Comic Books Magazine

Jaco The Galactic Patrolman Review

Posted on the 19 February 2015 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

Jaco The Galactic Patrolman coverTitle: Jaco The Galactic Patrolman (Ginga Patrol Jako)
Genre: Sci-fi, Comedy
Publisher: Shueisha (JP), Viz Media (US)
Story/Artist: Akira Toriyama
Serialized in: Weekly Shonen Jump
Translation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
Original Release Date: January 6, 2015

If this is the final manga Akira Toriyama does — after all, he’s getting up there in age and I think he’s focused on some Dragon Ball game and movie upcoming — then telling the story 8 to 10 years before the events of Dragon Ball with a overly dramatic yet somehow mundane alien, a mundane old man, and a girl who is not mundane in any aspect of her life was a great decision. I’m not a huge fan of it tying into so much Dragon Ball territory, but Jaco The Galactic Patrolman manages to be a solid comedy manga that allows it to stand alone thanks to its deft attempts at humor and the overall jovial tone when serious issues cloud the story.

Jaco The Galactic Patrolman Review

Jaco and Omori, in one of their many mundane yet pleasant conversations

Specifically, the serious issue is that an alien baby is heading to Earth, and with the planet being immature and weak, no one can stop that alien from eventually destroying it in one go. That’s why the Galactic Patrol sends Jaco to prepare for its arrival while also scouting Earth. Unfortunately Jaco manages to crash into the moon, then land towards an undisclosed island far from the nearest capital. When he arrives on land, he meets Omori, a former scientist who’s been at the island trying to rebuild a time machine despite failing and losing his wife and team to helming the project many years ago. Jaco and Omori ultimately partner up, and the two begin this strange relationship between an alien who’s all over himself and the most boring old man in manga history.

Jaco is pretty much an Akira Toriyama work from start to finish. Not that the designs would give it away obviously, but when you have three panels devoted to Jaco retrieving milk from Omori’s fridge, it’s Toriyama doing what he can do best: making the mundane close to amazing. It’s a trait he’s had in most of his works (outside of Dragonball Z, like Cowa! and Sandland), and this is not an exception. I actually don’t think most of the jokes are funny, but they’re endearing and makes me smile, which is generally what Toriyama tries to do. In this manga, he uses that and his characters to make it all work. From Tights (who claims she’s been” alone”. She’s lying) to Katayude, a guy trying to evict Omori off the island, and to the guys who get devoted to splash page status and are destroyed in one panel, they aren’t all special, but they’re just characters you’d want to hang out with and play some party games with them. At least some of them.

One character would definitely not be Jaco. For starters he’s the main character, and in comedies, hanging out with the main characters mean trouble. He also is stronger than the average human, and has very little understanding of Earth’s culture — so much so that he ends up beating up policemen. But while I wouldn’t want to hang out with him, his story background is fun, as he’s part of the Dragon Ball universe, and a very mediocre part of it too. As someone part of the Galactic Patrol, they’re actually strong, but compared to the Saiyans and some other races, not so much. That’s why it’s cool whenever he reveals his weaknesses despite him advertising who he is to people at every turn.

Jaco The Galactic Patrolman Review
Jaco The Galactic Patrolman Review

As always, Akira Toriyama, forever lewd when he can be

The story itself is special only in that this takes place some time before Dragon Ball kicks off. Needless to say, if you’ve kept up with that franchise, most of the little touches that happen towards the end of the series will be of interest to you. If you haven’t, that shouldn’t dissuade you from giving this a look. Aside from the fact that I do think it adds some unnecessary Dragon Ball references, even if you haven’t looked at that series, you’d be able to read this. I mean, this is essentially the prequel, you don’t have to read the real one! So if you’re up for smiling, Jaco The Galactic Patrolman is worth a buy.

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