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Manga / Gon

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Gon is a manga written and illustrated by Masashi Tanaka, which was serialized in Weekly Morning from 1991 to 2002.

The main character, Gon, is a diminutive Tyrannosaurus rex who was forgotten by time. Unlike certain other creatures, Gon is a Silent Protagonist. In fact, despite there being no humans whatsoever, and a notable amount of communication occurring in every story, there is absolutely no dialogue whatsoever, by any of the animal characters.

Gon is also a stalwart Determinator, who can be sent crashing through a tree with no harm done — to him. Whatever just attacked, though, won't end up unscathed.

Chapters are set in a different setting every time, which allows the creator to draw absolutely breathtaking Scenery Porn on nearly every page. Typically, each story tells of Gon encountering some more modern animal species, how the individuals react to him, and for those where he's sticking up for the weaker, he uses their natural abilities with his own brute strength for some rather unique battles. Examples include a ball of hedgehogs rolling over an assaulting dingo (Gon acting as propulsion) and the dinosaur using a kangaroo's pouch to give a kick some extra wallop.

For some reason, he appeared as a hidden character in Tekken 3. We're still not sure what to make of that, besides the fact that he's utterly Game Breaking (despite being considerably weaker than in the manga).

A 50 episode CGI series premiered on TV Tokyo on April 2, 2012. A kid-friendly video game and a manga aimed at a younger age set will accompany this new series. To the surprise of many, the CGI series was also picked by Netflix recently and it was given an English dub to go with it. Fans of the old school Gon aren't completely left out, thankfully: as the original manga is set to continue in March in the seinen magazine Kodansha Afternoon.

This series provides examples of the following:

