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The world’s first Dragon Ball theme park has just been announced and it’s going to be huge

The first ever theme park devoted to the “Dragon Ball” universe of comics, movies, and games will be built, the franchise owner said on Friday.

The park, centred around the world of magical martial artist Goku and friends, will be part of the Qiddiya Investment Company’s project near Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia.

The 500,000 metre project will feature rides and attractions in seven areas inspired by the series along with hotels and restaurants.

Saudi Arabia is trying to diversify its hydrocarbon-based economy with a number of entertainment-related mega projects. Qiddiya is being built on a site more than double the size of Florida’s Disney World and is planned to include a Six Flags roller coaster theme park as well.

“Dragon Ball” was first serialised in Japan’s Weekly Shonen Jump comic magazine in 1984 before being adapted into movies, video games and TV shows distributed in more than 80 countries.

A tourist wearing a T-shirt of Dragon Ball has his photographs taken with a statue of Dragon Ball character ‘Son Goku’

(AFP via Getty Images)

Its legacy includes numerous anime spin-off series, films and video games. Its latest franchise, a new anime called “Dragon Ball Daima” is set to be released this fall after it was announced in October 2023.

Its creator, Japanese manga comic creator Akira Toriyama, died this month at age 68, prompting eulogies and memorials from fans around the world.

Toriyama died on 1 March after suffering acute subdural hematoma, a type of bleeding near the brain, his studio said on Friday.

Japanese manga comic creator Akira Toriyama

(JIJI Press/AFP via Getty Images)

Fans and friends from across the world reacted to the news with shock and sorrow, describing how his iconic work was part of their childhood.

Masashi Kishimoto, author of another manga series Naruto, said, “I grew up with your manga, which became a part of my life. On bad days, the weekly Dragon Ball [series] would help me forget [my troubles]. As a country boy with not much else, it saved me.

“… I just received the news of your passing. I’m hit with a tremendous sense of loss, even greater than when Dragon Ball ended. … I still don’t know how I am going to deal with this [sudden] hole in my heart,” it added.

Eiichiro Oda, the One Piece manga artist, wrote, “[Toriyama] was one of the founders of an era where both adults and children could read and enjoy manga, from a time when reading manga was considered not good for education. He let us dream of the extent of things manga can achieve and showed [creators] that we can even expand our field to the world.

“To think I’ll never see him again… I’m overwhelmed by sadness,” Mr Oda said.

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