Story/Art: Akira Toriyama
Translation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
What They Say
Retired scientist Omori lives alone on a deserted island while continuing his research into time-travel. His quiet life is interrupted when galactic patrolman Jaco crash-lands and decided to move in with him. Can Jaco get along with the old man long enough to save the Earth from a dangerous threat? This volume also includes a special bonus chapter introducing Dragon Ball Z hero Goku’s parents!
The cover here has a nice old-school image of Jaco jumping towards the reader in a heroic pose. It’s nothing too exciting, but it does a nice job capturing the feel of the book. The back cover is an image from the manga of Jaco carrying Omori and Tights, alongside the usual bit of synopsis and selling points. Paper quality feels solid, and a Dragon Ball prequel story of sorts is included as an extra. Honorifics are not used, sound effects are translated in stylized text, and text reads smoothly.
The art in this book is classic Akira Toriyama and is a nice example of his iconic style. For anyone not familiar, Toriyama’s art is relatively simplistic in form, but it has a nice confidence to its lines and a good bit of flair to help it stand out. Of particular note here are the backgrounds, which appear near constantly and help add a little extra oomph to the book. It may not be an art style for everyone, and some might even call it a little antiquated nowadays, but at the very least this is a book with a solid and well defined look about it.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
After a quick shot of a certain alien failing at piloting his ship, we jump to an old man named Omori living alone on an island. This old grump gets quite a surprise when a strange being pops out of the water, carrying a spacecraft. This creature, Jaco, explains that he’s a member of the elite galactic patrol, and though Omori is skeptical, it soon becomes clear that the alien’s claims are true. As it’s obvious that Jaco’s ship is busted, Omori agrees to take a look at it in the morning, though he’s certainly not happy about it. Surprisingly enough, Omori actually opens up to Jaco and admits that he first came to the island along with his wife to work on a time machine at the request of the government. However, due to an accident his wife died alongside many others and the government dropped the project, but Omori stayed behind.
The next morning the matter becomes complicated when a man with the police named Katayude shows up on the island. Though Omori at first worries that it’s about Jaco, he’s actually attempting to evict the old man, as the land still belongs to the government. As the man leaves he tells Omori that he has one week left to move out, and as he departs he actually catches a glimpse of Jaco. Jaco then also realizes that Omori is still working on his time machine, though it’s only able to stop time for a short period. Things take a turn for the worse when Omori finally takes a look at the spaceship and realizes it needs an incredibly expensive substance called Sky Gold to run.
Later on, Jaco and Omori go to the city for supplies. While there Jaco makes a ruckus and even gets in trouble with the police! He gets helped out by a girl named Tights, who ends up hitching along to the island with them. Will the trio be able to get the Sky Gold for Jaco’s ship? Will Omori truly be tossed from his home? And will Omori and Jaco be able to pull it together when Tights ends up on a spaceship which fails to escape the Earth?
Though this story is definitely more than a little old-school, it’s a surprisingly well put together tale. At its core it’s a comedy, and fortunately the jokes and gags tend to hit the mark pretty well. It actually does have a nice bit of heart to it as well, though. Omori is a really charming and interesting character, and he plays quite well off of the goofiness of Jaco himself. Add in a dash of action to keep things exciting, and you have a neat little self contained story that does quite well for itself. In fact, the worst part of the tale is the attempt to shoehorn it into Toriyama’s earlier stories, which goes beyond a simple nod and actually prevents the book from really sticking the landing. It certainly doesn’t ruin anything, but it’s a little overblown and probably should’ve been dialed back a few notches. Ultimately, anyone looking for a nice little story with a good bit of classic charm to it is sure to find something worthwhile here.
Art Grade: A-
Package Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: January 6th, 2015