Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: Teach Me How to Duggie

            Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo by Yoshi Sawai is a Humorous Japanese Manga Comic set in an odd, distant future where the evil Maruhage Empire seeks to rid the world of its hair. The story heavily uses parody, non sequitur story telling, and Hajike, or “wigging-out” for its humor. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, the main and title character, is a muscular and unpredictable hero for hair who wields an opening Afro which often acts as a stage for side dramas. When the story begins, he  is already despised by the “hair-hunters” because of his history of foiling their plans by using his special “Fist of Nose Hair” abilities. Over the course of the first volume he is joined by two companions on his quest; Beauty and Don Patch. Beauty is a teenage girl who adores and wishes to follow Bo-bobo on his quest for no more reason, than just to be with him. She often portrays an opposite viewpoint from Bo-bobo and is used as a grounding method for what is normal in the comic. Don Patch is a small star-burst-shaped character that shares much of the unpredictability of Bo-bobo. He was formerly the leader of Party-Town and joined Bo-bobo because of a shared resentment of the Maruhage Empire.
            The first volume of the Manga follows a very simple quest style plot, but it is often broken up by distractions amongst the characters. The story begins by Bo-bobo appearing to save a village that was under attack by the Hair-Hunters. Beauty was in the village and after hearing a small back ground story on Bo-bobo, pleads to be allowed to follow him. After agreeing,  they go to the G-Block base of the Hair-Hunters and defeat the leader. After leaving the pair are attacked by a perverted Hair-Hunter, who Bo-bobo defeats. The battle is witnessed b a mysterious boy. The pair then travel to Party Town on their aimless quest where Bo-bobo challenges to win the title of best party-er. After beating everyone else, the boss, Don Patch is released. After battling for a while, a hair hunter arrive and takes Beauty away. Don Patch and Bo-bobo, formerly enemies become allies because of their shared hatred for the Hair-Hunters and pursue. They come to the Hair-Hunter block A base and battle the inhabitants. During which time, the mysterious boy from before reappears to defend Beauty. After the base Captain is defeated, Bo-bobo and Don Patch find Beauty and continue on their quest. They find and defeat yet another Hair-Hunter and then a mysterious monster appears. The Monster asks for the mysterious boy, who is being searched for by the Hair-Hunters. But the boy evades the monster and remains safe at the end of the volume.

Visual Styles
The visual style in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is varied but descriptive and helps the reader to interpret the activities of each scene. For example, even though this is more of a humorous comic, the more serious panels in the comic incorporate the use of strong bold lines along with a dark background. This emphasizes the the seriousness of the panel and separates it from the more common humorous panels which consist of a lighter backdrop and smoother more curved lines. Another prominent aspect of the visual style used in this manga is the onomatopoeia. With many of the actions that occur during the panels, there will often be sound effects written all across the panel so that the words themselves seem to be a part of the picture. This is a common trait shared by most manga, however in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, this feature enhances the randomness and comedy the manga is known for. The last important aspect of the visual style of this comic is the style used to draw the fight scenes. These scenes are mainly composed of haphazard lines clumped together for the background, and the characters will be drawn much darker. Drawing the fight scenes this way gives them special attention so that the reader will not just skim over them while reading.

The reason for a lot of Bobobo-bo Bo-Bobo’s randomness comes from the very unique array of characters that have embarked on Bobobo-bo’s quest. In the first volume we are introduced to Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, who is supposed to be the hero of the comic. Bobobo-bo is an unusual hero because he is such an unpredictable person. It is safe to say that the actions Bobobo will make are nearly impossible to predict, not even the people that are on his team can predict what he will do next. There were even certain cases where Bobobo would harm his fellow allies, for example, he constantly puts Popa Rocks in danger sometimes even directly hurting him. Aside from his unpredictable and weird behavior, Bobobo can still remain a serious character when there is a real threat to the friends that can’t defend themselves like he can. Beneath Bobobo’s incredibly muscular body, sporting sunglasses and large golden afro, is a very sensitive man who is simply trying to make a better world for hair everywhere.
Along Bobobo’s journey to stop the hair hunting troops he encounters characters that will later join his team. The first person to join Bobobo was the character of Beauty. Beauty is the heroine of the group and although it may not be obvious at first, she is one of the characters that keep the group from completely losing control and breaking down. Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo uses Manzai humor, which is a traditional style of stand-up comedy in Japanese culture. It usually involves two performers—a straight man and a funny man—trading jokes at great speed. That is where Beauty comes into play. While Bobobo and Don Patch are running around, acting like idiots, Beauty remains serious for the sake of their sanity and to further emphasize the craziness. It is a comedic value that I feel works out very well and never seizes to surprise. Beauty is completely useless when it comes to fighting and defending herself, but she keeps the group on track and helps them not make complete fools out of them selves during desperate times.
The final and possibly the most outrageous character in the novel is Don Patch, who is an orange star. You can tell right away from his appearance that he is a strange character. While facing extreme danger and the many powerful and troublesome threats in this world, he usually keeps his chin up and either finds or says something that completely destroys the mood of the battle or makes things even more bizarre. Don Patch is a very narcissistic character who is always trying to steal the show and become the center of attention. Often times he becomes jealous of Bobobo for being the main character of the novel. This common jealousy results in Don Patch getting beat up by Bobobo for being annoying. There are even times when he tries to become a better heroine than Beauty, which involves a lot awkward cross dressing scenarios. To summarize Don Patch in simpler terms, he is a complete idiot and for that, he is an incredibly important part of Bobobo’s comedy.

Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is a nonsensical, mocking, and random manga. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is random scene to scene panel to panel. Everything in this manga is unpredictable and out of the ordinary; the characters, the plot, and all the little details that compose it give rise to a great to read humorous magna.  The randomness begins with the world being rule by the bald empire; the bald empire wants everyone to look like him so he puts together a group of bald soldiers and gives them a warrant to remove all hairs in the world. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo the main character stands in the way of the bald empire. He is one of the few remaining people with hair. His father is a hairball and his sidekick is a pickle. In all of his encounters with the bald troopers, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo uses his nose hairs to defeat them and continuously using different phrases that put in plain words what attack he is performing. In some circumstances small characters come out of his nose and seem to live in the hairs inside his nose. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo never seems to strike any one with his any of his limbs and is always shown striking his enemies with hairs on his body. Bobobo-bo Bo-bobos non sequitur comedy make this magna a work of art.

1 comment:

Michael Hancock said...

Your review manages to keep a straight face while summarizing a manga unlike any other, with off-the-wall humor from start to finish. You capture the appearance and personality of different characters and vividly describe their misadventures. Proofread more carefully to avoid typos (e.g., 'magna' for 'manga'), comma errors (including comma splices), and at least one sentence fragment.