Dr. Slump Vol. #05 - 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: 184
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0173-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Dr. Slump Vol. #05

By Eduardo M. Chavez     April 02, 2006
Release Date: January 10, 2006

Dr. Slump Vol.#05
© 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 a profile of Arale in her pilot headgear. The color scheme on the cover has been changed a bit - from white to purple - 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 a collage - Gatchan and friends.

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). 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 (Toriyama-sensei might have influenced the City Hunter creator). 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)
Living in a town full of idiots can be a little strange. Being an idiot in a village full of idiots is just nuts. The residents of Penguin Village might not have much in regards to smarts or common sense, but when they have to deal with each other, or someone like Norimaki Arale, being a little stupid might actually be a positive. The less thinking you do, the more likely you might survive taking two bullets to the forehead! The less you make sense, the greater likelihood you will not find yourself run over by a van. In Penguin Village being able to go with the flow, as gross or dumb as it might be, is important.

To those travel through Penguin Village every day is an adventure and a crash learning experience on hospitality.

- When a bank robber tries to break the Bank of Penguin Village, he ends up learning that being faster than a speeding bullet is meaningless. Being able to beat that bullet in other ways might be just as effective in fighting crime.

- Vampires know that the world revolves on blood... and money! What they might not be aware of is that Arale has neither. Robots are just like that. Maybe they have some oil in their robo-veins, but money is something they definitely don't have. You don't have to watch TV to figure that out.

- Not even Suppaman can handle the daily happenings of Penguin Village. Superheroes tend to rely on their super-human abilities to get by. They assume that they will be placed on a pedestal because they are physically superior than most. Well in Penguin Village most of the population can fly. A good number of them have fire breathe. Some of them might have cruised the galaxy with Capt. Kirk and Scotty. Nope, super-heroes are not treated any differently in this part of the world. Actually they might be picked on more than usual here.

Penguin Village is just one of those places you might want to hear and read about, but never visit (let alone move there).

For as much as I think Dr. Slump is outdated, it really fills a void that book stores and libraries are really desperate to fill " all ages manga.

Now look, I don't care what is in this book, this is an all-ages title. From start to finish it is quirky slap-stick comedy entirely based in fantasy. It has a kind of Tex Avery type of feel where animals, sci-fi superheroes and aliens abound doing zany things completely out of the realms of reality. No one ever suffers pain. No one ever seriously gets mad and every story ends up with a laugh at the expense of one of the cast members. The jokes might not be wholesome, but they are genuinely funny and harmless. This is a type of cartoon comedy filled with the stuff that ended up creating the term "cartoon violence". I don't know if Droopy Dog and Bugs Bunny would be considered PG13 by most of America (outside of those who make the rating system).And for as much as I tried as a kid I could not shoot my robo-arms like anyone in a cartoon or manga.

At the same time, this title can also appeal to parents and older readers. In this volume, Toriyama does two things that improve the manga greatly. First he decides to shorten the chapters. Generally this is done by editors, but Toriyama is now drawing a couple random starter pages before moving into the story. This makes his gags tighter when you get to them and in turn more effective. Then he introduces a healthy dose of parody. He has done this before, but the frequency has really stepped up now. Poking fun at the pop culture of the time - Golgo 13, Kochira Kame, Star Trek and the Blue Bros " Toriyama takes older readers back to the 80's and gives them a funky Japanese look from a young adult's perspective. Essentially, everything he does is straight up silly, playing off stereotypes that most adults should know. So in a twisted way, this is sophisticated kids manga.

It is clear that Dr. Slump is simple, repetitive and old. The truth is that this manga is more than twenty-six years old now. Nevertheless, there are some works that are timeless. Comedy especially slap-stick tends to find itself in that category very well. Dr. Slump with its explosions, naked babies and occasional smoking teen should be shared with anyone looking for some fun. Plain and simple there are few manga that can be so much stupid fun appropriate for everyone in the household.

Take that rating system!


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