No prefix because I have no idea what genre/demographic the series belongs to, if any.
Probably seinen ~ Luckas
Author: Masashi Tanaka
Artist: Masashi Tanaka
Start Date: 1991
End Date: 2002
Number of chapters at review: 24 (7 volumes)
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 24 (7 volumes)
General Overview: Gon, a small but incredibly strong dinosaur, has somehow survived extinction and is now living in the wild, all over the world. Without any clear purpose, he comes, does and goes as he pleases, making friends, climbing mountains and helping animals in need, among many other things.
Gon might just be the most realistically drawn manga I've ever read. Aside from Gon himself, who is basically the only imaginary creature in the series and is clearly drawn as such, with his Powerpuff Girl proportions and some more manga-esque facial expressions here and there, every animal, landscape and feature appearing in Gon sports an insane amount of detail. The only time the rest of the cast isn't drawn totally realistically is when veins are popping up out of frustration or they're wearing moderate ^_^ faces because they're pleased about something.
There's not much to say here, Gon is episodic, with each of the 24 chapters taking place in a different environment, ranging from Antarctica to the African desert and a rain forest, all inhabited by different friends and enemies. Stuff happens, sometimes with Gon as the main characters, sometimes as (literally) a supporting character. There's no real overarching plot to speak of.
Aside from Gon, only 2, maybe 3 characters make more than 1 appearance. That said, even though the characters that aren't Gon only star in 1 chapter each, that doesn't make them flat or uninteresting. Each animal (or animal family) has its own problems and unique quirks to make them interesting. What makes it even more interesting is that Gon, contrary to any longer series you've read so far (or at least, what I've read in the past 7 years), does not only have no sound effects at all, it also has 0 text. Nothing. There's not a single speech bubble in the series. This is particularly noteworth as this means everyone is able to be interesting without uttering a word (or... form of animal language). While there isn't any real development to speak of other than 2 or 3 chapters apparently taking place some time earlier in the series (possibly not), I don't regard that as a bad thing. Gon is neither the character nor the series, for that matter, that really needs character development. Even though some side characters do actually develop in a "growing up" kind of way.
Considering Gon is episodic, many chapters revolve around different themes. Sometimes it's "brotherhood", sometimes it's "survival", "adventure" or just plain ol' "having fun". Every chapter succeeds in provoking at least one emotion or other, as the chapters range from hilarious to touching and emotional and everything in between. Considering there's not a single chapter in the series I didn't like, implying every chapter (-> theme) struck the right nerve, I guess there isn't really any choice but to give this part a 10.
A character in an episodic series travelling around might not seem all that original, but the lack of text, the non-anthropomorphic animal supporting cast and main character himself are, as far as I know, without precedent. Doesn't really need more ratification than, that does it?
I don't really like giving out 10s, especially since the only other review I've written for this site also ended with a 10 overall even though the average of the scores is lower than that, but seriously, I can't think of any flaws. I thought of saying "7 volumes is too short for such an awesome series", but 7 volumes means there's no chance for chapters and themes to repeat themselves and grow boring. In fact, 7 volumes seems like the exact right length for a series like this so there's no real point in complaining about that. I'll just chalk up this 10 to the fact that I only choose to review really, really good series...
So, anyone wanting to read a series with an asskicking yet compassionate and playful dinosaur that doesn't waste his breath on meaningless conversation, get this series! It's even import friendly since there's no text!
Last edited by Luckas; October 16, 2008 at 10:48 AM.
Wow, I haven't read Gon in forever. A nice addition to the review section; you're right, more people should definitely pick this series up.