Megatokyo Volume One
List Price: $9.95
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: March, 2004
Paperback: 156 pages
Tell me again, why are we going to Japan?
Piro, an obsessed anime/manga fan, and Largo, a hard core American gamer and l33t h4x0rm4573r, fly to Japan on a whim and find themselves stranded, unable to afford the trip home. In their struggles to find places to crash and money for tickets home, we experience Tokyo from their unique – and drastically different – points of view.
Megatokyo Volume 1 is a collection of strips from their first year of the highly popular online web comic “Megatokyo”. Known collectively as Chapter 0, this book also contains extensive in-line notes and commentary, New to this edition is a special section called “Piro’s Sketchbook”, which collects drawings, sketches, and other material from Megatokyo’s early years, most of which has never been available on the website. Read the book, save your bandwidth.
• Extensive In-Liner Notes and Commentary
• Piro’s Sketchbook
Megatokyo, the popular online web comic, is finally available to own in print format from Dark Horse Books. The story follows Piro and Largo, who fly to Japan and find themselves stranded. Volume 1 follows their attempts at getting money for tickets home as well as the never-ending pursuit for anime/manga (Piro) and video games (Largo).
ARTWORK – Rating: 10 (out of 10)
First of all, this is not a Manga from Japan. The art was originally done in America, in the English language, and was done with the intention of being used for a web comic. Secondly, this art is amazingly good. I wouldn’t have believed that this was a web comic if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve been a reader since a few months after the sites introduction. Gallagher’s style is not only unique but it is interesting. This has always been an easy read because of the amazing art. There is true talent to be found in Gallagher, who is one of the best sources for American Manga. The detail put into Megatokyo, even in it’s earliest stages, is resounding.
STORY – Rating: 9 (out of 10)
The story to Megatokyo began with a fairly simple plot. In fact, not much was really set up. The earliest part of Megatokyo does, in fact, feels like a mix between an American comic strip and a Manga. Part of this lies in the fact that there were a lot of one-shot strips. Another thing to consider was the fact that, unlike newspaper comics, the story gradually developed and changed over time.
Ever since Piro and Largo went to Japan I was hooked. The story really takes some weird turns but it has never lost sight of it’s reality. The whole of “Chapter 0” is possibly the least organized plot-wise but it is still a grand part of Megatokyo. There are several introductions to key players in the future volumes, and this volume sort of sets up the characters and gives a good picture of who these people are – and how they view Japan (especially Tokyo) in general.
As readers will continue to see in future print-volumes of Megatokyo; the story is genuinely smart. It gets even better volume after volume. Even if you’ve never heard of Megatokyo before, or are unsure of whether or not your interesting in checking this out – there’s no harm. You can read all of “Chapter 0” as it is presented in Volume 1, as well as every other strip, at the Megatokyo website.
EXTRAS – Rating: 9 (out of 10)
I loved the extras on this! I would have bought this regardless of extras but that’s just not the kind of person Gallagher is. He wants his readers to get their money worth. Included in Volume 1 of Megatokyo is a huge series of In-Liner Notes and Commentary “Manga Style”. This basically features Piro at his computer, typing commentary for each strip of “Chapter 0” that was still in the four-panel layout. That’s a huge chunk of the book. The insight was informative and interesting. There are also some early sketches and drawings from Megatokyo’s “early years”. This includes some nice insight into some of the ideas brewed and it gives a better prospective of just how much the comic has changed since its inception. While not exactly extras, I was glad that this also included all of Shirt Guy Dom’s Specials and the Dead Piro Art Days.
OVERALL – Rating: 9 (out of 10)
Megatokyo is one of my favorite Manga series. I can relate to both characters, as many of it’s readers do, and the story and situations are just so crazy and fun that its impossible not to smile or laugh. Give this a read. It’s not only fun for those obsessed with anime/manga/gaming but it’s also important to recognize how far this series has come. From it’s early days when it was just an idea Rodney Caston threw at Fred Gallagher, to it’s Present: Where it is a serious and overwhelmingly original comic that has become a major print from Dark Horse Books due to it’s popularity online and has still maintained the freedom to be published online for all to read for Free. What’s more amazing than that?