Toto! The Wonderful Adventure, vol. 1

Kakashi is determined to leave his small island home and see the world that he heard about from his explorer father’s diary. He’s so determined that he stows away on an airship, but he chooses the wrong airship to be on, as the Man Chicken gang has already decided to take it for themselves. With only a mysterious puppy as a companion, Kakashi’s adventures are off to a rousing start, assuming he survives the criminal gang!

Osada’s story of a boy determined to succeed despite the odds against him is nothing new for manga, but Kakashi is such a delightfully plucky boy that you won’t mind. The people in his small town are happy where they are and think little of travel to new lands, making Kakashi an odd-ball, but one they tolerate fondly. Once he leaves his village though, it is his country ways that keep him the odd man out. The same pluck that allows him to win over readers also works on the people he meets in his travels. They are a host of characters, many of whom are only briefly touched on in this first volume. We’re given plenty hints, though, that they’ll be back and that their various personality quirks will become important in the future.

Art-wise, Osada is also not treading a lot of new ground, but, just as in his story, his art is sweetly funny and appealing to the eyes. Whether he’s handling an action scene or a humorous one, he manages to fit the art to the action and his action scenes are packed with explosions, movement, and sound effects, but still easy to follow. I appreciated that his characters’ looks were appropriate to their ages, especially in the case of Kakashi and Dorothy, a girl he meets in his travels.

Speaking of Dorothy, Osada seems to have inserted an interesting Wizard of Oz theme into his story. Kakashi (which, as many manga fans know, means “scarecrow”) meets Dorothy, a girl on a journey to a city called Emerald. She decides to name his mysterious puppy Toto. Other references to The Wizard of Oz books abound. I don’t know exactly where Osada is going with that plot element, but I do know that I wouldn’t mind sticking around to find out.

Toto! The Wonderful Adventure, vol. 1
Yuko Osada
ISBN: 978-0-345-50147-9
Del Rey Manga, 2008

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