Welcome to World War III… Mahjong style!
When the political world revolves around Mahjong and the fate of humanity rests on it, you know Mahjong is serious business… in a funny way.
In a nutshell, Mudazumo is a silly manga that parodies the cutthroat nature of global politics. Famous figures such as George W. Bush (and his Papa!), Kim Jong Il, Vladimir Putin, Junichiro Koizumi, Adolf Hitler, and even the Pope battle it out in a game of high stakes Mahjong where they can wager anything from cash to F-15 fighter jets!
Don’t be fooled by the seinen label. Other than the subject matter, this is extremely shounen-esque.
The premise is hilarious but there is very little background story. The plot is your usual "save the world from the evil powers" that you can find in most shounen titles. What we get are pointless battles after pointless battles. Mudazumo also doesn’t delve into the intricacies of Mahjong strategy. The battles are fairly simple as they are decided by the special skills or finishing moves each character possesses. You don’t need to know how to play the game to enjoy this. If you like outrageous and over-the-top fights, this should be your cup of tea. In the later half, the manga transforms into an outright parody on Dragon Ball. There's crazy power-ups like Super Aryans (parodying Super Saiyans) and also special equipment to measure one's Mahjong power (much like the scouters in Dragon Ball to measure battle power).
Although the parodies are well designed and the humor is generally good, I find it lacking the punch to really make one burst into tears of laughter and roll on the floor laughing. It does have some epic moments such as the Pope recreating the Genesis on the Mahjong table. Nonetheless, it's still a pretty enjoyable read.
The artwork is fabulous and the color pages are especially gorgeous. All the characters have the distinctive features of the actual political figures, which provide more realism to the setting. The effects are amazingly well done, backgrounds are very detailed and the overall drawing is smooth and polished. I haven’t seen other works from this mangaka but I’m very impressed. The art gets full marks from me.
All the characters are well-known figures, so it is not necessary to explain the nitty gritty details about them. Koizumi (as the protagonist of the story), is portrayed as a man of strict values and justice. Hitler is of course, the major villain. The mangaka did throw in a few cute chicks as a little fanservice, which I admit is a nice addition.
Other than that, Mudazumo is overflowing with machismo. Yes, I mean manly men. Make no mistake as these are world leaders we are talking about here. They are tough, macho guys, and the alphas of the pack. If you want sissy bishonens, look elsewhere.
If you’re looking for a light-hearted comedy, Mudazumo is definitely worth a try.