Manga Spotlight: Dandadan (Ongoing)

Another Shounen Jump Hit

As I got older, I began to consider Shounen Jump, the “kiddie pool” of anime hits. This was in part due to many of the anime I grew up with, (Naruto, Bleach, Dragonball Z) all seeming more heavily flawed story-wise in their later years. These things happen. Shounen Jump is popular for many reasons but even I cannot deny it, if you’re on SJ lineup, you’re probably a hit! This brings us to the topic of the post, the weird, the strange, and the ballsy; Dandadan! This is a story of two unlikely students being unlikely heroes, while possibly being high off hallucinogenics.

Styles of SteEl

This is my nerd, got a problem?

So where do I start? The story centers around a nerdy alien fanatic, Ken Takerua, and a rowdy descendant of exorcists, Momo Ayase. Through the bristles of fate, these two have been tied together through the most unfortunate chain of events. However, it’s the perfect recipe for a bombastic manga like this. These two are thrown into a series of chaotic events in order to regain what was lost: Takeru’s balls. That’s not a joke by the way! When confronted by an oddly sexual ghost, she curses him and steals his goods, but the curse can only be suppressed by Ayase. It’s a simple tale of a fairly odd couple stuck together despite their conflicting personalities, and well, so far, it works.

Art Is Supernatrual

The art of Dandadan stands out right away, thanks to the mangaka, Tatsu Yukinobu. His use of sketch lines, the allure of well-placed pitch blacks, and his many exaggerated expressions all make each panel “pop”. The first few pages gave me a strong sense of nostalgia because they reminded me of the first pages of Bleach. Bleach also started out wi\th simple-designed characters but maximized how they were drawn in various situations. The monsters also resemble the Hollows with both terrifying and cool designs. Tatsu, however, does enjoy his fan service a lot more, and frankly, it’s enough to either enjoy or ignore depending on your preference. Action is drawn superbly, you understand everything that is happening even when the manga starts to take an acid trip. I look forward to when this becomes an anime, but it would need one hell of a budget.

The Occultist and the Excorcist

The two main protagonists are nearly polar opposites, and yet they have seamless chemistry. Takeru is admittedly your standard nerd at first glance. He has no friends and of course, he’s a bully magnet. When Ayase decides to help him off a whim, he takes this opportunity to form a connection. Normally, it’s the popular girl who moves the relationship forward but not only did he pursue a conversation with her, but he’s not afraid to make ridicule her for her lack of knowledge in the occult world. Like most antisocial people, they usually can be very talkative, but only on very specific topics. Our introduction to Ayase shows that she isn’t always in control nor is she always competent. Not only did she pick her boyfriend strictly for a superficial reason, but when treated wrongly, her first reaction was to get violent… and shockingly she suffered for it when he defended himself. You see that she is quick to anger and to prove a point, which led to the manga’s premise. Both have flaws, and both tend to improve each other. It’s a perfect synergy.

Cure and or Curse?

Keep up the Momentum!

I’ve only read about thirty chapters, and I’m pretty locked in for the ride. The adventure, I’m invested, the characters, I’m invested, and the art style, I’m invested. If I was to pose any complaints it would be that the story doesn’t seem to have an overarching goal. The students are fighting mainly to undo the effects of the curse. Ayase has no personal urgency to be here aside from just wanting to help Takeru. I hope the author gives her something more to fight for. Well, these are my thoughts on the manga thus far. I may do a weekly for this one when I bring back chapter posts. I encourage you all to give it a shot and let me know what you think! Do you agree or disagree with my recommendation?

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