October 25, 2010
Yunosuke Yoshinaga – CMX – 2010 – 3 volumes
only one volume was published in English
I picked this up only after the CMX announcement, though I’m not sure why. I think it was just because I liked the cover. You’ll be seeing a lot of strange CMX closing artifacts in the coming months.
I would have kept reading had more volumes of this come out, but honestly, it’s not much my thing. It’s a historical series, dealing with Chinese history and a set of demons. It leans pretty heavily on history, and I don’t much like it when this happens since I can’t really relate to the story (especially Chinese history. Japanese history I’ve picked up little by little, but I’m still completely in the dark about China). To be fair, the book tells you everything you need to know, but I hate sitting through an explanation like that when I’m trying to read a story.
It is a really strange plot. The main character joins up with a volunteer army on a whim, then flees when he sees how difficult a real battle is. He runs across some mythical demons, and is taken over by one and becomes a kind of battle God, while simultaneously losing his personality.
There’s a lot of other stuff going on, lots of politics, rebels, and the volunteer army has its own set of problems. Setting the history aside (some of the characters are supposed to represent real people), it’s nice how many different angles that the book presents, and manages to keep them all straight. I did like that it was easy to keep track of everything, and it didn’t get too mired down in politics and history. It knew when to spice things up with a battle.
And the battles were extraordinarily gory. They were reaching out to Berserk levels of gore. It was pretty amazing, and entirely unexpected.
It’s a fun read, and well-written, but again, it’s not much my thing, and by the end, the story hadn’t really grabbed me. The characters were a little too bland for my taste, and while I did think the take on the Chinese demons was unusual, there wasn’t really enough to differentiate this from other series to make it super interesting.
It doesn’t matter at all, since buying it now won’t really help CMX in any way and there’s no second volume. But all the same. I suppose it is one of the more entertaining examples of… seinen (?) historical action manga. It is one of the least boring I’ve read, and… yeah, if there was a second volume, I’d probably check it out to see if things got more interesting.