The first English volume of Dandadan recently dropped and we got an opportunity to review it. Upon reading the synopsis I was not particularly impressed as I expected a cutesy love story about a girl and a boy who each have their own beliefs and bicker over who is right. But boy, was I wrong.
The story literally went from 0 to 60 and it was wild in every way imaginable. Random aliens who want to procreate with your banana organs? They exist. Schlong stealing granny ghost? She’s real. Momo and Ken’s journey begins as a friendly challenge and both of them are trying to prove each other wrong. But as Momo gets abducted by aliens and Ken gets possessed by Turbo Granny, a vengeful spirit who lives in a tunnel, the two must come together to help each other out. After escaping aliens they are faced with yet another challenge, as Ken has lost a (somewhat) essential body part. Aided by Seiko, Momo’s youthful grandmother, the two try to devise a plan to stop the Turbo Granny.
The writing in Dandadan is absurd in the best way possible. The comedy is spot on and Yukinobu Tatsu manages to bring together the two conflicting personalities that give the story a perfect rhythm. The romance is neither here nor there, but interactions between Momo and Ken (or Okarun, as she calls him) are hilarious. Combine this with very detailed art and fighting scenes that can easily match some of the better-selling shonen series of today and you have a winner.
Dandadan definitely came as a welcome surprise to me. The humor, which I thought was a bit crude at first, was so well done that it ended up being the best thing about the story and I look forward to seeing where it goes. The first volume came out on October 11 and the English publisher, Viz Media, describes the plot as:
Momo Ayase strikes up an unusual friendship with her school’s UFO fanatic, whom she nicknames “Okarun” because he has a name that is not to be said aloud. While Momo believes in spirits, she thinks aliens are nothing but nonsense. Her new friend, meanwhile, thinks the exact opposite. To settle matters, the two set out to prove each other wrong—Momo to a UFO hotspot and Okarun to a haunted tunnel! What unfolds next is a beautiful story of young love…and oddly horny aliens and spirits?
Shueisha’s MANGA Plus service also has manga available in English. In Japan, it is serialized in Shonen Jump+ online magazine. Jump’s YouTube channel has an interview with author Tatsu (who btw, worked as Tatsuki Fujimoto’s assistant!) in which he showcases his drawing process. It is available only in Japanese:
DANDADAN © 2021 by Yukinobu Tatsu/SHUEISHA Inc.
Anime Corner received a review copy of Viz Media’s release of the Dandadan manga for review purposes.