New manga Dandadan takes Dragon Ball Z’s uber-powerful Broly and gives him Naruto’s Cursed Seal of Heaven, creating a demonic berserker.
A new manga called Dandadan follows protagonist Ken Takakura, combining elements of Dragon Ball Z and Naruto to tell the story of a supernatural curse. Like Naruto‘s Cursed Seal of Heaven, Ken’s curse physically transforms him – a problem that psychic friend Ayase Momo attempts to solve by keeping his powers in check, similar to the function of Broly’s ring in Dragon Ball Z.
The relationship between the popular, hot-headed Ayase and the nerdy and withdrawn Ken is a strange one. Their friendship begins after a random display of kindness that immediately devolves into a ridiculous argument over aliens and the occult. This culminates in them daring each other to visit famous hotspots where they will likely meet aliens and ghosts. As a result of these dares, Ken gets cursed by a decrepit-looking yet insanely powerful and perverted ghoul known as Turbo-Granny. Meanwhile, Ayase is abducted by aliens, an unfortunate dilemma that leads to her unlocking her innate psychic abilities.
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Upon activation of the curse, Ken transforms into the Turbo-Granny ghoul, gaining not only her incredible powers but her wildly inappropriate personality. This particular manifestation is similar to that of Naruto‘s Cursed Seal of Heaven, with which Orochimaru brands Sasuke. Like Ken’s curse, the second level of this cursed seal altered Sasuke’s physical appearance, whereby he gained augmented strength and abilities. Although he didn’t turn into an Orochimaru-lookalike like the nature of Turbo-Granny’s curse, Sasuke could replace any lost limbs with snakes, which is a defining attribute of Orochimaru’s powers. Moreover, the seal contained Orochimaru’s chakra and consciousness.
In Dandadan, the power of Turbo-Granny is quite immense and, as a newly cursed specimen, Ken easily loses control whenever he activates the curse. To keep this from happening, he has Ayase use her psychic abilities to help limit his power, allowing him to fight off alien creature without becoming a danger himself. Of course, being a newly awakened psychic, Ayase’s attempts are not always successful.
This suppressing technique is similar to that of Broly’s ring, which was created by his Saiyan father Paragus in Dragon Ball Z‘s non-canonized film. Paragus crafts the headset because of how easily Broly loses control whenever he unleashes his power. While a berserker, Broly gains immeasurable strength that allows him to transform into the Legendary Super Saiyan, but this results in him losing the ability to distinguish friend from foe. Essentially, the headset mentally manipulates Broly to keep his emotions in check, a functionality that’s noticeably different to its equivalent in the retconned and canonized version of Broly’s story in Dragon Ball Super, where the band is replaced with a shock collar.
Although the mix of Broly’s mind-manipulating ring in Dragon Ball Z and Naruto‘s Cursed Seal of Heaven are compelling, Dandadan can and does stand on its own quite capably, for sheer creativity alone. Not many manga series dare combine ghouls and the occult with aliens, but this series does so masterfully. Additionally, just in the first chapter, the series dabbles in numerous subgenres all within a few panels, quickly shifting from a cute romance, to an ecchi horror and then to a shounen filled with a complex system of attacks and transformations. Fans of Dragon Ball Z and Naruto will undoubtedly enjoy Dandadan, as much for its daring choices as its more familiar elements.
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