Sometimes, it’s hard to come by a manga series which is worth a reader’s time. Entire series usually come in more than 50 volumes, or titles are stretched over extended periods, due to their popularity. It can be argued that there really isn’t that much artistic diversity in popular manga nowadays, which is a pressing problem for avid comic readers attempting to return to the Eastern fold.
However, once in a while there’s something that is relatively fresh and exciting. This month, that new and exciting title is Akira Toriyama’s Jaco the Galactic Patrolman. Apart from a few one-shots in Weekly Shonen Jump and some artist collaborations, it is Toriyama’s first new series in years since working on Dragonball and Dragonball Z.
Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is a quirky comedy, which focuses on a retired scientist named Omori, who lives alone on his deserted island. Surrounded by a monster shark, Omori rarely leaves his home as he attempts to continue his research into time-travel.
His life is unexpectedly interrupted by the appearance of an alien named Jaco, claiming to be a ‘galactic patrolman’ who has been sent on a mission to eradicate a deadly life-form on its way to Earth. Of course, things don’t go smoothly for Jaco, as his intergalactic spaceship crashes on Omori’s quiet little island. The pair attempts to fix his ship for him, before it’s too late.
Akira Toriyama’s new book is a refreshing little story, with some superb storytelling throughout. It’s helped with his trademark comedy that is often found in previous series. Perverse and slightly peculiar, the jokes are set up brilliantly, warranting at least a laugh now and then.
It also stands out amongst the shelves with Akira Toriyama’s signature art style. It honestly doesn’t feel like there’s a single panel wasted in this book, as his wonderful artwork is crammed into 250 pages worth of content.
Unsurprisingly, Toriyama excels with the action sequences throughout the book as well. Whilst there isn’t a great deal of them, they’re still engaging without lending to the ridiculousness of Dragonball Z’s later brawls. These sequences are simple, yet effective.
It’s a fine return to form for one of the biggest names in manga and anime. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is engaging and entertaining, providing the reader with some lovely characterisations. Jaco for example, is a vain, powerful and annoying alien, which is a welcome change for a protagonist.
However, despite these qualities, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman leaves us desiring more. Before we know it, the plot has been wrapped up, we’ve been spoiled with some neat surprises and that’s that. With such unique characters, it feels almost criminal to leave Jaco in such a manner.
It’s not often that this happens with manga, but perhaps Jaco will return with some more adventures in the future. If this book is just utilised as a vehicle for something else, then that’s a shame as Toriyama has successfully managed to get readers invested in these individuals.
Either way, it’s a delightful little treat for fans. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is a refreshing read from start-to-finish. It has that signature art style, which is a welcome change for those in dire need for something different. Here’s hoping that Akira Toriyama produces some material sooner rather than later, because it’s been a while.