Well, finally the first Asterix album where they have a fish fight, and it took up to number 14 for these fish fights to begin. In fact, I am thinking that this is the first album that introduces Unhygenix the fish monger and Bacteria his wife. The reason I make this statement is because one of the many things I remember about the Asterix albums from when I was a kid was the fish fights, particularly since they tended to begin with somebody throwing a fish and the fish hitting Fullyautomatix.
I could actually go on and on about this particular fish fight, and in fact this particular fish fight is probably the best part of this album. Basically after the fight everything sort of begins to go down hill. Okay, they are still making references to actual events in Ancient Rome, and in this one we have the part of the civil war that was fought in Spain, though the album begins after Ceaser had defeated his opponents there. However, as it is not surprising with the Asterix albums, there happens to be one village in Spain that is holding out against Ceaser, though they don't happen to have a magic potion.
Basically, Ceaser kidnaps the chieftain's boy and sends him to Gaul for safe keeping. However the boy is a real handful, especially since he happens to be the Chieftain's boy. Unfortunately, sending the boy to Gaul poses some problems because when the Romans run into Asterix and Obelix, they pretty quickly lose the boy, and when Asterix and Obelix realise that the boy is a real handfull, they decide to return him to Spain.
The album deals more with the journey to the village, and there is only one page where they are actually at the village, however there is a lot of humour that is particular to Spain. For instance, when they arrive they discover that there is a traffic jam because everybody is coming from the north to holiday in Spain (as is very common in Europe). Also, the roads are in terrible condition, which was probably the case back then, and may still be the case today. If Spain is anything like Greece, then it would not be the easiest of places to drive (and I have driven in both Italy and Greece, but I have never been to Spain). Also, we have quite a lot of Goths (Germans) frequenting the hotels there.
Then there is the ubiquitous festivals and bull fights. Okay, I really didn't get the fact that there was a druidic festival in every town, but Asterix does tend to take the modern Christian festivals and gives them a pre-Christian twist (though it is obvious that they are poking fun at the modern festival, in the same way that they are poking fun at modernity). However the bullfight scene is probably more suggesting of how the bull fight came about, and of course it involves Asterix being centre stage.
As I mentioned, it is not my favourite of the albums, and I suspect that the albums will start going down hill from here, though I am still keen to try and get the rest of them and read through them. I believe that the last one that I read as a kid was Asterix and Son (or Asterix in the Land of the Black Gold) however more have been produced since then, and I will probably also get my hands on them as well.