Mo­tor mas­ter

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Reads - Re­view by TEH OOI SHERENE star2@thes­tar.com.my

MANGA se­ries Toppu GP is­byKo­suke Fu­jishima, the au­thor of the fa­mous, long-run­ning Oh My God­dess!. If you hap­pened to have read that se­ries, the switch from a fan­tasy, mag­i­cal and ad­ven­tur­ous story to a thrilling and ex­cit­ing mo­tor­cy­cle sport manga would sur­prise you.

Toppu Uno was never into mo­tor­bike rac­ing. How­ever, he is in­flu­enced by Myne whom he ad­dresses as “big sis” and who is ap­par­ently a racer.

Toppu, who al­ways ob­serves her style and tech­nique when she is rac­ing on the track, has the abil­ity to repli­cate the tech­niques he ob­serves, per­fect­ing and ap­ply­ing them in real time.

Sur­pris­ingly, that lit­tle boy is also able to tell Myne’s rac­ing record even with­out a stop­watch.

The manga opens with a grown-up Toppu re­flect­ing on how he started rac­ing as a young boy. It was not his in­ten­tion to start rac­ing ini­tially. But, he found him­self lov­ing the adren­a­line rush and the feel­ing of win­ning brought by rac­ing. Start­ing from rid­ing a minibike, he is now aim­ing to race at the high­est level – Mo­toGP.

Of course, these would not hap­pen if not for his fa­ther, Teppei, and Myne’s en­cour­age­ment (I would say brib­ing, ac­tu­ally).

Toppu re­sem­bles the typ­i­cal teen. He spends most of his time as­sem­bling Gun­dam mod­els, to an ex­tent where Myne can ac­tu­ally make him par­tic­i­pate in a race by promis­ing to buy him the plas­tic mod­els!

Apart from the ex­cite­ment of rac­ing, the sense of hu­mour in­stilled in some of the pan­els are also wor­thy of praise.

I found my­self lov­ing Myne the most. Fu­jishima ded­i­cates one whole chap­ter to her in this vol­ume. Her in­cred­i­ble rac­ing skills, her fu­ri­ous need to get jus­tice for Toppu, her aim-to-win rac­ing style on the track ... all these tiny de­tails are well-il­lus­trated in the pan­els.

The art cap­tures per­fectly the world of rac­ing from the rac­ers’ point of view. The draw­ing is splen­did and some of the pan­els ac­cu­rately il­lus­trate the de­tails of the mo­tor­cy­cle and the highly en­er­gised rac­ing scene.

Fu­jishima’s fas­ci­na­tion with mo­tor­cy­cles is per­fectly por­trayed through his work.

For a first-time manga reader, I found it

easy to un­der­stand the story, to feel the emo­tion of the char­ac­ters, to feel the thrill on a rac­ing track, and the ex­cite­ment of win­ning a race.

Don’t worry about not un­der­stand­ing the mo­tor­cy­cle rac­ing jar­gon, they ac­tu­ally do ex­plain the mean­ing. Credit to Fu­jishima for be­ing thought­ful and un­der­stand­ing to new­bies like me!

Ba­si­cally, I am look­ing for­ward to the de­vel­op­ment of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Toppu and his “big sis” as their bond def­i­nitely seems more spe­cial than just fam­ily.

The open­ing re­mark where Toppu re­flects back to seven years ago left me with some ques­tions to pon­der. How did the lit­tle boy Toppu started his jour­ney in world cham­pi­onship com­pe­ti­tion? Where is Myne? Why is she not phys­i­cally present for Toppu’s com­pe­ti­tion? Did some­thing hap­pen to her?

The in­ten­sity and cu­rios­ity to­wards the de­vel­op­ment and tran­si­tion of sto­ry­line and re­la­tion­ship grows stronger from there. All in all, I think it marks a great open­ing for the se­ries.

Writer/Artist: Ko­suke Fu­jishima Pub­lisher: Ko­dan­sha Comics Toppu GP, Vol­ume 1

Toppu finds him­self lov­ing the adren­a­line rush and the feel­ing of win­ning through rac­ing.

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