Di Gi Charat Theater - Piyoko is Number One Vol. #01 (Mania.com)

By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Saturday, June 19, 2004
Release Date: Monday, December 01, 2003



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Koge-Donbo and others
Translated by:Ken Wakita
Adapted by:

What They Say
Move over, Di Gi Charat! The cutest villain has landed on Planet Earth!

Pyocola Analogue III - Piyoko for short. She's eight years old, and already the leader of the evil organization known as the Black Gema Gema Gang. Her mission: to kidnap Princess Di Gi Charat and hold her ransom to saver her home, Planet Analouge.
Piyoko must face Princess Di Gi Charat, who turns out to be even more evil than the Black Gema Gema Gang. Also, she needs to figure out a way to survive in one of the costliest cities in Japan!
Take a peek into their daily lives to find out why the Black Gema Gema Gang all agree... Piyoko is Number One!


The Review
Packaging:
The much like their first graphic novel Broccoli Books does not disappoint with Piyoko is Number One!. Nice paper, really good printing and a color image of a preppy dressed Black Gema Gema Gang inside the front cover makes for a really nice first try. The front cover has a Koge-Donbo Piyoko looking genki on a brick colored daisy filled background. The back has images of Ky, Coo, and Rik surrounding the blurb on the same color background.

Logo Check!! (2003 Megs)... the logo for Di Gi Charat is really cute. Paw prints are dotting the "i"s in this funky font. The font is similar to one used for japanese versions of DGC antholgies so I am all for it!

There are tons of stuff in here lots of notes, character profiles, an interview with Koge-Donbo, a message from the CEO of Broccoli, Black Gema Gema Gang Code of Condcut, BGGG history, BGGG charcter design sketches, BGGG gallery and some 4-koma strips from From Gamers magazine, the monthly info magazine from Gamers, called Gema Gema.

There are a few BGGG merchandise ads from AnimeGamers USA along with a few Broccoli Books and Synch-Point ads. This GN also has sample pages of Aquarian Age and Leave it to Piyoko!
The dust jacket that was available through AnimeGamers USA is very nice. It has a super cute Piyoko behind a kawaii Digiko (Digiko looks like she is from DGC Fantasy, cause of her gentle and shy face) on a brick colored background. The back is the same color with the male members framed in a black ring. The spine has the front cover image of Piyoko and Dijiko. Inside the flaps are two BGGG drones and the back flap has the mysterious Nazo Gema. The arts from Koge-donbo so its all very nice and so so glossy!!

Artwork:
Its really hard to describe the art of Di Gi Charat Theater. Like the other versions out there this one is an anthology manga featuring the works from 11 different manga artists. Regulars like Koge-Donbo, Hina., Kotomi Nekoma are all here and the level of cuteness is always pretty high. Koge-Donbo fans will be happy to see that there are 16 Gema-Gema strips and the Black Gema Gema Gallery from her included along with her two shorts!

Orientation/SFX:
This volume is right to left in a B6 sized book.
SFX are all translated in subs that reflect the art used for the original SFX but in a smaller size. They were all very easy to read but ever so often some of them were translated into actions instead of onomatopoeias.

Text:
The translation here is very good. Nyo's, pyo's, nyu's and gema's abound and honorifics are left in as well. The translation is really simple but it does the job. And if there is any confusion in regards to DGC background history there are 5 pages of translation notes to help clear things up.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I cannot really spoil anything this time as each short is completely independent of the other. The theme of this DGC Theater is obviously the "evil" hijinks of the BGGG. Piyoko is one of the cutest little villains you will ever run into in a manga and seeing her struggle to live and to accomplish her goal to kidnap Dejiko is so funny it hurts.

Piyoko's niavity really makes her character stand out. She is only eight but she is in charge of an evil organization so while she tries her best she usually falls for every trick she is up against. Her crew the PKO (Pyocola Keeping Operations) are usually the straight men to Piyoko and Digiko's funny-gal. They tend to take care of Piyoko and while they do a good job the way they go about doing things can range from sweet and sensitive to maddening and bizarre.

Highlights include: The BGGG slice of life 4-koma (4-panel) strips in Koge-Donbo's Piyoko-sama is Number One! Piyoko hunting for sisters at Gamers Akihabara in Seara's Happy Sisters. An experiment gone completely wrong (it works but its so dangerous) in Urano Mami's Piyoko's Money Making Scheme. Super sweet and unbelievably cute Coo and Piyoko interactions in Kanan's Check Up and Hina.'s Why I Became a Doctor.

Comments
For those looking for more Di Gi Charat goodness this is one you cannot pass up. Excellent production, very good printing and full of so many extras and all in all a nice collection of BGGG based shorts.

For those looking for more continuity you might want to pass. This is an anthology so each of the stories here are one shots.

I was impressed by Broccoli Books first DGC Theater and this one was just as good. I really could not find much wrong with it except the fact that its pretty short. Being a Di Gi Charat fan I find the BGGG a little stiff compared to the Gamers crew. This volume being full of BGGG stories gave me a different perspective and I started to understand why many of the mangaka that do DGC works like Piyoko so much. You just cannot help feel sorry for that cute panda eared kid. Seeing her fail must bring so much joy to her readers. The idea is so disturbing!!
I like that!!

Highly recommended.



Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A/C+
Packaging Rating: A+
Text/Translatin Rating: A+
Age Rating: All
Released By: Broccoli Books
MSRP: 9.95
Pages: 157
ISBN: 1-932480-08-0
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left