Introduction: Upon playing Chrono Trigger, fans of Akira Toriyama’s iconic Dragon Ball series might immediately notice a striking resemblance between the game’s visuals and the beloved manga/anime. This intriguing connection is no coincidence, as the renowned artist was heavily involved in the development of both Dragon Ball and Chrono Trigger. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why Chrono Trigger looks like Dragon Ball and delve into the shared artistic elements that make these two classics visually captivating.

Who is Akira Toriyama

Akira Toriyama is a Japanese manga artist and game designer. He is best known as the creator of the immensely popular manga and anime series “Dragon Ball.” Born on April 5, 1955, in Nagoya, Japan, Toriyama began his career as a manga artist in the late 1970s. His early works include “Dr. Slump,” a humorous science fiction series that ran from 1980 to 1984.

However, Toriyama’s most significant contribution to the world of manga and anime is undoubtedly “Dragon Ball.” Originally serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine from 1984 to 1995, “Dragon Ball” follows the adventures of Son Goku, a powerful martial artist with superhuman abilities, as he searches for the Dragon Balls, magical orbs that grant wishes. The series became a global phenomenon, captivating audiences with its unique blend of action, humor, and fantastical storytelling.

Toriyama’s distinctive art style and imaginative world-building played a pivotal role in the success of “Dragon Ball.” The franchise has since expanded to include numerous manga sequels, anime adaptations, movies, video games, and merchandise, making it one of the most influential and commercially successful franchises in the history of manga and anime.

Beyond “Dragon Ball,” Toriyama has also worked on other notable projects. He collaborated with video game developer Square Enix to create the character designs for the popular role-playing game “Dragon Quest” series. Additionally, he has authored several one-shot manga and created other series such as “Dr. Slump & Arale-chan,” “Cowa!,” and “Sand Land.”

Akira Toriyama’s impact on the manga and anime industry cannot be overstated. His contributions have influenced generations of artists and continue to entertain and inspire fans worldwide.

Chrono Trigger VS Dragon Ball

  1. The Toriyama Touch: Akira Toriyama’s signature art style is instantly recognizable, characterized by his distinct character designs, vibrant colors, and lively expressions. Both Chrono Trigger and Dragon Ball showcase Toriyama’s talent for creating memorable and expressive characters, with their unique hairstyles, exaggerated features, and dynamic poses. The charming and whimsical nature of his art adds a sense of familiarity, drawing players and fans into the world of Chrono Trigger.
  2. Character Design Parallels: The characters in Chrono Trigger exhibit resemblances to Dragon Ball protagonists in terms of appearance and personality traits. For instance, Crono’s spiky, gravity-defying hair is reminiscent of Goku’s iconic hairstyle. Additionally, the energetic and adventurous nature of both Crono and Goku reflects Toriyama’s tendency to create courageous and determined heroes who embark on epic journeys.
  3. Shared Character Archetypes: Chrono Trigger and Dragon Ball share certain archetypal character roles that reflect Toriyama’s storytelling preferences. For example, the powerful and enigmatic magician Magus bears similarities to Dragon Ball’s Vegeta, both serving as anti-heroes with complex motivations and brooding personalities. Similarly, Frog’s noble knight persona resembles Piccolo’s initial antagonistic role, with both characters undergoing redemption arcs and transforming into allies.
  4. Dynamic Action and Expressions: Toriyama’s artistic style shines in the portrayal of dynamic action sequences and exaggerated facial expressions, creating an engaging visual experience for players and viewers alike. Both Chrono Trigger and Dragon Ball feature intense combat scenes, where characters unleash powerful attacks with explosive energy and fluid movements. These captivating action sequences heighten the sense of adventure and excitement in both mediums.
  5. Whimsical Environments: The imaginative and whimsical environments in both Chrono Trigger and Dragon Ball evoke a sense of wonder and discovery. Toriyama’s intricate attention to detail in his illustrations is evident in the game’s various time periods and Dragon Ball’s diverse settings. From ancient ruins and futuristic cities to mystical landscapes, these vibrant and richly designed backdrops bring the worlds to life and contribute to the immersive experience.

Other Works from Akira

In addition to “Dragon Ball” and “Dr. Slump,” Akira Toriyama has created several other notable works. Here are some of his other manga and game contributions:

  1. “Jaco the Galactic Patrolman” (2013): This manga serves as a prequel to “Dragon Ball” and follows the story of Jaco, an extraterrestrial policeman who visits Earth to prevent a major catastrophe.
  2. “Cowa!” (1997): A short manga series that tells the story of a half-vampire, half-werekoala boy named Paifu and his friends as they embark on a journey to find a cure for a deadly epidemic.
  3. “Sand Land” (2000): Set in a post-apocalyptic desert world, “Sand Land” revolves around Sheriff Rao, a human law enforcer, and Beelzebub, a demon, as they search for a water source to save their respective species.
  4. Character Designs for “Dragon Quest” series: Toriyama has provided character designs for various installments of the popular “Dragon Quest” video game franchise, developed by Square Enix. His designs have become iconic within the series.
  5. “Kajika” (1984): A one-shot manga about a young boy named Kajika who embarks on a journey to find his father’s killer and uncover his family’s hidden treasure.

It’s worth noting that while Toriyama’s most well-known and influential works are “Dragon Ball” and “Dr. Slump,” he has made occasional contributions to other projects, often in the form of character designs or one-shot manga.


Chrono Trigger’s visual similarities to Dragon Ball are a testament to the immense talent and unique artistic style of Akira Toriyama. His influence is evident in the character designs, dynamic action sequences, expressive facial features, and whimsical environments that both games share. These shared visual elements contribute to the timeless appeal and enduring legacy of both Chrono Trigger and Dragon Ball, captivating players and fans across generations. Whether you’re a fan of one or both of these iconic works, exploring their interconnectedness adds an extra layer of appreciation and enjoyment to the gaming experience.

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