Dr. Slump (Dr.スランプ Dokutā Suranpu) 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 launched Toriyama's career and was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen and shōjo manga in 1982.
Dr. Slump is filled with puns and 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 ("suppai" in Japanese) 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. Also, a policeman in Penguin Village can be seen wearing a Star Wars-style storm trooper helmet, just as in the American movies.
Main article: List of Dr. Slump manga chapters
Dr. Slump is set in Penguin Village (ペンギン村, Pengin Mura), a place where humans co-exist with all sorts of anthropomorphic animals and other objects. 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 Kazuhiko Torishima, Toriyama's editor at the time.
Crossovers with Dragon Ball
After the original manga ended, the characters of Dr. Slump returned for an extended cameo in Toriyama's next manga and anime series Dragon Ball (chapters 70-73, or manga volume 7). Arale Norimaki and Goku briefly team up to defeat General Blue during the General Blue Saga.
Arale Norimaki also makes a smaller cameo in the third Dragon Ball movie, Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure, and in the third and fourths Dragon Ball Z movies, Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might and Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug, as a picture on Gohan's wall.
Because of these cameos (and other similarities), many fans consider the two series as taking place in the same fictional universe.
The manga cameo showed a distinct change in the author's art style by that time, making Arale Norimaki and the gang look somewhat bloated. The characters later appeared in the third manga called "Chotto Kaettekita Dr. Slump" (loosely translated: "Dr. Slump Returns, But Only For a Little While").
Suppaman also makes a brief cameo, trying to stop General Blue. When General Blue proves his strength, Suppaman promptly begs for forgiveness for his earlier taunts (he tried to show off being strong by breaking 3 bricks with one punch, which also hurts his hand. General Blue then promptly lifts and crushes a phone booth effortlessly).
Goku also makes a brief cameo, trying to stop Mashirito (in the manga and anime).
The English translation is done by Alexander O. Smith.
- Several expressions from Dr. Slump had gone on to become part of Japanese culture. Trademark expressions from the manga include:
- "N-cha": Senbei's greeting and apparently a truncation of "konnichiwa"; also used by Arale.
- "Hoyoyo": an expression used by Arale Norimaki to signify bewilderment or mild confusion.
- "Kiiiiiin": originally a Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound of an airplane engine.
- "Cul": Arale talk for "Cool".
- In addition, the round glasses Arale wears have inspired the Japanese phrase "arare megane" (Arale glasses).
- In the manga, Toriyama himself has been portrayed as a bird (the tori in his last name means "bird", hence the name of his production studio Bird Studio), although Toriyama actually based the design of Senbei on himself (as a number of American comic strip artists have been known to do). He has also portrayed himself as a small robot with dark goggles, and simply a middle-aged man with dark sunglasses and contagion mask (signifying anonymity). In addition, other real people make appearances as well, such as Toriyama's bosses (like Kazuhiko Torishima), assistants, and wife, Toriyama's colleague friends (like Masakazu Katsura), and others.
|Dr. Slump franchise|
|Manga||Dr. Slump • Dr. Slump Returns, But Only For a Little While • Dr. Mashirito and Abale-chan|
|Anime||Dr. Slump and Arale-chan • Dr. Slump (remake)|
|Related Manga||Mysterious Rain Jack • Wonder Island • Today's Highlight Island • Tomato, Girl Detective • Pola & Roid • Pink • Dragon Ball • Hetappi Manga Kenkyūjo • Rocky • Oishii Shima no Ū-sama|
|Other||Slump Box • Harmony Gold Dub • Fansubs|