From Meru Okano. Published by Tokyopop.
Donald Duck and his friends, José Carioca and Panchito who you might remember from The Three Caballeros, are screw ups at work and have been reassigned to the Asian Culture and Distribution Department of Duck Furnishings. Duck Furnishings has no market in Asia and this is an excuse to shove them into a corner and hopefully they can’t cause any more trouble. On a whim of malice Audrey Anderson, president of Duck Furniture, decides to send the three of them to Japan for “market research”. In reality they’ll be forced to work and learn all about “omotenashi”. Mistakes and adventures take place and in the end this book feels so fun and wholesome. I went on a journey with these three and I hope there’s more to come.
First of all, the art is different from the standard Donald Duck. I wouldn’t even say standard Jose or Panchito because they haven’t had the screen or panel time over the years that Donald has racked up. This version makes more sense for the Japanese style of this manga. Also, Donald speaks clearly which is welcome while reading but a departure from his animated appearances.
The story is also so much fun not only for the look at Japanese culture but also a look at their own relationships with each other. As with many great trips, it may have not gone to plan but in the end they wouldn’t have had it any other way.
As mentioned before, the Disney comics are far better than most realize and should be at the same level in the United States as they are elsewhere in the world. These are perfect comics to not only get new readers into comics but also to appeal to a diverse audience. Most everyone from kids to grandparents love the Disney characters. That same audience would always take time to read the comic strip page when newspapers had those. All of these people would love these international comics featuring the Disney characters in adventures equal or even better than the cartoons we’ve been familiar with over our lives.