Thursday, February 05, 2009

Tantric Stripfighter Trina, vol. 1

Story by Ken Faggio with Art by Fernando Furukawa
Published by TokyoPop

Slugline: Less Tantric, more stripping

Trina is the last survivor of a religious order that emigrated from Earth and it's interstellar empire to a world so they could practice their mixture of yoga, shaolin and tantric practices in peace. That was not to be, with their planet's inhabitants wiped out and Trina trying to hunt down the ringleaders that lead the attack years later. Trina has mastered the signature style of her order, 'stripfighting.' Yes, I can't believe I typed that either, but it is right there in the title, so it has to be taken (somewhat) seriously. She becomes a bounty hunter to gain the credentials she needs to track down the raiders, but has in the process picked up a follower in Abbey, a gunrunner until she was caught up with one of Trana's bounties. Abbey now wants to learn from Trina how to fight, but until Trina agrees, Abbey gets by using her cybernetics and guns. As Trina and Abbey hunt down the ringleaders, following them is the true mastermind of the story, and more mysteries for future volumes to follow up on.

Tantric beliefs are commonly thought to be about sex. While that is vast simplification of centuries old tradition, for the most part there is no need to worry about it since other than some suggestively named moves, there is no sex. But lots and lots of stripping. I never knew that there was so many ways you can beat someone up using a makeshift bra. The manga skirts on the very edge of the 16/18 age divide, with only two very small pasties that hide Trina's nipples preventing the book from being shrinkwrapped and rated 18+. On the other hand, the book's combination of brutal hand to hand violence and barely restrained sexuality, probably means it has the perfect intersection between the action and fan service fandoms. Bluntly, it is for teenage boys who play way too much video games and make crude jokes. Not that is necessarily a bad intersection, and the title hits it's target audience very well. The art and story do what they need to do, not excelling but delivering exactly what the title and the cover promises. In that way, I consider the title successful, though I admit I would feel a bit self-conscious carrying in the book around in public.

Tantric Stripfighter Trina, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga


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