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To those who are reading this you are probably familiar with the recent anime adaptation of Inuyashiki. Which as of writing this is only one episode away until its run is completed. While I have made my thoughts clear on Inuyashiki Last Hero through Twitter I’m preparing to do a full thoughts on the anime once I’ve gone through all of the manga. So I think it is fitting that I review these volume by volume.
Inuyashiki follows a man named Ichiro Inuyashiki who lives a meager life. He has a shitty family, a disease that makes him look older than he actually is, and within the first few chapters he gets stomach cancer. All seems to be lost but then aliens come and crash down and kill him and another man. They rebuilt them using their tech and zoomed off. With these powers given to him he chooses to protect those around him and save others lives.
So based on that brief plot synopsis it sounds crazy and yeah it is but I would not expect less from Hiroya Oku. If you are unfamiliar with the name maybe his previous work Gantz may ring a bell. Basically he has a habit of creating over the top concepts while also injecting awful human beings as either the protagonists or antagonists. Yet he tends to find success with them. While I personally have never read Gantz I have seen a little of the anime. From what I watched it was pretty amusing and that is what I can sum up about the first volume of Inuyashiki. It is a pretty amusing ride from chapter one all the way to chapter eight. Give or take a few problems here and there but overall the first volume was something easy to pick up and hard to put down.
Let’s start with the positives the art is phenomenal Oku has a realistic art style that manages to make each scene pop and the little details are incredible. I noticed when Ichiro was a human he was shaking but when he turned into a machine he stops. Not to mention that the character designs fit the world around them making it believable. Objects look realistic and humans look very life like there was a lot of detail put into this and it’s shown meticulously through each panel. Obviously it doesn’t reach to the uncanny valley levels where everything blurs the line between reality and fiction, but they are believable enough. Another point that is worth praising are the characters themselves these are hands down well written characters. Within the first few chapters the reader can sympathize with Ichiro and his problems and can root for him when he wants to protect others and do good for the world. While earlier I labeled his family “shitty” I feel the manga never makes them unlikable they never go to far with what they say to our protagonist. In a somewhat positive sense, I do find that the manga is easy to read and never feels complex or a lot is going on to overwhelm anyone. It flows very nicely panels are laid out well and I didn’t find any chapter to drag on too long that also includes the one action scene it’s great. The situation itself is really ridiculous which I’ll bring up in a bit but it’s still well drawn and put together nicely.
As for criticism against the manga there are a few. For instance, while I think reading it does go at a brisk pace the beginning was kind of slow. I understand that this is setting everything up and it isn’t bad nor dragged out, but the first few chapter were kind of a bore. I did find that after chapter three it starts to pick up and becomes interesting but to some the slow start may not appeal to their reading habits. Another point of criticism, is that the first encounter with a foe that our hero has to face are a bunch of shit head kids who are trying to kill a homeless man. Even as a guy who watched Gantz even this was a little bizarre I just find it hard to believe a bunch of punks would try killing someone let alone that. It comes off as ridiculous both in and out of context. Although I doubt this’ll be the last time something so out of place catches me off guard.
Also while I did praise the panels there were a few times I did get lost. It also tends to get a little hectic at times. However, it isn’t bad enough that it’s distracting from the main narrative being told. Also this isn’t a mark against it but worth bringing up this is really simplistic to read and understand. I managed to finish reading volume one and it took me about over an hour to fully complete. Usually seinen takes me a little longer depending on how good it is probably like an hour and a half. I generally like to look at the background and character design while also figuring out what the creator was going for. In Inuyashiki it’s all laid out in black and white both figuratively and literally. There’s a good guy and he wants to help others and there’s a foe he has to stop. It’s a concept that is very simple to understand yet effective for the most part. Maybe Oku could’ve done something a little more to make it have a tad more meat to it. Still I wouldn’t call it bad just a tad simplistic for my liking. Even then it’s still the first volume things could grow from here and challenge the reader more. As for right now it’s really easy to understand.
Overall, volume one of Inuyashiki is a fun read. It’s easy to grasp, has wonderful art, and has well written likeable characters. I think this is something everyone should check out. If you are unsure with what I wrote Crunchyroll currently hosts the manga on their site. As for any other way to read them? Well the only other legal way is buying the physical or digital version that’s both on BookWalker and Amazon. I do think this is worth a purchase. The manga aren’t expensive and even for a volume you could always give it a shot. If it doesn’t click then it may not be for you.
Final Verdict: Buy/Read it through Crunchyroll