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Akira Toriyama with his pet cat, Koge (1987)

Naohiro Shintani (新 谷 直 大 Shintani Naohiro) is a Japanese animator for Toei Animation who is currently an animation director, supervisor and character designer, debuting with this role in the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie.



Shintani started following Dragon Ball by the time he was studying in elementary school in Japan, watching the anime first before reading the manga, as he was very interested in the anime more than the manga. In addition to being a faithful follower to the series, he went to the movies with his older brother every year to see the new films that were coming out.


Recognized as a professional and young animator born in Japan, he has worked in the production of different Japanese animation works, several of which were directed by Tatsuya Nagamine, who is a close friend of Shintani. His art style was influenced by the works of Nagamine and Kazuo Ogura in the productions of the One Piece films, adopting a simple art style.

Among his most outstanding works are key animations such as Buddha, Kaidan Restaurant, Kyōsōgiga, the One Piece anime along with the One Piece TV special "3D2Y": Overcome Ace’s Death! Luffy’s Vow to his Friends, One Piece Film: Z, Pop in Q, Toriko and different animated productions of Pretty Cure All Stars.

Work in Dragon Ball

Naohiro Shintani debuted as an animator in the Dragon Ball franchise with the 2008 OVA, Dragon Ball: The Return of Son Goku and Friends!, being involved in several key animations in the special, but he would not have a bigger role in Dragon Ball until he was granted the role of animation supervisor of the 2018 film Dragon Ball Super: Broly, by means of an audition in Toei, being once again under the direction of Nagamine.[1] Toriyama selected Shintani from among several other people who auditioned for the job because Toriyama personally saw him as the most suitable to have this role in the film with Nagamine.[2] In that audition, Shintani drew the characters, Goku, Vegeta and Bulma, to whom Toriyama had more concern for and was impressed with his art style. Shintani said this was his first time drawing things from Dragon Ball, despite working for Toei Animation and having made key animations on Dragon Ball: The Return of Son Goku and Friends!.

Shintani drew his first promotional poster around February of 2017, taking his wife’s idea of having Goku hold his Power Pole, which is based on a manga cover where Gohan holds a staff in a similar pose. He then handed out his character designs in a draft in October of the same year. Toriyama did not correct his version of Goku, but was extremely fussy when it came to his art style of the female characters. Since Toriyama's style varies depending on the era, it was difficult for Shintani to know which drawings to emulate. Shintani personally liked Minoru Maeda's art style and hoped to put that style into his work. As he was not used to drawing Dragon Ball, Shintani also studied the designs of Tadayoshi Yamamuro and watched the classic movies. Upon learning that the film would focus on Broly, Shintani felt nostalgic, but also the pressure to live up to fan expectations. Being that Toriyama's version of Broly is different from Takao Koyama's version, Shintani felt that this might leave a strange sensation to the average nostalgic fan, but he still hoped that old and new fans would enjoy the movie. Shintani has not had much experience in the past with muscular characters in anime, which made adapting Broly a challenge for him. In addition, he tried to stay true to Toriyama's current and slimmer designs, so he gave the character a mixed sensation between the thinness of Toriyama's modern style and muscular designs. Shintani usually does not like to use a lot of shading for scenes during the daily and peaceful life of characters, so he saves it for the battle scenes instead. In this way, more shadows in the drawings tell the audience that the characters will fight seriously, while highlighting the muscles of the characters.

Shintani's designs are simple and friendly for the animators, proportionally realistic, look correctly from a frontal perspective and maintain features of both the modern and ancient style of Toriyama’s art, as well as those of Minoru Maeda. Another remarkable feature of how it is used when working is that, unlike most of the animators in Japan who illustrate and animate with pencil and paper, Shintani draws mainly digitally.


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