Manga

My favorite 7 manga that started (and for some ended) in 2021

7) Candy Flurry

Candy Flurry is a manga series that began in April of 2021. Unfortunately, it’s already been cancelled. The series followed Tsumugi Minase, a “sweet user” who uses a lollipop as a weapon. In the world of Candy Flurry, a corporation called the Toy Toy Candy, makes confections that grant those that eat them magic candy powers. After five years, Toy Toy Candy became restricted and the “Sweet Police” were formed to stop Sweet Users. Each user can’t have the same powers but somehow Minase and a mysterious criminal both can use lollipop’s. She must hide her powers to avoid getting arrested for a crime she didn’t commit. Candy Flurry only reach 2 full volumes, but I think it’s worth a read.

6) The Hunters Guild: Red Hood

Like Candy Flurry, The Hunter Guild got the axe. A manga from Yuki Kawaguchi, Hunters Guild tells the story of Velou. From the small village of Kasoka, Velou calls the Hunters Guild to deal with their werewolf problem. Grimm is a hunter that arrives. At first she’s a little then she becomes a tall woman. Hunters Guild was always a gamble. Based on the fairytale (Little Red Riding Hood), the series was potential going to feel unoriginal. It liked what Kawaguchi did with werewolf lore, but it wasn’t enough.

5) Ayashimon

Ayashimon is a new series written and illustrated by Yuji Kaku. Maruo Kaido is a manga fan with dreams of becoming a “manga hero”. Blessed with superstrength due to special training inspired by manga he reads, Maruo meets Urara. An oni ayashimon, Urara is on the run from the ayashimon yakuza. Using his strength, Maruo saves her from the gang. Impressed, Urara recruits him into her yakuza group. The first question that came to mind after reading the first chapter of Ayashimon was, do we really need ANOTHER series about demons? I think the genre is becoming bloated. That said, making the ayashimon yakuza is an interesting twist. I don’t think it will be enough. But, I’ll give it a try.

4) Choujin x

Sui Ishida is best known for the series Tokyo Ghoul, which collectively sold 34 million copies. This year Shueisha’s Tonari no Young Jump released Choujin X. The story focuses on Azuma Higashi and his friend Tokio Kurohara. Polar opposites, the two friends live in the Yamato Prefecture, a district overwhelmed by Choujins. After an encounter with a Choujin, Tokio and Azuma decide they must become Choujin themselves. Tokio injects himself with a mysterious syringe, transforming into a vulture form. His life will never be the same.

3) Seven Deadly Sins: Four Knights of the Apocalypse

A spinoff of the popular Seven Deadly Sins series, Four Knights of the Apocalypse follows Percival, a young boy who’s prophesized to become one of the Four Knights that will destroy the world. Unlike sequel series like Boruto, Four Knights was deliberately separated form the cast of Seven Deadly Sins. Instead of using the son of Meliodas and Elizabeth, Tristan, Nakaba Suzuki created Percival. Son of the Holy Knight, Ironside, Percival was raised by his grandfather until his father tried to murder them both. Percival is set on a journey to find his father and get revenge.

2) Bleach: One Shot

Like most Bleach fans I was eagerly awaiting the return of one of the best manga series. This year the Bleach One Shot was released. As Soul Society prepares for Soul Funeral Festival, a “ritual that takes place every 12 years after the death of a Captain.” Kubo attempts to explain the reason we never heard of this festival is due to how rare Captain deaths are. After the Thousand Year War, Captain Commander Genryusai, Captain Unohana, and Captain Unitake all died. The One Shot introduces several new characters specifically, Vice Captains Rindo and YuYu. I wouldn’t recommend it for those new to Bleach. The One Shot is worth reading especially if you’re a fan of the series.

