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New Dragon Ball artwork recreates one of the most iconic anime movie posters of all time

Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball Franchise is a certified shonen classic that effortlessly combines hilarious humor with thrilling action scenes, gripping storylines, and unforgettable characters. However, one brave anime enthusiast has broken new ground for the franchise by creating fan art that depicts the world of Dragon Ball with Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 sci-fi masterpiece, Akira.




A talented fan artist who appears on X (formerly Twitter) under the name NICO (or @nicocolors) recently created concept art based on Akira‘s original movie poster. The original image shows main protagonist Shotaro Kaneda approaching his iconic motorcycle. Originally posted on June 25, 2024, @nicocolors’ version reimagines the scene where Future Trunks walks toward the time machine he used during Dragon Ball Zs famous “Androids Saga”. Additionally, Akira’s title text is replaced with the word “HOPE” – a reference to Trunks’ unwavering determination to defeat the Androids and reclaim the future of Earth from their villainous creator, Dr. Gero.

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New artwork perfectly combines the worlds of Dragon Ball and Akira


NICO’s clever artistic homage is actually part of a much larger fan project. Earlier this year, the creator released a prologue chapter for a new self-created manga project titled “Not Taken,” which can be seen above. Dragon Ball Universe, the manga’s plot explores what would have happened if Kakarot had never landed on Earth after being sent into space as a baby. NICO’s original X description reads: “What will be the fate of Kakarot, who made an emergency landing on a planet other than Earth? A battle begins for ‘something’ located on that planet and connected to Frieza.” The prologue’s debut was accompanied by fan art that also paid tribute to Akiras original movie poster. Notably, one of these illustrations features Goku’s father Bardock – originally an anime original character that eventually appeared in Dragon Ball Manga series.


Written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who also created the manga version. Akira takes viewers into the cyberpunk world of Neo-Tokyo – a vibrant dystopian metropolis plagued by terrorism and government corruption. One night, Tetsuo Shima, the best friend of main protagonist Shotaro Kaneda, rams his motorcycle into Takashi, an esper on the run from the Neo-Tokyo authorities. After Tetsuo and Kaneda are taken into custody, it is revealed that Tetsuo also has powerful psychic abilities that he cannot control, making him a new target of the government. Determined to help Tetsuo, Kaneda teams up with an anti-government activist named Kei. Meanwhile, Tetsuo seeks out a powerful esper named Akira, who may hold the key to mastering his newfound abilities.

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Dragon Ball and Akira both had a massive impact on anime viewers abroad

While Dragon Ball And Akira are very different works, but they are united by a common iconic status that has withstood the test of time. Together with Pokemon And Sailor Moonboth franchises are considered to have popularized anime in North America. In addition, both works introduced classic themes and tropes that would play an important role in future manga and anime series. Regarding the fan manga “Not Taken”, NICO does not mention whether Akira influenced the series. Her cleverly designed Akira X Dragon Ball The concept illustrations will undoubtedly make a strong impression on anime fans who have fond memories of Otomo’s legendary sci-fi flick.


Dragon Ball Fans can find further updates on NICO’s manga “Not Taken” on the X-Page. The original Dragon Ball Manga, in addition to Dragon Ball Z And Dragon Ball Superis available in English from VIZ Media. Akira is currently available to stream on Hulu.

  • Dragon Ball Z cast jumps towards camera in anime poster

    Dragon Ball

    Dragon Ball tells the story of a young warrior named Son Goku, a strange boy with a tail who goes on a quest to become stronger and learns about the Dragon Balls, which, once all seven are gathered, will grant him any wish.

  • Akira walks towards a red motorcycle on the cover of the Akira poster (1988)

    The Last Airbender (1988)

    A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a member of a biker gang into a rampaging psychopath with psychic abilities who can only be stopped by a teenager, his gang of biker friends, and a group of psychics.

Sources: X (formerly Twitter), YouTube

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