Gon Vol 1 by Masashi Tanaka Manga Review


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Title:  Gon Vol 1

Author:  Masashi Tanaka

Publisher:  CMX

ISBN:  9781401212735

May Contain Spoilers

Gon is a little dinosaur, a pint-sized terror who sleeps, eats, and bullies his way across the landscape.  With a slightly sinister expression and a chin of drool that rivals that of my dog, Buu, he purposefully moves from one adventure to the next.  It’s hard to determine whether he’s motivated more by food or a desire for rest, but one thing is obvious; nothing’s the same once he’s left!

Told entirely without words, Gon is richly illustrated, and gives a peek inside the mind of a dinosaur who’s a little too clever for his own good.  As this prehistoric anomaly interacts with modern day wildlife, Gon always manages to outsmart the rest of the creatures he encounters, calling into question whether his brain really is the size of a pea.  It’s a good thing he’s the only survivor from the age of the dinosaurs; we’d be in serious trouble if there were more of him!

Gon Goes Hunting was an amusing romp across the plains of Africa.  Hopping aboard a lion for a free ride, Gon commandingly grabs two handfuls of mane which he cleverly utilizes as reins.  Then, with an impatient slap of his tail, he sets the extremely unhappy lion after a terrified wildebeest.  Ignoring for the moment that Gon needs some serious equitation help as he displays the worst case of “puppy paws” imaginable, not to mention how he pulls the lion in the direction he wishes to travel, instead of gently cueing with his legs, the chase sequence in this chapter is superb.  There’s a great sense of motion and desperation from both the lion and the wildebeest, and I was at a loss over which I felt most sorry for.  Gon is a relentless task master, though he redeemed himself slightly at the end. 

In Gon Builds a Mansion, the little dino creates his signature devastation when, after watching some beavers at work, he begins the construction of his own happy little abode.  There were so many put upon critters in this chapter, as Gon, heedless of the havoc he’s wreaking on their environment, single-mindedly pursues his assault on the neighborhood.  There ought to be laws against homes with such enormous footprints!

My favorite chapter was Gon Goes Flying. The opening illustration of the nest of drooling eagle chicks, with Gon included, was so cute!  They all share the same look of unrelenting concentration as the mother eagle soars in with a beak full of fish.  After one of the little chicks is inadvertently kicked from the nest by Gon, he must defend his nest mate against a hungry bobcat, putting his tough guy image on the line.  His attempts at flight are also quite comical.  Those stubby little arms weren’t designed for that!

I was pleased that color pages were included in the front of the book, and thoroughly enjoyed Gon’s reaction to a tiny leaf that drifted onto his head in this section of the book.  Just for fun, I dug through the basement for my old Paradox Press copies of Gon.  It’s nice that CMX is publishing the series unflipped, and in the original Japanese order.  The smaller trim size is easier to hold, too.  My only complaint with the CMX version is that the paper stock isn’t as nice as the Paradox Press version. 

At $5.99, Gon is as easy on the pocketbook as the lush interior artwork is on the eye.  Gon, however, really needs to learn how to smile.  He is the crabbiest little dinosaur, ever!

Grade: B

Rated for Teen

Review copy provided by CMX

Viz Media at San Diego Comi-Con

Receiving this press release made me realize that Comi-Con starts tomorrow, and I’m not going!  *sob*


Demos of Latest Anime Action Video Games in Booth 4113, Screening of NARUTO™ the Movie, and Two Eisner Award Nominations for NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER Highlight This Year’s Show

San Francisco, July 23, 2007 VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced a bevy of special events, interactive games, artist appearances, a special theatrical screening, and speaker panels for the 2007 Comic-Con International. Comic-Con is renowned as the nation’s largest comic book and science fiction event and takes place July 26-29 at the Convention Center in San Diego, CA. VIZ Media will be located in Booth 4113.

Personal appearances by notable manga artists and creators are always a highlight of VIZ Media’s presence at Comic-Con and this year the company is pleased to welcome Arina Tanemura, the renowned creator of the popular shojo manga series FULL MOON and THE GENTLEMEN’S ALLIANCE †.

VIZ Media will be featured across several panels throughout the convention, kicking off with a general anime and manga discussion on Thursday, July 26 at 1:30 p.m. in Room #2. Arina Tanemura will participate in a special SHOJO BEAT magazine panel discussion set for Saturday, July 28 at 1:30 p.m. in Room #2. She will provide insights into her work and experiences as a manga artist, and answer questions from fans and press. A SHONEN JUMP panel is scheduled for Friday, July 27 at 11:30 a.m. also in Room #2. Other scheduled VIZ Media panel discussions include a dedicated discussion about NARUTO NATIONand the buzz surrounding the hit NARUTO anime and manga series, set for Saturday, July 28 at 1:30 p.m. also in Room #2 and “You Outta Know About These Manga” to take place Sunday, July 29th at 12:30 p.m.

VIZ Media will have a commanding presence on the main show floor in Booth #4113 showcasing some of the company’s latest and most popular manga and anime titles which also will be made available for purchase in a vividly arrayed retail area. There will be a special “green-screen” activity that will allow visitors to pose for pictures with a variety of characters and backdrops from popular series including NARUTO, DEATH NOTE, MÄR, INUYASHA, FULL MOON and BLEACH.

