Saturday, December 19, 2009

Manga Review: Sgt. Frog Volume 18

Mine Yoshizaki's Sgt. Frog is arguably one of the cutest, funniest franchises to come along in quite some time. To be fair though, the manga has been around for the better part of a decade so it's not exactly like this amphibian is the new kid on the block. The anime was recently released in the States, but for some time now the manga bas been translated by Tokyopop. The 17th installment came out earlier this year, and the 18th is to be released just around the corner.

In case you're unfamiliar with Sgt. Frog, all you really need to know is that it's about a platoon of alien frogs who come down from space to conquer our world. Unfortunately for them, and their leader Keroro, things don't go quite as planned. They are more or less marooned here on Earth (known to them as Pokopen) and become domicile, living with humans and doing house chores. There's still the desire to rule the world though, and the schemes Keroro and his kind hatch are truly hilarious, if not a little harebrained.

For the 18th volume of Sgt. Frog we have ten new chapters that catalogue the misadventures of Keroro and his cohorts.

The first chapter is a back-story about how Momoka Nishizawa actually met Tamama. If you've been following the manga then you already know Momoka is loaded and Tamama is something of a goof. In this origin story we find out that the two met with Tamama crashed Momoka's birthday party. Another alien decided to join in the festivities as well and beat the snot out of the frog. In true heroine fashion Momoka came to Tamama's aide and claimed that his life was now hers. There are some great bits in this chapter and I really appreciated the introduction between Momoka and Fuyuki. Let's just say that there's much ado when they bump into each other.

The follow-up chapter isn't quite as good, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. In the second one Keroro and his squad get it in their head that the mosquito is a feared adversary of the Pokopenians. They decide to shrink down and basically become mosquitoes, attacking Natsumi. Things don't exactly go as planned and we'll leave it at that. After the mosquito incident Giroro takes over and training Keroro's platoon, and trust me when I tell you that he goes over the top. He basically constructs a giant underground simulation room and puts the frogs through some rigorous things indeed. Sharks, missiles, and giant waves are really only just the beginning (think something big, squishy, and smells like bacon).

From here the volume goes on to feature a couple of smaller chapters, including a favorite of mine with Fuyuki traveling to the moon to stay at a Keronian hotel. There are some other good ones after this as well, though I'll leave those for fans of the series to discover. I will say that this volume ends on an interesting note and will leave you eagerly anticipating the 19th installment to see what happens.

From start to finish Sgt. Frog's 18th volume is highly entertaining. The chapters here are fantastic for the most part, though there are a couple clunkers mixed in. Even so there are plenty of laughs and even a few bits of fan service as Yoshizaki caters to some of his audience. The artwork is as awesome as ever, the writing is witty, and the stories are very creative. Sgt. Frog is a winner and this volume is just another fine installment!

Maki Rating:

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