Dr. Slump, Vol. 1

Akira Toriyama, Author, Akira Toriyama, Illustrator . Viz/Shonen Jump $7.99 (185p) ISBN 978-1-59116-950-5

The creator of worldwide megahit Dragon Ball , Toriyama is one of the giants of manga. Dr. Slump , which debuted in 1980, is Toriyama's twisted Sesame Street , a slapstick romp with an endearingly oddball cast of characters. Dr. Slump is Dr. Senbei Norimaki ("little rice cracker"). He creates the "perfect" robot in Arale ("even littler cracker"), who looks like an adorable 13-year-old girl. Arale has her faults, though: she's nearsighted, so must wear glasses, and she has some strange habits (e.g., she talks to human waste). She's also strong enough to send a man to another planet with one punch. Dr. Slump, meanwhile, pines for Arale's hot teacher, Ms. Yamabuki. The action takes place in Penguin Village, a small town, which like the Simpsons' Springfield is the gateway to endless comedy. Toriyama has created his own demented sitcom, and his fantastic imagination and comic invention never let up. Simple ideas—Arale trying to rescue a bear from the zoo, Slump inventing a "Future camera"—spin off into unexpected comic directions, and Toriyama never stints on visual humor (e.g., Arale trying out for various sports teams, Slump trying on x-ray specs so he can see naked women for the first time). The translation is a bit flat, but the uncommonly good storytelling more than makes up for it. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/09/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
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