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December 26, 2014

BBB: My Grandpa’s Stories Can’t Be This Weird!

grandpastory4My Grandpa’s Stories Can’t Be This Weird!
Publisher: Manga Box
Story and Art: Kazuhiro Urata

Domu Saito is your average 5th grader. Like any 5th grader, he’s getting to that age where he has trouble falling asleep with his busy mind. Dokuto Saito is 76 years old and Domu’s grandfather, who decides to help Domu fall asleep by telling him stories. However, Dokuto does not tell your average stories. What each and every time starts off as what could be a normal run-of-the-mill bedtime story, suddenly turns into a bizarre, frequently perverse, comedic romp through the old man’s imagination into dream land.

Frequently comedic manga being translated into English from Japanese can lose its spice, but My Grandpa’s Stories Can’t Be This Weird! by Kazuhiro Urata, which ran its full run on Japanese/U.S. manga-app Manga Box, never loses its flare being presented to us in English. It’s easily become one of the most addicting reads on the free app, hitting home especially for those who long for Adult Swim-esque manga tales.

The set-up is simple: every chapter Domu’s Grandpa reads him a story, and within a page creator Urata decides to completely screw with it, taking whatever the classic folk tale is that week and going totally left field, almost trying to make the readers’ jaws drop some of the weeks. Prime examples include Japanese folk tales like Momotaro the Peach Boy (who is born with a QR scan code face), the Flowering Old Man (who turns out to be a panty collecting pervert), and the tale of the Bamboo Cutter (who cuts a stalk of bamboo to find a wife, but here accidentally takes the girl’s head off, forcing her to have a removable head the entire tale, leading to some awkward situations). More familiar tales to us here include stories like Snow White (turning out to be a big whore and making the seven dwarfs very happy), and even taking a shot at the manga One Piece.

Simply nothing is off limits to Urata, who frequently uses everything and the kitchen sink to have a laugh, his arsenal including porn stars, unexpected deaths, dirty old men, talking animals, current popular Japanese video games and TV shows, and of course Duke Tolgo-like assassins. His absurd and very crude humor pays off, while never adventuring into any level of hentai-explicitness, although coming pretty close a few times.

Visually his extremely clean, thick lined art style feels at home with the silly material he presents, and for a gag manga his pages have a nice layout that flows right through to the end as you digest every crude tidbit.

My Grandpa’s Stories Can’t Be This Weird! ran its full run, rounding out at 44 chapters on Manga Box. Manga Box debuted here and in Japan a year ago in 2013 as an official, yet free, iOS/Android-app, for both phones and tablets, allowing you to read dozens of titles weekly for free. The most recent 12 issues are listed in full, and every title that has appeared on the app, including this one, has its first 100 or so pages collected as well in a digital digest form.

In its final two chapters, Urata, aside from pulling out all the stops to make the milk shoot from our noses, makes a nice sweet book end for our main two characters, unexpectedly bringing everything he did previously in the manga full circle. A nice touch that shows he can do a little more as a writer than just absurdist humor. Although this one’s wrapped up, Urata will be back again soon with his trademark humor, as promised at the end of the run.

A good chunk of My Grandpa’s Stories Can’t Be This Weird! is still up for free on Manga Box. Highly recommended for a laugh, but not for the sensitive kind.

Drew McCabe



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