Dr. Slump Vol. #04 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.99
  • Pages: 194
  • ISBN: 1-4215-1065-1
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Dr. Slump Vol. #04

By Eduardo M. Chavez     February 09, 2006
Release Date: November 08, 2005

Dr. Slump Vol.#04
© Viz Media

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

What They Say
A horrible one-eyed monster attacks Penguin Village, but when Arale comes to the rescue the cops get even more nervous! And the author of Dr. Slump himself pays a visit and challenges the villagers a game of "kick the can." The prize? Mr. Toriyama will draw whatever the winner wants!

The Review
Viz uses many of the original concepts used by Shueisha in this version of Dr. Slump. The front cover features Arale talking on a robo-phone. The color scheme on the cover has been changed a bit - from white to pink - but it works. The logo is very cute; there are glasses on the bubble font, which fit rights in for this fun comedy title. The opposite cover features the logo on a pink and white star pattern above the volume description and character art piece - Arale on a Norimaki special fighter jet.

The inside the printing is okay. I noticed some problems with the tone, towards the center of this volume. Moreover, I still felt the printing was a little dark for my taste (that works for Toriyama's strong inking but not for the screen tone). This volume features a long ato-gaki manga from Toriyama. This story places the mangaka directly in the manga he drew, having him interact with his own creations. Viz keeps all of the headers - volume and chapter - giving readers a look at what this looked like when it was released 20+ years ago.

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 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.

Despite my reservations, I still feel Toriyama is 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. While his layouts are not very complex, he is able to capture the most of his comedic expression. It is all very simple but it works for the right audience.

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)
If you know Arale at all, you know she is a bit of a terror. There is no malicious intent from this robo-child, but as she is only a few months old, she does now any better. Add to that, her great robo-strength and robo-brain will undoubtedly often end up creating tons of fun for her and equal amounts of hell for those around her.

As one can imagine the epicenter for most of the chaos and destruction caused by this sparkplug of fun is focused around the Norimaki home. Week after week of rebuilding his home, the damage to his research and countless hours of sleep lost is seriously starting to take a toll on the once (recently) young scientist. Senbei was already considered something akin to mad scientist, so his greatest invention is starting to look like a man-made monster. She is even making the monsters and aliens who regularly invade the town look meek and relatively harmless in comparison.

Whether at home or among the villagers of Penguin Village, Arale is always going to be her curious self.
What sets her apart from the other kids in this village are her robo-parts. Somehow, there has to be a way to minimize the impact of Arele's playtime on the lives of everyone in Penguin Village, while maintaining that precocious attitude everyone has grown to love. Maybe an upgrade of her firmware or possibly some new hardware can help. Considering who will be repairing the girl, maybe that would be asking too much. But if not Norimaki, then who can stop Arale? If a new body does not work can Suppaman, Ulteeny Force or a wild Tiger do any better? If Arale is going to continue to create havoc daily, those who want some peace have to try to stop her (or join her) just as often!

After reading a few volumes of Dr Slump I am starting to wish I had not. I am not sure if the potty humor just does not work on me any more. Maybe the art not aging well has something to do with it. I just do not get the same enjoyment that I clearly remember experiencing the first time I read this series years ago.

Arale is just not funny to me anymore. Honestly, I find her annoying, but I feel Toriyama I to blame there. His characters are supposed to be a specific age, but Toriyama never allows them to mature at all. He does not even allow them to be the ages they are supposed to be. He even jokes about that in his omake chapter. Therefore, when he could have his cast grow up a bit, giving him a chance to develop his style; he remains stubborn and lazy. Arale acts like a preschooler, but somehow she is supposed to be in middle school. Her friends are supposed to be in middle school as well, but they drink, smoke and ride motorcycles. But when does Arale seem to be most comfortable, when she is dealing with toddlers. Something is lost here, but readers are supposed to just go along with this concept chapter after chapter. Even Senbei, who is supposed to be 28, is treated like either an old fart or a boy genius.

This title has become repetitive already. I almost feel like Senbei, as I would like to change Arale a bit, maybe give her a little more attention retention or something. Having Arale beat up aliens, monsters or wild animals multiple times in a volume becomes tiring, when you have read a few of those already in the three previous volumes.

Sure there are moments where Toriyama is able to fully use his large cast and Sci-Fi fantasy Penguin Village. Chapters like Sad, Sad Santa and Gatchan Goes for a Walk presented Penguin Village in a fresh perspective, mainly looking at the supporting cast from a much needed new pair of eyes. But until Toriyama is consistently able to create new ideas, I will regret wishing to read this title in English.


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