Dandadan V04 by Yukinobu Tatsu

Dandadan V04 by Yukinobu Tatsu

A nerdy protagonist finds himself in a relentless battle against formidable supernatural entities and extraterrestrial beings, all of whom are desperate to acquire the hidden power of his cherished “family jewel”. An unexpected alliance forms between the protagonist, his high school crush, and a wise elderly spirit. Momo Ayase and Okarun hold starkly different beliefs when it comes to the paranormal, constantly attempting to prove each other wrong. Their journey unfolds a tapestry of hidden affections and otherworldly conflicts that force them to confront the unbelievable. However, their respite is short-lived as the banana-stealing Serpoians resurface, ensnaring Okarun, Momo, and Aira in an alternate dimension to once again seize their reproductive organs. In the ensuing clash, Aira, harnessing the powers of the Acrobatic Silky residing within her, joins forces with Momo and Okarun temporarily. But will their combined strength be sufficient to triumph over their adversaries, especially once the aliens merge with their minions and form an even mightier entity?

Dandadan: A Refreshing and Creative Shonen Manga

The mysterious name in the modern scene of Shonen manga, the creator of brilliantly crazy stories like “Fire Punch” or “Chainsaw Man.” This creator has practically defined modern Shonens and revolutionized the scene as a whole.

In the old days, we followed stories of heroes who represented ideal people with the right morals and attitudes. But this creator brought us heroes who are complete scumbags without a drop of goodness. They are examples of total madness, just trying to survive in a ruined society at the bottom of the social ladder.

The main protagonist, Engine, has no problem stumbling your legs and constantly kicking you while you’re down. He has to survive with no money and appreciates the simplest things, like worm food, which is normal for ordinary people.

We follow his story and see his growth as a person. He is far from a normal life, but his growth throughout the story is obvious. The creator, Fujimoto, has a reason for this. He wanted to do something very different from the usual shonens. His characters have low ambitions, which is not related to breaking the codes of Shonen. The current young generation is like that, looking to live a simple life day by day, not seeking high salaries. That’s why he created the character Denji, whose ambition is extremely mediocre. His perspective on the definition of heroes nowadays is interesting, but he’s not trying to revolutionize manga. He doesn’t seek praise or popularity, and he doesn’t want to show his face due to fear of being killed. He has received death threats and says some fans react very badly when a character suffers terrible things.

Honestly, he puts his characters through absolute hell, but the reasons why are interesting to follow. Fujimoto’s vision and point of view stand out completely. His work is inspired by how he feels, and even though his stories are related to his everyday life, he feels he has two characters who represent two complementary faces of his personality. This affects his creation. If a story lacks these two complementary elements, it won’t hold up. Every work needs a funny side and a serious side, it has to entertain but not become delusional entertainment, especially when it’s the creator’s whole life.

A Rising Star: Yukinobutatsu

Today, let’s talk about a young blood in the world of Shonens who follows a similar approach. Rising star Yukinobutatsu and his new manga, “Dandadan.” It’s a brand new manga that came out just a few months ago, but it’s already successful. His story is inspired by Fujimoto, his former assistant who worked on “Fire Punch” and “Chainsaw Man.”

Fujimoto’s influence is obvious in his work, but Yukinobutatsu brings something different, something that amazes me. The story starts with Fujimoto but adds an amazing twist.

Imagine our main protagonists trying to convince each other about the existence of an entity they believe in. Instead of finding out that nothing like spirits or aliens exist, they find out that both entities exist, and both of them were wrong. Then they encounter the most threatening spirit called Turbo Granny, who steals the main protagonist’s balls. He acquires Turbo Granny’s powers, while his classmate, Drew Coolant but sweet Momoayasa, meets aliens who try to seduce her to make her a descendant and get her tremendous powers. She resists them, and thanks to her spirit powers, they defeat all the aliens. Our main protagonists win the fight.

I know what you’re thinking, it sounds like a spoiler, but all of this happens in just 15 to 20 pages of the first chapter. It might seem like a collection of random things that don’t make sense, but behind the randomness lies a lot of creativity. All these events, powers, and lore make sense and fit the rules of this world. That’s why I fell in love with “Dandadan.”

A Difficult Journey

Yukinobutatsu’s path to success wasn’t easy. He struggled a lot, not just with constant failures but also mentally. He wasn’t famous or popular, and the only recognition he got was for his connection to Fujimoto. He started working on series like “Fireball” in monthly Shonen magazines, trying to get serialized, but it didn’t last long.

He and his assistant, Shihei Irima, had important discussions about their creation. Shihei played a significant role in Yukinobutatsu’s career. They reached success together, and without Shihei, who knows where Yukinobutatsu would be today? Mutual cooperation was essential.

Together, they participated in the Jump Plus festival with “Yamarakike Ipatsu,” a one-shot manga that got some recognition but didn’t get serialized. Yukinobutatsu tried different series with robots, beasts, and reanimated corpses, but none of them led to serialization.

He reached a point where he was tired and had no intention of drawing anymore. But then Shihei asked him when was the last time he drew freely without thinking about a story. That question sparked something in Yukinobutatsu, and they started using a script-writing technique called “logline” to develop the story. They scrambled ideas until they found the occult team movie concept.

With this newfound freedom, Yukinobutatsu could draw what he liked and wanted to do with the spiritual occult team idea. His art and creativity came to life, resulting in crazy, remarkable designs for creatures, breathtaking drawings, and an entertaining yet experimental world view. These ideas would never be seen anywhere else.

Switching to Jump Plus allowed them to unfold “Dandadan” at their own pace. The storytelling is great, with a good tempo and a romantic touch. The character development is satisfying, and the world view and power systems are remarkable. The main characters in this manga are not seeking titles, praises, or saving the world. They ended up in this situation by accident, and their adventure through the spiritual and paranormal side of the world brings them together.

Yukinobutatsu’s journey was long and difficult. For a long time, he was recognized only because of his connection to Fujimoto. But if Fujimoto’s influence led to the creation of “Dandadan” and all its uniqueness and breathtaking qualities, then every failure in the past paid off. Maybe if he had succeeded right from the start, he would never have changed his drawing attitude, and “Dandadan” would never have come to be.

Thank you for reading, and I deeply appreciate your attention. Please give “Dandadan” a chance and share your impressions in the comments below.

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