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Manga Review: Sgt. Frog Omnibus Volume One by Mine Yoshizaki

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Sgt. Frog Omnibus Volume One collects the first three volumes of Mine Yoshizaki’s Sgt. Frog manga series into one volume. This omnibus was published in North America by Tokyopop in 2007. Sgt. Frog is rated “T” for teens 13 years of age and older. This series receives this rating due to the “fanservice” included; this “fanservice” includes panty shots and hinted at nudity.

Sgt. Frog is a comedy about an alien race of frogs trying to take over the Earth (which the frogs refer to as “Pokopen”). Sergeant Keroro has been hiding out in the bedroom of an elementary school boy, trying to blend in as a toy. One morning, the boy wakes up from a dream about aliens attacking the Earth, and he and his sister discover Keroro.

The boy is named Fuyuki Hinata, and he’s a sixth grader who studies and believes in the occult. His older sister, Natsumi Hinata, is a bossy and loud seventh grader. Their mother is a buxom woman named Aki Hinata, and she works as a manga editor. Her work tends to keep her away from home a lot, so Fuyuki and Natusumi are often taking care of themselves. However, their mother does learn about Keroro, and allows him to stay; she says he will be the inspiration for a new manga character. During his time with the family, Keroro develops an interest in Gundam models.

The next character we meet is Momoka Nishizawa. She’s a girl in Fuyuki’s class, and she has a crush on him. It turns out she also has a split personality; one personality is meek and shy, while the other is aggressive and violent. It turns out that she has found Private Tamama, one of Keroro’s subordinates. Tamama also has a split personality, just like Momoka.

In this omnibus, we are introduced to two other frogs: Corporal Giroro and First Sergeant Kululu. Giroro is extremely strict and appears to be grumpy most of the time. Kululu has the technological know-how to build inventions; unfortunately, they tend to not work as he expects them to. Kululu lives with Mutsumi, a young man who is an artist and a poet. Natusmi develops a crush on him. Angol Moa, also known as “The Lord of Terror Foretold by Nostradamus,” takes on the guise of a young girl, and she refers to Keroro as “uncle.” Even though she refers to Keroro that way, Angol secretly has a crush on him.

Since it’s the mission of Keroro and the others to take over the Earth, you see them secretly gathering in an underground base they’ve built under the Hinata family’s house. Here, they come up with their various schemes to achieve world domination. Unfortunately for them, their attempts always fail; this is usually due either to Keroro being rather ineffective in carrying out a plan, or due to Kululu’s inventions not working as they should.

While some of the comedy in Sgt. Frog comes from actions that the characters take, quite a bit of it originates in the dialogue. While there is some dialogue I can believe is simply a translation from the original Japanese, there are other pieces of humorous dialogue that I suspect was re-written for an American audience.

Admittedly, the humor in Sgt. Frog really isn’t up my alley. Also, there were only a few characters I found myself being interested in cheering for as I read this volume. However, my 14-year-old daughter, who also read this manga volume, enjoyed it. She’s also a fan of the Invader Zim animated series that aired on Nickelodeon, which basically has a similar premise of an alien trying to take over the Earth and failing in comedic ways. While I’m personally not going to go out of my way to read more of this series, I will take a look at it if my daughter brings more volumes of it into the house.

If you are fan of Invader Zim, or you have an appreciation for the style of comedy and/or the “fanservice” used in this series, then you may find enjoyment in Sgt. Frog.

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About Lesley Aeschliman

Lesley Aeschliman is a freelance writer who began writing on a full-time basis in 2007. She has served as the Anime editor at BellaOnline.com, and she also writes and maintains two blogs: Lesley's Musings... on Anime and Manga and AeschTunes.