Manga: Jaco The Galactic Patrolman

From Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragon Ball, comes this Science Fiction manga. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is an 11 chapter miniseries centering around Jaco, a Galactic Patrolman who was sent to Earth in order to intercept a dangerous alien sent to the planet. However upon arrival he damages his spaceship, leaving him with Omori, a retired scientist who used to deal in Time Travel experiments. Together, Jaco and Omori have various mishaps involving their attempts to fix Jaco's spaceship, intercept the incoming alien invader and prevent an upcoming rocket launch with Idol Singer An Azuki from ending in tragedy.


Tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: The collected volume includes character profiles that include details that weren't mentioned in the actual manga, like the fact that Jaco's surname is Tirimentenpibosshi or that Omori's given name is Tokunoshin.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Inspector Katayude. He's a fastidious dresser who cooks and cleans, loves fine cuisine, and decorates his apartment with teddy bears ("Tie-bears", specifically) and kitsch. He also may or may not be wearing eyeliner and mascara.
  • Amusing Alien: Jaco
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: The series is unusual for how many Lampshades Toriyama throws around relative to how short it is. This includes the retroactive stuff, such as establishing how Bulma could have built a time machine in the future, or where the anti-grav tech came from in Dragon Ball. At the end of the day, everything makes... more sense than it really needs to.
  • Brick Joke: A couple.
    • Early on, Tights complains about the toilet Omori has (which is clearly just a commode on the pier that opens up over the water), and this is visible in the first full-island shot. In the last full-island shot, Omori has apparently taken her complaint to heart, and the box has been removed from the pier. There is now an identical box directly connected to the house.
    • For a shorter one, Bulma's Mom brings a gift when meeting Omori for the first time: ...a Z'Gok pla-model. We see later that Omori apparently assembled it, and put it on display.
  • Child Prodigy: At only 5 years old, Bulma is able to solve all of the issues with Jaco's spaceship. Turns out it uses Sky Gold less as fuel and more as a battery or capacitor - meaning an equivalent amount of something like copper is enough to get him back home - and the missing antenna tip was underneath the shed the whole time.
  • Depopulation Bomb: Jaco has one of these he can use to wipe out humanity if he decides they're not worth saving. (The idea is that it's to save the population from A Fate Worse Than Death, a genuine possibility if Saiyans or Freeza are involved and the population doesn't have appropriate defenses, but Jaco seems really enthusiastic about using it for something like stubbing his toe or something.)
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Toriyama drafted the story while working on Jiya (another manga featuring a Galactic Patrolman named in the title) and originally intended for Masakazu Katsura to draw it. But when it came time for him to draw a series for the Shōnen Jump 45th anniversary, the story he had intended to use was coincidentally similar to Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods,note  so he took the storyboard he had set aside and reworked it into something he could draw himself, tying it in to Dragon Ball along the way.
  • Facial Composite Failure: Which Jaco simply cannot tolerate.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Though it is technically also Jaco's greatest achievement (that he never learns about).
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The fashions in the East City come from all over the place, real and fictional.
  • Fish out of Water: Heavily Downplayed. Jaco came to Earth after studying up on the local culture (the basics are covered in a 4-hour tape course, and doing so is apparently standard practice). He is aware of what local foods he's capable of eating (dairy products), for example, but isn't initially aware of what the local currency looks like (which he figures out as soon as some is handed to him) and accidentally attacks some police officers because he doesn't recognize their uniforms.
  • Foreshadowing: You know how one of the main characters of this manga is named Tights? What's the naming theme for the Briefs family?
    • If you look closely at the assembled Galactic Patrol in chapter 3, one of them appears to be a Namekian. Plus, one of the Galaxy King's assistants appears to be from... whatever race Tarble's wife Gure is from.
  • Funny Background Event: There's several, thanks to Toriyama's attention to detail.
    • The crab Jaco is poking with a stick at the end of chapter 1 continues to crawl around until chapter 3. At one point, one of the island cats appears to be getting ready to pounce on it...
    • The officer who skippered the boat that brought Katayude and the Secret Police to the island apparently went on his smoke break, returning only to find that they've been kicked into the water and the perps have escaped...
  • Fun with Acronyms: The local space agency appears to be HMSM, and this likely stands for "Higashi-Minato Space Ministry" (it is only referred to as the Space Ministry by announcers). Once it's confirmed that this takes place in the same world as Dragon Ball, it could just as easily be "His Majesty's Space Ministry".
