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Manga / Jaco the Galactic Patrolman

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Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is an 11-chapter miniseries by Akira Toriyama that was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from July to October 2013. It centers 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.

NOTE: Due to having a heavy case of The Ending Changes Everything, all spoilers are unmarked.


  • 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, a Deadpan Snarker who loves making goofy poses.
  • Anachronism Stew: Jaco takes place 10 years before Dragon Ball, but the inclusion of Idol singers stick like a sore thumb as the concept is posterior to Dragon Ball as a whole.
  • 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.
  • Call-Forward: Katayude mistakenly believes Jaco to be a robot created by Omori, and says that there are people who would try to use that wonderful technology for evil. So, like Doctor Gero, right?
  • The Cameo: Merulusa, from Kintoki, an oneshot by Toriyama, appears in chapter 5 walking on the street.
  • Canon Welding: It's later revealed that Jaco's storyline takes place in the 'verse of Toriyama's other franchise Dragon Ball, and Jaco was sent in to intercept Goku, of all people. Jaco even guest stars with an onscreen appearance in Dragon Ball Super.
  • 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.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • 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 the Crane Hermit's hairdo and sunglasses - which says amusing things about his sense of style, in retrospect.
    • 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...
  • Dénouement Episode: The final chapter, noticeably numbered +1 out of 10+1 chapters.
  • 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, Freeza, or Majin Buu 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.
  • Doomed by Canon: As a prequel to Dragon Ball, the East City Jaco ends up saving will eventually be completely wiped out by Nappa and none of the victims will be revived by the Dragon Balls.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: The hovercars and air vehicles that Dragon Ball takes for granted were reverse engineered from Jaco's Spaceship.
  • 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).note 
  • 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:
    • The chapters are counting up to 10+1, but also down from DB -11 to DB -1. Now what could DB stand for?
    • You know how one of the main characters of this manga is named Tights? Who else do we know with an undergarment-themed name?
    • 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-no-Miyako 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.
  • Irony: The reason for the retcon involving Goku's origin is to build a gag surrounding the Saiyans. In Dragon Ball, the Saiyans are known Space Pirates that plunder the planet they invade from the moment they are born, so you could believe Jaco is in the right for wanting to kill a baby Saiyan before its too late. The fact Minus reveals Goku wasn't even sent to Planet Earth to conquer is to reinforce how pointless Jaco's mission was.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Anybody familiar with Dragon Ball Super probably already knows the Plot Twist regarding the setting of Jaco being part of the greater Dragon Ball franchise.
  • Meaningful Name: Jaco's name is a food pun, naturally, that can be taken as meaning "fish bait" or "small fish." In Japanese, his name is also a pun of a storytelling device where a character is insignificant to the greater story. Which fits Jaco perfectly since his one major achievement, saving East City, is rendered meaningless since Nappa destroys the city in about twenty years anyway. He also fails in his mission to stop the hostile alien coming to Earth, who turns out to be Goku, which inadvertently saves the universe.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • 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...)
  • 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: Turns out this story is a prequel to Dragon Ball, as seen in the final chapter.
  • Quirky Town: Amongst East City's population, various ninjas, samurais, cowboys and a Wicked Witch can be seen. The humans feel comfortable taking Jaco there because they know he'll fit in.
  • Remember the New Guy?: According to the ending, Bulma has an older sister and Jaco has been visiting them for years before Dragon Ball started, but they aren't mentioned in the franchise until Resurrection 'F'.
  • 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).
    • It changes how old Goku was when he got sent to planet earth, and apparently the motive as well, originally Goku was merely a baby quickly sent Earth to conquer it as Raditz explained to Goku when the two met decades later, but here it is explicitly told Goku was 3 years old before being sent, to add Bardock and Gine sent their son to earth in order to protect him, and Bardock says he will relay this plan to Raditz later, it seems Raditz never got to know this part and assumes Goku was sent under the common planet domination program.
  • Self-Plagiarism: The plot is similar to Toriyama's Cashman- Saving Soldier, which also has an alien policeman stranded on Earth, trying to raise money to buy gold that powers his spaceship.
  • Small Universe After All: Galaxies aren't mentioned, but Jaco implies that there aren't that many inhabited planets in the universe and that 38 Galactic Patrol members are enough to police them.
  • Space Police: The Galactic Patrol. Their job is to protect the universe from danger.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In the end, the whole "Sky Gold" arc turns out to be pointless since copper would have worked just as well, and Jaco fails to stop the alien pod (which turns to have been for the best) meaning his only real accomplishment was saving Tights and East City, the latter of which gets destroyed during Dragon Ball Z anyway.
  • Stealth Sequel: Or Prequel in this case to Dragon Ball, as seen in the final chapter.
  • Stunt Double: In-Universe. 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.
  • Subspace Ansible: After they fix the antenna on Jaco's ship, Dr Briefs was able to phone the Galactic Patrol headquarters.
  • "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.
  • Time Travel Taboo: The manipulation of time is strictly prohibited by the Intergalactic Law. Jaco discovers that Omori was involved in a government project to start a time machine that ended tragically, with the death of Omori's wife and assistants. Since then, he has tried to create another time machine but it hasn't worked out. Jaco doesn't arrest him because the machine doesn't work.
  • 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.
  • Walking Spoiler: Goku, Bulma, and Dr. Briefs, since they spoil that the manga's a Stealth Prequel. Jaco's own appearances in Dragon Ball Super also qualify.
  • 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.
  • Wham Line: If you weren't clued in by his description of the invader and his race, then Jaco's answer to Tights when she asked for the name of the race is this:
    Jaco: It's the Saiyan from planet Vegeta.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Sky gold must be more common on other planets if the Galactic Patrol can use it to power their spaceships. especially when copper would have been just as effective.
  • 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.