Bananas, grannies, and dicks. If you were to ask me to describe the initial chapters using three words, this is it. Dandadan became trending overnight partly because Chainsaw Man’s mangaka Tatsuki Fujimoto, recommended it. To say the first chapter will leave you confused would be an understatement.
However, it’s the type of confusion that makes you crave for more. If you’re looking for a story that is a hot mess of what seems like every current shounen trope mixed into one (but not really), then look no further.
Also, if you’re into hot grandmothers. More about her later.
Dandadan manga is written and illustrated by Yukinobu Tatsu worked alongside the likes of Yuji Kaku (Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku) on Fujimoto’s debut manga, Fire Punch. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, the story follows duo Momo Ayase and Ken Takakura (known as Okarun because Momo here cannot fathom that this boy is a namesake of her favourite actor) and their weird interactions with aliens and ghosts.
What had started with a dare to prove the beliefs of the other person wrong, (Momo wanting to prove Aliens don’t exist and vice versa) turns out to be a fateful night where they bid their monotonous lives goodbye.
Through some very interesting obstacles, they manage to break free. Now, Okarun is possessed, and Momo conveniently has the ability of psychokinesis (that she got from her grandmother) that can help her keep Okarun in control. Now, its up to them to defeat the spirit currently housing in Okarun’s body.
Also, did I mention Okarun got his dick stolen? He quite literally couldn’t keep it in his pants. (Please don’t click out I swear it gets better.)
Meeting the current characters- a fresh breath of air?
When you think of a shonen protagonist, there are likely a few stereotypes that may pop up in your mind. From psychopaths, to balls of sunshine, to those who are a little edgy. Now, take them and throw them in the dustbin before you start reading Dandadan.
Okarun’s defining characteristic is that he shares a name with a popular actor. His personality is that of a pencil. But, that’s exactly what makes him so special (also he does seem to have a “power of friendship” moment at an important scene). Okarun is quite really a main character I haven’t really seen before (take this statement with a grain of salt, not like I’m some animanga connoisseur). His messiness, inability to pull a “main character” like stint that would leave his impact on the reader is what makes him stand out. He has great potential to carve his mark if the story progresses the right way.
Now, onto Momo Ayase, the star of the show. Bold, strong, snarky and a fangirl of actor Ken Takakura, she makes up for the lack of personality Okarun has (now this article sounds like Okarun slander, I apologise). If I were to make a vague comparison, she reminds me a little of Nobara Kugisaki from Jujutsu Kaisen. She is a character that brings the depth to this weird story. She’s brash, hot headed but at the same time extremely courageous and compassionate. Right off the bat, she’s well written!
Their dynamic is fun to read, with both initially hitting it off due to an argument as mentioned above. Now that they have no choice to become close to get over the problem at hand, it would be interesting how things fair out, and if Momo could ever accept Okarun for the Ken Takakura he is.
Meet the granny
Hot mothers and sisters have been the norm in mangas for the longest of time. This story takes it up a notch by introducing a hot grandmother. Yeah, you read that right- Momo’s grandmother, Santa Dodoria. Her entry into the story was crucial as she starts providing some substance to the events that have taken place. She attempts to set rules, and embarks the duo on a training arc (already).
Special mention to our lusting aliens and turbo granny. I don’t think the fandom will ever got over this.
About the story
Putting aliens and ghosts in the same story is no short of a risk. When taking either of those, you can focus on development and creating a world that befits the supernatural ability you have chosen. As of now, the ghosts have taken the precedence in the plot. The aliens only work was to give readers a scare when they almost sexually harass Momo before Okarun manages to save her (and then she packs a few punches and steals the limelight from him).
It’s safe to say the plot setting is a double-edged sword. It can either prove that having too many types of supernatural powers in one story is something that can be done, or will turn the story into wasted potential. Despite so, it is exciting, and makes you look forward in the story. We know that Momo and Santa have abilities to counter the ghosts, but what will happen when the aliens strike? If done well, this story could be extremely enjoyable and thrilling to read.
Now, let me get to the defining part of the story. The first two parts of the chapter heavily focuses on sexual desires of the supernatural. The serpo aliens wanted to extract Momo’s womb and “bananas” (ovaries?) while the granny ghoul graciously offered Okarun some…services. Every main character of a story set in supernatural settings sacrifices something. This special one didn’t eat a finger or lost himself to a murderous notebook. He just got his dick stolen. (fun fact, the ghost granny also rips off the machine like genitalia of the serpo alien, she has a thing for such stuff I guess).
PS, I don’t know how he is using the washroom now. If you have any ideas please let me know.
As funny as it is to read and joke about (believe me, the only thing I did was insert dick and banana jokes in every conversation I had with my fellow writers), it did leave me a little confused. The chaotic beginning of the story is a plus, for sure, but I am still contemplating whether this is a parody of the genre or a story with a real aim. The dialogues seem crafted in a way to make the story seem weird and funny, almost like it wants you to forget about the fact that some aliens and ghosts magically appearing could be a sign of something bigger.
As much as I would want to talk about anything else, the story has left a humorous impression with the “antagonist’s” weird obsession with human reproductive organs. In this case, I do hope the first impression isn’t the last one, because I am keen to see the story develop and deepen its universe. The premise seems interesting enough, so there are high expectations from the upcoming chapters.
The art is beautiful. It’s clear, crisp and satisfying to read. The characters are drawn with amazing precision and their emotions come across well on their faces. On a visual front, the story is definitely gets a full score.
(Also if it wasn’t obvious enough, I don’t know how to talk about art. What I’m trying to say is that if you’re an art fiend, I guess you’ll enjoy Dandadan).
I suggest that you read it! Many current stories start with depressing first chapters with deaths or blood, but this one doesn’t. Its just chaos. I believe this story is definitely fresh, not really relying on any current trend to build itself up. On the other hand, it seems like a boiling pot full of certain shonen quirks.
While I would love to have full faith in the story, I suggest being wary for atleast the first few chapters as they could make or break the story and its progression. I can still assure you that it would be an entertaining read, and wish that it proves itself to be a story that can be remembered for things other than a hot grandmother and a dick-less main character.
Or else, well wishers of the manga like me will go bananas. I will stop now.
Have you read Dandadan, or are planning to? Let us know your first impressions about it in the comments below!