Monday, August 04, 2008

Manga Monday: Cowa!

Cowa! (Volume 1)
Akira Toriyama

Cowa! is a new young readers manga from the creator of the popular Dragon Ball Z, Akira Toriyama. The story follows a young half-vampire, half-werekoala named Paifu, who gets into mischief with his friends, mainly Jose the ghost (who farts when he gets startled) and bully monster Arpon (who must be the best at everything and considers himself Paifu's rival). Together, they live in a monster village in the country called Batwing Ridge, a secluded area where they don't see many humans, save the new mysterious man who has settled down nearby, who's rumored to be a murderer. The first chapter of the book, "Paifu Goes On an Errand," is a fine self-contained introduction to the series, where Toriyama sets up most of the main elements of the story to the reader, like how Paifu turns into a werekoala when confronted with a cross. Following this, the bulk of the rest of this first volume follows the young monsters' quest to retrieve medicine for the monsters of Batwing Ridge, many of whom have come down with the deadly monster flu. Cowa! is a really cute series, funny and energetic with a lot of imagination. I love the designs for the settings throughout the book, from the jack-o-lantern houses in Batwing Ridge to the witch's cave atop Horned-Owl Mountain, not to mention the cute character designs Toriyama's come up with for all of the monsters. The cartooning overall is pretty impressive, making this a great book for readers young and old.

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