Manga Monday Review: Splatoon Vol. 1

The Turf Wars have started in Inkopolis, and the team that inks the most ground will be crowned the winner! Goggles and Team Blue are ranked lower than their competitors. But with some teamwork and a touch of creativity, they might just leave their mark on this tournament!

I’ve never played the game Splatoon and really my only knowledge of it was seeing some gameplay footage when Nintendo’s Switch was announced. I picked up that it’s a video game and one that’s big on competition, where teams face off against each other to do… something. And knowing so very little I was intrigued to dive into Splatoon Vol. 1 from Sankichi Hinodeya and published by VIZ Media.

The first volume focuses on Team Blue who have entered The Turf Wars and battle out against other teams to paint areas. It’s a straightforward story we’ve seen so many times before (I’m a fan of the dance competition version) but Hinodeya focuses on a mix of humor and teamwork to make what could easily be a bland tale into something interesting.

The manga feels like it has a clear audience in mind, a younger reader who might enjoy the lessons contained within. Teamwork is the name of the game and emphasized over and over after each battle. That seems to be what puts them over the top their higher ranked opponents. There’s also the lesson to try and not pay too much attention to rankings, just go out and do your best because you never know. It’s lessons one might expect in a kids cartoon or Sesame Street and it works.

The first volume works best for that younger set but also for those that are familiar with the game. The game, I would assume based on the story, relies heavily on colors and in a black and white manga, that’s a little odd to follow. Something feels like it’s missing. The action too is a little crazy to follow at times. There’s also the characters and their changing abilities that are left open to figure out… until you get to the end. Weirdly, a chapter that explains this world and game is at the end and after reading that section everything else makes a bit more sense. If that was earlier, I might have enjoyed the volume more.

Splatoon isn’t a bad manga at all and feels like it’s aimed at a certain audience, Splatoon fans. That’s not a bad thing, but for those who aren’t familiar with the game, it leaves you a little lost in the action. By the end though, I was a bit intrigued to find out more about the video game it’s based off of and see what I’ve been missing. While the manga wasn’t totally for me, it did present a fun world where teamwork is key and that sounds like a game I might want to play.

Story: Sankichi Hinodeya Art: Sankichi Hinodeya
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

VIZ Media provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review