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Tick & Tuck: An Analysis

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I damn well know this isn't healthy
Since I started reading far into Osamu Tezuka's manga, about the time I learned more about Michi, I got to like a comic-relief duo named Tick & Tuck, alternatively Ramune & Kalpis. (those are are Japanese drinks, so it's as if they were named Pepsi and Cola) They always appeared briefly to brighten the story a bit, or just to make their sparing fans smile. On the other hand, they have managed to mystify me to no end. Why? Neither of them have a definite personality. They were never designed to have them. They were just comic reliefs who would appear for 45 pages tops.
However, today at Toontown, we are going to look through their old roles and find their personalities. That, and my DVDs still aren't working.
Just so our stories are straight...


This is Tick Ramune...


...and this is Tuck Kalpis.
Let's start with how the two get along with each other. Pretty much 5/6 of the time, they're on par with each other. But I've noticed something - take this scene in Nextworld vl. 2. The two play two Russian hunters (Ramunenko & Butanov) who save Mustachio from freezing to death. Mustachio tells them that he's from Japan, and Tick/Ramunenko yells:


And Tuck "lends" him the boat. Even though neither lads see Mustachio again, Tuck randomly gives him a boat. Just as Tick told him to.


A stronger example is in the Astro Boy episode "Outer Spaceport R45". Tick was a slight jerkwad in this one, all though there was one good scene of Tick & Tuck retardedness called "The Venus Cakes". In the episode, they play two unnamed merchants who meet Astro, who is looking for a gang of Space Pirates. Tuck knows all about the pirates, having met them the day before.

Crazy eyes!Touchy

But Tick won't let him speak, in fear that the Pirates will hunt them down. He yells at Tuck and Tuck starts crying. Tick then says something to the effect of "If you really want to talk, go in there and do it!", pointing at a crate.


This all takes place in front of Astro, who looks disturbed or confused. My point being, Tick tells Tuck "Give that guy your boat!" and he does it. When he says "No you can't talk to that kid! Stop crying and sit in this box!" Tuck sits in the box. Makes me wonder if Tuck is extremely loyal and devoted, and Tick sometimes takes advantage of that fact. But perhaps he was just worried that the Space Pirates would hunt the two down, and like an exasperated parent, resorted to making Tuck sit in a box.
Another example is in X-Point on the South Pacific, where Tick plays a master thief and Tuck is his accomplice. They appear to have Scratch & Grounder Syndrome, where the use of disguises means the fat one has to wear the...


Simple humility comedy, or implication that "Tuck is Tick's bitch"?
I'm going to stop riiight there. Now, let's move onto a topic that should come up about now - women. Do keep in mind that from what I've seen, both lads appear to be straight. In the above picture, Tuck looks pretty damn mad that he has to be the girl. I will reward anyone who can guess on their own which of the lads has had near success with females...
Oh, screw that. It was Tick.


In Tezuka's 1985 short cartoon Broken Down Film, Tick plays a cowboy who rescues Betty Boop a woman, explores the bad film quality of his own cartoon, and fights a fat guy who looks like Pete of the Mickey Mouse shorts. He may have light hair and noodle arms, and Tuck may be nowhere in sight, but it's clearly Tick. After saving the woman, he gets her out of a cloud of "cel dust rain" and...


They get contact about twice, but an obnoxious yellow bar pops up and breaks them up. When they get really close (after the third try), the film goes really shaky, Tick is smashed into the side of the frame, and there's a scene cut. We cut forward to him leaving on his horse. He looked annoyed.

That kind of was his only success with women. The second event, which was more of an awkward incident, is as follows:

Grabby Grabby!

In 1951, we see this small instance that I do not know what to make of. This is from Nextworld, where the Russian villagers have been taken aboard the Fumoon alien ships. Here, Rokoko the alien is teleporting into the frightened crowd, but what is Tick doing? At first glance, he appears to be trying to protect the woman from the unknown creature. This could imply that Tick is chivalrous. Later, I realized it looked more like he was ducking behind her. Then, I noted the placement of his hands.
Why yes, kids! It does look like he's pulling a Lupin and using the intruder as an excuse to grab some woman's behind! Just like on those scary Mexican buses!
"Oh no, aliens! Hold me, Akiko! I'll hold you!"
Then again, maybe he is just moving her away.
And then, there's Tuck. In this episode of the 1960's Astro Boy series, the duo appeared as reporters (which was frequent in Astro Boy) who in the English version received the names Nip (Tuck) and Tuck (Tick!?) to make a cheesy pun. This transposition of names ultimately ripped a hole in the space-time continuum that caused Sapphire to get all femmy and for Marvelous Melmo to be made.

Besides this confusion, the episode has a scene where Tuck (the original Tuck) fantasizes of what he'll buy with they money he'll get for an important snapshot. However, the dream money is taken away by an angry-looking woman - identified as Tuck's wife. Yes, readers, he was married at one point. And judging by both thier faces, nobody's lovin' it. And Mrs. Kalpis has to be at least twice the height of her husband. Perhaps Tick is more likely to have short flings, while Tuck gets into possible long-term relationships, albeit unpleasant ones.
Looking at how he acts in Nextworld, he seems more like a chubby little kid than a young man. And Tick, appearing much older and sometimes ordering around Tuck, is the older brother. Maybe this is the reason they're almost always seen together - they're like brothers.

