Dokkoida?! 3

September 25, 2010

Yu Yagami / Taro Achi – CMX – 2008 – 3 volumes

Did I say something bad about this series after I read volume two? I may have. I think I may have been in some sort of cranky, manga-hating mood when I read it. I will freely admit that there’s nothing terribly deep about the series, and that most will probably not like it, but man was this book a lot of fun.

The one-off chapters continue, highlighting one of the handful of major characters, but the fun it had with cliches was more obvious this time. As all the characters leave simultaneously and conveniently together, they all comment on how strange it is that they all go to the same vocational school/are in the same class/have work at the same time/teach at the same school. We are spared the hijinx at the school itself in favor of the swearing rabbit character foiling a burglar space villain.

Another good reason for the good one-shots this time around were the amusing theme villains. The burglar villain fits in with the chapter where the rabbit is left home and has to convince the burglar to rob every lousy apartment in the complex, a villain resembling Oscar from Rose of Versailles is crying themed and tells sad stories (based on a litany of real-life sad stories that made me laugh), and the final villain is a pea-man that tries to kill people with a giant potato monster. His theme isn’t really that funny, actually, but it’s still a little amusing.

And the character-centric stories are a lot more cute. The stuck-up princess villain has a conference where she pretends to not love her baby brother, everyone at the Cosmos house comes to Suzuo’s rescue when his grandpa tries to take him back to the tea plantation, and there’s a cute chapter with the gruff girl trying to keep her kimono nice, eventually having it torn to shreds by a weapon that is so gentle it only tears clothes.

And the ending was very sweet. It takes up about the last third of the book, and even though there were one or two too many characters, and not much of an ongoing plot, the conclusion was still really great. It makes me happy when sentai comedies have such triumphant endings.

Another fine detail: the rabbit character, who had a Kansai accent in the original, was made to swear excessively in the English version. This is the best rendition of a Kansai accent I have ever seen, ever. Hands down. Everyone should do this from now on. I don’t care if it’s inappropriate in the context of the series.

I still like Heroes are Extinct a little better, but this is a pretty close second. The third volume is great, and I think the novelty of the premise did wonders for the first volume. I do love sentai comedies for their self-awareness and bizarre elements in general, and they are rare in English (this is more… tokusatsu, I think, but whatever). I tend to dislike comedy manga, but for some reason, these sentai series get me every time, no matter how vaguely crappy they may be (Imperfect Heroes is, uh, not very good). We must embrace them when they appear, so that we can get to the good stuff like Shinesman.*

*This will never happen, ever.

Dokkoida?! 2

August 28, 2010

Yu Yagami / Taro Achi – CMX – 2008 – 3 volumes

Yeah, this isn’t the best series in the world. It’s humor, but unfortunately the humor isn’t really my thing, and it’s banking more on the jokes between characters than it does on the jokes about them being ridiculous heroes and villains. The fact that the latter appears is the only reason I enjoyed it, and I think it has a narrow audience otherwise.

I think I preferred the character introductions last volume to some of the stagnation and repetition in this volume, though it’s hard for me to put down the cute stories. At least the introductions were something different. We do get variety in the form of new Dokkoida powers, but the repetition of the same jokes by the same characters wore on me here.

It did make me smile, but it’s just not as funny as I’d hoped it would be. There’s plenty of cuteness, like Dokkoida discovering new powers because Tanpopo is such an awful cook and he assumes there must be something his suit can do to prepare food, or all the heroes and villains teaming up to scare off a couple of turtle egg poachers. There’s a story later in the volume where Suzuo wants to win a piggy bank in the lottery, and after finding out that the Dokkoida suit has a good luck move, transforms quickly and waits his turn to get the piggy bank instead of another packet of tissues. There’s also plenty of silliness in the ongoing plotline about the Galaxy Police deciding which suit to use in their program, too, since new criminals are on the loose and they are lamer than ever.

I like it when I’m reading it, but it’s just not very good. It left a bad taste in my mouth, but flipping back through, I can see that some of the stories, like the one where all the residents of Cosmos House, hero and villain alike, have to stop a lame hammerhead shark villain at an amusement park whose only power is to make scary rides that don’t really do anything. And the sea turtle, cooking, and good luck stories are all really cute in their way, too. The plots and characters aren’t fantastic, but there’s something endearing about the way they’re told, maybe the setups, or all the crazy things that happen. Some of it is funny, too, just not a high percentage.

As I said last time, I can’t find it in my heart to condemn a sentai manga. I like them a lot, no matter how bad, and something tells me that this isn’t even the worst one we’ve had in English (I’m willing to bet that it’s better than Imperfect Hero, though it’s been a long time since I’ve read that one). It saddens me to badmouth it too, since we get so few in English that it’s worth it to support the genre in hopes that something like Shinesman will come out here when someone with money and spare time goes crazy or something.

Dokkoida?! 1

March 4, 2010

Yu Yagami / Taro Achi – CMX – 2008 – 3 volumes

As I’ve said before, I love sentai manga.  Sentai manga don’t appear very often in English, possibly because I’m one of only ten people who enjoy them.  They are always very funny, in their way, and I still think that Heroes Are Extinct is a way-underappreciated gem.  Dokkoida isn’t technically a sentai manga (there is no team, only a hero, sort of like Ultraman, I suppose), but it’s in the spirit of sentai manga, and is close enough, so it counts.

Unfortunately, of the four sentai manga I’ve read, this one probably ranks lowest.  Of course, it’s only the first volume, and I plan on continuing, so it’s not that bad.  The humor just wasn’t my thing.  Most of the volume is spent introducing new characters, so each of the short chapters is spent in a battle with either a criminal or a competitor for Galactic Police, and then said new character takes a human identity and moves into the apartment complex with everyone else.  There’s lots of repetition and stupid jokes, and the character hero and enemy types aren’t that funny or original.  As humans, they have no idea who each is, which is kind of funny since the same joke is basically used over and over and, for whatever reason (possibly because Yu Yagami is the creator of Those Who Hunt Elves) there are many girls of various ages and character types who fall in love with the main character.  There’s no silly romance, though, that’s mostly just played for laughs.

I was pretty frustrated with things until about halfway through, then the story and sense of humor started to click.  Again, I don’t think I like it as much as any of the sentai I’ve read… mostly because I feel it misses the point of being a sentai/hero parody series by not having a ton of jokes based around the hero and monsters.  The best jokes in the series do deal with that (like the aforementioned ignorance of alternate identities), so it’s a shame there’s not more.

But now that all the character introduction repetition is over with, maybe other things will happen.  It is only three volumes, and I can’t bring myself to dislike a sentai series, so I’ll probably pick up the rest next time I see it on sale.  I did like it better than Kikaider, at least.