Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rampage, vol 1

By Yunosuke Yoshinaga
Published in the US by CMX Manga

Slugline:  Who knew the skull could be sliced through like butter?

Zhang Fei is a wanderer in ancient China during a period when the bureaucratic eunuchs corruption has lead to civil unrest.  Which basically describes all of China's history, but in this instance the forces hoping to bring change are called the Yellow Turbans. In their fervor to bring change they commit as many crimes as their opposition, so Zhang Fei agrees to join a volunteer force against them lead by Liu Bei. He sacrifices his life to save a little girl but instead of dying he wakes with a cursed spear after a near-death dream experience. When in fear for his life the spear takes control and is relentless in destroying the enemy but is reluctant to return control over his body. Liu Bei is revealed to be secretly a woman and has experience with the power that has Zhang Fei in its grip, so he joins her and her army despite being told of the risks of the cursed spear, hoping that they can help each other with his power and the Yellow Turbans.

One of the annoying things that I find with historical Chinese tales is that I can never keep all of the names straight so that the frustration of working out character references by their context may be spoiling my review. That may partially explain why it seems that the characters' rationales and why they react in the ways they do always seems to be off in the title, appearing to be more the creation of convenience and plot rather than motivation. But since the whole point of these characters is for gratuitous violence and nudity, accomplishing that seems to be more important than the journey there. This is not a deep story, at least not yet, so looking for anything more than battle scenes and having a chance to ogle some non-sexual nudity is probably asking for too much. The violence is done in loving details while the nudity is not, with them not being tied together so the story so far has not been disturbing, but it is just an excuse for violence. Fortunately, it well orchestrated violence.

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


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