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Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero Paperback – July 17, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Johnny Hiro Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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

Review

“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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Product Details

  • Series: Johnny Hiro (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #485,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chapati VINE VOICE on July 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Poor Johnny Hiro. He's just trying to make ends meet, living with his gorgeous girlfriend in a tiny Brooklyn apartment, working as a busboy at a sushi restaurant, and genuinely trying to stay out of trouble. But trouble just seems to find Johnny. First a giant lizard snatches his girlfriend up from their apartment (causing extensive property damage while doing so). Then he's chased by crazed fishmongers. And barely escapes from angry warriors that are after an acquaintance. Really, anything that can go wrong does go wrong for Johnny Hiro. Luckily, his girlfriend seems to have an uncanny ability to get Mayor Bloomberg to show up and save the day whenever things seem at their bleakest.

Johnny Hiro does not, on the surface, appear to be a book that will change your life. It's not about a moment of epiphany in which Johnny realizes that with great power comes great responsibility. It's about the mundane activities that make up your world (except, of course, for the giant lizard) and how you just have to keep plugging and get through the hard parts. The narrator more than once detaches himself from the action to explain someone's motivations or to show how some small action can have unforeseen consequences or how someone who really does do his best in life can still fail so spectacularly.

One of my favorite characters in the book is Johnny's girlfriend Mayumi. At first, Mayumi seems like the typical damsel-in-distress that often populates comic books. We first see her snatched from her apartment by a giant lizard, screaming to Hiro for help. But then when Hiro does go to help her, Mayumi cheerfully tells him that she is fine and that perhaps he should get the camera and take a picture so that Mayumi's mom can see what a hero he is.
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Format: Paperback
Johnny Hiro (Half Asian, All Hero)
Fred Chao
Tor, Jul 17 2012, $16.99
ISBN: 9780765329370

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.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Paperback
I have to start by saying that I haven't read a comic book or a graphic Novel in years, but spent much of my childhood doing so. This book was great! I really enjoyed it. I sat down and read it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. I found myself laughing out loud at some parts and I really enjoyed the characters. Johnny Hiro is a very likable character as his girlfriend Mayumi. The author is the same age as I me so I appreciated all of the pop culture references that popped up throughout. I really enjoyed that Johnny Hiro seemed to realize that the circumstances he was in were ridiculous, but he just kept rolling with the punches. I'm really looking forward to the next book. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I think the book could have been even better in full color.

Full disclosure: I received this book through a goodreads giveaway
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Format: Paperback
I thought this graphic novel was well done. The illustrations were excellent and the story was quite amusing. However, I had a couple problems with it. A minor complaint I have is about the story about the search engine company, how they went public, and crushed their competitor. It doesn't really make any sense. Going public just means you're selling shares in your company to the public and has (almost) nothing to do with how you're running your business.

But anyway, the biggest problem was Johnny Hiro's girlfriend. She was extremely two-dimensional, and flat. I get that she's an optimist, but this was away overdone. She was just there to add a romantic element to the story. She is dull and not like a real woman at all. If there was more thought put into her character, I would've rated this at least a 4 or maybe even a 5.
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