|Original Manga||Yoshiaki Tabata|
|# of Volumes||18|
Sum it up in a Sentence:
A teenage boy gains the power to change the world, and does so in an extremely violent fashion.
Akumetsu's plot begins with a teenager by the name of Shou Hazama, an ordinary, yet somehow comical and sleazy, high-school student, and his best friend Shiina Nagasawa.
The setup for the story is a near-future Japan, where excessive corruption and speculation lead the country to a massive economic downfall, increasing the public deficit to an enormous seven hundred trillion Yen. Politicians and businessmen simply enrich themselves amid growing unrest. Shiina's family, due to crushing debts, sell their daughter into prostitution, forcing her to attend parties for the elite.
It is during one such party, attended by high-profile employees of the Ministry of Finance, that what was going to become an orgy is suddenly interrupted by a young man wearing a demonic mask, who after giving a speech on how savage and corrupted the upper class of Japan has become, proceeds to brutally slaughter one of the economic advisors by crushing his skull with an axe. Recognized by a frantic Shiina as Shou, the man simply waves the statement off as a misunderstanding, then grabs the mauled body of his victim and walks calmy to the front lobby, where he is gunned down by police and, before dying, has his head blown off by a device implanted into his own mask.
Thus, the act introduces a long, exceptionally violent campaign of murders performed by such masked individuals, targeting those who are deemed as responsible for the massive economic crisis and, as such, labeled as evil by the masked men, who all goes by the common alias Akumetsu (literally destroyer of evil).
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This series owns bones. The series starts out a bit mysterious, though mystery isn't exactly the aim, but delivers quickly on extreme violence in the service of an essentially libertarian reform to the horribly corrupt and failing Japanese government. The answers to a new reader's understandable questions all come in due time, and while it definitely jumps into a somewhat less realistic vein than you might initially have expected (particularly if you're Japanese and recognize the victims as thinly veiled caricatures of real politicians), at no point does it feel like they've jumped the shark or anything. It's an exciting series from start to finish, and well worth the time to read it.
Ohhh yes, Akumetsu. Akumetsu is brilliant in its own way: it's a work that flows and oozes with its own level of cool badassitude. Akumetsu is an incredibly interesting tale of political reform by means of terrorism. Totally unglorified, by both the authors and the terrorist protagonist himself, but still terrorism at that. Politicians are, by nature almost, corrupt. This is especially true in the nepotistic and deeply entrenched political system of the Japanese Diet, which at the time of Akumetsu's creation, had been dominated by a single, fat party for almost forty years. The reforms of their Prime Minister seem impossible, so what does Akumetsu decide to do? Clean out the corrupt with his very life, while instilling fear in those that follow. The actual politics of Akumetsu here are kind of hard to pinpoint; AzraelNewtype characterizes them as libertarian, but Akumetsu is quite liberal, and many of his supported policies are quite social. It may very well be missing the point to even bother to focus on the politics involved: he's not so much for anything, as much as he's against corrupt politicians being in bed with companies, stealing money, or running Japan into the ground. He's sort of a political Guts in a way; eliminating political monsters in order for the real things to get done. He acknowledges that he's doing evil by taking the route of the terrorist, but it's still done. The political and moral ambiguity of his actions form a big part of the work, as Akumetsu's actions clash with public opinion and the views of society.
But I'm sort of digressing here. Is Akumetsu good? Phenomenally. If you enjoy action stories, you should read it, hands down.
This is a series about a really cool guy killing corrupt public officials in exciting and creative ways, blowing himself up, then doing it all over again in the next chapter. I don't really think you could ask for a better premise. The artwork is great, the main character is hilarious, and the action is always really creative. Even if you don't care about the politics at all, this series is still massive amounts of fun to read. If you do care about politics, see Zorak's review for why you should read this manga.
Definitely an series that you'll remember. In a nutshell, you have Akumetsu who goes around killing corrupt political guys in MANY different ways in the name of justice. You don't have to understand a lot about politics, the story is build well enough that you'll understand what is going on and still enjoy it. I would highly recommend this for a read or at least give it a few chapters and see how that settles in.