Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Akumetsu by Tabata Yoshiaki

Tabata Yoshiaki


Nagasawa Shiina was just your average 3rd year high schooler when her parents' company went bankrupt. In order to help pay the bills, she sells herself into prostitution. At her first job, a mysterious masked man crashes the party... and it's someone she knows.
Akumetsu is the story of Shou, who defends his own view of justice in a vigilante manner while wearing a mask and calling himself Akumetsu.

Alternative names



Sites for reading online (free)


Rosy's scrawlings on Akumetsu
Some of you may have run across Tabata Yoshiaki's other piece Wolf Guy, which turned away half or more of its fans with the explicit gang rape - hmmm can't call it a scene -scenario was introduced. This scenario continued for enough editions and in such detail that it made many readers more than a tad sick. It seems that ultra-violence in many other forms is acceptable but rape isn't (and it doesn't have to be of a woman). So, for fans of Wolf Guy up to that point - the ones who loved the plot and violence and illustrations - here is another of Tabata Yoshiaki's that was illustrated by the talented Yuuki Yugo. This time without gang rape, which has been replaced by mass murder and mass suicide on scales that will have you gaping.
The premise of Akumetsu is rather simple but one that most people can understand to a certain extent. Some too much so, as can be witnessed in the murders of politicians and the political ranting justifying the act that follows, but mostly in theory only, if that. Ideally though, the political message at the core should be taken to heart but all the actions of Akumetsu as a result of it should probably be ignored except in the worst case scenario - Hitler rises again so throw him off a building.

Otherwise Akumetsu is a mix of tech based science fiction - with a tad of Asimov's political interest included - and an extremely gory and outlandish modern day vigilante story. The science fiction aspects take a long to build up while you are almost immediately hit with the violence, which seems to be a trademark of Tabata Yoshiaki's. In other words, the science fiction is mainly there to justify one person being able to rampage through the political world, killing nearly everyone in sight. By half way through the series I was beginning to wonder if there was anyone left to run the country. The number of deaths becomes mind-boggling very quickly and you can tell that Tabata Yoshiaki has been sitting there wondering just how he's going to kill the next batch off. He gets rather imaginative and it is for this that you'll likely sit through the political speeches and ramblings, disregard half the scrawled justifications and read on.
That said, there is something in this manga that made me worry for those in power right now. The edge of anger is rather sharp. This is another reason to recommend it though as it provides a glimpse of just how impatient and intolerant the general public is becoming, however suppressed, to those who perceive the public as potential victims or as a giant cash cow to milk.
The illustrations in Akumetsu are not as darkly beautiful as those of Wolf Guy but the style used in Akumetsu is perfect for the story. (For those who haven't read Wolf Guy at all and never will now that I've mentioned gang rape the illustrations have that swirling style you see in Van Gogh's Starry Night but in black and white (mostly black) and with longer swirls.) There is something playful and yet stark about the illustrations that perfectly matches the amount of mad imagination that's gone into the kills and the amount of hate and anger that seeps from the pages. Yuuki Yugo also has a particular talent for drawing the ugliness into an ordinary looking person. It is all about the facial expressions but with a hint of heavy eyebrows, sweating foreheads, beady eyes and oily skin. I have to say, the art is repulsively brilliant.

I'd recommend this manga to: anyone with a sturdy stomach, interested in political or white collar crimes and/or a bit of ultra-violence with their milk plus. This is likely to appeal more to teen boys than anyone else but otherwise there is a fair amount of enjoyment that can be had in the shock value of this manga no matter who you are. That said, keep this away from the young or young-at-heart. The grisly factor is rather high.

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.

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