Monday, June 22, 2009

Manga Monday: Leave It To PET!

Leave It To PET! (Volume 1)
Kenji Sonishi
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Leave It To PET is a kids' manga put out by Viz that follows the adventures of Noboru Yamada and his PET. PET stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate, which is a type of plastic. That's because PET is a plastic bottle. But not just any plastic bottle. Noboru recycled this plastic bottle, so PET came back to grant Noboru a favor every day as a way of saying thanks (and is somehow now robotic as well, with many different attachments/uses). Unfortunately, things hardly ever go right when PET is involved. This is a gag manga, very silly and loads of fun, reminding me quite a bit of another all-ages manga that I love: Yotsuba&. But Leave It To PET! is just weird and as creative as a comic can get. Some of the mischief PET gets into includes giving out a password for Noboru to use to call for his help that's almost impossible to get down right, so PET hides behind a tree as bullies bother Noboru and a friend, who are trying to repeat the correct password, while PET just shakes its head and thinks to itself "they're so close." Another example of one of the short episodes within this volume is of PET being called to rescue a cat from a tree. He gets dizzy from being refueled by fizzy soda, but eventually he asks Noboru to shake him up really fast, so he'll be able to help, whereupon PET's head flies off and onto the tree beside the cat, prompting PET needing a rescue of his own. I can't stress enough how fun this book is - I was smiling the entire time I was reading it, often chuckling to myself along the way. Sonishi's drawing is a little clunky, but it grew on me as it went along, and between the funny ideas he comes up with and the adorably jealous, mischievous character he created in PET, he more than makes up for any shortcomings. Great pacing and timing illustrate Sonishi's strength in executing comedy, and the tips for recycling and little games at the back of the volume are a bonus that adds a little extra charm to the overall package. This is a great book to slip into the hands of a child.

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