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Page count: 651
Last checked: December 6, 2016
Dr. Slump (Dr. (ドクター) スランプ, Dokutā Suranpu) is a Japanese gag manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. The title was serialized in Shueisha's anthology comic Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1980 to 1984. The series helped launch Toriyama's career and was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen and shōjo manga in 1982.
Dr. Slump is set in Penguin Village (ペンギン村, Pengin Mura), a place where humans co-exist with all sorts of anthropomorphic animals and other objects. In this village lives Senbei Norimaki, an inventor (his name is a pun on a kind of rice cracker). His nickname is "Dr. Slump" (a joke that can be seen as similar to nicknaming an author "Writer's Block.") In the first issue, he builds what he hopes will be the world's most perfect little girl robot, named Arale Norimaki (a pun on another kind of rice cracker), in scenes obviously parodying the Italian children's classic Pinocchio (note: "Arale" is Toriyama's official romanized spelling of her name). Because Senbei is a lousy inventor, she soon turns out to be in severe need of eyeglasses. She is also very naïve, and in later issues she has adventures such as bringing a huge bear home, having mistaken it for a pet. To Senbei's credit, she does have super-strength (and, in a Dragon Ball crossover she proved to be genuinely stronger than the young Son Goku, prompting him to train harder). In general, the manga focuses on Arale's misunderstandings of humanity and Senbei's inventions, rivalries, and romantic misadventures. In the middle of the series, a continuously-appearing villain shows up, based on Toriyama's editor at the time.