It's been a while since I've talked about things no one cares about which has given people plenty of time to not particular care about me coming back . So in a way I'm creating an apathetic cycle that's too lazy to break out of it self. It's like a perpetual motion machine except it isn't and I seem to have lost what I was trying to say so here's a picture of the cover of the book I'm reviewing today
So I guess you can tell that I'm reviewing Japan,the unholy baby of the authors of Fist of The North Star and Berserk. I found this in a used bookstore and seeing the names I decided that this seems like a winner. I've since learned to ignore my inner voice,the bastard. So with out further monkeyshines let's look at Japan.
This is the part here I get to beat up on Buroson because he's taking credit for this heavy handed tripe and it means I get to let Kentaro Miura off the hook for now. The story is fairly simple in it's set up and does a good job of characterizing the main cast...to an extent. The basic plot follows a love struck Yakuza member,his brother, his love interest and a group of wimpy college kids and their journey through the wastelands. They are forcibly sent there to learn about how economic weight throwing and too much national pride is awful and will cause terrible things. That right there is why the story really does fall short it's very unsubtle. Every thing that the characters say is so heavy handed that I'm surprised they can lift said hands to punch. So while I do admire that it is uncompromising on it's views, many of it's views are just stupid.
That being said, the issues being brought up are fairly relevant and I actually do agree with a few of them: Don't forget the past, being pro active,don't let nationalism over take things,and what is a man.But it's presented in such a stupid way that I feel embarrassed to agree with it. There's also this undertone of sexism used against the main female leads. Yes they are not really suited for combat being in decidedly less fighting heavy roles in normal life. However neither are the boys who are just college students with no real experience in fighting. Yet they are expected to man up and protect the girls. It just adds to some of the more unsubtleness that the book loves.
Now for a short part on the characters: they are not good,moving on.
Ok I'll say some things about them: they are generic,have very un-inspired characters arcs,and their relationships are standard. The college boy trio predictably go from wimps to brave like every story that does this. For some reason the collage girl falls in love with the younger Yakuza member and both have no arc to speak of. The rebel leader is a meat head with out any personality beyond bruiser. The TV reporter love interest is a bland damsel for most of it before gaining some guts to try and save her man. Even then all she does is drive the car, the boys who just completed their growth do the leg work.
Oddly enough I do enjoy the main character somewhat. Yeah he's a very simplistic mouth piece for the author but he's a little likable. His single mindedness is admirable in a stupid way however he still punches anyone who doesn't agree with his way completely. He gets the most characterization but is still playing the thug with a heart of gold archetype. So he's fairly balanced in a weird way.
Now that I've done yapping about themes and characters I do want to mention a minor thing that bugs me. The very beginning has it seem like this world is some sort of illusion or test but never really addresses it after it happens. No one talks about trying to get home or wondering what the hell the crypt keeper was. They just sort of go along with it and start a revolution. Which is weird because this was a one shot so having them being sent back after learning what they needed to learn would have wrapped up nicely. Instead it's just a vaguely heroic declaration to reclaim the land. Maybe they meant to go further but weren't able to.
So the story and characters are heavy handed and weak respectively but that's just one part of this super star tag team. What about Miura's contributions, well good news the art is great. First thing to realize that unlike Buroson who had quite few works under his belt before Japan, Miura did not. This came out in 1992 about 3 years after Berserk had started so the art is very reminiscent of the Golden Age arc. His designs do bleed though here and that works for the most part. The main leads look like Guts and Caska expies ,if Guts decided to ingest a fridge. Every one else looks like his standard character designs and the landscapes are bleak. The man knows how to make things look like nasty places and it shows.It's typical Miura,which is fine just no real stand out designs or landscapes.
In summary: poor story,poor characters,great art. Sadly great art can not save this mess and it's defiantly a pass. As always criticisms and death threats are welcome.
Next time: Slayers Premium(maybe)