Looked down upon as a pathetic old man for his appearance and disrespected by his family, it seems… Read more Read more Inuyashiki’s first volume provided an interesting reversal of the usual shonen story arc, staring a feeble old man as the protagonist who miraculously gains the powers to change in life. Volume 2 provides the other side of this story, introducing high-schooler Hiro Shishigami and following his actions as he more or less gets his own short origin story. This conflict provides the basis for this volume’s story, with Inuyashiki’s family left completely off-stage as the focus centres upon the contrast between Inuyashiki and Hiro in the use of their powers. Like Inuyashiki, Hiro was also turned into a robot in the park that night, but has decided to use his powers purely for his own selfish purposes. This is shown in unflinchingly brutal fashion as Hiro goes on a horrifying rampage that was very effectively done. The art tells the story effectively with very few words used, and I thought that the continual emphasis on Hiro’s eyes during this segment conveyed his lack of emotion and seeming disconnect from the consequences of his actions well.
One of the best parts of this volume was how confident it was in its portrayal of its chosen themes, with the juxtaposition of Hiro in this volume with Inuyashiki’s portrayal in the first volume a key example of this, keeping me captivated the entire time as I attempted to understand Hiro’s motivations. I thought that Hiro’s portrayal linked in very well with the reversal of the old and young this series has accomplished, with the older Inuyashiki eventually tasking himself with handling Hiro in a reversal of the usual shonen structure. The contrast between their personalities aside from their age is also done extremely well, effectively emphasizing the difference in the realization they come to from using their powers. Although not much explanation is provided for Hiro’s actions, this volume does a great job emphasizing a distinct capriciousness to his violence that is later contrasted effectively to Inuyashiki’s purpose resulting from his newfound ability to save people. To emphasize this point and bring the two volumes together effectively, Hiro has a moment where he reflects on his violent actions, noting that he “feels alive” in a mirror image of Inuyashiki’s realization in the first volume. This created an extremely strong comparison of each of their character progression as the two land on a collision course, strongly investing me in this conflict.
While the first half of the volume focuses on Hiro’s actions, the second half of the volume return to Inuyashiki as he continues learning to use his powers, this time with a clearer purpose in mind. An enjoyable sequence reminiscent of many shonen series (as well as Superman) follows him attempting to fly, portraying wonderfully a sheer sense of willpower on his part that would have seemed quite unlikely a short time ago. Inuyashiki’s heroic awakening also continues as he attempts to save more people, providing the catalyst for a number of enjoyable sequences as this unimpressive old man surprises his adversaries. I continue to enjoy the way that Oku keeps a firm grasp on the tone of this series, balancing out the utter darkness of the first half of the book with more hopeful moments later on. These are satisfying in helping to establish Inuyashiki’s character in the way he uses his abilities, making him a more relatable protagonist while providing an effective counterpoint to the corruptive effect these same powers have on Hiro.
Oku’s art continues to be an extremely effective part of this series, creating a hyper-realistic style that really emphasizes the unsettling feel of the first part of this volume. For a series about robots and aliens this groundedness is extremely effective, with the scenery portrayed with a startling realism that makes the violence seen disturbing in the sense that it could easily be imagined taking place in the real world.
Additionally, Oku does a fantastic job utilizing shadow for dramatic effect in this volume. This is used most effectively during the first half of the volume following Hiro, as his face becomes progressively more shadowed as his rampage continues. While this is left open to the reader to interpret, I personally took this as a window into his soul as he is slowly corrupted by his powers, but more than that it created an impactful dramatic effect that gave the sequences a lot more punch.
Inuyashiki’s second volume is thrilling and unsettling, creating a powerful juxtaposition between Inuyashiki and Hiro which reverses the archetypal young vs. old moral dynamic, in a dark subversion of the superhero genre. This volume expertly intersperses a twin dynamic of horror and hope to create an uneasy read which is heightened by Oku’s uncomfortably realistic art style. This is an easy recommendation, and fans of seinen manga or those tired of the usual youth focused superhero stories should definitely be taking notice. What do our scores mean?
Inuyashiki Vol. 2 was published by Kodansha Comics USA on November 24th, 2015 and covers chapter 9-17 of the series. Authored by Hiroya Oku, the series is currently ongoing in Kodansha’s Evening magazine. Volume 3 is scheduled to be released in English on February 23rd, 2016. was one of our favourite new series of 2015, check out the rest: Inuyashiki 2015 was a fantastic year in manga, with many awesome new series beginning publication in English.… Read more Read more $12 Gizmodo Media Group may get a commission $12 Gizmodo Media Group may get a commission About the links above Do you enjoy our reviews and want to support us? All you have to do is give us a follow on Twitter using this link! Every follow counts, thanks for your support! We’re Taykobon, your home for reviews of manga and light novels. Be sure to follow us on twitter @taykobon for more updates and to get the latest happenings! We strive to provide timely coverage of manga and light novel releases, for a listing of every review we’ve written you can check here. For more info about Taykobon, please check here. If you’ve read this work or have any questions or comments, we would love the hear from you in the comments below! *Copy provided for Taykobon by publisher. If you enjoyed this review, you may like these reviews as well: After a mysterious email accurately predicts several disasters befalling Tokyo, Kazuya Minegishi… Read more Read more I never thought I would be writing that you’re lucky if you haven’t already read Monster, but there … Read more Read more In an alternate reality, the city of Tokyo is the battleground between humans and vampire-like… Read more Read more