It’s time for a recent one shot by Akira Toriyama. I can safely say that it’s more fun than Sand Land even if it isn’t quite up to par with DBZ. One thing that I’ve always liked about Toriyama’s titles is how clear the art is and the plot is also very direct. No beating around the bush here and the DBZ cameos are very much appreciated.
Jaco is a member of the Intergalactic Patrolmen and he is heading to Earth on his spaceship when he crashes past the moon and breaks his ship. He still lands on Earth, but now he has no way of heading back home or contacting his comrades. To start up his ship again, he’ll need a rare metal that is extremely expensive. Since he is a law abiding hero, Jaco can’t steal it. Luckily, he crashes on an island where an old man by the name of Omori resides. Omori agrees to help and a girl named Tights joins the cast as an ally as well. They all must prepare themselves because a powerful alien is quickly approaching, which is the real reason why Jaco is here. Can they defeat such a powerful fighter!?
First of all, it’s great to see the DBZ multiverse getting expanded here. This series takes place at around the beginning of Dragon Ball so you can probably guess who’s in the spaceship headed for Earth. Naturally, this does result in a cop out since the fight that we had been waiting for never gets to happen. The twist was definitely a double edged blade there and I would have loved to have seen a fight scene. I suppose that it’s worth it since we got to see Goku. Bulma and her folks also appear during the story and Bulma’s just a kid at this point. She still shows off the fact that she is a genius and her laser gun is not to be underestimated.
The DBZ references and cameos weren’t overdone. They were pretty much perfect and I wouldn’t have minded more of them. They certainly helped me enjoy the manga more than I would have otherwise. There is even a bonus story at the end about Bardock (Although the volume translates his name in another way I prefer this spelling. This is the true Bardock!) and Goku’s origins. It takes place a little before the OVA as he gets Goku to his spaceship and sends him off before going to confront Frieza and beginning the events of his second OVA. Frieza’s plan definitely seems a little less precise than usual here as he decides to blow up the planet without waiting for the other Saiyans since he felt like it. The author makes sure not to say how many Saiyans were not currently around so they can be used in the future I suppose. It’s interesting to note that the Super Saiyan God mode was mentioned here besides the usual Legendary Super Saiyan. That’s pretty neat since it makes Frieza appear to be in the know. He’ll be popping up in the new film soon and that will definitely be pretty epic. As always, he’s hyped to be Goku’s greatest adversary in this story and it’s easy to see why. There are definitely a lot of narratives for this fight and it’s where Goku finally liberated the Saiyans.
Back to the main story, it’s essentially a comedy. Jaco’s super abilities continue to shock everyone and his lack of knowledge on human culture can put him in a tough spot at times. Some scenes show signs of the old Dragon Ball humor that we hoped to avoid like sea monsters/fish that aren’t very polite and a random chest comment. Those are definitely not the best moments for the series. Luckily, they are few and far apart. Not to mention that the series doesn’t have any real fanservice, which is a big plus.
Omori is the main character and he dislikes all humans. He’s an old man now and he has been trying to build a time machine for a very long time. A traumatic experience where his wife died still haunts him and he wants to change that. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to get it to work and it can only speed up a person’s body so that they can temporarily gain super speed. When Jaco lands on his island, Omori decides to help him so that he can get Jaco out of his hair. As the volume goes on, Omori begins to soften up to the idea of actually having a friend. He’s a pretty likable lead and you can sympathize with him. He’s my favorite character in the series by a longshot.
Tights is the main heroine and she looks pretty similar to the big pop idol who’s going to ride on a rocket as a publicity stunt…intriguing. She believes in the alien story very quickly and she proves to be a very valuable ally to the heroes. She pays for some of the metal and she is the only one who can go shopping in public since the other two quickly become wanted fugitives. She complains a little more often than you would think, but all of the heroes do this a lot. The old man is typically grumpy and Jaco is hyper sensitive so she fits right in. Tights is definitely a pretty likable character and the twist makes her look even more heroic.
Jaco is the alien and his abilities are pretty impressive. It’s hard to tell exactly how strong he is, but Jaco has your basic super strength and speed at his disposal. He can’t fly, but he has jetpacks that are pretty good substitutes. He’s pretty full of himself and he’s actually not a very likable character. Jaco’s heart is in the right place, but he’s way too proud for his own good and he almost fails when it’s hero time. Crashing his ship twice for no real reason is definitely pretty embarrassing as well. I like his design and it will remind you of the androids in the DBZ series. We know that he is a talented warrior so it would be great to actually see him fight. His power level is probably not that impressive since he claims that an adult Saiyan would be stronger than him, but he’s still better than the humans. A normal Saiyan would probably have a power level of 5-10K so his should be somewhere in that range. He also has a weapon that can blow up life on a planet, but it’s specifically calibrated for humans this time so he wouldn’t hurt the Saiyans. It would be fun to see Jaco appear in a DBZ film someday, but mainly so that he can fight. His comedy gimmicks aren’t very funny so I could definitely take a pass on that.
Jaco’s art is pretty great as expected. Few series can really hope to match this artstyle. It’s very simple and yet the designs are all on the mark. The simplicity is probably what helps the fights to be so good since you can really focus on the moves. Most (If not all) of Jaco’s attacks are inspired from DBZ techniques. He uses one of Goku’s kicks and the rest of his attacks can definitely be linked to the legendary series. The energy blasts look as menacing and destructive as in the olden days and the landscapes should feel pretty familiar.
Overall, Jaco The Galactic Patrolman is a title that you will want to read. You’ll get a real nostalgis kick out of reading it. Hardcore DBZ fans definitely can’t pass this up since it expands on Goku’s origins and we get to see that his situation was even more similar to Goku’s than we could have imagined. Finally seeing Goku’s mother is also a pretty big deal. Many fans will be disappointed that it’s a new character and not an established one like Fasha, but that arguably makes things even more epic. Fasha is already a warrior so it’s probably for the best that she’s still on the front lines. If you aren’t a DBZ fan, this can still be pretty fun for you. It’s a lighthearted comedy that stays classy on the whole and it’s easy to read. It’s a fun adventure and it has that 90’s feel that is so hard to forget. It’s just a lot of fun and you may even feel bad that this couldn’t be the next Dragon Ball Z. I’m sure that it would have been great as an ongoing series, especially once the action kicked in. Jaco is one series (One volume series anyway) that you won’t want to miss and hopefully Toriyama can start working on that DBZ sequel manga now.