The company has further partnered with several leading game manufacturers to present a variety of anime-related interactive video games throughout the convention. Attendees will have a chance to play the ultimate NARUTO party game on the hottest gaming system, as NARUTO: Clash of Ninja Revolution for the Nintendo Wii will be among those featured in the VIZ Media booth. The next generation in NARUTO games from TOMY Corporation and D3Publisher of America, Inc. (D3PA) will include all new game-play designed specifically for the Wii controllers, new character animations, new interactive environments and characters that have never been featured in the Clash of Ninja game series. The game also features special mini-games created exclusively for the Wii Remote in fast-paced ninja action for up to four players in nine different game-play modes.

Namco/Bandai Games America will demo NARUTO: Uzumaki Chronicles 2 for the Sony PlayStation 2. It’s up to Naruto Uzumaki and his powerful ninja allies to stop a dangerous and mysterious rival ninja clan long believed to have disappeared. They have sworn to resurrect an unstoppable army of ancient horror that will threaten the very survival of the Hidden Leaf Village. NARUTO: Uzumaki Chronicles 2 delivers the epic action adventure with an original storyline, multiplayer cooperative/versus action and over 10 playable/customizable characters.

Ubisoft will also feature a playable demo of NARUTO: Rise of a Ninja for the Xbox 360 as a world debut exclusive to the VIZ Media booth. It will be the first time the public will be able to play the game, which contains a fully-featured Konoha Village, realistic chakra training with Kakashi-Sensei, fast-action game-play sequences, head-to-head battles and more.

Capcom will offer Mega Man Star Force™ for the Nintendo DS™ – the first game in a new Mega Man® series making its debut in three versions – Pegasus, Leo and Dragon, a first for any Mega Man title. VIZ Media is the publisher of the popular MEGAMAN NT WARRIOR manga series. In Mega Man Star Force, players explore towns and interact with people in the real world while the action-packed battles take place in the virtual “Wave World.”  Enemy encounters take place on a three by five grid in a 3D perspective, where players use a portfolio of Battle Cards that each have distinct attributes and attack powers. Developed by the team behind the popular Mega Man Battle Network® series, the game marks the start of a new era for Mega Man, who celebrates his 20th anniversary this year. 

Finally, Microsoft will present famed game producer Hironobu Sakaguchi of Mistwalker game studio and developer Artoons highly anticipated Xbox 360-exclusive BLUE DRAGON as an exclusive in VIZ Media’s booth. Featuring the character design of Akira Toriyama, who designed Dragon Ball Z, Blue Dragon is an epic role-playing game (RPG) centered on a young boy named Shu and his friends. These unlikely heroes possess miraculous strength and the magical power to control phantom shadows that mirror the actions of their masters. Shu and friends must wield their skills to save their world from impending doom. Encountering various people on a planet with numerous ancient ruins, the characters and their shadows travel through a world full of mysteries and illusions, where the slightest touch can cause reactions of unparalleled magnitude.

Following the Japanese tradition of previewing the newest Trading Card Game (TCG) additions at Jump Festa, the sprawling annual convention for SHONEN JUMP in Japan, for the very first time, VIZ Media will offer for sale at Comic-Con a special new collection of YU-GI-OH! game cards for $3.99 per 5-card pack. Fans have been clamoring for the release of these Premium Packs, which will be released domestically by Upper Deck in September. Some of the cards to look for include the Magician of Black Chaos, Black Magic Ritual, Gemini Imps, Return Zombie, Dark Magic Curtain, Legacy of Yata-Garasul, Javelin Beetle and Javelin Beetle Pact. These are a must-have for any YU-GI-OH! fan.

A variety of special convention giveaways are also planned, including the coveted VIZ Media convention tote bag for 2007, newly designed in purple, featuring DEATH NOTE and MÄR. Other giveaways include SHOJO BEAT bookmarks featuring BACKSTAGE PRINCE, SKIP BEAT, BEAUTY POP, THE GENTLEMEN’S ALLIANCE † and PUNCH, full-color posters for BLEACH, POKéMON The Movie 9, SPIRITED AWAY, CASTLE IN THE SKY and more. The VIZ Media Prize Patrol is a regular facet of Comic-Con and attendees spotted wearing VIZ Media prize beads (available at the booth) can win special premiums including POKéMON accessory straps, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG and INUYASHA trading card game packs, BOYS OVER FLOWERS purses and more.  Also on hand for giveaway will be manga samplers, including the brand new TEKKONKINKREET manga sampler, anime samplers, SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT magazine samplers and more.

VIZ Media will screen the first NARUTO feature film — NARUTO THE MOVIE: NINJA CLASH IN THE LAND OF SNOW – at 4:30pm on Friday, July 27 at the United Artists Horton Plaza Theatre, located walking distance from the Convention Center. Tickets are available for free on a first come, first served basis.  NARUTO is rated T for teen.

Finally, the 2007 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, considered the Oscars of the comic book industry, are scheduled for Friday, July 27 and VIZ Media is pleased to have NAOKI URASAWA’S MONSTER manga nominated in two categories for Best Continuing Series and Best US Edition of International Material-Japan

“This year’s agenda for Comic-Con promises to be the most action-packed one yet and we are very excited to stage a variety of fun gaming events, screenings and special giveaways that are sure to delight the thousands of anime and manga fans who attend,” states Liza Coppola, Sr. Vice President of Marketing. “There is absolutely something for everyone in VIZ Media’s offerings this year and meetings our fans and offering some sneak peaks of what’s to come will make Comic-Con the must-attend event of the summer!”   

About VIZ Media

Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan Production Co., Ltd. (ShoPro Japan), VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America and a global licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including, magazines such as SHONEN JUMP and SHOJO BEAT, graphic novels, videos, DVDs, audio soundtracks and develops and markets animated entertainment from initial production, television placement and distribution, to merchandise licensing and promotions for audiences and consumers of all ages.  www.VIZ.com.