Dr. Slump Vol. 1 by Akira Toriyama (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 29, 2005 by  

Akira Toriyama’s “Dr. Slump” is a classic manga series that will continue to entertain fans for generations to come!  Hilarious, crazy and just a delightful manga series that I highly recommend!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Image courtesy of © 1980 by Akira Toriyama. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Dr. Slump Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Akira Toriyama (鳥山 明)



RATED: T for Older Teen

Available on May 15, 2005

A laugh-out-loud, episodic series, stars goofy scientist Senbei Norimaki, his hyperactive robot Arale Norimaki, and their comical misadventures with bad guys and not-so-super heroes. They live in Penguin Village where pigs walk upright and the sun eats ice cream to cool off. Nobody in the village suspects Arale is one of Senbei’s inventions – even though she has superhuman strength and is always smashing into the town police car!

Before there was “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”, for famous mangaka Akira Toriyama, there was “Dr. Slump”.

For Akira Toriyama who had published several one shots, in 1980, “Dr. Slump” would be serialized on Weekly Shonen Jump and with a total of 18 volumes which lasted from 1980-1984, an anime series featuring 243 episodes would be released from 1981 to 1986 and a remake of the series which would be released from 1997-1999 featuring a total of 74 episodes.

While many “Dragon Ball” fans would know of “Dr. Slump” as characters from the series would appear in the anime series of “Dragon Ball”, because the TV series was never released on DVD in the U.S., it’s still not as well known as his “Dragon Ball” related manga series.  But in Japan, the series has sold over 30 million copies and in 1981, the series was awarded the 1981 Shogakukan Manga Award for shonen and shojo manga.

And now Viz Media will be releasing the manga series in May 2005.

For those not familiar with “Dr. Slump”, unlike “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z” which have story arcs, “Dr. Slump” is a comedy manga series about the life of an unusual man named Dr. Senbei Norimaki (which like other Akira Toriyama manga in which characters are named after food, Senbei Norimaki means rice cracker wrapped in seaweed) who has perfected a female robot which he names Arale (which means small rice cracker).

Arale is a naive robot with bad eyesight.  But for a robot, she is very naive and curious about everything.  She has incredible strength and speed and she is able to socialize with others quite well.

In the first volume of “Dr. Slump”, Dr. Senbei Norimaki tries to integrate Arale into society.  First, trying to purchase clothes for her, having her attend school, having to deal with questions about why she doesn’t have certain body parts like other girls and of course, her curiosity of male body parts and trying out the different inventions created by the doctor.

The main characters of “Dr. Slump” are:

  • Dr. Senbei Norimaki – A doctor who has worked hard in creating inventions but has never had any true interaction with others.  He often reads nudie magazines and often not sure about the ramifications of the inventions he creates.  He tries to be a good guardian for Arale and Gatchan.
  • Arale Norimaki – A robot created by the doctor.  Very nice, very athletic, strong, fast but also very naive.  She’s often curious about society and the friends that she meets.
  • Gajira “Gatchan” Norimaki – A baby cherub named after Gamera and Godzilla (Gojira) hatched from a big egg which was given to Senbei after traveling back in time to the prehistoric era.  She has wings, can eat anything and has other special abilities.
  • Midori Yamabuki – Arale’s beautiful teacher and a woman that Dr. Senbei has fallen for.
  • Akane Kimidori– A friend of Arale who is rebellious.
  • Aoi Kimidori – An employee at the Coffee Pot, a local coffee shop that Senbei and Arale often visit.
  • Taro Soramame– A friend of Arale who think’s he’s a “bad boy”, cool and smokes cigarettes.
  • Peasuke Soramame  – Taro’s little brother who always wears animal hats.

Here is a spoiler-free synopsis of “Dr. Slump” vol. 1:

  • CHAPTER 1: The Birth of Arale – Dr. Shinbei Norimaki creates a female robot named Arale.
  • CHAPTER 2: Here Comes Arale! – Arale attends her first year in school.
  • CHAPTER 3: Something’s Missing – Arale confronts Shinbei of why she doesn’t have certain bodyparts.
  • CHAPTER 4: Dr. Monster – Dr. Monster tries to kidnap Arale.
  • CHAPTER 5: Which Will It Be? – Arale’s classmates try to get her to join their club or sport.
  • CHAPTER 6: Bearly Friends! – Arale makes her first bear friend.
  • CHAPTER 7: Arale is Akane!? – What happens when Arale tries to look like Akane and Akane tries to dress like Arale.
  • CHAPTER 8: The Big-Small Gun – Dr. Shinbei Norimaki creates a gun that can shrink or increase the size of things.
  • CHAPTER 9: 1980: Living for Tomorrow! – Dr. Shinbei Norimaki creates a camera that will take pictures of someone and show them their future selves.
  • CHAPTER 10: The Time Slipper – Dr. Shinbei Norimaki creates a time machine.
  • CHAPTER 11: The Mysterious Egg – Dr. Shinbei Norimaki, Arale and Peasuke go back in time to the prehistoric age.
  • CHAPTER 12: Is it a Girl!? Is it a Boy!? – Dr. Shinbei and Arale wonder what will come out of the egg that they were given back in the prehistoric age.

Having read and watched Akira Toriyama’s “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z” series, I have been wanting to watch and read “Dr. Slump” for a long time.

I’ve known about the popularity of this series for years but accessing it was never easy.  I have been able to play the character in various video games and read bits and pieces from the old “Mangajin” magazines but to finally read the manga series, I can see why this beloved manga series is such a big hit.

While not as action-heavy like “Dragon Ball”, it does manage to capture the same kind of innocence with its characters, primarily with Arale who is naive but also such a fun character because she is naive but also a quick learner.

Dr. Senbei Norimaki is your typical creepy scientist but it’s his scientific mind and his creations that play a big part in the manga series and adds to the fun for each chapter.  From his small and big gun which he feels he can used to transport groceries much easily but what happens when Arale gets hold of the gun?  Or his time machine and going back to prehistoric time and bringing back an egg, adding a new permanent member in the Norimaki home.

But of course, its the adventures of Arale that people want to read.  From her ability to have awesome strength and quick running skills, to making friends and not knowing that they are a bad influence, she doesn’t know that and thus hangs out with them.

So far, this first volume is an introductory to the characters.  Getting to know Dr. Norimaki and Arale but also learning about their quirks.

But for the first volume, I really enjoy the series thus far!  All characters are fun and hilarious, while not a storyline that focuses on arcs like the “Dragon Ball” series, each chapter is a day in the life of the Normaki’s and we get to see these indviduals grow together but also see how Arale learns from her experiences and those around her.

Akira Toriyama’s “Dr. Slump” is a classic manga series that will continue to entertain fans for generations to come!  Hilarious, crazy and just a delightful manga series that I highly recommend!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

General Disclaimer:

J!-ENT has not received any compensation from the company for this post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.

For Product Reviews:

For product reviews, J!-ENT has purchased the above product for review purposes or may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free by the company which in no way affects our reviews, may it be positive or negative. We only recommend products or services we have tested/reviewed and believe will be good for our readers.

For Advertising:

Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, J!-ENT will receive an affiliate commission.

J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”