''I thought you just wanted a piggyback ride! Now get off me and put your damn slacks back on!''

They're certainly close, but the innocence is being pushed. In their cameo in the first episode of Jetter Mars, they play two assistants to Dr. Kawashima. Later, as seen in the above picture, a combat robot breaks out of its cell and smashes the control centre of the Floating Lab. The staff is freaking out, as shown by Tick nervously chewing on his fingers and...Tuck clinging to his back in a suggestive manner. It's disturbing, yes, but Tuck looks like he's going to start dry humping. But the only movement in this scene was Tick's hand, the smoke and the men in the background, so Tuck gets off this time.
In the Metropolis manga, Tick plays North, a pilot, who helps fly Kenichi around near the end of the book. He also goes with a search party, and manages to explain what the Dillinger Effect is when black sun spots render their radios useless. Tuck wasn't there, either. First Tuck was gone when Tick (almost) made it with a woman, now he's gone when Tick understands science and can fly a plane without killing himself and Kenichi? According to TezukaWorld, he also played a doctor, journalist and a few more. When Tick was gone, Tuck had a few differentiating roles, too - going solo, he played a robot scientist and a police officer. So, perhaps on their own, they have spasmatic lapses of widsom or talent. 63% of the time, it's Tuck going solo!
Nearing the end of my analysis, I can recall a few times where Tick has been avaricious. In English, greedy. As Ramunenko in Nextworld, he and the villagers are told about how Noah was saved from the flood by going in the ark. Tick begins to angrily insist that he get on the ark, but Tuck/Butanov yells for him to "get in line". Finally, Tick's prayer is:

Pirate Pete does not enjoy Tick & Tuck's bickering.

And in the volume prior, there's a scene where a bunch of the villagers - Tick/Ramunenko is one of them -  think they've shot Tuck/Butanov, and the five of them sit around praying. Everything's going serious until Tick wails "Now I'll never be able to pay you back that 1000 yen [ten dollars] I borrowed three years ago!" to which Tuck leaps up, unharmed, and attempts to punch Tick in the chin.

I also recall two stories in the Astro Boy manga where the two are reporters. The first role is very brief, them only being around to discover Uran isn't at the arena but at school (Tuck remarks "What a good kid!" on this). Their second appearance is funnier, where they're at a robot celebration and are invited to the reception for free drinks (which they giddily presume is alchohol), They each take hard swigs and discover it's beer for robots, otherwise gasoline. Also note Tick's little slam against Tuck in that first panel. What Tuck remarks in the first panel is similar to what Lamp or Hamegg would say, maybe hinting that he distrusts robots. Tick appears to like them, though.
Now, look at the amount of gasoline gasoline they're spitting out. That looks like a substantial mouthful of what they hoped was beer or wine. That would imply that they'd each chugged their drinks. And judging by Tuck running excitedly to the reception, they may be on their way to an alchoholism that rivals Bender.
Here they are in the 2004 Black Jack anime, episode #15. They've got some scary Mario Bros. thing going, and Tuck looks really old. No wonder they both seem so angry.
Fortunately, popular characters appear twice in Black Jack; once in a major role and once in a background role. Sapphire first appeared as the wife of a man who accidentally runs over a guy, then she appears in #53 as a glamourous young woman who gets hit by a train. Tenma was there too, in #41 as a movie director (with Astro as his human son) and then as an elderly assistant director of a German hospital. I'm surprised that Tick and Tuck got to come back.

All I have is this DVD thumbnail. Tick and Tuck got to appear a second time in #47, I think as a violinist's assistants. I haven't seen it yet. They appear in their usual demeanor, but Tick has brown hair and both are wearing tacky suits. Tuck's looks like leather. And then again, they appear in #24 as reporters - yet again - who spoke to Rock (playing Dr. Daigo) about his brain surgery. Here was the duo's conversation, and believe me, it was very funny seeing Tick gently pat Tuck on the head and say "Ones like you" and have Tuck innocently pass it by.

Tick does appear in Astro Boy 2003, in the second episode, as the RobotBall announcer when Tenma hijacks the game and makes Astro fight to test his powers. Tick kinda looks like Sir Nylon, but I recognized Tick from the awkward nose and the hair sticking out at either end. Tuck probably appears somewhere in the series, but I'm not sure where.
Now, let's put this together:

Tick Ramune

  • Protective
  • Can be quite bossy
  • Greedy about money or opportunities
  • Nice to kids
  • A little cowardly
  • On his own, can be quite smart
  • Has a short temper
  • Awkward with women
  • The "older brother"

Tuck Kalpis

  • Childlike/childish
  • Looks out for other people
  • Is sometimes ordered around/insulted by Tick
  • On his own, can be quite talented
  • Occasionally greedy
  • Very loyal
  • Almost always cheerful
  • Can be furious is provoked hard enough
  • The "little brother"

Well, that's it. Call this analysis my practice for psychology class. If I find any more manga with Tick and Tuck cameoing in important ways, I'll update.



All written material here is 2007-2011 Fauna Crawford, along with any images identified as such. All other copyrights belong to their respective owners and creators. Permission is required to use any original material from this site.