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Dr. Slump Vol. 2 by Akira Toriyama (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

July 15, 2005 by  



drslump-v2

Akira Toriyama’s “Dr. Slump” vol. 2 features Arale and Gatchan kidnapped by a gunman, meanwhile a new superhero from outerspace has arrived to Penguin Village! Hilarious, crazy and just a delightful manga series that I highly recommend!

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

MANGA TITLE: Dr. Slump Vol. 2

STORY AND ART BY: Akira Toriyama (鳥山 明)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shueisha, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

Available on July 15, 2005

Robot Arale’s curiosity, naivete and inhuman strength continue to vex her adversaries. When an alien arrives on Earth in hope of becoming a superhero to the weakling humans, Arale absentmindedly outshines him in all of his attempts at one-upmanship.

Later, a bank robber tries to kidnap Arale and Gacchan, a baby hatched from an egg she and Senbei brought back from a trip through time. In a twist, the thief is the one who ends up running to the police when Arale gets trigger-happy and Gacchan, who will eat anything, tries to chomp down his gun.

Arale and friends are back for more wacky adventures.  What happens when Senbei creates a spaceship that runs on cola?  What happens when Arale tries to eat food?  What happens when an alien superhero comes to town?  And what happens when Senbei creates a “reality machine” from a rice cooker and any picture or magazine article of an object or anything that is put inside will turn into the real thing.  And what happens when a robber tries to kidnap Arale and Gatchan?

All this and more in volume 2 of Akira Toriyama’s “Dr. Slump”!

What is “Dr. Slump” about?

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.

In the second volume, Arale has made friends but is still naive to how things are on the planet.  From misusing Senbei’s inventions, to not knowing the danger of gunman/thieves and not to hold poop in her hands.

But a lot of crazy situations happen in volume 2 of “Dr. Slump” as a new superhero comes to town, a gunman tries to kidnap not just Arale and Gachan but also what happens when the Arale and friends use the time machine?

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. 2:

  • CHAPTER 13: Arale Flies the Skies! – What happens when Arale asks Senbei to make her fly like Gatchan?
  • CHAPTER 14: Arale on the Loose: Part 1 – What happens when Arale tries to do a good deed by finding lost money and bringing it to the cops?
  • CHAPTER 15: Arale on the Loose: Part 2 – What happens when Arale discovers poop.
  • CHAPTER 16: The Invader from Space – Who is this alien hero from outer space?
  • CHAPTER 17: The Reality Machine – What happens when Senbei turns a rice cooker into a reality machine?
  • CHAPTER 18: Kidnapped? – What happens when a Gunman kidnaps Arale and Gatchan?
  • CHAPTER 19: Teacher’s Coming? – When Arale tells Senbei that her teacher is coming, he tries to get a haircut.
  • CHAPTER 20: The Ponpoko Morph Gun – Dr. Shinbei Norimaki creates a gun that can turn objects or people to anything that person with the gun wishes.
  • CHAPTER 21: A Far and Distance Seashore – What happens when Arale and friends borrow the time machine?
  • CHAPTER 22: Barbershop Panic: Part 1 – The gunman is back and this time he takes Shinbei and his friend as hostage.
  • CHAPTER 23: Barbershop Panic: Part 2 – The gunman continues to hold Shinbei and his friend hostage but what happens when the media and Arale come walking in?
  • CHAPTER 24: The Great Strawberry Panties Caper: Part 1 – Dr. Shinbei tries to find a way to see Arale’s teachers strawberry panties.
  • CHAPTER 24: The Great Strawberry Panties Caper: Part 2 – How far will Shinbei go to see Arale’s teacher’s panties?

Possibly one of the craziest manga that I have ever read!

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.  But it’s strength is its whacky stories.  From scenes such as Arale holding poop and Akane telling her its disgusting and Arale starts rubbing her hands on a kid’s head.

Or a crazy story of Senbei doing all he can to make a blowing device to see Arale’s teachers panties.

And of course a lot of interesting mishaps when Arale gets hold of Senbei’s new inventions.

The second volume of “Dr. Slump” is wild, crazy but so much fun.  It’s the way these characters are portrayed and the naivety of Arale is what makes this series so darn crazy!  From the superhero who wants to prove that he is better than Superman, so he wears a fly costume and suddenly becomes captivated by the poop that Arale found.  Or characters that pick their nose and other situations in the series that is so darn crazy…there really is nothing like”Dr. Slump” is out there and having read many of Akira Toriyama’s work, it so different but so fun to read!

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!

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