Was his humor too far-fetched? Despite its triumph in Japan, and its animated series started twenty years ago, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo has never made the French public lose their hair.
A 300X, humanity lives under the thumb of the Chauvekipeut empire (Maruhage), led by Emperor Egg Skull, fourth of the name (Tsuru Tsurulina IV) who decided that everyone had to, like him, be bald as a stone. No one seems to be able to fight against his capilo-tractor brigades, the Gunshearers. Person ? No ! A warrior with an Afro cut stands tall against this dictatorship. Mastering the Hanage Shinken, an ancestral nose hair technique, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo fights to restore peace to the world. Throughout his journey, he will meet new traveling companions, like the young Beauty or the priceless DonPachi…
It was in 2000 that Yoshio Sawai makes his debut at Shueisha in the pages of the special issue Akamaru Jump. From the outset, his absurd sense of humor stands out, notably through a one-shot parodying Ken the Survivor and featuring a hero fighting against hair tyranny. Other episodes featuring the secondary characters were in turn a great success with the readership, so much so thatin 2001, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo became a regular series. The manga dure 21 volumes until 2005before knowing a sequel, Shinsetsu Bobobo-bo Bo-bobowhich will accumulate seven additional volumes upon its conclusion in 2007. With seven million copies sold, the title was a real success in Japan, bringing together the youngestdelighted with the regressive humor and puns galore, and thirty-somethings of the author’s generation (born in 1977), who enjoy watching parodies of Ken the Survivor, Knights of the Zodiac and other series from their childhood.
It is exactly Toei Animation, who adapted these series in the 1980s, who is responsible for the inevitable animated variation of this editorial triumph. It is entrusted to a pillar of the studio, Hiroki Shibata, already known for his work on Gegege no Kitarô, Himitsu no Akko-chan or Getter Robo Gô. But we should not forget that with the film Dr. Slump in 1984 or the new series Kariage-kun in 1989, the director showed his skills in the field of humor. He therefore adapts to the hectic rhythm of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo and leaves no minute of respite for the Japanese spectator from the moment he first episode, broadcast November 8, 2003 ! This madness, a mix between The Mad, Mad, Mad College and Ken the Survivor, has convinced French dubbing actors, far from having a hair in their handswho took unfeigned pleasure in working on the localization of the series, broadcast in 2007 on MCM. Unfortunately, the public does not follow this summary of Japanese humor, and in the end, only 50 episodes will be dubbed in French out of the 76 in the series (published on DVD at the time by Kazé), while the manga will be published in full by Sakka/Casterman. It just goes to show that success depending on the country is sometimes a hair’s breadth away!
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