1) Dandadan

I was first drawn to this series when I saw the art on Twitter. Dandadan is a series written and illustrated by Yukinobu Tatsu. It focuses on high school girl Momo Ayase. She believes in ghosts but not aliens, contrasting her with Okarun, who believes aliens but not ghosts. The two decide to prove each other wrong by heading to separate locations where the occult are known to exists. They both prove the other right, as they encounter aliens and ghosts respectively. Manga isn’t short on demon, ghosts, and the other occult imagery but I think Dandadan has a unique spin on this genre. I love the creative design of the various creatures, they’re so well done and imaginative. Dandadan blends sex comedy, action, and humor with beautify art. I think it’s the best new manga series of 2021.

Manga

Dandadan Chapter 3: Ayase’s weirdly young Grandmother appears

Momo Ayase has mentioned her grandmother multiple times in the first two chapters of Dandadan. A spirit medium, Momo’s grandmother Hoshiko has a youthful appearance considering her age. She sports glasses, hoop earnings, and a high ponytail. Her style also suggest she deliberately seeks to appear younger. This includes wearing her a revealing sweater that displays her cleavage. When she works as a professional medium named Dodoria Santa, she wears a grotesque masks and a hooded black cloak. Her looks and body are hidden from view. Whether she hides her appearance to create a persona or assumes she won’t be taken seriously as a woman.

Dandadan Chapter 3,” A Clash of the Grannies, Huh?” open with Hoshiko telling the fortune of a young idol. She predicts his age is 27, he claims he’s 20. She predicts he love curry and have a wife and kids. He basically claims she a fraud. Hoshiko arrives home just in time to prevent Turbo-Granny from eating Momo. Armed with a bat, she challenges Turbo-Granny , who quickly appears behind her. Turbo-Granny is set on fire and becomes trapped in a barrier circle created by Hoshiko. The barrier will ignite the demon if it passes over the line. In combination with her “charm nails” she’s able to use her barriers to both protect herself and trap Turbo-Granny . Despite Turbo-Granny mentioning that Ken would die if Hoshiko sets her on fire, Hoshiko doesn’t seem to care.

Gotta play tag with Turbo-Granny

Momo wakes concerned for Okarun (Ken). She finds her grandmother watching Bakatono, and assumes she killed Okarun. Hoshiko leads her granddaughter to believe she killed Okarun. Hoshiko hasn’t seen Momo since she gain psychic powers and is clearly bitter over Momo’s previous dismissing of her psychic powers. When her grandmother tells her were Okarun is Momo rushes to find him eating in the shrine. She relived. After informing her grandmother that she has powers now, her grandmother reveals more information on the Turbo-Granny . Formerly called “100 KM/H Granny,” she used to terrorized Japan and Hoshiko investigated her inside the tunnel.

Hoshiko claims she couldn’t even get close to the tunnel due to strength of the presence. She explains that bound spirits “stay in a place they have some sort of strong attachment,” and are “strongest in their territory.” It’s foolish to take on a bound spirit inside their territory. According to Hoshiko, the bound spirit has fused with the Turbo-Granny. Even though her grandmother has warned her, Momo is still determined to rescue Okarun. Hoshiko tells her she will need to “play tag” with Turbo-Granny. It’s especially important that she get Turbo-Granny to leave the bound spirits territory. Once weaken, Turbo-Granny can be defeated more easily. Before that confrontation both Momo and Okarun need to get stronger. At the end of the chapter, we see that idol from earlier, Shouma-San is actually 27, has a love child, therefore proving Hoshiko is correct.

Manga

Dandadan Chapter 2: Your name is Okarun

Okarun releases the power of Turbo Granny against the hulking Floodwood alien in chapter 2 of Dandadan.
Okarun releases the power of Turbo Granny

Momo Ayase doesn’t take took kindly to Ken’s name reveal. She forbids him from using it, instead, she names him Okarun. Dandadan Chapter 2 introduces us to the lore of the series, particularly regarding demons, ghosts, and aliens. Momo brings the exhausted Okarun to her home. When Okarun triggers a charm placed on the torii gate he ignites. Momo uses her psychic powers to toss him into a river. On the charm is an image of the Ganzan Daishi (Ryogen). The charm ward off demons. Momo removes it allowing Okarun to enter. Okarun and Momo confirm that he no longer has his penis. Their at a loss for what they should do. Okarun and Momo discuss their potential friendship. As I mentioned in my review of Dandadan Chapter 1, Okarun is “nerdy,” and this often means lonely.

