Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Toto!, vol. 1

By Yuko Osada
Released in the US by Del Rey

Slugline: A take on The Wizard of Oz that doesn't read like one.

Kakashi has grown alone on an isolated island, his father having left on a voyage of exploration many years before and never returned. He has also wanted to go out and explore the world, but it is not until he manages to stow aboard a zeppelin that has landed on his island for repair that Kakashi manages to get off the island. He quickly makes friends with the bandits that have taken over the zeppelin, finds a pet dog, gets blown off the zeppelin by military ground fire,steals a girl lunch, gets his dog named and dognapped. Let's just say his dog, Toto, is more than what he (I assume he is he) appears.

The story and art has a very loose, almost cartoony look, reminding me a lot of early One Piece in style and tone (at least at the moment). I actually didn't see the Wizard of Oz (WoZ) elements, until Dorothy showed up a little past the halfway through the book in a cornfield. And named the dog Toto. At which point I promptly smacked myself, since while the title of the series is Toto! I didn't connect it with the WoZ. But so far this is really the same story. Yes, they are taking elements of WoZ, but at the moment they are appear to be just set dressings rather than story elements. So I (and thus the readers) don't really know what is happening next. The story is solid if not very deep, but at the moment this reads like a book that appropriate for younger readers. Though I am not sure how much I like that WoZ has turned from a girl-centric story to a boy centered one. Depends on how Dorothy is treated, but so far okay.

Toto!, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.


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