Saturday, November 20, 2010

Comic Review: Toto! The Wonderful Adventure (Part 1)

Another manga inspired by Oz to be brought over to the States was Toto! The Wonderful Adventure by Yu-Ko Osada. This came out in Japan in 2005 and ran for five volumes, although it was apparently the remake of a series Osada did back in 2002 simply titled Toto which ran for two volumes. There was a spinoff of somekind called Tribal 12 which followed for three volumes, although what its connection it is to this one is unknown other than it maybe takes place in the same fictional universe.

The story takes place in a standard shonen-styled manga story similar to ones like Rave Master and Fullmetal Alchemist where technology and magic are integrated together. Kakashi(which is Japanese for "scarecrow")is a rebellous youth who wishes to see the world that his deceased father told him about, so he stowsaway on a public blimp. This turns out bad as it gets hijacked by the Man Chicken Family, a group of bandits who look like their straight out of the Turks from Final Fantasy VII. Kakashi discovers a stray puppy on board with wearing a strange collar, and takes him in as his own friend. He is found out by the Man Chicken Family and their leader Teqilla who forces Kakashi to be their lackey on the blimp while they fly it to their hideout. The blimp gets attacked by the military, and Tequilla sacrifices the last parachute to Kakashi as he escapes with the puppy. They wake up battered in a field, and are very hungry. Luckily, they find a seemingly abandoned picnic basket which they immediatley empty, but are found out by its owner, a young girl named Dorothy. She first thinks that just the puppy ate her food, but takes a liking to him, and names him Toto. Kakashi pops up from behind a cornstalk, and gets into an argument with Dorothy who first confuses him for a scarecrow. However, the military shows up, and it turns out they're after Toto's collar. Kakashi, Dorothy, and Toto make off on a stolen motorcycle towards the city of Emerald where Dorothy's family lives. On the way, they stop at a farmhouse and are taken in by what seems like a kindly old man, but he's really the sinister Lt. Vio in disguise. He leaves Kakashi and Dorothy inside while the place is burns down, but Toto's collar transforms him into a giant creature due to the collar's magical powers.

I've liked how this series seems to be going so far, although some of the danger presented in this "Rated T" manga is very real with the heroes facing imminent death at every corner. This manga is one of several Oz titles that crosses over with Alice In Wonderland with characters from that book showing up in this storyline. I liked Yuko Osada's art style, and look forward to it progress in the future volumes.

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