story and art by Akira Toriyama
VIZ Media LLC, 208 p.
All Ages (8+)
Paifu is a happy-go-lucky young monster. Half-vampire, half-werekoala, he lives with his mother in a town of mostly monsters. Most of his days are spent getting into trouble with his best friend, Jose, who is a ghost. But when the dreaded Monster Flu strikes, Paifu and Jose decide that it’s up to them to save the day and get the medicine that the whole town needs to survive.
Toriyama is best known as the creator of the popular manga series Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z and fans of those works looking for his trademark boy humor combined with action will be just as pleased with this stand alone work. Kids, boys especially, will appreciate the silly humor and will identify with Paifu’s cheerful, anything goes attitude. Our young vampire gets into all sorts of trouble, such as stealing a watermelon so that he can keep the money his mother gave him to buy one, and Jose is often caught in his wake, “passing gas” at inopportune moments when the stress gets to him. There are lots of moments where Paifu and the other children blithely disregard the potential seriousness of a situation and simply do what they think is best. This creates moments of both comedy and empathy, especially when Paifu and Jose befriend a former sumo wrestler who was accused of murder, but Toriyama manages not to slip over into sappiness.
The first chapter is colored in an earth-toned palette which nicely sets the scene, making the monsters seem real, but not scary. Unfortunately, the rest of the chapters are in black-and-white. While the story captures the attention enough that readers soon won’t mind, some scenes, especially in Paifu’s hometown, are a little dark without the colors. Toriyama’s art is what readers will expect. His small panels are filled to the brim with action, characters, and details, but the story is still easy to follow.
There is some cartoon violence and several characters with guns, making this “all ages” title really more of an 8+ work, but younger brothers and sisters of manga fans or parents looking for more kid appropriate manga would do well to look at this work. Paifu’s story is a sweet, silly adventure that readers will enjoy.
This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © VIZ Media, LLC.