Rosy's scrawlings on Apocalypse no Toride
Back in the day I got a little traumatised over zombie movies or anything where the zombie is visually there, presented straight to my eyeballs. All due to one squeamish scene that stuck in my head because for once they got the medical details right and the scene hit home. Suspension of disbelief wasn't needed. I'm mostly over all that but to this day visually presented zombies still have an impact on me that few other monsters do unless the artwork is brilliant (and then I'm just appreciating the art more than the monster). All in all, just by the cover and blurb, I was prepared for a wide range of fairly gruesome stylings. I went in with many expectations so that if there was something to be icked over I was prepared. But in this story I was pleasantly and ickily surprised.
The protagonist, Maeda Yoshiaki, is young and accused of a murder which later seems to have been done by one of the first zombies out there, not that that gets recognised as the apocalypse arrives shortly after he's thrown into jail. So there goes all the getting out of this and saving the day and finding justice morals that you might get in the background of an action story. Actually, there are few morals other than those on teamwork, loyalty and betrayal, leaving a pure zombie fest for you to enjoy. There is no "the end of the world is nigh". It is the end of the world already, thanks.
I should also mention that Maeda Yoshiaki is of the Shaun of the Dead side of things: not quite prepared, mostly freaked out but ready to fight and risk his life when needed. He's not your average victim nor your average army or ex-navy seal hero. He's a slightly cowardly intellectual come good really and is very much what most of us would be like when stuck in such a situation. Lets face it, even the sporty types out there aren't prepared for a zombie apocalypse like this.
So if you are a massive zombie fan, what you're most interested in is likely to be what the zombies are like, is there anything new about them, are they still traditional enough and how are they fought. Well, without giving you all the answers because if you're a zombie fan I just want to say "READ IT!" I'll say that there's plenty of traditional in the kill, some new in the movements, an alternate take on those Resident Evil dog zombies and also some talkers. I quite enjoyed how many details were added in and I have to say that my love of a bloody story ended up taking over from my squeamishness of a zombie story (when done with accuracy re medical knowledge - by this I mean how the victims die more than zombies be zombies).
The are is complex but stark due to little use of shading. The emptiness of the city and the people are reflected brilliantly in the use of blank spaces. For fear of suddenly sounding like an arts student writing an essay I'll stop there. Mostly. I loved the amount of detailing that went into every attack or close up of a zombie and how this was contrasted with quite a few wide shot (drawn) scenes of the city, the zombie piles and so on. Unlike many other mangas the change of focus didn't create a change of style that interrupted the read. The zombies are visually freaky, their speed and tenacity obvious once they get going and the emotional state of the survivors is created through believable facial expressions (none of this over-expressed shock or beautiful teary-eyed sadness here).
The story has only just begun but it is already on the list of stories to keep track of. The chainsaws have only just been cracked out! I can't stop reading now.
I'd recommend this manga to: lovers of zombie stories, no matter who you are. Otherwise, this manga is likely to interest boys and young-middle aged men more than anyone else.
Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.