World Comic Book Review

A Deep Six’d Publication

20th January 2022

Gods of Life Volume 1 (review)

Gods of Life Volume 1 (review) Shining Otaku Comics LLC, 2016 Writer: Ervin Johnson II Despite originating in Michigan, this 163 page epic comic book is decidedly very manga in style and themes. Hidden amidst the extended action scenes is an intriguing story of stealthy revolution and revenge. Emeni is a girl who has had … Read more

Yon and Mu (review)

“Yon and Mu”
Kodansha Comics USA, October 2015
Writer: Junji Ito

“Yon and Mu” is an autobiographical exercise, the description of a dog person’s slow transformation into a cat person.

Writer and artist Junji Ito marries his sweetheart, described as “A-ko” (“ko” being the Japanese suffix meaning “child”, but has affectionate and cute connotations- “nekoko” for example means “kitten”) and they move in together. What Mr Ito entirely forgets is that A-ko has a cat, named Jun, which has been residing with her parents. And Mr Ito does not like cats.

Because he is an artist of horror manga, Mr Ito reverts to his tradecraft when describing his interactions with the cat. Jun is described as having an alien stare and a sinister bearing. When Jun sticks out his tongue to vomit, the image is captured with photorealistic horror – jaw almost disengaged and tongue projecting out out like a ghastly protuberance. At one point, when Mr Ito is out to meet a deadline, Mr Ito’s fatigue causes Jun to transform into a variety of monsters. It does not help that Jun has patched markings on his coat which look like a ghoul’s face. Mr Ito starts muttering to himself about curses, the cat causing anxiety and creeping horror.

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Bleach: The Almighty Has Fallen (review)

Bleach (review)
Author: Tite Kubo
(Shueisha, 2001-2016)

In August 2016, manga author Tite Kubo’s long-running shonen manga “Bleach” published its last chapter. The end of the series is controversial: there were initial comments from the author months prior that were vague, yet hinted that “Bleach” would go on for a few more years (when the author compared the length of the last story arc to an earlier arc that lasted a good few years). Weeks later however was another announcement that the series would only last a few more chapters, shortening the timeframe from fans’ assumption of years to a mere couple of months.

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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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