Yes, apparently we are.
Anyway, I still think that Cerebus Syndrome
is a viable option. Look at Mahou Sensei Negima!
for example. Compare its first volume to its latest volume. The difference in style and tone is immense. The changes in tone only started happening with the introduction of a threatening antagonist (Evangeline) and then the storyline simply escalated from there with the introduction of more characters, secrets, and so on. There's no reason why Tanto couldn't pull off something like that. The trick is to build the shift in subtly so that the change feels natural, and not just a gimmick.
Doesn't Tanto have a rival inventor or something of the sort? There's a lot of potential there for more conflict. Maybe another antagonist individual or faction shows up that threatens both of them. Maybe one of the inventions has consequences that seem humorous at first but has unforeseen circumstances. Maybe someone else gets their hand on one of the (initially used for humorous purposes) inventions and puts it to more sinister uses.
The story seems to be serializing on an episodic basis. If they slightly tweak the one-episode-one-invention format, and start having mini story arcs over two chapters, it could still be humorous but with a bit more depth, perhaps suspense with cliffhangers at the end of the first chapter. And then from there, develop into story arcs with multiple chapters. And then from there, epic Negima style multi-volume story arcs. I think it could definitely work, as long Takagi puts some thought into it.
I would think that they should milk the humor format for at least one tankoubon before making the shift. That gives them time to do some foreshadowing as well.
The premise IS silly, but if the creators look at it with a deconstructivist mindset, there could be a lot of comedy tropes to dissect and play with and put to dramatic purposes.
edited 20th Feb '10 9:29:49 AM by Yuen