MANGA REVIEW | "Dandadan" - Volume Two
Although the first volume of Dandadan showcased a lot of potential, my biggest complaint with Yukinobu Tatsu’s manga was that it tried to pack in too much too early. Now that it’s had the opportunity to stretch out for a long run, Dandadan exposes everything about itself for all to see. Thankfully, in its second volume, Momo and Okarun’s story brings the right amount of spectacle and story building to gain some solid traction. It’s a good thing, too, seeing as there’s a giant crab chasing them!
Okay, it’s not really a giant crab, but rather Turbo Granny’s assassin in a unique form. Momo and Okarun need to outrun the beast in order to get Okarun’s manhood back. What starts as a feat of speed evolves into a battle of the brains, as Momo attempts to outwit Turbo Granny and the assassin by any means necessary. This means using their surroundings to their advantage, be it a movie theater, a hot spring, or an oncoming train.
These opening chapters in this volume of Dandadan are a true adrenaline rush! It feels like a big horror video game chase sequence (perhaps Outlast or Amnesia), with the giant crab becoming more horrifying as the chase continues. But once Momo has the upper hand, the quest to defeat Turbo Granny looks to be at an end. Peace within the spiritual world is found, and Okarun gets his precious junk back.
Or so we thought, as Okarun finds two key elements of his Johnson missing when he investigates. Taking the form of two magic orbs, Momo and Okarun now must find them to rid the boy of this nuisance-making problem. It takes the return of Turbo Granny — now stuck in the statue of a Lucky Kitty — to fully understand the nature of the situation. As luck has it, one of the orbs is close by, but it’s in the hands of a certain envious classmate.
Even though Momo and Okarun have become quicker friends than most hottie/nerd manga pairings, there is a tension between the two of them that many of their classmates feel. Okarun might have awaken to the fact that Momo is cute, but he’s more grateful to have her as a friend than anything else. Meanwhile, Momo attempts to smooth over the tension with some tsundere-styled back talk, only for Okarun to become a target for some other high school beauty. (Hilariously, Momo helps Okarun with some Showa era-styled slapstick!)
It’s the appearance of the next spirit where things get rather nasty in Dandadan. Without spoiling much, this newcomer delivers plenty of frights and some vore tendencies that’ll make some readers wince. Her demeanor brings plenty of challenges for Okarun and Momo, both of whom might be in too deep in this battle for one of the giant orbs. Fortunately, deep within the monster, a much-needed fire is lit to get the true fight underway!
Dandadan may have had some stumbles in its debut volume, but its second volume manages to fix most of them. Its humor is still an acquired taste, but it does manage to bring laughs that almost anyone can enjoy. Where it does shine is in its horror elements, with Tatsu’s art reaching true grotesque levels in places. Volume Two not only gives plenty of reasons for a second look, but also shows the sort of potential Dandadan can deliver in the long run.
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media