HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "Dandadan" - Volume Four

MANGA REVIEW | "Dandadan" - Volume Four

MANGA REVIEW | "Dandadan" - Volume Four

It has taken awhile, but Yukinobu Tatsu’s Dandadan has found its footing. Rather, I should say that it needed to learn to swim rather than run. In its fourth volume, not only do the characters of Dandadan become more well-rounded, but they also finally show true shonen manga greatness potential. And it all begins with a battle with Nessie.

After fusing with Nessie, the Dover Demon becomes a far more formidable opponent. Momo, Okarun, and Aira seek to find a way to defeat this alien monster, before it finds a way to permanently place their school underwater. It results in a fierce and fast-paced battle, with Momo surprisingly coming out the strongest of the three. However, there’s no time to celebrate their victory, as they find themselves back in school. Naked. Surrounded by their classmates.

It’s a moment that helps to break the tension of the previous fight, and showcases Tatsu’s skills in the realm of comedy. We’ve all seen situations like this in shonen manga before, but both the timing and facial expressions showcased here pushes the gag to greater limits. Even better is the school nurse, who tried to use corporal punishment to get Momo, Okarun, and Aira to spill the beans over why they’re sans pants. (Watching her treat a bald teacher like a dom disciplining her sub is just icing on this comedic cake!)

However, the situation also gives Dandadan an opportunity to show some heart. Not only does Momo see Okarun in a cool light for once, but Aira also drops the cool chick schtick when she sees how others view Momo negatively. (After all, it was her that spread those bad rumors about Momo in the first place.) While they’re still far from being the best of friends, we see that Momo and Aira have the ability to aid one another in this strange monster and alien-filled fight.

Speaking of aliens, one of the enemies comes to repent their sins. It’s a sad sob story we’ve heard many times before, where a good alien becomes bad in order to make ends meet and aid a sick child. But the punchline hits when it’s revealed what the alien considers blood to their species, resulting in a classic visual involving a certain abduction. (I’m not gonna lie: it made me smile seeing the end result of this arc.)

Who isn’t smiling is Okarun, as Momo’s childhood friend Jiji reenters her life. She’s not exactly happy with his presence, but she’s not disgusted, at least. However, it’s clear that Okarun has some jealousy issues with Jiji, and it’s making him feel self-conscious about his skills. However, there’s a reason behind his appearance, and it involves some shit that bumps in the night. But before they can help him, there’s a matter regarding a sentient body model!

When Dandadan goes all in on the wacky, that’s where the manga shines the brightest. The chase between Okarun and the model (who may have one of his golden nards) is wild and explosive, with Momo thinking outside the box in order to defeat it. It ends in a rather stupid fashion, but one that’s smart with the stupidity rather than going into full-blown idiocy. With that little side-quest taken care of, Momo and Okarun can offer Jiji their assistance. But if the final pages may be hinting, they’re about to enter a very creepy territory.

Volume Four of Dandadan reaches heights past volumes failed to do. It’s got high octane action, side-splitting comedy, and even a good dose of heart. It’s taken Dandadan awhile to get to where it needs to be in order to become a memorable manga, and it appears to be staying the course for the time being. Let’s just hope that poor Okarun won’t have to lose any more of his manhood, or face another level of embarrassment that’d make any sane individual move out of town and change their identity.


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)