Chapters 88 and 89 of Dandadan are introducing a promising new direction for the Shonen Jump series that has struggled to gain needed focus.
Warning: Spoilers for Dandadan chapters 88 and 89Shonen Jump+’s Dandadan is finally redeeming itself after months of disappointing chapters that could bring the once intriguing manga series back to the top where it belongs.
In chapters 88 and 89 of Dandadan by Yukinobu Tatsu, one of the series’ heroes, Momo Ayase, witnesses the devastation that Dandadan’s latest massive all-out war has caused her friends. Her love interest Okarun is being kept alive with oxygen, a cute alien named Vamola is likely a traitor, she is being forced to work with a creepy Serpo alien whose species has been trying to steal their body parts, and her grandmother Seiko (who’s her group’s most powerful asset) is out of the picture as a larger wave of the same aliens who just fought them are on their way to finish what they started.
All these refreshing developments come after Dandadan has continued to suffer from a lack of focus that has only gotten worse over the passing weeks as the series not only fails to stop relying on sheer randomness to carry each chapter but increases the frequency at which these random moments occur. At first, the lack of interconnectedness coupled with the unpredictable nature of the series defined Dandadan in a good way. But the longer it persisted, the less welcome it became, especially with Dandadan’s introduction of the most problematic shonen character trope and later its own version of Power Rangers’ Megazord in chapter 68.
Vamola is the key to Dandadan‘s ongoing success
Up until this time, Dandadan’s saving grace had been the well-executed romance, which mangaka Tatsu thankfully revived recently with the introduction of Vamola. And now her likely betrayal in the series’ latest chapters is giving her character more importance than just spicing up the love dynamic between Okarun and Momo. Before, Momo had understandably disliked Vamola due to how the cute alien continually flung herself at Okarun (and because of how much Okarun enjoyed it). But Vamola’s innocence has been growing on Momo, making her possible betrayal all the more painful for her character. The fact that Momo never kept her disdain for Vamola a secret has added another intriguing layer to this already spicy conundrum as Momo’s friends didn’t believe her at first, causing additional conflict. Moreover, Vamola’s inability to communicate with Momo and her friends also introduces some uncertainty to the equation since no one actually knows what she has been trying to tell them, especially when Vamola was likely defending herself after Momo began accusing her of being a traitor.
In addition to giving a fun spin to a currently trending trope where an all-power ally can’t help the series’ heroes, the emergence of these new aliens in Dandadan also has the potential of saving this once-promising series by finally introducing a big bad. Although the Serpo aliens are the main antagonists, they don’t appear to have a leader who readers can focus on. Their attacks are also less structured and always come without warning, lacking the necessary build up for readers to get invested in despite always being aware they’re out there somewhere. Although Okarun has an intriguing theory that gives a purpose to their odd connection to Earth’s yokai, the Serpo are just there. These new aliens could possibly remedy this failure. In fact, they are already well on their way as readers are aware of their upcoming invasion. Hopefully, Momo’s tenuous alliance with the Serpo will help add some more much-needed context before the ensuing war in future chapters of Dandadan.
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Dandadan is available on Manga PLUS.
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