Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MISC. MANGA, *Lycanthrope Leo

There's not alot of manga about werewolves, even though this one is more about general lycanthropes, including werebuffalo. Kenjo Kaji(scriptwriter for the Wolverine anime)put together this number back in the early 90s along with artist Kenji Okamaru(from Crimson Wolf), which only had a limited run in America through Viz. They did seven single issues that was later compiled into a trade paperback volume, even though there were about four volumes printed originally in Japan.

Leo Takizawa is an athletic high school student who seems like he's going to score big on his track team. But for his seventeenth birthday, his father takes him into a cabin to the woods to tell him that he's not his real father. He tells Leo that he's part of a special group called Hunters that track down and kill lycanthropes, and that he adopted Leo as a baby after slaying his mother. Leo's father then tries to kill him, but Leo transforms into a lycanthrope himself(which is actually a werelion), and unintentionally murders his father. Fearing for his life, Leo heads back home, and manages to get away with not being suspected as it turns out his father's corpse was cleaned up by the Hunters. One of his teachers at school, the seemingly meek Mr. Okure, also reveals himself to be a Hunter, and tries to take him out with a special toxin that slows down his transformations, along with a particularly dangerous repeat-firing crossbow. Leo though musters enough strength, and turns into his full werelion form to defeat(but not kill)Okure. Okure's replacement is the uber-sexy Asuka, who is also a lycanthrope, and a member of the Protectorate. They are an elite group of carnivore lycanthropes that looks out for the other meat-eaters in their tribe, which has infiltrated some of the highest levels of government in preparation for a planned war with humanity. Fortunately, the captain of the school's kempo team, the large Shunusuke, helps pull him away from the dark side. Shunusuke is actually a werebuffalo from a lycanthrope tribe in the mountains which is made up entirely of herbivores. Leo has to decide whether to fight his animal instincts, or give into the beast within.

This was an okay manga, although not really in the level of a regular horror story. More of a supernatural action series. The artwork is pretty intense, although the story could use some better pacing. It would be worth looking for the entire series if you can find it translated into English.

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