Piro and Largo are trapped in Japan. Having found jobs, of
a sort, the anime/manga obsessed Piro and the hard-core gamer
Largo find their lives being inextricably linked with two
Megatokyo is an original online manga by American artist
Fred Gallagher. The online strip has been going for some considerable
years having started life in 2000. Originally created by Gallagher
and Rodney Caston, Gallagher took full control of Megatokyo
manga is hand drawn in pencil, and lampoons many aspects of
anime, manga and computer gaming. Although draw by an American
- and I mean no slight here - Megatokyo is a convincing
Manga adhering to the forms and format of manga, with one
acceptation - that it can be read front to back, which should
make it a little easier for the uninitiated.
have the strange spiky hair, that helps to differentiate the
characters; appropriate levels of blushing and facial contortions
are also thrown in, as are lots of little vignettes poking
fun at manga traditions or just thrown in for a quick gag.
As with any long running series, being introduced to the characters
at Volume Four is going to be a confusing matter. Of
course, if you are interested, you can pop along to www.megatokyo.com
and view all the strips from the beginning. Which brings up
a bit of a dilemma for the artist and publisher, in that,
this volume, like all the others, is free to view online.
Ok, you could make the argument that by doing so you will
be supporting the artist in his endeavours and there's nothing
wrong with that, or you may be like me and have never really
found reading off a screen all that easy, especially on the
The strip originally started as a gag a day set-up, but by
this point in the story Gallagher has moved the plot on to
the interrelationships between the characters, though without
loosing any of the underlying anarchic humour. The layout
of the strip uses numerous differing numbers of panels, which
stops the overall look of the book from becoming boring. If
categorisation was required then I guess you would have to
say that by this point in the strip's history it was quickly
transforming itself into the equivalent of a shojo manga.
If Volume Four had represented an original, never before
published book, then it would have been rated very highly.
However, the question has to be asked about value for money.
There is some original content, but not really enough to please
anyone other than an already committed fan. Whilst the bulk
of the book is free to view; their strip numbers are helpfully
reproduced at the back of the book.
So, really it comes down to whether you are happy to read
it online or whether you'd rather have the book in your hands.