Manga Review: Dandadan

Title: Dandadan

Mangaka: Yukinobu Tatsu

US Publisher: VIZ Media (Shonen Jump)

Status: Ongoing

Age Relevance: Adult

How Essential Is It?: Nice to Have

Curricular Connections?: Not relevant to school collections; please select other titles! My suggestions: Assassination Classroom, Mob Psycho 100, One Punch Man

Reader’s Advisory Tags: Aliens, humor, ecchi, absurdist

Content Warnings: Sexual assault, crude humor, some violence.

Publisher Synopsis: Momo Ayase strikes up an unusual friendship with her school’s UFO fanatic, whom she nicknames “Okarun” because he has a name that is not to be said aloud. While Momo believes in spirits, she thinks aliens are nothing but nonsense. Her new friend, meanwhile, thinks the exact opposite. To settle matters, the two set out to prove each other wrong—Momo to a UFO hotspot and Okarun to a haunted tunnel! What unfolds next is a beautiful story of young love…and oddly horny aliens and spirits?

While Dandadan is a fun and riotous series, it’s definitely one for mature audiences. In the first volume, both protagonists find themselves in situations of sexual assault. Dandadan is an absurdist take on paranormal manga, and it pushes itself to the edge and never takes itself very seriously. For this reason, it takes a certain level of maturity to read.

This is a manga best suited to adult collections, where it will be appreciated. This is a manga for fans of Rick & Morty, attuned to the rising trend of mature humor for adults. It does have, at its heart, a sweet romantic dynamic of a UFO enthusiast and a believer in the paranormal, and the artwork really sells some of the incredibly wacky premises. While it’s a mature series, it still is well worth a read.

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