Calling Space Pinchy a guilty pleasure would be a grand disservice to all the guilty pleasures I’ve ever known. It’s awesomely, condescendingly dumb — I felt my brain cells leaping to their deaths by the millions as I turned the pages. It makes the knowing wink-wink stupidity of Adult Swim look like a Chicago University Great Books course in comparison.
This is the first manga I’ve seen that gives the despicable Eiken a run for its money in the No Conceivable Audience Department. In other words, if you’re old enough to buy a copy of this thing, you ought to know better — and if you don’t, then you owe it to yourself to learn, because life is short and there are a dozen better things you can blow $15.95 on. (It’s also not explicit enough to be a full-on adult title, so it is essentially one giant brain-dead tease.)
The plot and cast of characters in Space Pinchyare nothing more than threadbare excuses for one leering Benny Hill-style gag after another. We get Pinchy, the sexy pink-haired chick on the cover in the skintight spacesuit, who flies around the universe and lands in one kind of trouble after another. There is also her sidekick, Audrey Q, theother thing on the cover, who spends five out of every six panels in the entire book ogling Pinchy’s crotch. Yes, I counted, since there was precious little else to do while turning the pages. The setup and payoff in every single chapter is almost exactly the same: Pinchy gets into trouble, Audrey leers, Pinchy perseveres and Audrey gets his face bashed in for his trouble. Ha, ha.
And that’s about it, barring some dumb auxiliary characters who trot on and do little more than provide other opportunities for Audrey to make an ass of himself in front of Pinchy. The only other thing that caught my eye was an occasional bit of design that appeared to be homage to Masamune Shirow’s digital production techniques for the latter Ghost in the Shell manga — a creature that resembles Shirow’s little octopus mascot, for instance, or the ways a couple of computer screens look. The fact that I had to dig that far down to find something worth talking about here should be a strong hint.
Click on the image for more examples of Space Pinchy's art, courtesy of Dark Horse. (C) 2002, 2007 Tony Takezaki. All rights reserved.
Art: The most depressing part is that Space Pinchy obviously took some effort to put together. The artist, Tony Takezaki, uses a really slick combination of digital retouching and hand-drawn artwork to create a gorgeous-looking production, and his art style is self-consciously styled after the covers of Golden Age pulps like Amazing Stories. Great, except that he’s used this art style to tell the lamest possible story — or rather, he’s not even telling a story but simply unreeling a series of blackout sketches that repeat the same punchlines, like the worst imaginable episode of Robot Chicken.
Translation: Pinchy has been reprinted left-to-right, but it’s anyone’s guess if it was originally like that or not, and for what it’s worth the English translation perfectly preserves every word of Audrey’s vulgar clowning.
The Bottom Line: This week I devoured volumes from two other series put out by Dark Horse, the publisher of Space Pinchy: Berserk and Blade of the Immortal. Go read them, please, and forget this thing ever existed.