Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Adorable Amphibian Invaders

My latest manga passion is "Sgt. Frog" ("Keroro Gunso", ケロロ軍曹 ), by Mine Yoshizaki. It's cute, it's funny, it's clever... Sometimes while in the office I start counting the hours to come back home and read more of the books - see what the Sargent and his comrades will be up to next. As Natsumi-chan would wisely say: "these guys are up to no good..."

The artwork is fantastic and the plot quite simple: Sgt. Keroro is a diminutive green alien from planet Keron that looks pretty much like a frog and has plans (of sorts) to conquer the Earth (called "Pokopen" in Keronian). He is found and subsequently "adopted" by the earthling Hinata family:

- Fuyuki-kun - the weird boy who likes UFOs and the occult and who actually finds Keroro;
- Natsumi-chan - Fuyuki's elder and bossy sister;
- Aki-san - the Mother, a manga editor, the "sek-see" character of the series.

Their names (the Hinatas) are all related to the seasons and you can see signs for them in their bedroom doors: Winter (Fuyu, for Fuyuki), Summer (Natsu, for Natsumi) and Autumn (Aki, for Aki-san).

Gradually, new characters are introduced in the series, namely other Keronian aliens, such as...

- Tamama Nittohei - the black, cute one, with a slightly problematic double personality disorder and irremediably devoted to his "Mister Sergeant, Sir" (and candy, all things sweet);
- Giroro Gouchou - another amazing alien, the red one, very belligerant (apparently) but who falls in love with Natsumi-chan and kind of "adopts" a very cute kitten found in the Hinata's garden on a rainy cold afternoon;
- Kururu Souchou - the yellow one with crazy eyes, the genius of the platoon, inventor of crazy weapons and appliances that should help in conquering the so-coveted Pokopen;
- Dororo Heichou - the blue alien Ninja who ends up falling in love with the planet and its inhabitants;
- Angoru Moa - Keroro's cute niece, powerful enough to cause earthquakes and destroy planets at a whim. She is also in love with her "uncle", and has Tamama (Tama-chan) as her arch-rival (though she doesn't realise that herself!). Lady Moa is also known as the "Lord Of Terror", although nothing in her sweet, docile appearance would suggest that.

As for Keroro, he is green (d'oh!), hyper-active and easily distracted and performs the Hinata's household chores as determined by Natsumi-chan. He could even suffer of attention deficit disorder or something. While he should really be actively involved in plans, reports and strategies for control of Pokopen, the only thing he can possibly think about is buying and assembling Gundam plastic models!

Of course, there are other supporting human characters:

- Momoha Nishizawa, the rich girl who is terminally in love with Fuyuki-kun and also has a split personality like Tama-chan;
- Momotchi's butler and mentor/secretary, Paul Moriyama, who is an older guy and a very interesting character;
- The poet and handsome rebel Mutsumi Saburo, aka 623 (this time, it's Natsumi-chan the one in love with him!);
- Koyuki-chan (the pretty Ninja girl who befriended Dororo and who is in love, yes-yes-yes, with Natsumi-chan) etc etc...

The series is great fun and only God knows how much I identify with Fuyuki-kun's character: the outsider in school, looking for UFO's and ghost stories, super-shy and not good at PE at all! I was pretty much like that while in school, weird and always finding excuses for not attending those unbearable PE classes, ha ha!

My favourite character though is Tama-chan. He's got the cutest eyes and expressions and, in spite of his split personality, is mostly lovely and well-mannered and polite. Tama-chan is also the younger of the aliens, and has a little tail, a tadpole tail (they are froggies in the end, no?). Aw! and he calls Fuyuki "Fukki"!! Ain't that just adorable???

And lastly, another funny character, which does not appear much, but I thought was hilarious: the Ghost girl (or Grudge girl), who lives in an abandonned room chez Hinata. She is a bit of a piss taken on the recent Japanese horror films, I think, and the idea is just excellent. I expected however they would use her a bit more. Let's see how it comes up in the next books, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment