Tensai Bakabon (天才バカボン lit. Genius Bakabon) is a Shōnen gag manga written by Fujio Akatsuka which debuted in 1967. It originally ran until 1969 in Weekly Shonen Sunday. It follows the adventures of Bakabon and his Papa. It has had five anime adaptations, a theatrical film which crosses over with A Dog of Flanders, of all things, and three live action TV movies.The five anime adaptations are:
- Tensai Bakabon (1971-1972)note
- Ganso Tensai Bakabon (1975-1977)
- Heisei Tensai Bakabon (1990)
- Rerere no Tensai Bakabon (1999-2000)
- Shinya! Tensai Bakabon (2018)
In preparation for Akatsuka's 80th birthday, Dengeki Bazooka magazine ran a sequel to the series titled Shounen Bakabon, where Bakabon finally goes to school and makes friends with a whole new cast of characters. However, with Bazooka's discontinuation in early 2016, the series' fate is left up in the air. It currently sits at 1 volume.
In 2018, a new anime has been announced called Shinya! Tensai Bakabon (Midnight! Tensai Bakabon) in accordance with the series' 50th anniversary, produced by Studio Pierrot, the same studio that produced Heisei. It comes with a whole new voice cast and some familiar faces from Pierrot's then-recent Akatsuka series, Osomatsu-san (I.E., Miyu Irino as Bakabon, the first male voice actor to play the young boy, and Takahiro Sakurai as...Unagi Inu) and aired as part of the Summer 2018 anime season.
For brevity's sake, the other adaptations will henceforth be known as Ganso, Heisei, and Rerere.
Koredeiinoda! Tensai Bakabon features these tropes nanoda:
- A Boy and His X: Just the adventures of a boy and his Papa.
- A Dog Named "Dog": Unagi Inu, who is precisely that.note
- April Fools' Plot: A classic chapter (that had been adapted 3 times!) revolves around Papa reading in a newspaper that it is April Fools' Day. He decides to then pull a punch of pranks around town such as pretending his arm is severed and convincing Rerere that that his broom is magic. When Mama asks him why he is doing such awful things, he answers it was because he read about April Fools' Day in the newspaper. It turned out that the newspaper was old, and Papa decides to seek vengeance on the newspaper boy for lying to him.
- Brainy Baby: Hajime-chan. He is only a few months old and can speak multiple languages and is capable of playing shogi, as well as use the computer, reading, and explaining the Pythagorean theorem.
- Camp Gay: Kaoru-chan.
- Canon Foreigner: The 1971 anime featured Bakabon's school life more prominently, necessitating the addition of his teacher and classmates such as Nakamura to the cast. Sakura, whom Fujio Akatsuka created for another manga Kikanpo Gen-chan, also appeared prominently in this anime as Bakabon's girlfriend.note
- Papa's famous "Kore de ii no da!"note to the point Akatsuka's own website is named after it.
- Rerere no Ojisan always says "Odekake desu ka? Rerere no re?" note "Rerere no re" could also double as his Verbal Tic.
- Character Celebrity Endorsement: Yup, even the Bakabon gang. They've advertised things such as Chip Chops, car wax, book rental stores, and cup noodles.
- Perhaps even cooler is that the gas station Tokyo Gas has had two variations of the character Unagi Inu as their mascots since 2015. One of them is named Electric Unagi Inu; he looks nearly identical to the original character except he has lightning bolt whiskers and a socket for a belly button. The other is named Power Saving Unagi Inu; he has green fur as well as a combover and a flower on his head.
- And then Japan Rail actually made a PSA with Papa saving Bakabon from a lowered train crossing by hitting the emergency signal switch.
- A 2022 PSA campaign involving the main cast intended to promote designated smoking areas that were being installed in cities as a way to discourage social smoking and limit cigarette debris in public spaces.
- Enraged by Idiocy: Omawari-san. Bakabon and his Papa get this cop so angry that he resorts to trying to shoot them whenever they pass the police station with their shenanigans.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Omawari-san, also known as Honkan-san, which means Mr. Policeman or Mr. Cop, respectively.note His full official name is Mentama Tsunagari Omawari-san, or "Mr. Policeman with Connected Eyes".
- In one chapter, Omawari-san claims that his real name is Futio Shiratsuka. Since this is an obvious play on Fujio Akatsuka's name and it's only mentioned once, it's debatable whether or not it's actually true or canon.
- Flying Broomstick: In some art and intros, Rerere is shown with this...but his broom in the actual series is just a normal one.
- Going Commando: Bakabon always does this, so says Word of God. In early manga illustrations, he actually wore pants, and in the 1971 anime, he's gotten at least one panty shot. However, it was decided that Bakabon has nothing under his kimono just like the old days in Japan, and he even gets a junk shot in the third anime opening.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: You wouldn't expect someone like Papa to have a kid like Hajime-chan. It's presumably because of how Papa was actually a genius once but hasn't been the same since the accident.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Unagi Inu, who is half eel and half dog.
- Never Trust a Title: In case the fact that he has the word baka in his name didn't tip you off, Bakabon is far from being a genius. (His baby brother Hajime-chan, however, is.)
- No Title: One of the manga chapters has no title, which featured Papa in a Western story. It's revealed in the end that the entire story is a dream; when he wakes up, he was about to start the proper "Tensai Bakabon" story with the usual setting, only for Bakabon to inform him that there's not enough pages to tell it.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Who doesn't find Unagi Inu to be utterly adorable?
- Secondary Character Title: The story is initially about a little boy named Bakabon and his adventures with his pals, focusing so strongly on his point of view that his parents don't even get names, referred to only as "Papa" and "Mama." Over time, however, Bakabon's troublemaking father becomes the Breakout Character, to the point that the series soon revolves around him and his various schemes. Bakabon himself is demoted to his occasional sidekick. Despite this, the dad is still never given a name, and is called "Bakabon's Papa" on merchandise.
- Spin-Offspring: Shonen Bakabon gives us Minimatsu, a child said to be the kid of one of the Matsuno brothers.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: You'll have to constantly remind yourself that it isn't called the Bakabon's Papa Show. However, Tropes Are Not Bad, and it's safe to say that everyone loves Papa.
- Theme Tune Roll Call - The third opening has some form of this. We are introduced to our main characters Papa and Bakabon in the very first verse, and toward the end of the song, the audience is introduced to Mama, Omawari-san, Hajime-chan, and Unagi Inu.
- Too Dumb to Live: Papa, which he is known for being.
- Trans Equals Gay: Kaoru-chan is gay and often shown cross dressing.
- Trigger-Happy: Omawari-san. His most prized possession is his gun, and he's always chasing Papa and Bakabon around trying to shoot them.
- Unnamed Parent: Mama and Papa, obviously.
- Unagi Inu's parents' real names are never disclosed either.
- Verbal Tic
- Papa is known to end all of his sentences in "nanoda" or "'noda".
- Rerere no Ojisan has "Rerere no re?"
- Unagi Inu is known to say "wan" (woof) between sentences.