character Neko Majin Z being a disciple of Goku himself. The manga is fun, lighthearted comedy, and a good representation of Akira Toriyama’s brand of humor.

9 Go! Go! Ackman

A Dark And Demonic Comedy Series

Go! Go! Ackman-1

  • Published in V Jump
  • Debuted in 1993

This is another collection of short tales, this time about a demon child named Ackman collecting souls for the Great Demon King. He specifically searches for pure young maidens, as their souls are more valuable, only to relent when he learns that the women he targets are far from pristine.

While the humor of Go! Go! Ackman certainly hasn’t aged well, it’s a short example of the kind of humor Toriyama is known for. Because of its short length, it was never collected in a volume until Akira Toriyama’s Manga Theater was released.

8 Cowa!

A Supernatural Kids’ Comedy Manga

Akira Toriyama Cowa! cover art featuring Paifu

  • Published in Weekly Shonen Jump
  • Debuted in 1997

Cowa! is one of Akira Toriyama’s first works after finishing Dragon Ball, and it is one of his many short series. Only fourteen chapters long, the story follows a trio of monsters as they journey to get medicine in order to save their fellow monsters. It is a series that is packed with child-like humor and whimsy.

While Cowa! is quite childish in comparison to something like Dragon Ball, it has a fairytale-like charm that keeps it compelling. It is not a masterpiece, but it is a pleasant read that anyone of any age can enjoy.

7 Sand Land

A Sci-fi Journey Through A World Of Sand

Akira Toriyama Sand Land cover art featuring the main characters

  • Published in Weekly Shonen Jump
  • Debuted in 2000

Another one of Toriyama’s many short works, Sand Land takes place in a world where water is scarce and controlled by the tyrannical king. As water prices soar, the common folk are forced to steal water in order to survive. Demon prince Beelzebub, one such thief, is asked by Rao to join him in his quest to find a new water supply.

Unlike Cowa!, Sand Land is a much more mature adventure that explores the effects of the environment while also showing off Toriyama’s trademark charm. The character designs are distinctive, and though the story is more serious, there’s still more than enough room for humor.

6 Tobal (No. 1 & 2)

An Unconventional 3D Fighting Game

Akira Toriyama Tobal No. 1 featuring two of the playable characters

  • Developed by DreamFactory and published by Square
  • Released in 1996 (Tobal No. 1)

Dragon Ball‘s immense popularity brought Akira Toriyama’s style to the attention of the masses. As a result, many flocked to have him also do art for their own projects, whether it be an album cover or a video game. Tobal No. 1 is one such game, featuring characters designed by Toriyama.


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Tobal No. 1 was Square Enix’s first foray into fighting games, and it had a sequel in Tobal 2. However, unlike another fighting game Toriyama was involved with, it never managed to take off competitively. Nowadays, it is mostly known for being one of many games to feature Akira Toriyama’s art style.

5 Blue Dragon

A Traditional JRPG From Industry Legends

Akira Toriyama Blue Dragon art featuring the main characters

  • Developed by Mistwalker & Artoon; published by Microsoft Game Studios
  • Released in 2006

Blue Dragon is a role-playing game created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the famed creator of Final Fantasy. While the game is a fairly traditional JRPG, it is distinctive in that it features Akira Toriyama once again as a character designer. His unique art style became one of the game’s main selling points.

In Blue Dragon, players play as five young children who have the ability to turn their shadows into powerful monsters. The shadows can become stronger by equipping classes and learning more skills. The game also has a manga adaptation, although it focuses on different characters and is not drawn by Akira Toriyama.

4 Jaco the Galactic Patrolman

A Sci-fi Comedy With A Surprising Connection

Akira Toriyama Jaco the Galactic Patrolman cover art featuring Jaco

  • Published in Weekly Shonen Jump
  • Debuted in 2013

Another short manga series, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman follows Jaco, who has come to Earth in order to protect it from alien attacks. He soon befriends Omori, a retired scientist, and Tights, a young girl who joins their adventures out of curiosity.

At the end of Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, it is eventually revealed that the entire manga happens years before the events of Dragon Ball take place, with the alien attack Jaco was expecting being Goku’s arrival on Earth as a baby. Jaco eventually reappears again in Dragon Ball Super as a minor character.

3 Dr. Slum

The Hit Comedy That Put Toriyama On The Map

Akira Toriyama Dr. Slump cover art featuring Arale Norimaki

  • Published in Weekly Shonen Jump
  • Debuted in 1980

While Dragon Ball is Akira Toriyama’s most famous work, he first found fame with Dr. Slump. The manga follows the adventures of Arale Norimaki, a robot with the appearance of a young girl, and her creator, Senbei Norimaki. Arale’s naivety and Senbei’s unscrupulousness cause a variety of problems and headaches for the people they live by.

Dr. Slump is a pure comedy series, with a massive cast of bizarre characters that inhabit the quaint little Penguin Village. The ludicrous situations and shenanigans that the characters of Dr. Slump get up to have to be seen to be believed, and the series is a staple of Toriyama-brand humor.

2 Chrono Trigger

A JRPG Crafted By The Dream Team

Akira Toriyama Chrono Trigger art featuring Crono, Frog, Lucca, and Magus

  • Developed and published by Square
  • Released in 1995

In 1995, a collaboration occurred between the creators of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest in order to create a role-playing game that would eventually be called Chrono Trigger. Many stars in the JRPG industry worked on this game, including Akira Toriyama, who once again provided the character designs.


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Chrono Trigger is considered one of the greatest video games of all time, and Toriyama’s character designs are part of the reason why. Every main character has an intensely unique design, and the monster designs show Toriyama at his most grotesque.

1 Dragon Quest

The Godfather Of Classic JRPGs

Akira Toriyama Dragon Quest art showing the various heroes

  • Published by Enix (now Square Enix); developed by a variety of companies including Chunsoft, Heartbeat, Level-5
  • First game released in 1986

Dragon Quest is the first game to ever feature Akira Toriyama’s art and character design, and it has become one of his most enduring relationships. Akira Toriyama has created the designs for every Dragon Quest game and continues to do so to this day. Toriyama’s art and designs are just one of many reasons why Dragon Quest is so popular in Japan.

In Japan, Toriyama’s work on Dragon Quest is as recognizable as his work on Dragon Ball, if not more. His impeccable monster designs, such as the adorable slime, give Dragon Quest the charm and humor that it is so known for today.


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