A Re-Review by Peter Prabowo
Author/Artist: Galang Tirtakusuma
Editor: Ardiatma Mardhika
Language: Indonesian Version
Graphic Designer: Heru Lesmana
Hopper, a worker ant in Thundersmutz enrolled in the Dragon Team led by Lieutenant Comodo. His first mission was to investigate strange happenings in Sector 91. What considered as a simple, routine mission turned out to be a nightmare.
Okay look... don't combine English with Indonesian made up language.. particularly if that made up language sounds like English naught slang. Now the ants have a team that sounds like a porn movie.
In a land claimed to be Black Ants Country that looks more like Mushroom Kingdom, the working ants that... don't look like ants at all... more like miniaturized Konoha Ninja, work hard to be selected for Thundersmutz(lol), the kingdom's army.
There's Grass Hopper, the shonen hero not-ant, who wish to be SOLDIER instead of worker. Humboldt Pinguin (there's an ant parents named their son penguin.. I doubt they even seen any penguin) the smart not-ant. The Sakura not-ant and token childhood friend, Water Lily, a SOLDIER. All three of them formed Team 9.
They were attacked by Mech Bugs (just go with it. The not-ants ride bikes anyway) where Hopper proves himself more hardcore than any of the SOLDIER.
Mech Bugs came in the shapes of bigger insects like bees and tarantulas, but they're robots, not real bugs. Nobody know where they came from, some even think they're from outer space (I said just go with it) and the ants live with constant attack.
Team 9 was called and complimented by Lieutenant Komodo Dragon, who shrunk after failing to save Roxas I guess. He challenged Naruto to prove his worth by duelling him. Axel judged that Hopper's more suitable to become a WARRIOR than a SOLDIER because he dual wield. Axel asked his assistant, Jessica Alga (that's actually funny) to assign Team 9 to Sector 91.
They work together with Red Ants country army, Firesmutz(lol) riding on a Dragonflyer, red ants dragonfly helicopter. The only red ants introduced was Husky, who was apparently as loud as Hopper. They keep arguing until they're attacked by Sonic Scorpion in Sector 91.
They saved the village, and Hopper, who was prone to gazing to the distance while making heroic statement finally explain his motivation of becoming a SOLDIER. His father was one.
After that Lt. Axel Dragon brief them to rescue the villagers that were kidnapped in The Tunnel. The raid happened in an epic war where Axel was brainwashed by Brainx bugs. Confused won how they save their beloved leader, Hopper and Husky decided to.... bash him till he's unconscious. (facepalm)
In the end they bombed the tunnel, save the hostages, and defeated/saved Axel. Hopper considered to become a WARRIOR in the end.
As opposed to what I said in my commentary, I really don't mind all the funny names, technology or ants that don't look like ants. Because whether or not they're ants or not isn't really important. Let's just say you don't call them Ant Colony but Mini People and it can still work. Mini People defend their villages from Mech Bugs. That's the story.
You may asked why I thought the story is "Mini People defending Village" instead of "Hopper becoming Warrior".
That's because Hopper as character is not interesting. At all. He's a typical shonen hero complete with Dead Awesome Dad and Hero Dream and Rush Without Thinking attitude. There is character growth, but very little. Though this little growth is realistic since the timeline is short, I wish he wasn't so two dimensional.
The world of Hopper is more interesting than Hopper itself.
Even though the concept and story is simple It doesn't look boring because of original visual design.
It take the concept of Ant Colony and created a whole new world that is unique and full of action.
I may complain that the ants don't look like ants, but since no one ever draw ants this way, it came out unique. So this is both the strength and weakness of the design. Other than that, the Mech Bugs are all exciting to look at. The enemies are vicious while the characters are cute and likeable.
I guess I was hoping for a more ant-like design but still unique. Hopper's design is too humanoid, even the antennae was replaced by hair-shaped antennae. A Bug's Life and Antz are more based on reality. I was looking for something in between. Something where you can tell that they're ants, but still wearing cool costumes.
In terms of art style... it's not my taste. I don't like that there's almost no tone because the art style is pretty flat and there's little difference in the thickness of the lines.Without tone I was faced with lots and lots of lines in front of white background and it makes my eyes tired. Especially during action shot. I have to struggle reading the book or making out what's happening. I can't enjoy seeing it.
With good design and concept, Hopper has a potential to be a series, if only the characters are more interesting than the currently shown. As of now, Hopper is a fun, loud, simple, light hearted adventure story. It didn't think too much, it didn't pretend to be smart or have a complex plot. It knows that it's a simple action with simple story, and that's what it is.
7 out of 10
Simple and fun with unique design
Light reading and happy time. All age.
BJ Vadis' comment: Ants and grasshoppers in nature, the visualization is just unique. Yet the story is simple and (hopefully) memorable. The characters are mostly typical, yet I documented Peter's review here with hope that someday someone might publish the English version of this "lightweight" manga. Another proof that Indonesian comic artists & authors are going global.