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HOUDINI Magazine

Erik Houdini

Akira Toriyama

A Eulogy

Rest in Peace Akira Toriyama

The passing of Akira Toriyama, a figure whose work has etched an indelible mark on our cultural landscape, echoes profoundly within the collective heart of those who grew up marveling at the tales of Dragon Ball Z, Dr. Slump, and the iconic artistry behind Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger among countless other works. At 68, his journey came to a close, leaving behind a legacy that transcends generations, cultures, and continents.

This loss feels personal, even to those of us who never met him. Why? Because Toriyama did something extraordinary: He brought us stories where the underdog could win, where someone from a forgotten corner of the universe could rise up and save the day—not through sheer power alone, but with the help of friends, family, and even rivals. He showed us a world where your birth doesn't define your destiny.

Take Goku, for example. Here's a guy who was nothing by the standards of his own society—cast aside because of his low "power level," a concept that eerily mirrors our own societal obsessions with class and worth. We should not forget the origins of Saiyan society are deeply rooted in a class system, where one's status at birth is determined by arbitrary, eugenics-like metrics such as "power levels." Yet, Goku's story is all about breaking those chains, overcoming the odds, and beating villains who stand for the very essence of tyranny and oppression. Frieza, the space tyrant who committed genocide against the Saiyans, represents the ultimate evil in Goku's world. But Goku's victory over him is symbolic—it's the victory of the marginalized over the oppressor, of collective effort over individual tyranny.

This symbol becomes all that more potent when one realizes it was not Goku who finally defeated Frieza but Trunks. The battles against Frieza, Cell, and Buu were not won by Goku alone but through the combined efforts and sacrifices of a diverse group of characters. Bulma's technological prowess, Gohan's emergence as a hero against Cell, and the countless sacrifices during the Buu saga highlight a fundamental truth: victory requires the unity and cooperation of all, transcending individual capabilities.

It's this theme of unity and collective strength that we must channel now more than ever. When Goku defeats his enemies, it's never just about his power; It's about the Spirit Bomb, gathering energy from every living being willing to lend their strength. It's a powerful metaphor for solidarity, for the belief that we're stronger together than we are apart. Just as Goku and his comrades faced foes that threatened the existence of their universe, we confront the twin titans of capitalism and climate change—forces that, if left unchecked, promise to destroy our world.

As we mourn the loss of Akira Toriyama, let us also draw inspiration from his work to fuel our struggles against the societal and environmental challenges we face. Let the legacy of Goku's battles remind us that the spirit of solidarity, the power of collective action, and the rejection of hierarchical structures and singular "great men", are tools as potent than any Spirit Bomb in our quest for a just, equitable, and sustainable world.

In honoring Toriyama, we commit to carrying forward the torch of hope and resistance he has passed to us, fighting not just for the survival of humanity, but for all life on our planet. His stories, a testament to the indomitable human spirit, urge us to look beyond our immediate struggles and envision a future where we, like Goku, can overcome the odds stacked against us.