If you’ve read any of Kosuke Fujishima’s previous work, one thing you may have observed is that he really seems to enjoy drawing motorcycles. Oh My Goddess may be about a college student living with a goddess, but it was clear that whenever Fujishima drew the two main characters on a motorbike, he was having the time of his life. Now he has an opportunity to fully indulge his interest in his new series Toppu GP.
Toppu Uno never wanted to race motorcycles. He was perfectly content watching his sister ride -with his eagle eyes, he knew her lap times before the stopwatch did. When he’s convinced to take a ride on a minibike for the first time, his hours of observation translate into instant skill on the track. But turning a quick lap and winning a race are two very different things, and Toppu’s got a long way to go before he’s ready for the big leagues – MotoGP, the highest level of two-wheeled road racing.
You can immediately tell from the opening chapter that Fujishima has a strong passion for this sport which is reflected in both his art and storytelling. Translating something where most of the viewing entertainment is derived from movement to still images is a tricky task. To pull it off and keep the excitement of a MotoGP race is very impressive. Design wise (speaking as someone who doesn’t follow competitive motorcycling), the bikes all look impressive and accurate to their real life counterparts (again you can tell how invested Fujishima is in this sport). Obviously when it comes to the race sequences, you have to rely on the characters eyes only to see how the emotions and reactions come across which for most manga would be a big handicap, but again Fujishima really pulls this off well.
Story wise, it has lots of the tropes you would expect from a shonen sports manga. But Toppu makes for an interesting character. Rather than be the person who has raw talent at something they love but struggles to develop it that you see in most cases, he instead has natural talent and has absorbed his friend and neighbour Myne’s skill by simply watching her race – yet despite this, he starts as a character who doesn’t even want to partake in this sport and would rather spend his time building Gundam models. It makes for some interesting moments and it is unusual to see a lead character so unmotivated (it takes the promise of getting new Gundam kits to get him to even try racing for the first time). The dynamic between Toppu and Myne (who is conspicuous by her absences in the opening flash forward sequence) again is a refreshing change from usual manga of this kind.
Fans of Kosuke Fujishima should definitely take the chance to see him cut loose and delve into one of his favourite hobbies and sports manga fans will find plenty to enjoy from this new title from a manga veteran.
9781632364517 – P/B – £10.99
Click here for more Kosuke Fujishima titles
Read blog post on Paradise Residence here
Post by Leo