Akira Toriyama is the creator of Dragon Ball, which makes him one of the most important figures in the history of anime and manga. He is the creator of the second best-selling manga of all time, and its anime adaptation was the gateway to Japanese animation for many kids who grew up in the early ’00s. With that being said: he has a very defined style, which means that a lot of designs can look samey. This is why the villain of Dragon Quest 5: Hand of the Heavenly Bride is just Piccolo with a beard.
Dragon Quest 5 is regarded as one of the best entries in its series, and one of the greatest JRPGs of all time. The story follows several generations of heroes, with the main character starting out as a child, choosing a bride, growing into adulthood, and then joining his children on their own quest. The villain of Dragon Quest 5 is Nimzo, who is the ruler of the underworld. Nimzo mostly acts through agents throughout the game, and the player doesn’t get a good look at him until the end of the story. He has such little direct impact on the story that he wasn’t even included in the movie adaptation of Dragon Quest 5.
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The most notable thing about Nimzo is his appearance. Fans of Dragon Ball will instantly realize that Nimzo’s first form is just Piccolo with a beard and a horned helmet. He even has yellow striped segments on his arms, as well as the big shoulder pads in his white cape. Nimzo is a little grander than Piccolo or King Piccolo, but it’s clear that they’re cut from the same cloth.
This might seem like an incredibly lazy design choice, but we have to give Akira Toriyama a huge pass for this. Anyone familiar with the schedule of a weekly mangaka knows how harsh their schedule is. This is why most mangaka only have one long-running series in them before they need to retire for health reasons. Toriyama was no exception in this regard, and it took the travesty of Dragonball Evolution to coax him out of retirement and bring him back for Dragon Ball Super. With all of that being said, Toriyama still designed the characters and monsters for the first six Dragon Quest games, while still working on the Dragon Ball manga. Dragon Quest 7 was the first one Toriyama worked on while not shackled to Dragon Ball.
The fact that Toriyama was able to create so many amazing monster designs, while also writing/drawing one of the most important manga series of all time is a huge accomplishment. It’s just a shame that Toriyama’s artwork didn’t boost the Dragon Quest series’ popularity in the west, as the series didn’t become a hit outside of Japan until Dragon Quest 11 was decorated with accolades. The life of a mangaka is a harsh one, and if throwing a beard and helmet on Piccolo meant that Toriyama had even a little bit more free time during the busiest years of his life, then we’ll embrace Nimzo and his dumb helmet.
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Scott has been writing for The Gamer since it launched in 2017 and also regularly contributes to Screen Rant. He has previously written gaming articles for websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, and TopTenz. He has been gaming since the days of the ZX Spectrum, when it used to take 40 minutes to load a game from a tape cassette player to a black and white TV set.
Scott thinks Chrono Trigger is the best video game of all time, followed closely by Final Fantasy Tactics and Baldur’s Gate 2. He pretends that sorcerer is his favorite Dungeons & Dragons class in public but he secretly loves bards.
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