Random Manga Theatre 47: Jiya

Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.

This time: Jiya, with scenario by Akira Toriyama and art by Masakazu Katsura

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Imagine my surprise finding something by Akira Toriyama (aka the Dragon Ball guy) via the usually-terrible random button! It was almost as much as when I found something by Osamu Tezuka way back when. As for Jiya, it was apparently a promotional collaboration for the 30th  anniversary of Young Jump magazine, which also happens to be currently running One Punch Man. How nice.

The eponymous Jiya is part of the Galactic Patrol, essentially an alien police force, who has come to investigate Earth. His colleague, Steth, was sent before him, but mysteriously vanished after sending back a suspicious report saying that Earth wasn’t worth saving. After saving some passing civilians from thugs, Jiya decides to tag along with them and do some investigating of his own. Which is just as well, since Jiya is actually an insect-sized alien controlling a super suit, and this gives him an opportunity to possess a normal human (with permission, of course) and experience what it is to be an Earthling.

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The first chapter or so is basically that, with Jiya wandering around town and being fascinated by mundane stuff like the quality of water, or how delicious food is and whatnot. But apparently Earth is also being terrorized by a vampire and his army of giant fleas, because it just isn’t Akira Toriyama without some sort of ludicrous plot point involving pointy-eared guys and spindly-legged creatures. Jiya recognizes said fleas as an alien species, and begins to suspect Steth was not entirely forthcoming in his report on Earth. Commence even further investigation of this mysterious Vamp and his reign of terror!

Verdict: Solid
As noted, the Akira Toriyama-ness of this piece is very obvious throughout, in everything from the jokes to the character design to the action sequences that look straight out of Dragon Ball Z. This is by no means a bad thing. In fact, I kind of enjoyed it. I always liked DBZ as a kid, and it’s hard to really go wrong with fast-paced action sequences involving energy blasts and rapid-fire fisticuffs. The storytelling is enjoyable as well, even though it’s rather simple. You can really tell this was something made by veterans in the industry.

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