Plenty Of Rejected Dragon Ball Ideas Still Found Their Way Into The Series

Akira Toriyama's legacy and mark on the manga industry is not to be taken lightly. The mangaka is responsible for the creation of one of the most respected manga series of all time, "Dragon Ball" and its sequel series "Dragon Ball Z" and "Dragon Ball Super." As a creator, Toriyama is still going strong to this day, with "Super" being an ongoing series and a "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" film on the way with a screenplay by Toriyama. Although that "Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero" title seems a bit derivative, don't let that take away from the fact that Akira Toriyama has a lot of ideas. The colorful cast of Dragon Ball fighters and supporting characters have helped to make the Shonen one of the most beloved, and it features explosive action scenes that have led many a child (and adult) to perform kamehamehas or summon spirit bombs.

As hard as it is to believe, there was a time before all the success of "Dragon Ball" when Toriyama experienced plenty of rejection. When the creator first began trying to get his stories published, the amount of ideas Toriyama's editor turned down was astounding. However, it wouldn't all be for naught, as Toriyama has explained how this rejection of ideas would eventually play into his manga work. In fact, not all of Toriyama's rejected ideas would lay dormant.

Rejected ideas and changing concepts

In a Terebaru interview from, Akira Toriyama spoke of the large number of drafts he had written that were ultimately rejected:

"About 500 pages of drafts had been rejected by publishers before I debuted. I take a lot of ideas from these rejected drafts. And I think I even used some of those stories. ​​When these drafts were rejected, I was really depressed. But I call it even when I take advantage of them later."

Toriyama's re-usage of ideas is unsurprising, given the vast scope of the "Dragon Ball" world. While the author hasn't gone into detail about which ideas that publishers rejected made their way into his "Dragon Ball" series, multiple concepts changed as the story evolved, leading to new ideas being integrated instead of the story's original vision. Some of these changes are so drastic that "Dragon Ball" might not even be recognizable without them. Whether these changes come from Toriyama's archives of rejected drafts is uncertain.

How the old Saiyan goes

Toriyama's most significant change to "Dragon Ball" lies in the background of its most important character: Goku. Being a "Saiyan" almost didn't happen for the character. When Toriyama originally wrote "Dragon Ball," he never considered Goku (or everyone's favorite Namekian Piccolo) to be alien. The author said as much in an interview for a "Dragon Ball Super" world guide when asked if he always thought of Piccolo as an alien:

"Of course, I didn't think that at all (laughs). The Saiyans were like that as well. When I thought up Goku's tail and the Ōzaru, I didn't think Goku was an alien or anything. Piccolo either. Because I thought that up when God came out."

The concept of the Saiyan race is critical to the lore of "Dragon Ball." While it may not have been as significant in the original series Toriyama created, the Saiyan race is key to all of the iconic moments of the sequel series "Dragon Ball Z." Moments such as Goku's transformation into the legendary "Super Saiyan" would be lost if not for Toriyama's shift in ideas as he continued to craft the story of "Dragon Ball."

An author true to his nature

Akira Toriyama's large volume of rejected ideas paired with his "Figure it out as we go along" work ethic is a testament to his talent as a storyteller. Instead of being rigid with the narrative, Toriyama chose to embrace change and make his story better for it. The thought of losing out on a movie as epic as "Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku" because the Saiyan race nearly didn't exist frightens me.

Luckily, Toriyama seems like an author who knows when change is a good thing, which is probably why the "Dragon Ball" world continues to live on even after 20-something odd transformations that Goku has gone through on his path to becoming the strongest. While we may never find out which of Toriyama's 500-page draft ideas made it into the legendary Shonen that is still ongoing to this day, we can take comfort that the legendary manga author is hardly ever short on ideas.