I don’t think we’re in Oz anymore, Toto!
Kakashi is a small town boy with a big dream: To travel around the world. He’s so determined to leave his little island home behind that he stows away onboard a marvelous zeppelin – one that just happens to be loaded with treasure and a gang of ruthless criminals!
On the surface, Toto! seems like a pretty standard shounen-type adventure. And it is! This first volume reminded me of a One Piece meets Kino’s Journey type adventure. Kakashi wants to travel the world simply because the world is vast. At least that’s what his dad told him.
Usually this type of spunky main character annoys me. And sure enough, Kakashi is really annoying for the first few chapters or so. He’s just a dumb kid with ideals! Through the first four chapters, however, Kakashi sort of develops a personality, or at least makes friends with a few new characters that make up for his lack of one. Toto is a stowaway dog that Kakashi meets in the airship and is the first friend of the journey. Later, Kakashi meets up with a girl named Dorthy. Then they head to Emerald city. Umm… wait, this sounds familiar.
Before you write this manga off as a Japanese Wizard of Oz, there is the fact that Toto is some kind of mutant secret weapon that the government is trying to recover. Eat your heart out, L. Frank Baum! Actually, Kakashi acts a lot more like Luffy in his haphazard style, and Dorthy acts like Nami with her
bo staff martial arts skills.
Stuff I Liked:
Certainly the fantastic setting of Toto is one of its main strengths. The interactions between Dorothy and Kakashi are pretty funny too, like when they fight over who actually has ownership of Toto. Shouldn’t Toto go to Dorothy, considering her name? Also, Dorothy is a badass.
Stuff I didn’t Like:
The first few chapters took entirely too many pages, and the last two chapters felt a little rushed and didn’t lead up to a conclusion. It seems like there was a lot of waste in the beginning and too much catching up to do in the end.
Overall, I think Toto inherits more of Kino’s Journey’s “the world is ugly, so it’s beautiful” vibe (one chapter is even called “Wonderful World, Ugly World) than One Piece’s slapstick pirate adventures. But you never know, since the first volume didn’t show us a whole lot. Hopefully the story doesn’t degenerate into the three running from the government to save Toto for the entire series. I could see that getting old really quickly. I think actually exploring the world (if it’s really that interesting) should be the focus of the series with some additional puppy chasing here and there.
Many thanks to Del Rey Manga for sending me a review copy of Toto! The Wonderful Adventure Volume 1!