(Dr Slump )
• Akira Toriyama
• Viz (2005–2008)
• Shueisha (Weekly Shônen Jump, 1980–1985)
• Shônen, Science Fiction, Comedy
• 13+ (mild language, crude humor)
A spontaneous megahit when it first appeared in 1980, Dr. Slump established Akira Toriyama as one of Japan’s greatest cartoonists. In the anything-goes town of Penguin Village, Dr. Senbei Norimaki (an incompetent inventor who wants a wife but is just as happy setting up a Rube Goldberg–esque chain of events in order to see a girl’s panties) builds Arale, a superpowered little robot girl. Arale, who is strong enough to split the planet in half by stamping her foot, spends most of her time running around the village, playing with poo and causing chaos. The plots, reminiscent of Mad magazine or children’s books, are dense with imagination and demonstrate a sheer joy of drawing: Toriyama fills the pages with aliens, dinosaurs, talking animals and appliances, giant monsters, planes, and Star Wars references. The characters frequently make fun of the manga itself, and sometimes pick up the sound effects and play with them. The only problem with Dr. Slump is that it’s so good it makes Toriyama’s later series look halfhearted by comparison. Anarchic, fun, beautifully drawn, and incredibly creative.