March 12, 2007
The ending to this story was actually a lot better, as it was a long, continuous action sequence where the little girl was kidnapped and Baoh penetrates the Judas organization, fighting the ultimate psychic warrior along the way in order to ensure the little girl’s safety.
The violence is still what did it for me here, though. There was a character who gets his head sliced in half on two separate occasions. There’s a cyborg who gets most of his skin melted off and his brains shot out of his head. There’s much melting going on. At one point, Baoh severs his own limb, then reattaches it. Oh, also, did I mention he hangs out inside a giant acid-neutralizing spider for awhile until danger has passed? Yeah, that’s how this volume goes.
This series still isn’t very good, but the entire second volume reads like an epic, insane climax to a James Bond movie if James Bond were a bio-beast of some sort. The narration continues, but the boy is now conscious when he turns into Baoh, so a lot more of the dialogue is his. Brain parasites are not mentioned, unfortunately.
Amidst all the action, there’s also a rather touching love story between the orphan boy and girl. The ending was quite sweet, too. The ending is not what you’ll remember though. What you’ll remember is the Earth’s ultimate psychic warrior going on an insane, unhibited rampage where he just melts scientist after scientist.
March 12, 2007
I love Hirohiko Araki. You may have guessed this by the glowing reviews that Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure gets. It’s hard not to love a man who draws an 80-volume manga series, ends it, and then does a followup manga series set in the old west where it’s revealed that the series is actually set in modern times and this is just a product of what happened at the end of the Bizarre Adventure. This is the most genius thing I’ve ever heard, if only because of the sheer scale. I should write the man naughty love notes on a daily basis, but I refrain.
Anyway, Baoh is nowhere near as good as Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure/Steel Ball Run. It serves the sole purpose of making me think about Jojo while reading it. It obviously wasn’t as popular since it only ran two volumes. There’s good reason for this. It has a pretty simple plot that serves as a transition and showcase for the main character, a boy who turns into Baoh. This series is interesting, actually, because there’s a ton of narration. Baoh’s fights are heavy on narration because Baoh doesn’t talk… so he can’t tell you that he shoots needles that burst into flames. Narration is also required because the lead boy and girl don’t know what’s going on, so someone’s got to explain what’s going on… it might as well be the narrator.
When I read the premise for the series, I figured Baoh was a kind of primitive stand. He’s got primitive stand powers, but Baoh is triggered by a brain parasite and takes over, so the kid doesn’t really have any will in it at all.
Yes, a brain parasite.
If that isn’t enough of an indication, this manga is also about as violent as Jojo is. At one point, a guy gets his head sliced into three pieces. A dog is shot with lasers and incinerated. Someone gets needles fired into his face that burst into flames, as I already mentioned. The giant monkey, I dunno, he’s kind of gross and has a violent death, but I couldn’t really tell what was going on… I was too busy thinking about the needles, because the deaths happen simultaneously, you see.
Also, people’s eyebrows look like they were glued on over their hair. The art’s not as awesome as his art is now (look at the covers of Steel Ball Run or Jolyne’s character design), and the plot isn’t that good, but for a two-volume nonsensical gorefest, it’s AWESOME. I also got it pretty cheap since it was out of print. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you like what you saw in Jojo and want more, lower your expectations significantly and check it out.