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A simple joy of a read, Everyday Hero Machine Boy is a delightful love letter to anime and tokusatsu with a lovable protagonist and endearing visuals.
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Review: EVERYDAY HERO MACHINE BOY is a Simple Delight

From Irma Kniivila and Tri Vuong comes a joyful comic full of karate, spaghetti, and a robot-boy from space in Everyday Hero Machine Boy. A mixture of Astro Boy, Dragon Ball, and The Karate Kid, this graphic novel from Image/Skybound is a delightful, if not very simplistic, all-ages story for those looking for that Saturday morning cartoon vibe.

“When Machine Boy falls from the sky into the domed city of Mega 416, he leaves a wake of destruction in his path… until Karate Grandpa is able to turn on his heart. Now, Machine Boy wants nothing more than to become a hero! Whether he is fighting giant bugs in the school’s basement, rescuing cats from trees, or making the perfect spaghetti sauce, Machine Boy is always looking for the best way to help others. But when his heart begins to interact dangerously with other debris from space, Machine Boy wonders if he can be a power for good after all.”

Writing & Plot

Everyday Hero Machine Boy warms audiences with a simple story full of heart and clever humor. The main plot is derived from a lot of very obvious influences. I mean, a powerful alien/robot boy crashes to Earth leaving devastation in his wake only to be turned nice by a cool grandpa? This isn’t a jab in any way. Just the opposite, as right off the plot alone sets a sort of expectation for the audience – and will no doubt get classic manga and anime fans on board. Machine Boy is very much a love letter to some classic hero stories, from Dragon Ball to Ultraman. It stands on its own, however, with its smart dialogue and unique character presentation. Every featured character brings something memorable to the table. This is due to Kniivila and Vuong’s style of dialogue and comedic timing. Again, there is a very Saturday morning cartoon blended with classic Shonen manga feeling here that just feels excellent to read. The relationships that bloom between Machine Boy and other characters, such as his grandma and new friends at school, feel natural and are fun to watch. This is a relatively short graphic novel that attempts to cover a lot of ground, and as such it can feel rushed at points. Major plot events can sometimes breeze by without much time for the audience to take in what’s happening. The big discoveries, such as clues to Machine Boy’s origin, end up suffering sometimes because of this. At the end of the day though, these flaws are easily covered up by just how much of a delight this story is to experience.

Art Direction

The vast majority of what makes Everyday Hero Machine Boy so delightful is Kniivila and Vuong’s artistic approach. The thick lines and soft, rounded style achieve a modern YA style while still having this graphic novel appear unique. The character designs and approach to the setting in Machine Boy are what set this book apart. Machine Boy’s design is the creators wearing their influences on their sleeves, sure – he’s basically a combination of Astro Boy and a Kamen Rider character. Like everything in this book though, this look is crafted with a level of likable charm that, when combined with his animations, makes Machine Boy unique in his own right. This world he inhabits and helps protect is also filled with anthropomorphic animals and safeguarded by a superpowered boy band. With Kniivila and Vuong’s design language and bright, neon-esque color gradient wraps readers up in this story’s lighthearted and fun yet still compelling atmosphere.

Verdict

Everyday Hero Machine Boy is a delightfully fun and exciting OGN that wears its influences on its sleeve while staying true to itself. While the main plot can feel a bit rushed at times, the heart and humor overcome any flaws to deliver a story that is still compelling. The visuals craft the perfect atmosphere for this futuristic hero-story, combining elements of Saturday morning cartoons and classic manga with a modern art style to deliver a reading experience that will be remembered for some time to come. Be sure to grab this graphic novel when it hits shelves on September 13th!

 

Justin Munday
Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.
Review: EVERYDAY HERO MACHINE BOY is a Simple DelightA simple joy of a read, Everyday Hero Machine Boy is a delightful love letter to anime and tokusatsu with a lovable protagonist and endearing visuals.