  • Anthropomorphic Shift: In the anime, animals known for standing on two legs for brief periods in real life move and emote exactly like humans, and almost never go to all fours.
  • Anyone Can Die: In stories where Gon teams up with a group of animals, especially young ones, don't expect all, or in some cases even most of them to make it to the end. Gon Becomes a Turtle has him join a newly hatched batch of sea turtles, and almost none of them make it due to predators treating them like an all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • Art Evolution: Gon was originally far more realistic and tyrannosaur-like than the cute and cuddly monster we all know and love, and lacked the spikes on his back.
  • Abusive Parents: Gon may seem like this when he raises Ho (biting him, eating all but one of the fish he's caught, giving the rest to Ho), but one must realize he's raising a wild animal, and in order to survive in the wild, you'd have to be tough. He also apparently has no idea there's a nest on his head and inadvertently exposes them to all sorts of trauma. The birds do get out of it tough-as-nails, though.
  • Anti-Hero: While not quite a villain due to little of his violence being unprovoked, Gon is an intensely unlikable protagonist in the manga. Early escapades include destroying a forest to make a tree mound for himself, and beaching a shark that has swallowed him and feeding it a small piece of banana as it suffocates to death.
  • Artistic License – Marine Biology: One chapter set in The Amazon Rainforest has an arapaima falling prey to a shoal of piranhas, which eat it down to the bone. Arapaimas have extremely tough scales that even piranha teeth cannot pierce through, and if anything they eat piranhas. Ironically, this is what exactly happens with Gon, who no-sells the piranha bites and eats the predatory fish.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Gon is sometimes shown eating fruit. It's a pretty safe bet that Tyrannosaurus rex was an obligate carnivore. He also has three-fingered hands and a tripodal stance, unlike a real Tyrannosaurus. It gets odd when in the video game, Gon faces off against a Tyrannosaurus that is more accurate, including the two fingers and bird-like stance.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Underground animals are huge...
  • Badass Adorable: Gon. Oh, Gon... He looks like a cute chibi-fied carnosaur, and is the strongest creature on Earth.
  • Balloon Belly: Whenever Gon has the opportunity to really stuff himself, he'll quickly turn spherical.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The first Gon comic revolved around Gon kicking the shit out of a grizzly and stealing his fish, then using him as a cuddly bed.
  • Big Bad: Most of the stories have one. Gon Underground has the huge tarantula, a story about Gon raising wolves in the wilderness had a tiger, while a story about Gon with penguins in the Arctic has the Great Auk.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: The Albatross becomes one after having its feathers stripped away by Gon, making it become flightless.
  • Cowardly Lion: The Dingo mother, who would be extremely brave if it wasn't for Gon organizing the local wildlife into an anti-dingo army. Boy, does she try.
  • Darkest Africa: Gon wanders through this twice, and ends up here after the events of "Gon Underground".
  • Disney Villain Death: The tiger in Gon Fights Alongside the Wolf Brothers plummets off a cliff in the end.
  • The Drifter: Almost Roninlike in a way, Gon will oftentimes introduce himself to a pack or flock, brutalize predators and help raise the newborns (though sometimes, he has to raise recent orphans), all while eating his fill. He'll part ways with his new families as soon as they can fend for themselves.
  • Eye Scream: Gon and his companions in Gon Goes Through the Underground bite down on the eyes of a giant spider as retribution for it cocooning a dingo's pup.
  • Gentle Giant: The Orangutan Mother and Orangutan King (although the latter becomes a Stern Teacher when he is training Gon). Averted with the underground dwellers in Gon Underground, who are violently destructive - especially the giant tarantula.
  • Harmless Freezing: In Gon Climbs a Mountain, Gon is encased in snow and ice and stays that way until spring, with no ill effects.
  • Humiliation Conga: That poor bobcat in Gon Goes Flying. Several other predators besides.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: In his game for the Super Famicom he cannot die, but each hit he takes makes him angrier. In the Game Over animation he destroys the whole planet before madly hopping around in space.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Most stories with a Big Bad have Gon quickly reduce them to Butt-Monkey status...but there are exceptions, namely the tiger from Gon Fights Alongside The Wolf Brothers, the squid from Gon Becomes a Turtle, and the Giant Spider from Gon Underground, all of whom are more dangerous threats that manage to kill a few of Gon's friends.
  • Last of His Kind: Gon is the last remaining non-avian dinosaur.
  • Lighter and Softer: The new CGI adaptation is this to the sometimes graphically violent original series, the same goes for its accompanying manga.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Metakei from the anime appears to be a dog-armadillo-chalicothere hybrid.
  • No Cartoon Fish: The fish are depicted realistically - but are given anime expressions from time to time. They're usually the only animals Gon is ever seen preying on (though in Gon Goes Hunting, he does kill and eat a wildebeest and in Gon and his Wounded Fellows he eats several deer).
  • Nominal Importance: Ho the Albatross is the first character apart from Gon to get a name, and he continues to appear in the rest of the stories in the volume.
  • Panthera Awesome:
    • Several show up in the manga, and Gon even rides on a lion in one chapter.
    • Leader from the anime, who appears to be some sort of saber-toothed lion.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Gon himself is a small, yet immensely powerful and invulnerable T. rex-like dinosaur.
  • Pokémon Speak: Gon in the CGI adaptation. Everyone else speaks normally.
  • Predators Are Mean: Zig-zagged. If the story has a Big Bad, it will certainly be a predator, ie the petrel from Gon Lives With the Penguins or the bobcat from Gon Goes Flying. However, in some stories, like Gon and his Posse or Gon Fights Alongside the Wolf Brothers, he helps young predators, and in Gon Goes Hunting he helps a hungry lion kill a wildebeest (He does eat half of it, but notice that he gives the lion the meatier half). He seems to believe "Predators who eat animals their own size are okay, but prey on something small and cute and you'll get Gonned."
  • Promotion to Parent: Gon occasionally halts his wandering to raise orphaned baby animals that he's come across, until adulthood. Gon himself never ages though.
  • Pun-Based Title: The Paradox Press manga releases are all titled this way; Gon Wild, Going Going Gon, Here Today Gon Tomorrow, etc.
  • Scenery Porn: Oh god, yes! This is part of the reason why the Gon comics suffer Schedule Slip - Tanaka exhausted a lot on drawing the scenery, and insisted on working alone, taking up to months or years between updates.
  • Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: In Gon Underground, Gon and company go underground in the Midwestern United States...and come out in Africa.
  • Silence is Golden: There is no speech or onomatopoeia at all.
  • Silent Scenery Panel: A good portion of the panels - at least one issue will have a shot of the setting, without Gon or friends.
  • Suddenly Voiced: The CGI adaptation has Gon voiced by Motoko Kumai, with a cast of speaking animals as opposed to the original manga's silent ones.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Gon Becomes a Turtle has Gon staying underwater for far, far longer than he should be able to, and pressure's apparently not a problem either even though he's deep enough to meet mantis shrimp and giant squids.
  • Tsundere: Type One. Grumpy little thing that smashes things at the slightest provocation, but enjoys cute things and will murder anything that threatens his friends/adoptive family.
  • T. Rexpy: Gon himself is supposed to be a pint-size T. rex... supposed.
  • Use Your Head: Flying headbutts are Gon's signature move.
  • Wicked Weasel: A bunch of mustelids in the first episode of the anime.
  • Your Size May Vary: Gon is always drawn to be relatively small compared to whatever animals he's interacting with in a given episode. In one issue he might be portrayed as roughly the size of a caracal kitten, then in the next the size of a newly hatched sea turtle less than one tenth that size.