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Friday, September 14, 2012

Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero - Fred Chao

Released July 2012


Book Review by Jen Beams

Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero depicts the average life of an average guy Johnny Hiro. Johnny is, like most men in their mid-20s, balancing a job, his goals, his girlfriend, and his friends, as his life is disrupted with
misfortunes such as an angry landlord, and overdue rent, and a dinosaur breaking into his apartment; literally. So maybe Johnny’s life isn’t so average. That’s what I would expect of a graphic novel character that is “half Asian, all hero”.

First of all, the scenarios he faces are totally unbelievable. There’s no basis behind the crazy happenings. And even more unbelievable is his reaction to them. He really just shrugs them off as if a dinosaur busting in through your bedroom wall and taking your girlfriend is a monthly occurrence. I’d even go with that if they gave some sort of basis for why he doesn’t run away screaming because there’s a dinosaur in the city in the 21st century.

I’m new to graphic novels, and once I got past the totally unbelievable scenarios, there are two main characters with little character development. Johnny and his girlfriend do not really have personalities other than Johnny being an average Joe and his girlfriend a ditzy Asian woman. As an introduction to this new graphic novel series, I wish I could have seen more on Johnny’s back story or his and his girlfriend’s relationship. For that reason, I think it's necessary to read the books in order and not jump into the series without having read the first book.

Beyond the lack of realism and character development, there is a satisfying ending, but I’ll leave that for the reader to find. Perhaps this makes a good story for a younger reader, if not for the sexual references here and there, but I really wish there could have been more sophistication. As a female college student, I just can't see myself buying this book or adding it to my keeper shelf.

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