Fri, 14 March 2008
Manga review of Gon Volume 3 by Masashi Tanaka. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by CMX, Price: $5.99, Rated Teen for violence.
Gon is the last dinosaur left on the Earth but we don't know if he is a baby or his small size is just the trait of his species. We do know one thing for sure, he is one tough customer. In this globe-trotting volume, he takes on the wildlife of the world. Piranhas in the Amazon, ruins the day of a dingo mother searching for food for her pups in Australia, and takes on a drug crazed bear in the wilds of North America. It's not all about battles though as Gon shows a soft side, battling against a murderous tiger that killed Gon's adopted mother, a she wolf. Now he must help her cubs take revenge. Ok, I guess that counts as a battle as well, but uncharacteristically for this title, it contains a lot more emotional kick than most of Gon's encounters.
I would have to say that Gon is one of my favorite series. It is drawn so painstakingly beautiful. The linework is amazing. Tanaka uses absolutely no screen tones, instead relying on the organic detail of hand shading all of the panels. All the animals are drawn very realistically except for the anthropomorphic expressions that regularly cross their faces that remind us that Tanaka is spinning a fable commenting on the human condition and the way we treat each other. In nature, Might DOES make Right, but somewhere down the line of human evolution, there were those with power that decided to use it to help the weak, who became the first lawgivers and law enforcers, and I include Gon in these categories. Don't get me wrong, as I've commented on the podcasts of the first two volumes of Gon, the main character is anything but a saint. But let's lay off the intense social commentary of the title. Gon is hilarious and is one of the funniest manga I have ever read. The aspect that reveals Tanaka's genius is that he is able to accomplish so much with Gon without ever using any dialogue or narration. This gives Gon purity and grace.
My Grade: A+