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Shonen Jump's Dandadan Is Beautifully Ridiculous – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Dandadan is one of the weirdest manga to ever hit Shonen Jump, so here’s what it’s all about and why it’s such a joy to read.
Who would have ever thought we’d see a manga with manhood jokes getting serialized in Shonen Jump? One of the newest additions to the famous magazine’s lineup is Dandadan, written by Yukinobu Tatsu. While Shonen Jump is known for famous series like My Hero Academia and One Piece, it has also taken to adding some atypical shonen series like Spy X Family, Undead Unluck and The Promised Neverland more recently. Even so, the addition of Dandadan is still somewhat out of the ordinary.
Dandadan is, in a word, weird. It’s unlike any shonen manga you’ve ever read with a cast of unique characters and storyline. Let’s examine what makes Dandadan so ridiculous — and great.
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Dandadan introduces its two protagonists: Ken Takakura and Momo Ayase, who become unlikely friends. Ayase is obsessed with yokai and spirits. Her celebrity crush is one Ken Takakura, which makes things a little complicated when the bespectacled boy who is always alone and has no friends shares the same name as the famous actor.
Takakura is also into the supernatural, but his interests lie in aliens. Neither of them actually believe the other’s obsession is real, so they make a deal: they’ll each try to prove their respective supernatural being exists by going to their hideouts. Naturally, things don’t go exactly as planned. They find aliens and spirits alright, but these spirits are out to get them — specifically their reproductive organs. Ayase manages to escape the aliens with Takakura’s help and awakens her psychokinesis powers, but Takakura gets cursed by the evil spirit Turbo Granny — who not only occasionally possesses him but also takes his manhood.
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Takakura and Ayase successfully get some of his manhood back, but unfortunately two certain parts are still missing. In their quest to get one of these parts back, they get inadvertently entangled with a popular girl named Aira Shiratori who is a self-proclaimed “chosen one,” and believes she needs to eradicate all evil — which includes Ayase. Shiratori is put in danger when a yokai called Acrobatic Silky kidnaps her. Takakura and Ayase manage to defeat Silky, but the yokai has a heartbreaking backstory that takes them by surprise.
After retrieving Takakura’s missing part, Shiratori is now part of their group. This means the dynamic between Takakura and Ayase has shifted, becoming much more awkward and shy — especially since Shiratori has confessed her love for Takakura multiple times. After defeating another band of aliens from stealing their genitals, the trio returns to Ayase’s grandmother’s home. At first, everything seems to have gone back to some semblance of normalcy (as normal as it can be in Dandadan), but events go awry when someone from Ayase’s past re-enters her life.
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Although Dandadan is focused on trying to get Takakura’s manhood back, it’s not used gratuitously and is more or less used as a running joke throughout the series. This certainly helps the story stand out, but what truly makes Dandadan strong is its characters, who ground the series and anchor it from getting too outlandish. Both Ayase and Takakura are extremely well-written and we see them grow closer. Takakura’s awkwardness is a sharp contrast to Ayase’s boldness but when they’re together, they’re able to feed off each other’s energies and work together as a team. The artwork is another highlight thanks to its clean and detailed action scenes and character designs.
Shonen Jump’s Dandadan only has 27 chapters out so far, and is still hitting its stride in terms of what the overarching plot is supposed to be about. It seems to be building up to something big with the introduction of the aliens’ and ghosts’ backstories, but it’s still unclear. Hopefully it gets revealed sooner than later, because Takakura remains one part away from being reunited with all his private parts.
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Anime Features Writer for CBR. Loves anything with a good anime OST. Always eager to chat about anything anime/manga/donghua-related.

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