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.
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.