Current Reviews


Raijin Comics Monthly #46

Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2004
By: Michael Deeley

Writers/Artists: Various
Publisher: Gutsoon!

You bastards! You selfish, narrow-minded bastards! It’s your fault Raijin’s been cancelled! You didn’t buy the magazine, or the graphic novels. Now the series is ending before its stories are finished!

Why didn’t ‘Raijin’ find a wider audience? Did it target hardcore manga fans at the expense of casual readers? Should it have been available on newsstands from the start instead of just comics shops? Did it lack recognizable characters, like Yu-Gi-Oh and Dragonball Z in ‘Shonen Jump’? Was it just too “adult” for the typical teen-aged manga reader?

I don’t know. I’ve been reading it since its debut. I loved the stories. I liked the idea of a magazine patterned after a Japanese manga magazine. I thought, “If an American publisher did what the Japanese did, and produce a comics magazine aimed at adult readers, it would be as successful as Japanese magazines.” But it seems Americans are different from the Japanese in this respect: They still look down on comics as an inferior medium.

Then again, I could be reading too much into this. Maybe the stories just weren’t good enough.

Let’s find out:

Fist of the Blue Sky: Dramatic death scene of Sophie, sister to French general Charles De Giese, killed by a bomb meant for Kenshiro. He survived to swear vengeance against her killer, Zhang Tai-Yan. Meanwhile, monks of Hokuto Souke, the five-forked gate, kill three Chinpan gang members and vow to bury more.

Slam Dunk: Sakuragi takes the ball down court and throws an easy lay-up that puts Shohoku up by one point! With less than 10 seconds left, the game is won right? Except Sendo puts in a lay-up that puts Ryonan back in the lead!

Baki the Grappler: Baki’s father, Hanma Yujiro, kills a boxing champ with ridiculous easy and a lot of pleasure. Baki and his friends try to convince Orochi Doppo not to fight Yujiro. But there’s more to Doppo than we’ve seen.

City Hunter: We meet the man Yoko loves, for whom she’ll risk her life and escape the Yakuza. Guy turns out to be a fake and a coward. Heartbroken, Yoko loses multiple bets to Saeba to become his exclusive lover for the next 60 years!

Revenge of Mouflon: Sano Yohei and the police find the terrorist’s former headquarters in an abandoned factory. Yohei’s wife and son are still alive, but his wife is suffering from severe emotional trauma. The police find Models of the terrorists’ target cities, and one of the new Japanese capital city they dream of building. And the terrorist leader, the Chameleon, prove that he really can go anywhere and be anybody.

Guardian Angel Getten: Tasuke asks the angel Kiryu to challenge him. But why? She’s going to challenge him anyway, so why ask for it? Because there are other challenges that Tasuke must face.

Nemuri Kenshiro: Bizenya has led Lady Katsuragi to a secret Christian church. Nemuri interrupts the service, calling it a “charade”. As he confronts the priest, he has a vision of his parents engaged in a Satanic ceremony. What does this mean? And why does Nemuri hate all things Christian?

Bow Wow Wata: Kojiro misses Junko, his former owner, but feels he’s betrayed her feelings. Also, his first owner is a broken wreck. He has nothing in his life except Kojiro. At the end, Kojiro contemplates suicide, but is interrupted by Wata.

Keiji does not appear in this last issue. Instead, there is one last story about mountain climbing called Seil. Two men climb the mountain that killed their fathers, connected by the thin rope called the Seil. If one climber falls, the other must cut this line and save himself. Otherwise, the falling climber will pull him down too. Only be climbing this mountain do these men realize who their fathers were and why they climbed.

And finally, there is a retrospective of Takahashi Rumiko, creator of ‘Ranma ½’ and ‘InuYasha’, how to make money if you’re a foreigner in Japan, a ghost story, and a brief history of ‘Raijin Comics’.

Well, everything here is golden. It’s your fault for not recognizing it.


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