World Comic Book Review

A Deep Six’d Publication

27th May 2022

How to Build a World in One Piece

One Piece
Shueisha (JP)/Madman Entertainment (AU), July 19, 1997-present
Writer: Eiichiro Oda

During the early 2000s, three manga titles were universally regarded as “The Big Three”. These were Eiichiro Oda’s “One Piece” (1997-present), Masashi Kishimoto’s “Naruto” (1999-2014), and Tite Kubo’s “Bleach” (2001-present). The three titles make up a triumvirate of iconic teen action themes – “One Piece” features pirates, “Naruto” features ninjas, and “Bleach” features samurais.

Actual sales rankings paint a different picture from fan perceptions of success. Measured by revenue, “Naruto” and “Bleach” regularly rise, fall, and trade places with other manga titles. “One Piece”, on the other hand, consistently takes the top spot. The title breaks sales and publishing records on a regular basis. Volume 57, in particular, has a print run of three million copies in 2010, making it the highest first print not just for a manga, but for any Japanese book as at time of print.

As at 2015, “One Piece” continued to dominate in terms of manga sales. “Naruto” has ended its run. “Bleach” is struggling to remain in the top five.

What, then, is “One Piece” about and why is it so consistently popular?

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Prison School: Panties, Cleavages, and a Well-Written Story Underneath

Prison School (review)
(Kodansha, February 2011-onwards)
Writer: Akira Hiramoto

“Prison School” is a manga franchise written and illustrated by Japanese writer Akira Hiramoto. It started serialization in Kodansha’s Weekly Young Magazine on 7 February 2011 and continues to this day. “Prison School” has spawned an anime series and a live action TV series along the way.

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One Would Think the Deep Had White Hair

Leviathan vol 1-12
Mediaworks, 1999-2005
Writer: Eiji Ohtsuka
Review by Neil Raymundo, Feb 23, 2016

The Leviathan in the Old Testament is a dragon that dwells in the oceans, originally created with both male and female representatives, but proved to be so dangerous that God slew the female in order to prevent the species from multiplying and destroying the world. It is said that the Leviathan is a bringer of end times, and that its flesh will be served in a banquet for the righteous on the advent of the Messiah.

In the Japanese manga-style comic book entitled “Leviathan”, published by Mediaworks and written by Eiji Ohtsuka, a character named Samizo Kouhei went to Cappadocia accompanied by several friends for a UN peacekeeping mission, one in which they are tasked to negotiate with anti-government guerillas. The entire team went missing and only Samizo Kouhei managed to return. Except Kouhei now consists of the stitched body parts of the missing UN peacekeeping team, an ancient coin embedded in its forehead.

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The Undead Hunters of Tokyo

Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1
Shueisha Inc (Japanese original) 2011; Viz Media (English translation) June 2015
Writer: Sui Ishida

Review by DG Stewart, 8 January 2016

“Kodokushi” is the Japanese word for “lonely death”: a common enough phenomenon in Japan where haunting alienation from the community is prevalent as a consequence of, amongst other things, Japan’s extended economic stagnation. Many Japanese people, particularly unemployed and middle-aged men, die alone and unnoticed, and it is such an issue that Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward began a lonely-death awareness campaign.

Mr Ishida’s anime comic is concerned not with elderly men dying a lonely death, but with a young, awkward student named Ken Kaneki. Ken attends the imaginary Kamii University, located in Nerima ward in Tokyo. He is hopeless with girls, and hides in the shadow of his good childhood friend, the extroverted Hide. A pretty young woman named Rize slowly becomes interested in Ken, as a consequence of a mutual interest in a sinister book entitled “Egg of the Black Goat”. The two end up walking together down an alley. Rize leans in, apparently nervous, and then abruptly transforms into a ghoul and takes an enormous bite out of Ken’s shoulder and neck. The alley is otherwise empty: Ken’s version of kodokushi will be more horrific than most, but yet not an unexpected thing in Tokyo.

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