Jan 6, 2009
Beatnik (All reviews)
Tropical Citron opens with a great page, charting the descent of a few bombs into a jungle below and transitioning to the bubbly insides of a glass of water in front of a TV showing a mushroom cloud explosion.

There are many great transitions like this in the story. The composition is superb. There is that trademark Matsumoto black humour flowing throughout as we go from one panel to another, the comedic flourishes juxtaposing perfectly.

The story is surreal to the point where the suited dude with the horse's head from another Matsumoto manga makes a cameo appearance here and you don’t blink. Soma, our plucky photographer, is hell-bent on getting to Vietnam because that’s where all the action is but instead ends up Through the Looking Glass as it were, thanks to a literary reference, but more due to vast quantities of Rabbit Juice.

This addictive soda pop is all the rage, or to quote a random character "popular among lunatics and the young" and is turning people into junkies frothing at the mouth or slack-jawed zombies. Its other affect is to distort reality and send characters through wacky adventures with psychopaths chasing them with sharp pointy objects.

Tropical Citron does eventually regain a semblance of a plot that drives it towards a satisfying climax and genuinely touching resolution. It’s got a pretty laughable premise holding it together, involving witchcraft and aliens, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not very important at all; just a device to keep things in motion. What’s important in this manga is the journey. The characteristic art, the world and specific culture its set in, the quirky humour, the brazen 'wtf' factor; it’s a slapstick adventure with a cast of humorous misfits and many hilarious scenes, panels and payoffs.

Mako. The professor. Sorceresses. Rabbit Juice. Dimensional pockets. Jabberwocky. The old man. Soldiers. The Rabbit. Trash. Tempura. The Leica. Slaves. The Horse. A perfect world. Silver bullets. Revolution. Witches. The Hunter. Vietnam. Kittens. Read Tropical Citron to find out.