  • Innocent Bystander Series: This the story of the Dragon World, pre-Goku through the eyes of an ordinary human. And the alien, for all his abilities, might as well be one for his importance within the overall scheme of things.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Jaco is shown to feel this way about Earth on a few occasions, as there are a lot of planets and this one is only important for the invading alien spaceship.
  • Mythology Gag: Jaco's description of the invading alien race mentions that they have very long childhoods before quickly growing to adult size references how short Goku is even into his early teens.
    • In the city, you can see a man who's visually identical to Tao Pai Pai from the rear, watching Tights getting accosted in the park. There's also a lady who has Tsuru-Sen'nin's hairdo and sunglasses - which says amusing things about his sense of style, in retrospect.
    • Those punk Jaco protects Tights from look like they stepped out of a Dragon Quest game.
    • An old man living alone on an island, who hides a great power that could change the world? Akira Toriyama's never done that before.
    • The spaceship is visually similar to the one that the Tsun family lands in Penguin Village with. (That one has wings though, so presumably Mr. Tsun learned a thing or two from the failed launches...)
    • Bulma is commented on as kind of an oddball for visiting the island on a boat in a setting that has anti-grav sedans, in a phrasing that implies she prefers low-tech transportation. Now recall how she traveled around during Dragon Ball...
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Kirakira series of spaceships has a 4/7 success rate, and even though no one says it out loud it's clear that HMSM is desperate to keep itself going by putting popular singer An Azuki on board the latest flight.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Katayude, who spends most of the series either trying to evict Omori from his island or arrest Jaco.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Subverted with Dr. Omori. Jaco calls upon him to fix his ship, but Omori's field is the physics of space-time. He can only manage rudimentary (and unnecessarily costly) repairs to the engine, and the radio transmitter is completely beyond him. On the other hand, it's played entirely straight with Dr. Brief and Bulma, as befits the family that runs Capsule Corporation.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Jaco. Sent to Earth to intercept the alien threat, he fails in his mission as Kakarot's pod slips right past him and his only real achievement on Earth is saving East City from destruction. ... Which would end up being completely destroyed by Vegeta and Nappa a mere 23 years later anyway.
  • Prequel: To Dragon Ball, as seen in the final chapter.
  • Retcon: The final chapter in serialization and the bonus chapter in the collected release challenge quite a bit about what fans "know" about Dragon Ball from the animated adaptation, although the only thing that really contradicts the manga itself is Bulma already being out of university by the time she starts her Dragon Ball hunt (this is partly fixed in the text of the collected release, but not entirely).
  • Spiritual Sequel: Despite being a prequel to Dragon Ball, it actually has a lot in common with Sachie-chan Guu!! and Jiya, both of which were written by Toriyama and illustrated by Masakazu Katsura. Both stories feature members of the Galactic Patrol, whose emblem (if not their overall appearance) remains basically the same. The aliens from Sachie-chan also resemble the Galactic King, while their ship is of a similar design to Jaco's.
    • There's a distinct similarity to Toriyama's earlier short "Savings Warrior Cashman", which involved an alien getting stranded on Earth and needing to do derring-do for cash rewards to buy gold (his ship's fuel) with. (In a minor Mythology Gag, Omori specifically josses this means of leaving the planet, noting that it wouldn't be something a Super-Elite would do.)
  • Stealth Prequel: To Dragon Ball, as seen in the final chapter
  • Stunt Double: Tights was paid to be this to An Azuki for the rocket launch. If the launch succeeds and everything goes well, she comes back alive and is under an NDA for forever; if the launch fails spectacularly, the story will be that An Azuki miraculously survived.
  • "Super Sentai" Stance: Jaco seems to be fond of these. In the collected release, all the characters do a similar pose for their character profiles.
  • Theme Naming: Ultimately revealed to be the case with Tights.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Milk and cheese for Jaco. He starts out with them simply because they're the closest thing Earth has to his usual diet, but he seems to have become quite fond of them by the time he leaves.
  • Unobtainium: The Sky Gold Jaco requires to run his spaceship. In the final chapter, Bulma reveals that plain ordinary copper is just as effective.
  • Wham Episode: The final chapter. This series is a prequel to Dragon Ball, and Tights is Bulma's older sister. Jaco's mission was to intercept Goku on his way to Earth and kill him.
  • Wretched Hive: Omori describes the East City this way. Jaco is really tempted to use that Kill-Em-All button of his during the short time that he's there.