- Series: Johnny Hiro (Book 1)
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (July 17, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765329379
- ISBN-13: 978-0765329370
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,874,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero Paperback – July 17, 2012
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Ghosted"
Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart. Learn more
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Mild-mannered Brooklynite Johnny Hiro works tirelessly as a busboy in a local sushi restaurant, hoping to become a sushi chef one day and make a better life for himself and his upbeat girlfriend. He doesn’t get much time to practice his cooking skills, however, as he constantly finds himself fending off giant monsters, angry fishmongers, and vengeful corporate yes-men. While many fantastical things happen in this graphic novel, the element that requires the most suspension of disbelief is the over-the-top accent of Johnny Hiro’s girlfriend, Mayumi. Aside from that, this is a fun, silly, fast-paced series of stories that features Chao’s unique drawing style, a large dose of humor, mixed families, and hilarious cameos by Judge Judy, Alton Brown, Mayor Bloomberg, David Byrne, Alex Trebek, and Coolio, among others. Fans of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series will enjoy Johnny Hiro’s challenging but entertaining journey into adulthood. --Candice Mack
“It's rare that a new series will grab you by the back of the head and smack your face into a soft, comfy cushion of fun goodness. Yet that's exactly what Johnny Hiro does. It's hard to describe in the usual Hollywood pitch-style loglines--"Scott Pilgrim meets Bruce Lee and dates an adorable girl in a fantastically weird New York City" is about as close as you'll get, but even that doesn't convey the pure energy and enthusiasm evident in every panel of Johnny Hiro.” ―Boing Boing
“My favorite kind of illustrated story is the one in which both the art and writing is done by the same person. Consider the work of Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise and Echo) and Jeff Smith (Bone and Rasl). And now I can add Fred Chao to that list.” ―Charles de Lint, award-winning author of Widdershins
“It's not often I find a comic that makes me snicker on one page and then touches me right there on the next, but Johnny Hiro is one such comic, and it's hard to imagine a comics audience that its mixture of silly humor and serious storytelling--and the light, airy art and strong sense of location that serves it--wouldn't win over.” ―J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama
“The feeling that pervades Johnny Hiro is one of sincere, unaffected affection. It's the kind of book you'd be tempted to call sweet, if it weren't so clear-eyed and thoughtful. Call it winning, then. And pick it up.” ―Glen Weldon, NPR's Monkey See blog
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Fred Chao’s art is wonderful, thin linework with shading for depth and detail for verisimilitude. It’s active and has a great sense of motion, plus a strong sense of place, capturing the craziness of New York City. A lot of it is a love letter to the city and all that can happen there.
Another story in this volume features Johnny having to steal a lobster to get ahead at work. The chase scenes allow for lots of dynamite action leavened with philosophy, plus occasional commentary by a drawn Alton Brown, which tickled me immensely. Johnny and Mayumi also go to the opera, which is interrupted by a samurai attack in the men’s room, and then he’s sent to fix a messed-up order from the fishmonger. Finally, he and Mayumi go to court (only it’s Night Court run by Judge Judy) against their landlord.
Not only did I get amazing cartooning and fun, playful adventure, I even learned some things in terms of how to think about life. (Review originally posted at ComicsWorthReading.com.)
Tor, Jul 17 2012, $16.99
In Brooklyn, Johnny Hiro lives with his Pollyanna girlfriend Mayumi while he works across the Bay as a busboy in a Lower East Side sushi restaurant owned by Chef Masago; she accepts her role is that of the pretty sidekick GF to the hero. One night while they are sleeping, Gozadilla the monster that destroyed Tokyo crashes through their paper thin apartment wall seeking vengeance against Mayumi's mom who was a limb of giant Super A-OK Robot that kicked his butt. However, Johnny has experience battling urban blight waiters demanding greater tips for inadequate service or samurai carrying businessmen. Thus Johnny ruining Mayumi's bunny slippers leaps in a single bound at the humongous lizard hoping his reflexes keep him from an extended hospital stay as he lacks insurance. Thank goodness for Mayor Bloomberg or Johnny would not be there to play catch with a gigantic tuna, battling sushi ninja, arguing the law with Judge Judy in Night Court and dealing with the government failure to bail out that critical too big to fail capitalist industry, high heels; all part of everyday living in New York City.
This graphic version of the award winning Johnny Hiro survivor of New York City comic books showcases the amusing satirical adventures of a young man trying to make it in a city that never sleeps (as Gozadilla proves). The entries are fast-paced short clips with the B&W drawings lampooning the misadventures of the working class couple as nothing is sacred when it comes to life in the boroughs.
While I thought this was going to be a twist on the slice-of-life-young-couple-in-New York genre, by page three of the collection I knew it was going to be completely different. While Johnny and Mayumi are asleep in their small apartment, the wall suddenly burst in and Mayumi is grabbed by Gozadilla, a giant monster out for revenge. It seems that Mayumi's mother was once the arm in a Voltron-like giant robot called Super A-OK Robot who beat up on poor Gozadilla. I kept waiting for the familiar reveal that it was all a dream-sequence, but eventually you realize that this is real, and that this is the story, which makes it oh so good. Eventually Mayor Blomberg walks into save the day, but Johnny and Mayumi's problems are just beginning.
This collection contains the four issues of the "Johnny Hiro" comic series, and each issue has some goofy delima mixed in with the very real worries of a young-couple-in-New York. Paying the rent. Keeping the jobs. Fighting off an attack by 47ronin employees of a company put out of business by a friend's company's IPO. Hanging with Coolio and David Byrne (Mayumi's comment was classic "You look very handsome. Sit fit you nice.") Catching with a giant tuna with chef Masago off the shores of Shikoku. Mayumi having troubles at work because of her perceived English skills. The restuarant being short of Aji. Johnny Hiro has some sort of strange karma that attracts weird troubles, and he is learning to roll with it.
So yeah, the series is a little bit sureal, a little bit sweet, a little bit goofy, a little bit cool, a little bit serious, and a little bit out-of-nowhere. But the whole packages comes together just right.