Manga Village

Dinosaur Hour!

April 15, 2009

Journey back to the Jurassic…and sneak a peek at your favorite dinosaurs as you’ve never seen them!  Dinosaur Hour is a collection of comics about dinos who are bullies and ghost-believers, pranksters and bungling little brothers.  With such goofy antics, it’s no wonder these guys went extinct!

By: Hitoshi Shioya
Publisher: Viz Media – Viz Kids
Age Rating: All Ages
Genre: Comedy
Price: $7.99

Starting this year, Viz has reinvigorated it’s VizKids line with many new titles.  This title is among the first wave of books Viz is releases for younger readers.  It also has the potential to reach beyond it’s intended audience by being just plain and funny and entertaining to anyone who likes a good laugh.

Dinosaur Hour is a collection of stories, so there are no main characters or on-going stories, though it does seem that the mangaka had a thing for the Protocertops, as they appear several times throughout the book.  Each story is about two or three dinosaurs interacting.  When a new dinosaur is introduced, their name, length, and eating preference is given.  You can learn things such as the power and stamina of different dinosaurs, or about the Stegosaurus’ unusual brain arrangement.

But don’t let all this education fool you.  This book is about having fun!  Every story is a setup to a gag payoff at the end.  And everyone of them is laugh-out-loud funny!  Protoceretops trying to prove if T-rex is really blind, a Tarbosaurus and Triceretops running a scam on other herbivores, and even a fairy tale with a dino-version of the Billy Goats Gruff with a fun new ending!  There are just too many good gags, mostly a visual to get into.  Suffice to say, this book hits all the right comedic chords without trying hard.

The art in this title is simple, closer to cartoons, so don’t expect any super detail like Gon.  But the dinosaurs are drawn with just enough detail to get a good idea of what they probably looked like.  The story about what feathered dinosaurs may have looked like is another LOL.  As an extra in this volume, there are cut-outs of dinosaurs and instructions for “Dino Sumo Wrestling.”

Dinosaur Hour is one of those titles you can give to anyone, child or adult, manga reader or not, and they can get it right away.  The humor is good no matter what culture or language it is put in.

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