Thursday, June 26, 2008

When doing evil means doing good

Hey kids,

Have you ever gotten tired of the good guys in manga and anime always being to wimpy when to defeating the bad guys. Don't you always wish that the good guy would just take out the bad guy already because of everything he has ever done instead of letting him go, try to change him or let the guy get taken away by the cops? Don't you wish these good guys would stop being such goody goodies and grow a pair? Yeah, I wish that to.

The good news is that I recently started a new manga series by the name of Akumetsu that actually has a good guy who is willing to go all out against the bad guys and isn't afraid to get blood on his hands. To do evil to better the world.

The general plot of the series is about a high school student named Shou Hazama who has the ability to "clone" himself. Using this new ability, he has decided to hunt and seek out the evil in Japan to try to help save the world from greed and destruction. Taking on the name Akumetsu and having all his clones wear a black demon like mask he made himself, he sets off to find these bad guys and bring them to justice.

The bad guys though are not your typical mad scientists or corny bank robbers, but more your industrial thieves and bank owners who rob people of their money. So off the bat, Akumetsu is looking to punish real bad guys and not your normal villains. These are the sort of guys who do actually exist in the real world and the sort of evil things they do have happened to people in the real world as well. The one catch though to having more realistic type bad guys like this is that there tends to be a lot of explanation of why these guys are bad and why they need to die. So be prepared for a bit of reading as well.

Now instead of doing the usual superhero bit and using his clones to bring the bad guys in, Akumetsu actually kills off the bad guys and usually ends up killing himself as well. But since all these guys are clones, killing themselves means nothing really. The way he tends to kills these bad guys is indeed a bit brutal, but even I found myself cheering for their deaths. Just as a example, the very first bad guy he takes out he uses a axe to split the guys head open. So like I said, not your typical heroic way to take care of bad guys.

There is definitely a bit of a social message in this series so far (only a little over 30 chapters have been translated into English so far while the series is done in Japan), and its nice to actually see a series tackle a few real world issues even though its all fictional. In a way, this series is a bit like Death Note where a single person wants to change the world by killing off all the evil in it. The real difference is that Akumetsu isn't in it for himself like Light was in Death Note and Akumetsu has a bit more comedy and explains more about how evil these bad guys are.

Art wise, Akumetsu has some amazing artwork and a very slick look. The art is done by newcomer Yuki Yogo with the story done by Yoshiaki Tabata. Yogo does an amazing job with the art of the series with the art style looking a little bit like Frank Miller mixed with the manga Berserk series. So it has a bit of a realistic comic feel to it. Its not your typical manga look and it really makes the series pop a bit and gives it a more adult feel.

Anyway, for anyone who wants a good solid series that has a bit of action, some really funny comedy (odd for a series with this much killing and blood I know), and actually tackles some real issues, give Akumtesu a try. To check the series out in English, just hit the link below to read the mass amount of chapters that are out now online. Enjoy!


-P. Knight

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