So there’s a Jamaican-Argentinian-American guy called Felipe Smith who somehow became a legit manga artist in Japan for a legit Japanese publisher. His debut work there, Peepo Choo is BRILLIANT and I love it so I need to promote it.
The plot is hard to summarize because it has several characters doing their own thing simultaneously, but the underlying theme are the cultural differences and misconceptions between Japan & America. The protagonist is an American otaku kid who travels to Japan believing it to be a nerdy wonderland. Another main character is a psychotic yakuza dude who adores American gangstas and wants to be just like them. Wacky hijinks ensue.
The best thing about this work is that while the presentation is very loyal to the manga format, the substance itself is something only a gaijin could have pulled off. It’s an expertly written story with a really vulgar and mischievous tone. There’s some pretty interesting commentary on how weird and fucked up both the Japanese and Americans are in their own ways. There’s also loads of sex and violence included that get extremely graphic (warning: may gross out some readers), but it’s nevertheless a fun and exciting read all the way through.
The art is super expressive and has some of the most hilarious caricatures I’ve ever seen. Rarely do I giggle at a comic for the drawings alone. One thing that sticks out to me, though, is the unbelievable anatomy of the ladies that left me wondering if the massive boobs count as a joke in and of itself. Surprisingly there’s a clear moral lesson against sexism in the story so I guess I’m ok with the representations.
Sadly this thing lasts for only three books and while the ending is alright, it’s wrapped up with the kind of haste that maybe suggests the manga got cancelled before it’s time. I hope Smith gets to make a sequel sometime in the future.
If you like manga but look for something particularly wild and funny and different, get your hands on Peepo Choo!