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Dr. Slump

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Dr. Slump is a gag manga series by Akira Toriyama that was serialized in Shueisha's anthology comic Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1980 to 1984 and eventually compiled into 18 tankōbon. The series helped to launch Toriyama's career and was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen and shōjo manga in 1982.

ThemesEdit

Dr. Slump is filled with puns, bathroom jokes and parodies of both Japanese and American culture. For example, one of the recurring characters is "Suppaman", a short, fat, pompous buffoon who changes into a Superman-like costume by eating a sour-tasting umeboshi. Unlike Superman, Suppaman can't fly well, and instead pretends to fly by lying belly down on a skateboard and scooting through the streets. In the game Super Dragon Ball Z, in the city level, by breaking the porta-potty, Suppaman (with the hiragana "su" character on his chest) will roll off on his skateboard. Also, a policeman in Dr. Slump can be seen wearing a Storm Trooper helmet, just as in the American movie Star Wars.

SettingEdit

Dr. Slump is set in Penguin Village, a place where humans co-exist with all sorts of anthropomorphic animals and other objects.

PlotEdit

In Penguin Village lives Senbei Norimaki, an inventor (his name is a pun on Senbei, a kind of rice cracker). His nickname is "Dr. Slump" (a joke that can be seen as similar to nicknaming an author "Writer's Block.") In the first chapter, he builds what he hopes will be the world's most perfect little girl robot, named Arale Norimaki (a pun on another kind of rice cracker), in scenes obviously parodying the Italian children's classic Pinocchio. Because Senbei is a lousy inventor, she soon turns out to be in severe need of eyeglasses. She is also very naïve, and in later issues, she has adventures such as bringing a huge bear home and having mistaken it for a pet. To Senbei's credit, she has super-strength (and, in a Dragon Ball crossover, she proved to be genuinely stronger than the young Son Goku, prompting him to train harder). In general, the manga focuses on Arale's misunderstandings of humanity and Senbei's inventions, rivalries, and romantic misadventures. In the middle of the series, a continuously-appearing villain named Dr. Mashirito shows up who is based on Toriyama's editor at the time.

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