|Genre||Action, supernatural fiction|
|Written by||Akira Toriyama|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Jump|
|Original run||1997 – 1998|
Cowa! (こわ! Kowa!?) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. It began in late 1997 despite the artist suffering from a hurting arm. The manga was first serialized in Japan by Weekly Shōnen Jump and then made into a tankōbon by Jump Comics. This was Toriyama's first major project since the Dragon Ball manga.
Cowa! is a short manga (1 book, 14 chapters). Paifu, a half-vampire and half-werekoala, is always getting trouble with his buddy Jose. When monster flu hit their town, it is up to them to save the adults.
Paifu is first seen running alongside his creature friends whom all just left school. Afterwards, all of his friends save for José Rodriguez, a ghost, who can play at night with him since he, like Paifu, is a night creature. After dropping off their backpacks at home and playing a game, Paifu's mother tells him to purchase a watermelon for breakfast and gives him 1000 yen, allowing him to keep the change. He makes Jose go with him to fetch the watermelon. Instead of buying the melon at the street market, Paifu and José and decide to steal a watermelon from a field. The duo succeeded in taking a watermelon and left. Paifu plays a joke on his mother so that he could obtain another watermelon; the plan fails miserably.
Later, Paifu and José decide to go to a human's house at a place called Fox Beach. Paifu then notices what appeared to be an orange spirit out in the sea and mistakes it for something else. José shape-shifts into a plane-like figure and flies with Paifu on his back to the orange light, complaining to Paifu that he too should be able to perform flight if he practices more. They arrive at the light source only to find that it was a torch on a raft belonging to the world-renowned sumo wrestler Maruyama, whom they feared. In spite of becoming acquainted, Maruyama teases Paifu and picks up two sticks producing a cross gesture to scare him off believing he, like some vampires in stories, fear a cross. On the contrary, this action forces Paifu to transform into a rampaging were-koala. His rage is halted by José, who shape-shifts into a round object to revert him back to normal. Jose tells Maruyama that Paifu can not look at a cross figure for more than three seconds due to the transforming gene. José also explains that Paifu is the son of a vampiress and male were-koala. When asked by Maruyama about Paifu's father, Paifu replies that he was shot to death in a human city when he shape-shifted into a were-koala. After getting to know a little about Maruyama's past, it turned out that he himself was not as frightening as rumoured to be.
Back in the village, Paifu and José begin to notice an influenza that is spreading in the village affecting the monsters. On their way to school, they are surprised by Apone, a monster who considers Paifu to be his eternal enemy. The three exchange a few words which lead to Apone challenging Paifu to a sparring match of kung fu. During their fight, two other creature friends meet up with them and Jose tells them about the encounter he and Paifu had with Maruyama.
Paifu's mother later tells him that school has been canceled for a while due to the serious flu. He celebrates by going to Jose's home and runs into the village doctor. The two then spoke of the influenza and the doctor came to the suspicion that the latter is the Monster Flu, a disease that affects only monsters and kills the victim in a month's time. When the two arrive at the Rodriguez residence to see Jose's ill father, the doctor's suspicions are confirmed to everyone there and reveals that the cure to the Monster Flu can be created by a witch that resides at the top of Mt. Mimizuku. The doctor also tells of a forest that one must cross and that a terrible monster dwells along the forest path which leads to the mountain. Following a long decision, Paifu and Jose go on the trip and are accompanied by the former sumo wrestler Maruyama, who in actuality, was deceived by Paifu who claimed that the villagers would pay him 1,000,000 yen for his troubles. As the trio are about to leave, Apone joins the team, exclaiming that he also wanted to be a hero for the villagers. The four finally leave in search of the medicine. Paifu is mainly astounded by the sights they see along the way, since he had never gone so far from his hometown. They stop at a filling station for fuel and restroom needs. The four leave from there after a brawl with a few thugs.
With plenty of rest and recuperation, the team pass through a city and arrive around a forest area located by Mt. Mimizuku. As they near it, Apone is suddenly fallen ill by the Monster Flu. They come to a nearby family for aid; in the midst of their troubles, Paifu and Maruyama save them from being attacked by a gang. In exchange, the family cares for the sickly Apone while Paifu, Jose and Maruyama take off for the forest. Before they leave, they are told by the family of the forest monster's supposed weakness, whistling.
