Dr. Slump Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.99
  • Pages: 186
  • ISBN: 1-59116-950-X
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Dr. Slump Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     May 20, 2005
Release Date: May 15, 2005

Dr. Slump Vol.#01
© Viz Media

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

What They Say
From the creator of DRAGON BALL AND DRAGON BALL Z!

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

Basking in the glow of his scientific achievement, Senbei scrambles to get Arele in working order so the rest of Penguin Village won't have reason to suspect she's not really a girl. But first Senbei needs to find her a pair of glasses and some clothes....

The Review
I am not sure if this is the results of some changes at Viz, but this month's releases have looked great. Dr. Slump is no exception to this. The cover is a good example of the recent trend of solid presentation. Viz uses the original cover art, featuring Arale in a customized aero-hydro suit with high-speed roller skate capabilities. The costume is a good example of how Toriyama has mixed children's comedy with sci-fi. The logo is great. It is a cute bubble font similar what Shueisha used, and Viz even kept a pair of Arale glasses on the “P”. The back cover has a collage with Arale and more of Senbei's machinery.

Inside, Viz keeps the original volume header, chapter headers and bumper art. They also kept a blurb about Toriyama in here, as well. The printing is excellent. Lines are very clear and sharp. Screen tone looks very good as well. Even old red-tone pages look good (I mention this because depending on the source material transfers of this type of shading can look really muddy). Viz ended up including a lot of ads in this GN -

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 stick to his great comedic work that tends to have characters in SD looking designs, often looking like bobble head dolls due to their heads being so huge compared to their bodies. Then there are times where Toriyama can go a little more realistic and in the case of his Norimaki Senbei, 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.

The translation sounds pretty good. As this is a comedy, some of the nuance of jokes can be lost, but Viz does a respectful job of maintaining the integrity of the writing.
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)
Nothing serious ever happens in Penguin Village. The population consists of humans, monsters and animals all hanging out socializing in their tiny community. First impressions might have one reminded of manga world or something. Then something amazing happened in Penguin Village. A local scientist, Dr. Senbei Norimaki, has changed all of that by completing his greatest invention - a walking talking robot. His machine, affectionately named Arale, has a few bugs but he considers the project a success. Created to look like a thirteen-year-old girl, Arale is able to do almost everything Senbei wished she could do - she can commands, she can act very life-like and is capable of acting on its own regard. Arale will be able to take on the world without anyone knowing she is actually robotic.

Unfortunately, that is also its major flaw. Arale is still learning about her world, and every time she runs into something she does not understand, she handles it the best a robot can. The results are often shocking and superhuman, and with each new occurrence, certain people are becoming more suspicious about her. The Doctor will have to work to teach her how to properly intregrate with society or else someone will eventually find out. He must take care in regards to Arale's supercomputer brain and inhuman strength, as much as he must look over her random outbursts, many of which result in her removing her own head. Who knows what will happen to the world when her secret is found out.

Until then everyday is going to be another experiment after another and each new experiment another chance for having fun. Senbei knows there are risks, but as a scientist, this is all just apart of the scientific process - trail and error. Learning from his mistakes, maybe his great invention will not end up becoming a great disaster.

Sometimes you might want to read a comedy. You start looking through the stacks for one and you realize that there are tons of them. They come mixed with many other genres. The amount of comedy varies and it can often be completely masked by the other themes present. Dr. Slump is essentially a sci-fi comedy, but the comedy dominates the sci-fi in this series and it is supposed to do so. There is no doubt from the start that Toriyama's Penguin Village is a funny little place somewhere between fantasy and reality. Toriyama does not shy away from surreal images filled with comedic symbolism and his jokes are often puns and slapstick that twists and stretches the concepts of sci-fi and child rearing. Little nuances are occasionally lost in translation, especially for puns, but readers can still experience Toriyama’s wit and his creativity, which is something I felt was lost after a dozen or so volumes of his more famous title DragonBall.

I tip my hat to Viz for giving this series a chance. It gives me hope for titles like Urusei Yatsura, because of how this series is deeply set in comedy. That is a good sign for continued variety for manga especially when recent trends were filling the shelves with action titles. This series is still a bit of a risk, in my point of view. The comedy is not belly-laugh funny; it is very cute and silly. Toriyama's art still looks good, but the writing is a little old. I also noticed that, Toriyama is still working out the kinks with his writing for a few chapters were a little disjointed (almost thought some pages were missing at times). Still Comedy fans should have fun with Dr. Slump not sure how it will be received by DBZ fans, but the Norimaki's are so much fun I can see this series picking up plenty of fans from other demographics.


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