Dr. Slump Vol. #03 (Mania.com)

By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Monday, September 26, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, September 06, 2005



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Toriyama Akira
Translated by:Alexander O. Smith
Adapted by:

What They Say
When goofy inventor Senbei Norimaki creates a precocious robot named Arale, his masterpiece turns out to be more than he bargained for!

Will an alien invasion of Earth hold Arale’s attention? Will see ever be her loopy self after a cricket shorts her brain functions and turns her into a normal girl? And what will the local police station do now that she's started turning in lost-and-found items that nobody wants found - like poop?!

The Review
Packaging:
Viz uses many of the original concepts used by Shueisha in this version of Dr. Slump. The front cover features Arale in fighter pilots costume. The image is framed and placed on an orange background. The color scheme has been changed a bit but it works. The logo is cute. There are glasses on the bubble font, so that looks just right for this fun comedy title. The opposite cover features the logo on an orange and white star pattern above the volume description and character art piece - Arale and Akane as fairies kissing Norimaki.

The inside has some okay printing. Since Toriyama uses a lot of inking, I could not notice any real tone issues. I still felt the printing was a little dark but things look decent. This volume features some interesting notes from Toriyama. He describes how he does his work every week and there are instructions on how to make a paper hat. Viz keeps all of the headers - volume and chapter - giving readers a look at what this looked when it was released 20+ years ago.

Art:
I have never been a fan of Toriyama's art. While I can say I enjoyed his work in SandLand, I was never fond of how his art developed through DragonBall. Dr Slump is really interesting as it gives readers a chance to experience Toriyama's art in a few perspectives. Toriyama can either use great comedic designs that tend to have characters in SD looking designs. These designs often have characters look like bobble head dolls due to the comical head size, often equal in size to the rest of their bodies. Then there are times where Toriyama can go a little more realistic. In the case of his Norimaki Senbei design, I saw hints of Hojo Tsukasa that I never noticed before in his work. It really is an interesting contrast, but I have to say it disappointed me to see that he never really pursues that side of his ability in his other titles.

I cannot say Toriyama is not very good at what he does. He has a very imaginative mind, which is capable of using a few techniques to present the ideas he wants projected. His line work is generally very thick and strong. One would expect that in SD designs, but he maintains that in his backgrounds and mechanical designs.

Text/SFX:
The translation sounds pretty good. As this is a comedy, some of the nuance of jokes can be lost. This is definitely the case when some of the dialogue is changed.

SFX are translated with overlays. Viz is generally very good at this. Their experience is evident by how clean the retouch is and how they translate the SFX. I will admit that I am not in favor of SFX overlays, however Viz makes these look good and function well.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
More teenage robot mayhem Toriyama style. Arale is still up to no good as she learns to human through the help of her friends Akane, Taro, Senbei and the rest...

Arale gets to slowly learn about becoming woman through some strange means. First, she has to learn to be hip. Basically, that means old school (pre-WWII) fashions by day and big hair and dark heavy make-up by night. It means playing house whenever you have a chance because being hip is critical to a young woman.

The next step is buying a bra. When you are thirteen Akane has stated that no girl can live without one. Hunting down your first bra might take quite a bit of work, for the cigarette shop does not sell them and neither does the local barber. Fortunately, Arale has made some friends along the way, so she knows people who know bra people. Man is Senbei and the rest of Penguin Village going to be excited to see Arale’s bra.

Finally, with hip looks and a bra Akane is going to show Arale what being a woman, especially one like Yamabuki-sensei, can be like. The rewards can be great - free food, free drinks and a ton of attention from those of the opposite sex. All you need to do really is put your hair up, put on some nice threads and pad the bra. The rest is just waiting.

Akane and Arale are going to have a blast when they become women. But why should they even wait?

Comments
More teenage fun censored for your protection. Sorry about the negative start but if you have read Toriyama's Dr. Slump before, you would likely know that this was already one of the more children friendly title to have been printed in Shonen Jump in ages. Actually, though there have been many titles in Weekly SJ since, few have had the honesty and curiosity that this title has. And while the title has not aged well, the stories in each chapter are cute, fun and full of youthful energy. Arale is a hoot. She is into everything but not quite there. She has a super-computer for a brain, but cannot understand nuance. She is supposed to be a young teen, but is just learning about the world. Her curiosity has her fooling beer and nudity. Nevertheless, she is as pure as she was when Senbei (and Toriyama) built her.

It would not be right for me to say Arale and her world in Penguin Village have completely been ruined by censorship. However, I will say Viz took away the honesty of this series. What is the point of changing beer to super-punch when nothing super happens (yet the characters still get drunk and drink tall frothy ones)? Why censor babies in this manga, when we can see naked baby genitalia on daytime TV commcercials? They do not remove cigarettes from this manga despite under aged smokers. They do not do a thing about the violence or the potty jokes. Why is there so much fear of something so much fun?

Dr. Slump is a classic and too be completely honest, what Viz has done to this should not change how enjoyable this series is. At the same time, considering the subject material it was foolish to even consider censoring this title. I cannot support censorship, but some subject matter is not appropriate for all ages. However what Arale, Norimaki, Akane, Taro and the rest do never crosses that line. Younger readers will have blast with the slapstick and Toriyama's crazy art. Older readers can appreciate the nuance. This volume covers all sorts of topics all of them would typically be considered harmless. The characters play games like hide-n-go-seek, house and dress up with friends. They do all sorts of crazy pranks to trick each other the adults they meet. They go on adventures. They are good Samaritans. They meet aliens, hang out with mythical foxes and fight ogres. All in the name of fun. Nothing here would hurt anyone. Nothing here should be taken seriously as well, but that is the real irony here.



Mania Grade: NA
Art Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 7.95
Pages: 194
ISBN: 1-59116-991-7
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left