Upon entering the forest, Maruyama has Jose whistle since he is apparently the only one who could. Paifu is told by Maruyama to practice his whistling since Jose would eventually get exhausted. Jose, instead of getting fatigued from whistling, suddenly fell ill to the Monster Flu as well. Their fear of the monster finding them becomes a reality and they are attacked by the forest monster, who goes by the name Baroaba. Maruyama holds his own against the behemoth and tells Paifu to start learning how to whistle immediately before they are killed. Although several attempts had been unsuccessful, Paifu finally prospered in whistling and Baroaba is literally downsized by the sound, proving the weakness true, and is pounded by Maruyama. Before Maruyama has a chance to finish him off, he discovers that Baroaba only attacks to protect the forest's rare wildlife; Baroaba apologizes for the misunderstanding and decides to help them get to their destination, the witch's house.
With help from Baroaba who stayed to care for the ill Jose, Paifu and Maruyama finally reach the summit of the mountain. From there, the two meet the witch's servant, an oni named Reonald. Within time, they became acquainted the witch and fortunately retrieved the influenza medicine. They proceeded to head back down the mountain to cure Jose, Apone and the others at the village. On the way down the mountain, Maruyama accidentally slips and falls off. Paifu makes a daring rescue by learning flight at the last minute and saves Maruyama and himself from immediate death.
Along the way, Jose takes a medicine pill and is healed. Paifu and Baroaba also take one each in case they too would have fallen ill. Apone is also recovered thanks to the medicine. On the way back, Paifu reveals to Maruyama that he had lied to him about the payment of 1,000,000 yen he promised. Maruyama admits that he is disappointed, but not infuriated. The four are praised as they returned to the village. One month later, Paifu, Jose and everyone else from the village meet Maruyama out at sea with a present for him, a ghost ship that actually came with ghosts.
Paifu (パイフー) is the main protagonist. Though completely resembling a vampire, Paifu is a vampire hybrid, sharing the genes and traits of a were-koala. When observing any cross-like figure for more than three seconds, Paifu is forced to shapeshift into a crazed and powerful were-koala and can only change back to his normal state when looking at a round object. This is a parody on the were-wolf, a being which transfigures into a beast by the appearance of a full moon, though the way how he become far more powerful and savage in this form and has to someone else to turn him back to normal is likely a reference to the Great Ape from Akira's previous work, Dragon Ball.
- Jose Rodriguez
- Mako "Active Volcano" Maruyama (丸山真虎, Maruyama Mako; often called "Marumaya" and "Makoleen" by Paifu)
- Mr. Croake
- Baroaba (the Forest Monster)
- Cynthia Watson
Reception and release
About.com's Deb Aoki lists Cowa! as the best new "all ages" manga of 2008. In addition to the original Japanese version, Cowa! was also published in French and Spanish. Viz Media's English release of Cowa! was nominated in the "Best Publication for Kids" category at the 2009 Eisner Awards.
- Reading level
- 205 pages
- Product Dimensions
- 12.5 x 4.6 x 0.7 inches
- Glénat; 1 edition (1 May 1999)
- Shipping Weight
- 7 ounces
- International Standard Book Number
- ISBN 2-7234-2913-X
- ISBN 978-2-7234-2913-9
- Cowa! at http://www.toriyamaworld.com/. Retrieved on April 11, 2007.
- Cowa! chapter 1, page 1
- Cowa! chapter 1, page 2
- Cowa! chapter 1, page 6
- Cowa!chapter 1, page 10
- Cowa! chapter 1, page 12
- Cowa! chapter 1, page 15
- Cowa! chapter 2, page 18
- Cowa! chapter 2, page 21
- Cowa! chapter 2, page 26
- Cowa! chapter 2, page 28
- Cowa! chapter 2, page 29
- Cowa! chapter 3, page 35
- Cowa! chapter 3, page 38
- Cowa! chapter 3, page 42
- Cowa! chapter 4, pages 47-48
- Cowa! chapter 4, page 50
- Cowa! chapter 4, page 52
- Cowa! chapter 4, page 57
- Cowa! chapter 4, page 58
- Cowa! chapter 7, pages 98-99
- Cowa! chapter 9, page 120
- Cowa! chapter 9, page 122
- Cowa! chapter 9, page 123
- Cowa! chapter 10, page 142
- Cowa! chapter 11, page 157
- Cowa! chapter 11, pages 154-155
- Cowa! chapter 13, page 177
- Cowa! chapter 13, pages 178-179
- Cowa! chapter 14, page 190
- Cowa! chapter 14, pages 197-198
- Aoki, Deb. "2008 Best New Manga". About.com. Retrieved 2009-08-20.
- English-language translation of French website at http://www.manga-sanctuary.com/
- English-language translation of Spanish website
- "Manga Nominated for 2009 Eisner Awards". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2012-11-17.