BLOOD SUCKER: LEGEND OF ZIPANGU (Yato no Kamitsukai, “Master of the Yato no Kami”) ????????? • Saki Okuse (story), Aki Shimizu (art) • Tokyopop (2006-ongoing) • Gentosha (Comic Birz, 2001-2007) • 12 volumes • Seinen Vampire Action Horror • 18+ (language, extreme graphic violence, nudity, sex)
When a powerful vampire from feudal Japan is reawakened in the modern world, Yusuke, an ex-criminal trying to save the woman he loves, tries to stop his resurrection…and fails. Two years later, a cult led by the resurrected Migiri is stealthily spreading vampirism across Japan, and a special task force must perform a desperate rearguard action against the ever-spreading plague of the “Yato no Kami” (aka vampires). A blockbuster, super-gory horror drama, Blood Sucker is mostly fights and action sequences, but also manages to tell a gripping, complicated story which unpeels effortlessly, like the layers of an onion. There are all kinds of vampires here, from savage monsters to immortal, powerful creatures manipulating human society from behind the scenes. An extensive flashback, which runs from volumes 2-5, tells the background of Yusuke and the cult, and plot runs smoothly across the great leaps in time. The talented Aki Shimizu experiments in a different style than her work in Qwan and Suikoden; sketchier, rougher, at times inconsistent with the character designs, but effective, with shadowy black areas and bold linework.
*** 1/2 (three and a half stars)
Today’s winner is Elizabeth F. of Colorado! Congratulations, Elizabeth! Tomorrow we’ll return with a manga which, according to some definitions, is not a manga: Dall-Young Lim and Sung-Woo Park’s “Black God.”