Dragon Ball Z has its share of exploding heads, but when it comes down to it, Akira Toriyama has to be the sweetest, cutesiest shonen manga artist of all. More like a children’s book than anything, Cowa! is the tale of Paifu, a half-vampire, half-werekoala who lives with his mom in a big pumpkin. (Normally he looks like a vampire, but when he sees the sign of the cross, he transforms into a raging koala.) Paifu and his friend José Rodriguez, a flatulent ghost, were content to run around at night playing pranks and stealing watermelons, until one day all the adults in their monster village come down with the deadly Monster Flu. Now the two kids–together with Mr. Maruyama, a grouchy ex-sumo-wrestler–much go on a mission to get the medicine that will save their town. Drawn with simple, cartoony shapes, Cowa! is a good manga for young children, with cute monsters, fart jokes, and a few fight scenes. In spirit it resembles nothing as much as the first two volumes of Dragon Ball. A large part of the story was originally printed in color and the B&W edition is a little dark and blurry. (Review by Jason Thompson; originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
*** (three stars)
Today’s winner is Crystal V. of California. Congratulations, Crystal!