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A young boy with spikey hair, a dog named Toto and a girl named Dorothy on her way to "Emerald" cross paths and find that adventure (and danger) awaits around every corner. If you think Toto! The Wonderful Adventure sounds like a shonen manga rehash of L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz, well, I'm glad to say that you'd be wrong, for the most part -- and that it's a good thing too.

Instead of a remix of the Oz stories, like The Wiz, Toto! pays tribute to Baum's stories' sense of adventure with a wink and a nod to the original, then takes the ball and runs with it in a new and different direction. In the tradition of great shonen manga like One Piece and fantasy adventures like the Narnia and Oz tales, Toto! takes us on a globe-trotting tour in a world that's somehow more magical (and fun) than our everyday reality. In the post-apocalyptic, yet oddly pastoral steampunk world of Toto!, dirigibles are the preferred mode of air travel, bandits with goofy names dress in matching suits ala Reservoir Dogs and school seems to be optional. And the dog and the girl? They're got a few surprises in store too.

Take a look at my review of Toto! Volume 1 by Yuko Osada from Del Rey Manga before it hits your local bookstore or comic shop on Tuesday, May 13 and see if this rollicking adventure story has the right stuff to become your next favorite manga series or if it's just a pleasant distraction until the next volume of Naruto. Also, check out the other recently released and new graphic novels due out soon in the Del Rey Manga New Manga Preview Gallery.

Image credit: © 2005 Yuko Osada

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