Is The Dragon Ball Franchise Ending After Akira Toriyama's Death? Here's What We Know

 Super Saiyan Goku in Dragon Ball Z's Cell Saga.
Super Saiyan Goku in Dragon Ball Z's Cell Saga.

Fans worldwide have been impacted by the passing of Dragon Ball's Akira Toriyama. Tributes have come in from everywhere honoring his memory, and while I was a bit confused by Cartoon Networks' message, Toonami's gesture made my inner child smile. Now that the news of his death has faded, however, I can imagine there are questions about the fate of the Dragon Ball franchise going forward.

Is Dragon Ball finished, or is it on the way to becoming the next anime to get a live-action adaptation? I can't speak to whether or not the bigwigs at streamers are ready to pull the trigger on a live-action series, but I can speak to the projects Akira Toriyama was working on at the time of his death and give some insight into how the franchise may proceed based on past events. Let's dive in and hope that Akira Toriyama is looking down on the universe along with the Supreme Kais and smiling.

The Manga Is Currently On Hiatus, But There's Good News

Following widespread reports of the Dragon Ball Super manga going on hiatus following the death of Akira Toriyama, a lot of fans began to worry that the Dragon Ball Super manga was coming to a close. While manga artist Toyotarou has taken over the art for producing issues, the late Dragon Ball creator was still providing the story for him to draw. With no new stories coming from Toriyama, fans began to worry the hiatus was a harbinger that there was consideration of shuttering the manga or concluding it after its current arc.

Some of those fears can be set aside, fortunately, as news from Manga Plus revealed the hiatus will end on May 20th and a new issue will be released. While that doesn't guarantee the series will continue indefinitely, it does squash any fear the manga is coming to an immediate conclusion.

A New Dragon Ball Show Is On The Way

In late 2023, we learned that a series canon to the DBZ timeline, Dragon Ball Daima, was on the way. It was far enough along to showcase an awesome trailer that showed some of our favorite Z fighters in action, albeit with Goku and Vegeta looking much younger. The series is currently scheduled to run in 2024.

We know that Akira Toriyama was working on an original story for the series, but we do not know whether or not he finished his work. It's also unknown at this time whether or not the story would continue to tell his story, assuming he didn't finish it, or if the project would just air as is. With that said, we do have past precedents to look back on, which could foreshadow how creators will proceed after his passing.

Dragon Ball Has Continued To Exist Without Akira Toriyama Before

It's worth noting that the Dragon Ball franchise has operated in the past without Akira Toriyama's involvement, with the well-known series Dragon Ball GT being one popular example. While Toriyama designed some characters for the project, the story was entirely concocted by the staff of Toei Animation, but the characters from the Dragon Ball franchise were still utilized. Despite naysayers on the internet, GT is considered canon by Toriyama, and he just had more involvement in Dragon Ball Super.

When factoring in this and how Star Trek continued without Gene Roddenberry, Star Wars continued without George Lucas, and many other examples, it doesn't seem likely that Dragon Ball will cease to exist as a franchise after Akira Toriyama's passing. His legacy franchise has reached a level of fame that even A-list actors like Michael B. Jordan are paying tribute to him after his passing, so it's hard to imagine a world in which Goku and friends aren't a part of the future. We don't know that with certainty, however, so we can only wait and see.

Those wishing to watch the Dragon Ball shows on streaming can do so on Crunchyroll. It's one of many great anime to check out on the platform, so be sure to sign up if you're someone looking to get more into the world of Japanese animation. You can also stream some of the shows with a Hulu subscription.