The Floodwood Alien

He tells Momo that he “always wanted friends.” She responds that he didn’t have friends because he’s “pushes people away.” She may be right but I don’t think they know each other well enough for that deep of an insight into who Okarun is. Regardless, that information is likely for the audience. I continue to enjoy the sporadic sprinkling of sexual insults Okarun hurls at Momo as he struggles to control Turbo Granny. It’s possible it will get old but it’s working for me now. Suddenly, the two hear a weird doorbell. Momo’s grandmother installed two doorbells, one for humans and the other for “evil spirits.” They head outside to find that they’re walled in and begin to bleed from their noses.

A floodwoods monster appears and demands their genitals. Okarun explains they’re generally “ten feet tall” and were first discovered in the “American town of Floodwood,” and now exists in Japan. Dandadan blurs the lines between aliens and spirits. Mechanisms intended to detect spirits (the doorbell) are also capable of detecting aliens. Okarun explains that “studies show that people who see psychic phenomena . . . also see UFO’s.” Momo and Okarun’s fighting ability (at least right now) is limited due to Momo’s need to suppress Turbo Granny with her powers. Momo attempts to free Okarun’s head while allowing Turbo Granny to take over his body. He gains a lot of power but Turbo Granny appears to sap his soul, resulting in Okarun feeling depressed.

Momo uses the charm to disintegrate the Floodwood monster

Turbo Granny takes control

Unmotivated, it seems like Okarun is going to be crushed. Turbo Granny is able to move his body without input from Okarun. The fingers of the floodwood are cut off. The speed of Turbo Granny overwhelms Okarun’s body leaving him vulnerable to attack from the Floodwood. Momo notices that the alien moves like a sumo wrestler. Okarun uses his speed to blow a hole in its knee. The Floodwoods hand begins to dissolve but it sprouts two legs, grabs Momo, and slams her into the wall. Despite this, she continues to suppress Turbo Granny. After challenging the Floodwood it begins hammering her into the wall, with a series of devastating punches. Pummeled into a hole under the torii gate, Momo psychically grabs Okarun and uses the charm to disintegrate the Floodwood monster. Exhausted, Momo passes out leaving the curse unchecked. Turbo Granny takes over and prepares to swallow Momo.

I like the lore introduce in this chapter. It’s always important to establish the limits in a series universe. So far, ghosts can’t appear during the day, doorbells can alter you to their (and aliens) presence, and barriers can set them ablaze. Making aliens and spirits exist in the same universe can be difficult. From a genre standpoint, they’re usually categorized in horror and sci-fi respectively. I wonder if we’ll get a more elaborate explanation or just have to accept the word of the author that in Dandadan, aliens and spirits overlap in some way. Yukinobu Tatsu really creates wonderful monsters. I intrigued by what held come up with next.

Anime

Dandadan Manga Chapter 1: a weird occult action sex comedy

Momo gets revenge on her alien captors in chapter 1 of Dandadan.
Momo gets revenge on her alien captors in chapter 1 of Dandadan.

I was first drawn to Dandadan when I stumbled upon the creator’s artwork on Twitter. I judge manga series based on their art style first. So I quickly translated Japanese, desperately seeking the name of the new manga series. Dandadan is billed as a “shockingly grotesque occultic battle series.” Created by Yukinobu Tatsu (Yamada Kiki Ippatsu), Dandadan follows Momo Ayase and Ken Takakura as they battle aliens and the occult. The first chapter is wild. Momo Ayase has a miserable date with an ass and is heartbroken. She loves “star masculine guys” like Takakura Ken ( the Japanese Clint Eastwood). While walking past a classroom, Momo sees Ken, being pelted with paper balls. Taking pity on him, Momo sits in front of him. Ken is awkward and barely can look at Momo.

