Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Color of Rage

Written by Kazuo Koike
Art by Seisaku Kano

My second Boxing Day manga purchase, Koike and Kanos' Color of Rage is an oddball buddy story featuring two escaped slaves, one Japanese, the other African-American, who travel Edo-era Japan looking for a place to live peacefully, but of course, run into conflict everywhere they go.

The book is quite readable, as King (the American) and George (strange name for a Japanese person) are both noble, likable folk. Of course, King raises more than a few eyebrows, and so walks around dressed like The Unknown Soldier. He's also exceptionally strong, as I suppose all large black men in comics must be. To be honest, I expected the book to be more racially-inappropriate or uncomfortable than it actually is. I don't know if that is a credit to Koike's writing and research, or simply reveals prejudices of my own. The book reminded me a little of Lone Wolf and Cub, if the cub were a large black man...

The book is labeled 'mature', and there are a few scenes that feature or suggest sexual exploitation of women, and I am left wondering how accurate its portrayal of gender politics is. I feel like there is a high degree of authenticity in its depictions of yakuza values and traditions, and found the book provided an interesting window into historic Japan.

The art is quite nice throughout the book. I often find manga action scenes difficult to follow, but that wasn't the case here.

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