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Three Reasons Why Dandadan Is a Must-Read Manga

Dandadan is a must-read.

Okarun a UFO conspiracy theorist who doesn’t believe in ghosts. Momo is a spiritualist who doesn’t believe in aliens. Together, they fight ghosts and aliens… and look for missing private parts. There’s no doubt Yukinobu Tatsu’s Dandadan is one of the wilder Shonen Jump+ selections currently out there (which is saying something), but it’s also wildly popular. And for very good reason.

While ghosts, aliens, and paranormal battles are nothing new to shonen manga, this series has its own unique attributes that put it head and shoulders above many other titles out there. So if you’re looking for a sign to add it to your reading list immediately, here are three:

Weird Humor

Moo.

A note to Shonen Jump app subscribers: you’ll have to read Dandadan on the Viz website, because it’s marked M for mature. Maybe that’s because the series literally kicks off with protagonist Okarun losing the family jewels and having to fight both alien invaders and ghostly curses to get ’em back. But as much as the series does dip into adult humor—and often—that’s not all that makes it laugh-worthy.

There are running jokes like Momo being brought low at the very sound of Okarun’s real name. (It’s Ken Takakura—the same name as her rugged classic film actor crush.) There are plays on traditional tropes of both genres (see the cow-centric frame above). And honestly, some of the monsters they fight are so weird-looking and -acting, you can’t help but laugh. But that doesn’t make the series solely comedic.

 

It Has Real Heart

A moment of peace for Acrobatic Silky.

One of the big surprises amidst the bizarre art, slapstick comedy, and genitalia-stealing of Dandadan is that it can get really emotional. Even the monsters they fight have story beats. When it comes to ghosts in particular, even (and especially) the vengeful ones, we see why they’re the way they are. Some even get really heartfelt moments of emotion… we’re looking at you, Acrobatic Silky.

There’s also a sweet romance just barely under the surface. Momo’s initial positive reactions to Okarun may be due to his government name and the fact that he often quotes one of Ken Takakura’s legendary lines, but everyone knows these two have it bad for each other. Well, everyone outside the two of them, of course.

 

There’s an Anime on the Way!

Anime coming soon!

The main reason to get on board with Dandadan ASAP, though, is the upcoming anime! The adaptation hails from Science SARU—a great fit for the show’s bizarre feel—and will star Demon Slayer‘s Natsuki Hanae as Okarun and Shion Wakayama of Lycoris Recoil as Momo. Legendary voice actress Mayumi Tanaka (you know, Luffy from One Piece) will also be appearing as Turbo Granny, a ghostly foe-turned-ally.

With several months to go until the anime premieres, now is a great time to start reading! There’s plenty of time to catch up to new chapters, and Shonen Jump subscribers can read the whole backlog free as part of their subscription. So what are you waiting for? Get reading!

Know what else is worth the hype? The Kaiju No. 8 anime!

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.

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