Ken can’t out run the Turbo Granny.

That’s short for “unidentified aerial phenomena”

He follows her out of the room claiming he “knows what she likes” the “occult.” Annoyed, Momo says she doesn’t believe in “UFOs or aliens.” Ken corrects her that they’re called UAPS or “unidentified aerial phenomena.” The dynamic between Ken and Momo is typical for anime and manga. She’s the pretty young woman taking pity on the pathetic nerd. However, Momo is kinda weird herself. She may not believe in aliens, but she does believe in ghosts. Suddenly, this dynamic shifts. Ken thinks Momo’s being ridiculous now. He dismisses ghosts, claiming “there’s no such thing.” Like most nerds, Momo has some shame in her beliefs, so much so that she berates her psychic Grandmother when she’s humiliated at school. The two challenge each other. Momo will show Ken a ghost and Ken will show her a real UFO.

I’ll let you suckle my titties

Momo is sent to “Nagi Hospital,” a place that Ken claims is a “sanctuary for aliens.” Meanwhile, Ken heads to the “spirit spot,” an abandoned tunnel. They both claimed not to believe in aliens or UFO’s but both are clearly scared. Yukinobu’s are style starts to stand out. His use of lines shows the apprehensive movement of Momo and Ken. Yukinobu also makes great use of detailed line work and contrasting it with white background. This style is best depicted when Ken meets the Turbo Granny. An urban legend originating from the highways of Mount Rokko in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. The legend claims that while driving on a highway a driver only catches a glimpse of Turbo Granny and is induced into a car accident. In Dandanda she has a more vulgar motive. She offers oral sex in exchange for allowing Ken to “suckle on her titties.”

Yukinobu makes great use of lines, details and white space.

We are the Serpo

If the encounter with Turbo Granny wasn’t jarring enough, Momo’s experience with the “Serpo” was worst. They attempt to rape her, stripping her to her underwear and manipulating her with psychokinesis. It’s uncomfortable, but I guess it should be. However, before they go too far, Ken interrupts them by calling Momo. One of the aliens reaches for the phone, a cursed Ken emerges. He resembles the Turbo Granny. He rips off one of the alien’s mechanical penises (less brutal than it sounds). Ken’s new form is grotesque, as he has long white hair, a creepy row of large teeth, and his movement appears almost uncoordinated. It’s like he doesn’t have any bones. Overstimulated by the psychokinesis, Momo’s chakra is opened and she’s able to use psychic powers. After dispatching the aliens, Momo is able to remove Turbo Granny from Ken’s body. However, the curse remains.

The alien Serpo’s are creepy creeps.

Weird occult action sex comedy

The Turbo Granny claims that she has Ken’s . . . “dick,” and as long as she has it the curse won’t leave. Ken and Momo decide to join forces. I’ve been using Ken’s first name throughout this review, but at this point in the manga, Momo didn’t know his name (she called him Occult boy). Ken’s full name is Takakura Ken, the same name as the actor Momo liked in the beginning.

Will Ken overcome his nerdy status to become a man like Japan’s Clint Eastwood or will he prove to Momo that “masculine” men come in all shapes and sizes? Despite the cringe-worthy sexual humor, I’m into this series. Dandadan has more subtle humor as well, I don’t think I’ve laughed as much with any recent manga series. The art of Yukinobu Tatsu is amazing. His use of detail, coupled with clean lines, and dramatic movement is impressive. Dandadan is a manga series that can be summed up as a weird occult action sex comedy. I like it.

Dandadan is currently serialized on Jump Plus and scanned on mangasee123.