Gon, a tiny dinosaur with a huge attitude, has adventures as he travels through forests and rivers, swims with fish and even flies with birds. Gon and his animal friends communicate without speaking, with Gon giving the occasional bite to teach a bully a lesson.
"What I set out to do with Gon was to draw something that was more interesting than anything you could say in words. Manga still has great potential that does not exist in other media. I plan to continue developing the art of expression." - Masashi Tanaka
Gon follows the daily adventures of a little dinosaur with attitude - with the same name as the title - who was able to survive the catastrophic extinction that wiped out the other Jurassic animals all those years ago. This manga is one in a million; it has absolutely no dialogue, no human characters, and is set entirely in
the wild, umpteenth years ago. The story is told entirely through the art, which is possibly the greatest challenge for a manga artist, as they would be unable to rely on dialogue to advance the story or to convey drama, emotions or character motivation. Masashi Tanaka succeeds in doing just this and more, however, which has earned him recognition as a storytelling genius.
The lack of dialogue in Gon is made up entirely in the art. The amount of time, precision and effort Tanaka puts into his artwork is clear at one glace. Every panel is incredibly detailed, bursting with life and full of realism. Tanaka is a master at drawing many things, but extremely efficient at drawing expressions in particular. The plentiful expressions he utilises for Gon and the other characters help expand their personalities and emotions, further expelling any need for dialogue.
The only characters that appear are Gon and a superabundant variety of animals. Gon appears in every chapter, but most of the animals are not recurring characters, which is fitting as each chapter Gon embarks (sometimes unwillingly) on a different adventure. Gon himself is surprisingly well developed and was also quite an iconic character back in the day, even appearing in the video game Tekken 3.
Though it might not seem it at first glance, Gon is a masterpiece. Publisher CMX word it marvellously; "its surface simplicity masks the true complexity of its execution." Gon's heartwarming, silent yet profound storytelling, exceptionally detailed art and wonderful characterisation make it a manga you won't forget in a long time.
Tanaka managed to present a beautiful and illustrious masterpiece which indulges your senses, and conveys the animal kingdom in somewhat fanciful manner.
Art style is stupendously tantalizing - meticulous depiction of animals, embelished with superb backgrounds, makes you hover over it more than once in astonishment. Important to mention is that this piece is made without any dialogues or onomatopoeia. Story is literally depicted, perhaps better than some manga(s) who use the general approach of story telling, not even once will you feel the lack of previous mentioned. If Tanaka had not taken this courageous approach, it wouldn't be miraculous as it is.
story -- there isn't one overall story, but small events in which Gon is discontinuously thrown into a different flora & fauna -- it mostly resolves around his indigenous attempts, usually disturbed by local inhabitants. Each of these little stories is pivotal in it's own way, and filled with poignant, perilous plots, frequently followed by a stupendous comedic relief.
Gon as a character can be best described as capricious -- as he tends to do unfathomable actions on more than one occasion. Regardless of his goofy attitude and a bit egocentric personality, he has a substantial amount of sympathy, the eagerness to help those in need, and reconcile what is necessary.
If my review engrossed you, then proceed and enjoy this masterpiece which will by all means take your attention completely.
There is no point on going into the story in details, since there are no continuing story (until the last volume), neither question or address how he appears in different parts of the world since it shouldn’t matter. I enjoyed how all the locations of his adventures takes place in many familiar yet unknown places. You will see them in an entirely different way!
The artwork is really amazing, so much details on every animals and landscape. Just search “Gon manga” on google or other search engine with images and you will understand what I mean. The animals looks so
gorgeous and environment really make it looks much bigger than it already is! Masahsi really did a good job by mixing the the realistic look of the animal with some cartoonish looks.
Now that are the pros, now for the cons.
Gon character lacks consistency.
Sometimes he is smart that he could come up a tactical plan with a lion to catch prey, sometimes he is totally clueless that he doesn’t notice. Not only does his intelligence seems to sway through chapters, but so does his personality. In one chapter he helps infant/young animals to survive in the bloodthirsty wild, standing out as a hero, and in another he destroys an eco system just for his own pleasure. It kind of makes me confused whatever not to consider him good or bad. This is why I consider that it should have been more than one Gon so that we could get a variety of Gons if we are gonna have these differences in intellect and personality.
Now I don’t say its bad, but he should have used a better transition to those things. You may or may not agree that he does look cute on some parts, but I hope that you can see this as problem of knowing why I should like him beside that.
Same thing could said about its theme. Most of the time it plays out as an gag manga with cute animals, but there is one chapter that takes a dark turn with killing of young cubs with blood and all. I don’t want hate it (infact it one of the best chapters of the manga), but again, he should have used better way of transition it.
This work contains no dialog or onomatopoetic words. People always ask me why I have done this. From the beginning, I didn't think it was necessary. Manga should be without grammar. I also think that it is strange to give animals human language and make them talk. What I set out to do with Gon was to draw something that was more interesting than anything you could say in words. Manga still has great potential that does not exist in other media. I plan to continue developing the art of expression." - Masashi Tanaka
What he said is true that you don’t need those things to make a great series, but then why would he have this on a manga? This could work so much better as a shorts on TV, just imagine it with all the colors. Now that I mentioned it, Masashi could have got away and Gon would have been much more.
I guess that the other reviewers are right, this doesn’t seem to meant for people at my age. But it should apply to everyone who likes western cartoonish humor and character, which this one doesn’t feel like to me even if I always enjoy cartoonish show like Tom and Jerry in whatever age.
Speaking of Tom and Jerry, I want to draw an example. As you might now, Tom and Jerry has changed its animator/style of drawing for all its time. Yet, you still enjoy the show whatever what it looks like right? Now imagine if Gon didn’t have all those beautiful details and had an average artwork. Would you then still enjoy it? I wouldn’t.
When I see the other reviews rate this manga at 9 or 10, I feel like they don’t want to dare rate this any lower due to its art style.
I think this series needs some tough love.
I give the look of the manga a 9.5/9,5 while overall 5.5/9,5
I will remember the art work and Gon, but will I have no recollections off the rest.
If you like drawn animals and landscapes in high quality, then this manga is for you. Otherwise, I say this is something you can skip.
But Gon's a highly enjoyable manga, Gon itself is a strong, fierce, smart and yet sometimes stupid dinosaur. He has a big attitude and he travels through forests, jungle's, rivers and plenty more various scenery's.
The art of Gon is the first thing I noticed, very realistic, and with very I mean, very very very realistic. Most animals are just as they are in real life, sometimes even better (? lol). Even Gon looks like what a ...dinosaur would've looked like if it existed.
Furthermore the story's, these are just basic little adventures that Gon goes through, these are
exciting, humorous, dangerous and highly enjoyable, doesn't matter what age or race, you'll enjoy it. Gon himself, and other various creatures are really cool too, Gon is like most of our heroes, stubborn, thickheaded, and amazingly strong, the other creatures are like they supposed to be.