Let me start of the month of May a little differently, usually my manga reviews are mid-month or end of the month but I couldn’t resist with this one. I rarely pick up series on a whim…but the art style totally called to me. It was only after reading the first page did I realize that this was from the same mangaka as Deadman Wonderland which I’ve not read but am now tempted to pick up.
So far only volume one has been released, the other chapters are still being serialized in Shounen Ace by Kodakawa Shoten. I had actually forgotten to include the illustrator’s name in my banner, this is a duo team, the story is written by Kataoka Jinsei; and illustrated by Kondou Kazuma. It’s been awhile since I’ve carefully cleaned an image the way I did with the banner, featuring Kakujou Youkou, the main character of this series.
The story follows Kakujou Youkou, on his fifteenth birthday in a seemingly normal world where medical technology has sky rocketed and is now able to transplant any human organ. Those behind this are called the Ame No Tori (Rain of Birds). But it all turns out to be a plot against humanity where the new tech can take over its host and thus making them into a killing machine. A task force called the Jackalope are set on annihilating them before they raise more havoc and so Yōkō’s new life begins. – Taken from Smokin’ Parade Wikia
Steampunk, Shounen, Action & Sci-Fi
Just from the first volume…VIOLENT! I really wouldn’t categorize it under Shounen, its definitely not something I’d advice younger readers to pick up especially since it does use quite a bit of swear words, even if they’re in katakana; along with the amount of blood and violence…it’s probably a little brutal. That aside, I was completely taken in by the story and the speed I was able to get through the volume.
I was drawn towards the art…it was the first thing which attracted my attention. I’m not sure how to explain this, but I’ll have a stab at describing it. I tend to like a specific type of character designs, and this style is one of them. The character designs are detailed, and their lines are crisp, there is also something gritty and theatrical in the way the scenes are presented. If I had to put it simply – I prefer the more angular and defined lines, compared to the rounder and softer lines.
As for characters, I had taken an instant liking to Kakujou Youkou; there is definitely some loose screws in him. He is reckless, strong willed, stubborn, and he take things a little too far – in an extremely dramatic manner. It also helps that I do love the color of his hair…that’s me being on a very superficial level. The Jackalope crew is pretty awesome. They’re a bunch of loud and violent group of people; pretty much psychotic if they weren’t fighting on the right side of the law, and fighting to keep humanity safe from the monstrous creations of Ame no Tori. I’ve yet to pick a favorite but at the moment I’m going to go with Akuta, a brash gun wielding member, who had taken a liking to Kakujou Youkou; and Hazama Shirama, the perverted genius doctor who creates their mechanical limbs and weapons. Yet, I can see myself loving all the characters, including the villains.
The first volume was a quick read, and I got through it quite smoothly; yet it might not be for everyone, the amount of violence and blood might seem quite excessive and unnecessary, thought I think it was an interesting way to start off a new series…human trafficking; limb and organ transplant; a bunch of weapon wielding crazies saving humanity; its a train I think I could get on. Overall, I think this would be interesting for people who enjoys action sci-fi and over the top fight scenes. If you’re tired of overly perfect heroes and heroines (tired of those special snowflakes…who are special just because) and are looking for those who are somewhat flawed and crazy, this is perfect. It doesn’t hurt that the art is also quite pretty to look at, despite all the violence and blood. I’ve not read any of this duo’s previous works but I think I’ll be looking into Deadman Wonderland as I mentioned earlier.
Have you read the series? If you have, what did you think about it? Who are your favorite character(s)? If you’ve not, do you think this is something you’d pick up? I really would love to hear from you!