Dr. Slump (Dr.スランプ Dokutā Suranpu) is a Japanese gag manga by Akira Toriyama that was serialized in Shueisha's anthology comic Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1980 to 1984 and collected into 18 individual books called Tankōbon (単行本). The series helped launched Toriyama's career and was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen and shōjo manga in 1982.
Dr. Slump is a gag-based humor manga filled with puns, bathroom jokes, and parodies of both Japanese and American culture. For example, one of the recurring characters is "Suppaman", is a joke on the American superhero "Superman", who becomes a superhero by eating a sour-tasting ("suppai" in Japanese) umeboshi, hence his name's translation to "Sourman". These types of Japanese-American puns and parallels persist throughout the series, which is riddled with cameos from other characters of which Toriyama was a fan, such as Muscleman, Ultraman, Astro Boy, Godzilla, Gamera, and numerous references to Star Wars, including a police officer wearing a Stormtrooper's helmet, in a Police Force based out of a building built to resemble R2-D2.
Main article: List of Dr. Slump manga chapters
Dr. Slump is set in the town of Penguin Village on Gengoro Island, a place where humans co-exist with all sorts of anthropomorphic animals, objects, and monsters. The plot centers on the life of Arale Norimaki, a bubbly android girl, and her various misadventures fueled by inventions from her creator: the goofy inventor Senbei Norimaki, and the eponymous "Dr. Slump". As the series progresses, the characters are thrown into any situation the author could imagine, and he was not too shy to acknowledge this, as he often appears in his own works as a mediator, or to poke fun at himself. Later in the series, a villain named Dr. Mashirito, based upon Toriyama's real-life editor Kazuhiko Torishima was introduced.
Dr. Slump originally ran in Weekly Shonen Jump from January of 1980 until the series' conclusion in 1984. It was collected into 18 tankobon volumes from August 9, 1980 until May 10th of 1985. However, the series would not see a release outside of Japan until after author Akira Toriyama's immensely popular Dragon Ball series gained popularity in the west, with the series being published in English in another 18 tankobon volumes from May 10, 2005 until May 5, 2009. The English text was translated by Alexander O. Smith.
Relation to Dragon Ball
After the series' conclusion, the cast of Dr. Slump returned for an extended cameo in Toriyama's next manga series Dragon Ball in chapters 70-73, collected in the 7th volume of the Dragon Ball manga. However, by this time there had been a distinct change in the author's art style, making Arale and the gang look somewhat bloated in comparison to their original designs.
Arale also makes a smaller cameo in the third Dragon Ball movie, Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure (a retelling of the story arc featuring the original crossover), and again in the third and fourth Dragon Ball Z movies, Dragon Ball Z: The Tree of Might and Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug, as a picture hanging on Gohan's wall.
In the 2016 revival of the Dragon Ball franchise, Drgon Ball Super, Arale and Bubibinman made cameos before the next full crossover in the series' sixty-ninth episode.
- Several expressions from Dr. Slump have gone on to become typical slang in the Japanese language. 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".
- "Arare megane" (Arale glasses), has become a term to describe glasses resembling Arale's iconic frames.
- 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 • The Brief Return of Dr. Slump • Dr. Mashirito and Abale-chan|
|Anime||Dr. Slump Arale-chan • Dr. Slump (1997 anime)|
|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|