Wednesday, January 10, 2007

O-Parts Hunter, v. 1

Story and Art by Seishi Kishimoto
Published in the U.S. by Viz

Slugline: Repackaged, extruded fantasy by-product never tasted so good!

One thing right out of the gate, O-Parts Hunter was created by the brother of Naruto's creator, so artistic and stylistic similarities are to be expected to a certain extent.

On the face of it, this is a story that we have seen a hundred times before. Boy who has a terrible force within himself tries to compensate by becoming more powerful, along with a girl who has to be cheerful to make up for a family secret. Ancient unknown civilization has left weapons of unimaginable power lying about for anyone to find.

But at the moment when everything is about to fall hopelessly into cliche, they draw back. The darkness that is within Jio, the main lead, is not potential but actual, with a real bodycount, and it's implied that along with not-so-nice folks, some actually random folks have been killed by his darkness. True, the character has some distance from his dark acts, but by the same token he is still doing it, a far more difficult choice to pull off. And his goal of world domination is quickly and ruthlessly undermined and laughed at, and what he really wants is revealed.

Sure, the female lead is not as well drawn as I would hope, at times the action is hard to follow, and there is one case of deus ex machina that is really close to the traditional god coming down of the sky to take out an offending foe, but I see that there are some interesting character bits that hopefully the creator will explore in later volumes.

- Ferdinand

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