Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gon, v.1

by Masashi Tanaka
Published in the U.S. by CMX

Slugline:A chibi dinosaur smashes his way through the modern forest.

This may be my most unpopular review ever -- if you love Gon from the mid-90s release by DC Comics, don't bother reading any further.

Chibi characters used to be novel, if not always cute, but that novelty has long since worn off. Still, I went into this expecting to like it, expecting something cute and clever.

It's not. Gon uses his head, mostly, to smash animals into submission or to take down trees right and left. I don't find either of those things cute or clever. Gon arbitrarily singles out animals to punish for simply doing what comes naturally, and I don't find that cute or clever either. Maybe some people think the predator/prey relationship is inherently unfair, but I don't. There's no particular reason for Gon to be stronger than everyone else, he simply is. So I end up sympathizing with the animals who suffer just for being in his way.

So I was sorely disappointed and even angry after I read this, and I'm sorry to be giving it such a low rating. I had wanted to talk about storytelling without words and have a chance to plug Triplets of Belleville (where no major character says a real word) and the wonderful Owly series by Andy Runton (aimed at young kids but enjoyable by everyone). But now all I can do is tack that on at the end.

Gon, v.1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Miranda

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