The upcoming Splatoon manga by Sankichi Hinodeya, based on the hit Nintendo game, puts a unique and colorful twist on the arena shooter genre. Hinodeya Sensei takes the basic premise of Splatoon and creates an original story that comes off as a fun and funny sports manga. The story is not a deep or epic take on the world of Splatoon by any means, but that plays to the strengths of the world of the game – the manga stays true to the quirky and whimsical nature of the series. But how exactly does one tell the tale of a bunch of kids shooting ink?
Our story follows a team of Inklings, kids who can transform between humanoid and squid forms, as they compete in Splatoon’s ink-based tournaments. This ragtag crew of low-ranked Inklings, known as Team Blue, is headed up by Goggles, a good-natured, go-getter protagonist...who also happens to be a bit silly and often quite unreliable. Each chapter follows Goggles and Team Blue as they take on a new team in a match with the objective is to see who can cover most of the stage in their team’s ink color.
For fans of the game, even though the stories are new, the action in Splatoon stays faithful to the source material. The stages in which Team Blue and their opponents compete resemble the ones from the video games. Actual weapons used by the Inklings in the Splatoon games are referenced and there are even moments in which shopping for clothes, a creative aspect of the game that fans love, comes into play in the story.
While the weapons the characters in Splatoon use – and the competitions that take place – are based on the video game play, many liberties have been taken by creator Sankichi Hinodeya with what goes on within the matches of Team Blue. And those liberties are fun! Like when Team Orange, an elite squad led by an Inkling named Army who specializes in gathering intel on opponents, goes up against Team Blue – only to face the bizarre tactic of Goggles eating curry as a distraction. Spoiler – it works…this is Splatoon, after all! Or when Team Pink gets bested by Team Blue because of ice cream (you’ll just have to trust us on that one).
Splatoon is a simple read, so it can work for early readers and kids, but it’s also fast-paced and eccentric enough for older fans of the video game. Also, the art is pretty excellent. Which should actually make this series work if you’re looking for some light fare, even if you’re not already obsessed with the game.
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