At this point, we’re all well familiar with the art of Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball, Dr. Slump) in the Dragon Quest series. But a new series of screencaps assembled by fans is putting them up against series creator Yuji Horii’s original concept sketches. And while some come close, others… seem to have changed along the way.
Horii’s original concept art is on the right, with Toriyama’s finalizes designs on the left.
Regardless, you can see the basic interpretation in each one. It’s also important to bear in mind that this isn’t a case of Toriyama ignoring Horii’s wishes so much as the two of them coming two an agreement design-wise. A great deal of back-and-forth likely went into the evolution from right to left.
It would’ve been kind of cool to keep the drill nose, though.
General fan response in Japan has been that Horii’s concepts are “also cute” and that, even though much of the art is vastly changed from concept to completion, Toriyama manages to capture the spirit of the concept in his completed work.
The Dragon Quest franchise still has a devoted fan base and is going strong, with Dragon Quest XI due to be released for the PS4, 3DS, and new Nintendo Switch.
Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, runs social media and interviews for (Re)Generation Who, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl’s Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.