Loads of anime and manga have been turned into pachinko machines, including Fist of the North Star, Evangelion and Lupin the Third. However, there is no Dragon Ball pachinko machine and probably won’t be anytime soon.
Among pachinko players in Japan, the question as to why Dragon Ball doesn’t have a pachinko machine has been asked for years. Granted, Dragon Ball isn’t the only famous anime to be pachinko-free, but it’s curious, no? There has to be a reason, especially because anime-themed pachinko machines do good business.
Several years back respected business journal Toyo Keizai reportedly asked a pachinko maker why there has been a Dragon Ball pachinko machine, receiving this reply: “All the [pachinko] companies asked about Dragon Ball, but creator Akira Toriyama will not give his consent.”
To become a pachinko machine, the company’s need to get permission from the publisher and the original author. Since Toriyama wrote the original manga, he has a say in how his work is portrayed. (Also, it doesn’t hurt that his Bird Studio is one of Dragon Ball’s copyright holders.)
Toyo Keizai asked publisher Shueisha was asked if a Dragon Ball pachinko machine was going to be released and at the time it replied that there were no plans.
Online, there are quotes attributed to Toriyama in which he says he couldn’t tolerate his characters being used by gamblers and that he would “definitely” not okay a pachinko machine. These quotes have recently resurfaced. However, their source and authenticity are unclear, but they have been floating around online since at least 2009.
Last year, Gambling Journal reported that even if Toriyama did sign off on a Dragon Ball machine, the amount of money that would be needed to pay the copyright fee would be staggering.
It’s now 2018, and there still hasn’t been a Dragon Ball pachinko machine. Don’t hold your breath for one.