Aron’s Absurd Armada

September 19, 2011

Arrr, guess what time of year it be again. That’s right! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! And that means lot’s of “Arrrs” and “ye bes” and “yo ho ho”ing and sounding like ye should have a parrot on yer shoulder. A few years ago I did a post about pirate manga what was available to help enjoy the day. Normally I would do a post updating what’s new, but sadly, there hasn’t been any new additions in the last three years, except one.

By Misun Kim
Publisher: Yen Press/Yen Plus
Age Rating: All Ages
Genre: 4 Koma/comedy
Price: $2.99 online only subscription
Rating: ★★★★½

Aron’s Absurd Armada is a Korean 4 koma web comic. It came to Yen Press through as part of a licensing deal and was part of the magazine’s online debut. The premise of the series is fairly simple. Aron is the spoiled, immature, dumb-as-a-brick son of the aristocratic Duke Cornwall and his wife. He decides on a whim that he wants to become a pirate. His mother indulges him and lets him go off with the bodyguard Robin, a bishonen who is talented with a sword and whose greed knows no bounds. With just him and Robin as crew, they start their voyage, only to be attacked by another pirate ship. Robin makes quick work of the captain and most of the crew, and convinces two of the pirates, Anton and Gilbert to join them. Shortly there after, they find someone floating in the water after a shipwreck. Ronnie is saved, but do to a mishap with her hair and a less than feminine body, she is mistaken for a boy. With this very ragtag crew, Aron continues his happy-go-lucky life as captain while making the life of his crew hell with his short attention span, immature desires, and absurd leadership.

This title is a comedy and it does it right. It pokes fun at things in everyday life that anyone can relate to, such as Aron’s attempt to grow a mustache (so he looks more mature) and in ineptitude of Aron in general. A lot of the laughs come from seeing the groans from the crew to Aron’s latest decision. All of the crew have their quirks or running gags. For poor Ronnie, it’s that no one will believe she is a girl. She started to have hope that with her hair going out, she would be seen as a girl and could get some attention from Robin, who she is in love with. But before she can reveal the truth, her hair is set on fire by Aron (on accident) and she’s back to square one. For a while Anton and Gilbert were never named in the series, with their names being considered interchangeable.

And the Navy isn’t much better. Not long after setting to sea, Aron’s ship is stopped by a Navy ship, under the command of Luther Nelson, who also happens to be Aron’s childhood friend. He’s prepared to let Aron go, until his more bloodthirsty half-sister steps in. Luther has his own issues, and they are nothing like they sound. The truth behind his family situation was really funny and completely unexpected. A look into Aron’s past when he was a boy was just as funny, though not as surprising. That’s what makes this such a fun series. The character dynamics are perfect for a good light-hearted comedy. Even when it seems the story is trying to be serious, it never lasts. It has the perfect punch line at the end, that turns any potential frown upside down.

Aron’s Absurd Armada was a little slow to grow on me at first, but by the third issue of Yen Plus I was won over. It became one of the reasons for me to keep reading the magazine.  The series is in color and the art is simple but very nicely done. I really like the chibis that tend to appear between strips that usually add to strip they precede, usually in a humorous way. The only really bad thing I can say about this series, is that unless you subscribe to Yen Plus, you can’t read it, and there’s no way to read previous chapters beyond the two available monthly magazines. Aron’s Absurd Armada doesn’t appear on Yen Press’ website and there doesn’t seem to be any compilation volumes expected to come out. And that is just a darn shame. This is too funny of a series to just let fade away.

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