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A Promising Shonen Jump Manga Needs to Ditch One Problematic Trope

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Dandadan chapter 66!

Almost everything about Shonen Jump+’s Dandadan has been perfect, but recent developments have introduced an annoying new character who brings a problematic trope; the perverted nerd kid. It’s especially worrisome that some fans have pointed out how this new addition could be here to stay.

Perverted characters have been a near constant in the manga industry. Some of the most well-known are the lecherous old man famously portrayed by Master Roshi of Dragon Ball, One Piece‘s handsome, googly-eyed Sanji, and the sex-craved nerd reject like Minoru Mineta from My Hero Academia. The majority of manga fans who dislike this trope are undoubtedly troubled by the overall concept of characters who objectify others to the point of harassment. But even for those who can find humor in the perverseness of it all, there are limits. Unfortunately, the likability of perverts normally comes down to how the character is portrayed.

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Introduced in Dandadan chapter 64 by mangaka Yukinobu Tatsu, a currently unnamed classmate of Okarun’s gets tangled up in his world over his obsession of how a reject like Okarun could somehow have such a close relationship with Momo Ayase. The chubby and overly enthusiastic boy’s current schtick for the past few chapters has been him completely misinterpreting Okarun and Momo’s discussions about Okarun’s missing body part as them talking dirty to each other. Desperately wanting to connect with Momo, the pervert says incredibly inappropriate things at random moments as a way to fit in and because he’s under the wrong impression that “saucy language” is the key to being attractive. But of course, Momo is disgusted by this and Okarun is flat-out annoyed (like most readers). As of the latest installment, chapter 66, the boy follows them for so long that he eventually gets caught up in Okarun and Momo’s battle against Dandadan’s giant space kaiju.

Although the young pervert’s odd, quirky poses might be humorous, the problem with him isn’t that he’s perverted or says egregiously gross things. It’s that mangaka Tatsu obviously took great care in portraying him grotesquely. It feels like he was drawn to be unlikeable. That’s what separates him from the more popular and even celebrated perverts. My Hero Academia‘s Mineta is an overly cartoonish boy who is so unrealistic that he’s harmless. And there’s something oddly charming about lecherous old men as long as their antics are lighthearted as most are, especially Dragon Ball‘s Master Roshi. And Sanji, who’s even more harmless than Mineta since he’s drawn even more cartoonishly than Mineta, is an overall good-looking dude whose only downfall is usually that his eyes turn into massive hearts that pop out of his skull whenever he sees any woman. But Dandadan‘s pervert? There’s nothing appealing about him.

What’s worse is that he’s probably here to stay. Whenever aliens appear in Dandadan‘s world, the sky turns black and everyone who’s of no consequence disappears. Unfortunately, he didn’t go anywhere when the kaiju first came. So far, all of the characters who have joined Okarun and Momo’s inner circle have been likable. Although mild, Aira’s feelings for Okarun could be considered a bit much since Okarun doesn’t reciprocate her advancements, essentially making her the pervert of the group. So why add a much worse version of her? Luckily, there are too many good things about Dandadan to let just one detail ruin everything.

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