Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I Am A Hero by Kengo Hanazawa... A Review

Zombies are here to stay and I Am A Hero Omnibus 1 by Kengo Hanazawa proves that. Think of The Walking Dead in Japan, but with a good helping of horror added in.

I picked up I Am A Hero Omnibus Volume 1 by Kengo Hanazawa because I had read all sorts of great reviews, and read that it won The Shogakukan Manga Award in 2013. It is about Hideo, a 35 year-old failed Manga artist, who is paranoid, afraid of everything and is just your run of the mill kind of guy. He has a girlfriend (sometimes), is obsessed about Manga and works as an assistant to a Manga artist. One day while walking home from work, he sees a car accident. A person was hit by a car, and should have been dead, but instead got up and lumbered away. Strange, huh? And then Hideo witnesses other strange things, until finally there's no question about it, people are acting really strange and attacking eachother... What's a guy to do?! I don't want to reveal too much of the story, but let's just say it ain't easy being the odd man out, but at least you are one of the living. And this manga is a combination of horror, zombie apocalypse and humor. Yes, there is some deadpan humor (no pun intended).

First of all the artwork is wonderful. Very detailed backgrounds and the characters are drawn really well. But, the story itself starts off really slow and it takes probably half the book to build up some speed. I was wondering what I was reading because there wasn't much to indicate any zombies. And there were some weird sexual references thrown in that I can only think is because our main character is a shy guy. But after getting through that slow beginning, and the weird sexual references, the story took off and I was totally on board. By the end of the Manga, I was rooting for Hideo, hoping he could survive... and I think he did.

Of course I Am A Hero Omnibus 1 ends with a cliff hanger. No surprise since this series started in Japan in 2009 and is up to 20 volumes already. Dark Horse Comics aquired the rights to the U.S. version and plans on releasing 2 Omnibus volumes in 2016 (1 & 2) and 1 Omnibus in 2017 (Volume 3). And hopefully they will continue the series until the finish or else we'll have to learn to read Japanese. But, all in all, I would recommend this manga to anyone who enjoys a great horror story, zombies, or just likes manga in general with a good story.

5 Zombies for I Am a Hero Omnibus Volume 1! Volume 2 comes out in October!

P.S. On the cover you see Hideo with his shotgun. It's a bit unusual for anyone to own a gun in Japan, and Hideo is a law abiding gun owner... meaning, he's not suppose to shoot people... living or "possibly" living. He's going to have some "issues" with that.






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