Thursday, April 16, 2015
Gochika the Friendly Cockroach
It's no great secret that Japan is capable of using any object or subject, no matter how unsexy or mundane, and manage to make it cute. Anything from Lovecraft Lore to Melon Bread to Internet Browsers to Military Weapons to Anthropomorphized Countries. Even knowing this, the sheer range and subject material of fetishized stuff shouldn't continue to be a surprise, yet it constantly does. The latest source of amusement comes from a Moe version of a Cockroach of all things.
There have been comic versions of cockroaches before, the most memorable being Milquetoast the Cockroach from Bloom County, and Don Martin's Nature Documentary on subject of same, but those were certainly closer to being on-model compared to the miniaturized girl on display. If it weren't for her diminutive size, she'd be no different from other openly scorned little people in other literature. At least she's certainly cuter than the overtly racist Cockroaches of Terraformars.
What sets her apart from other cockroaches is that she's a compulsive cleaner who wants nothing more than to be friends with humans. Too bad that whenever anybody catches sight of her crawling towards them, their first reaction is nothing short of outright disgust. Much like how Casper's revealing appearance would scare anyone into screaming "A G-g-g-g-GHOOOOOOOOOST!!!" before running away, so does Gokicha face the same dilemma. Of course, with her, the reaction is much more immediate - "A cockroach! Kill it!" Fortunately, since she's an invulnerable cockroach, she gets away with little more than cartoon bandages over her shell.
As such, her constant rejection leaves her wondering why other bugs, such as Cicadas, Fireflies, Butterflies, Dragonflies and Stag Beetles are more popular than she is. For some reason, the fact that her species is generally associated with filthyness completely escapes her.
It wouldn't be a 4-panel gag Manga without an opposing viewpoint to counter her optimistic worldview, and we have that Spooky the Tuff Ghost figure in the counterpart of Chaba-Chan who just wants a nice dirty place to live, and is constantly frustrated by Gokicha's naivete.
Gokicha regularly eats poisonous insecticide pellets to little or no effect, and is flummoxed when Chaba outright refuses to share in her peculiar tastes. Both in terms of unusual appetite, human interest and cleaning, which results in being prematurely evicted due to discovery and lack of edible waste.
Furthermore, Chaba seems to totally relish her role as a Cockroach troublemaker.
Currently, only two episodes of this amusingly cute Manga were made, which is just as well given its lengthy production time (8 pages a month) and limited range. Despite these limitations and its potentially repetitive humour, Gokicha manages to remain outright charming. In 65 Million years when humanity has long perish, cuteness will continue to dominate the Earth.