Was not aware that Splatoon had a manga, and I had no idea that VIZ Media would be the one to publish it once I found out that it did!  While the game is not something I was interested in and the manga seemed to also creep into that category, I am willing to give it an honest go.

I have no idea how the game is played or the main concept behind Splatoon.  Hopefully the manga will do a good job of building a world I find interesting while simultaneously teaching a neophyte the ins and outs of how things work in this ink-splattered manga.

 Story and Plot Impressions 

There is an event going on in the city of "Inkopolis" called the "Corocoro Cup".  Seems as a series of matches is happening which will decides who wins the overall competition.  The game they seem so excited about is called "Turf War", which is played by two opposing teams made up of four players in an effort to cover more of the arena in their team's color by the end of a time limit in order to win.

Volume 1 of "Splatoon" seems to be strongly about introducing the characters that are going to be central once it evolves; that includes our protagonists "Team Blue" and all of the other teams that they will be facing in upcoming volumes.  Not only that, they also attempt to explain exactly what our characters are, the game they are playing with all of its rules, the effects certain things have, and even its ranking system.

I never owned a Nintendo Wii U or a Nintendo Switch, so I never got a chance to play Splatoon or Splatoon 2.  Taking this in mind, I am sure that Sankichi Hinodeya (the author and illustrator) wanted to create a scenario in the first book that could very easily cover the basics for those who may be interested in the manga with no experience whatsoever with the game.  When it comes to this aspect, the book does an AMAZING job of introducing you in a way that does not feel at all forced.  Actually, it feels like the manga version of a "tutorial" from a video game, which is amazing when you think about it.

The downside I think to the "tutorial" nature is that it does not explain how the "Corocoro Cup" works.  I thought at first it could be a double elimination tournament since "Team Blue" lost and still had matches afterwards, but it could also be based upon a point system (hence "Cup").  Not knowing the details of the competition they are involved in would be the only part of the entire book that was not touched upon; hopefully they do so in further chapters.

Overall, I feel like the story and plot are good enough for the very first volume of Splatoon to warrant those who are interested to keep investing themselves into what it has to offer.  Explanation of everything that is going on will greatly help those who may not understanding what a "Turf War" is and the abilities that the characters possess.

 Character Impressions 

Characters involved in this manga each have their own personalities, and I really expected that since it is a Nintendo inspired piece.  From the ultra serious to the insanely zany, everyone is quite unique with a dynamic range of personas.  "Team Blue" seems to be named after their attire (Goggles, Specs, Bobble Hat, and Headphones), while everyone else seemed to be named based on traits or their team's overall theme (such as "Army").

 While we see many other teams (Cyan, Pink, Orange, etc.) we mainly focus upon the teamwork of "Team Blue".  Every single character within it has a defined personality, but the one that stands out most and appears to be our main character is "Goggles".

Goggles is a character that really resonates and stands out since he has a archetype that is seen amongst many other manga where he is very talented despite his actual ranking, and he focuses on fun rather than winning (Though I mostly get a Itsuki Minami from the manga/anime "Air Gear" vibe from him).  Goggles also has the ability to change those whom he comes into contact with, mainly because he makes people rethink how they look at Turf War, the tactics they use, and how they work with their teammates (which reminds me of Naruto Uzumaki from "Naruto").

To be perfectly honest, without Goggles this entire thing could have gone down hill, but interactions with him and how people perceive his team due to his antics create the amazing atmosphere in Splatoon's first volume.  It was brilliant to use him as a centerpiece for the entire story because a likeable centre gives everything around it a boon and amplifies the overall feel you are trying to convey as an artist and storyteller.

 The Verdict 


  STRENGTHS  — Great art, Compelling characters (especially Goggles), Explanation for those not familiar with the game, Hilarious moments.

  WEAKNESSES  — No "Corocoro Cup" explanation.

 Final Thoughts 
To be perfectly honest, I was not really expecting much from "Splatoon" as a manga series due to the fact you often have to be fans of video games to appreciate the products they create in other media.  However, Splatoon's first volume really made me anxious for more by providing things I really look for in manga; artwork, non-convoluted story, and enjoyable characters.

While I cannot say whether-or-not those who enjoy the game will like the manga (as normally those who play the source material make direct comparisons, and I cannot tell if anything is changed), those who love happy-go-lucky main characters and fantastic art will be able to enjoy Splatoon's first volume.  While it might seem like something that only appeals to young adults, this manga is really for anyone that loves a carefree vibe.