Ryu’s Musings – Ajin: Demi-Human v01&02

d4218-ajin2b-2bdemi2bhuman2b2528v01-v0625292b25282014-201525292b2528digital25292b2528lostnerevarine-empire2529Language: Japanese
Direction: Right to Left
By: Gamon Sakurai (art) / Tsuima Miura (Story)
Publisher: Vertical / Kodansha Comics
Type: Series
Genre: Seinen
Availability: Volume Print & Digital / Simulpub

Seventeen years ago, an utterly immortal human was discovered on an African battlefield. Since then, more of these new and unknown life forms began to appear among mankind. These undying beings start to be known as “demi-humans.” One day, just before summer break, a Japanese boy leaving his high school is involved in a traffic accident that kills him on the spot. Then, he comes back to life. A huge bounty is placed on his capture. Now the boy’s attempt to evade all of mankind begins

This is the first of my reviews on titles in the current Humble Manga Bundle.

For me this was a bit of a surprise, as when I first read this series many moons ago; when it first launched, I didn’t like it. So reading it again, you can imagine I was reluctant, feeling it to be a waste of my time. I’d initially planned to write this post based off my memories of the series. However when I realised I’d forgotten most, if not all, of the relevant issues of the series I decided to reread it.

And damn I’m glad I did!!

Graphically it’s not a bad title. Sakurai’s art style isn’t bad at all. What’s more the way he draws the Black Ghost’s is really good. Frankly I find them more appealing than a lot of the other characters in the series so far.

That’s not to say that his character designs are bad, because they honestly aren’t. Rather in this case it’s a question of personal preference. I don’t like the way he draw certain characters, especially Izumi, who I really don’t like. It feels like there’s a lack of consistency in her design over the course of the two volumes, which for me makes it hard to like the design.ajin 2

A lot of the other major characters are again well drawn, but for me personally I find them
not really fitting. Izumi’s boss being a prime example, Tosaki. Some of the other characters are interesting however, Kaito and Sato for example. Kaito’s character design is perfect matching his personality, light, bright and airy. Sat on the other hand is cold and aloof, blank frankly a bit creepy

As I finished both volume I have to admit that personal views aside, the character designs are really well done. As are the other areas, such as back drops and, importantly, side characters. It’s always good to see side characters given time and patience to their design, so as they fit in better with the story.

Story is something I can’t really talk about to much yet, because there really isn’t a lot of it revealed yet. The only thing we know is that there two sides in a discrimination war, against the Ajin. Neither side is exactly what yo’d call ‘fighting for justice’ as even from the little we’ve seen so far, both sides are as bad as each other.

Which I have to admit I’m liking. It’s great to see more and more manga taking this approach for stories. Black and White/Good or Evil are great in their own right, but so are stories of grey areas. So far the story has been a bit on the fast side though. I’m hoping that it starts to slow down a bit, do some more stage setting and character setting. Since at the moment it’s heavily focussed on Kei’s transformation and escape.

However beyond that, we’ve not had a lot of reveals. I do feel that what has been revealed so far is pretty damn enticing though. Especially learning some of the history of the Ajin. Though I have to wonder, if Ajin are immortal, why do they age? You’d think having an immortal old body would be damn annoying, not to mention odd.

I do have more interest in this than I expected and after the first two volumes I now find myself with a desire to read more of the series! Thankfully Kodansha is SimulPubing this on ComiXology (£1.49), Amazon (£1.79) and finally, CrunchyRoll (Monthly £4.99 sub)

Now I still have some reservations about this series, it still feels as though it’s lacking something. However this is the perfect time to take the gamble and pick it up. Since it’s firstly one of the titles in the Kodansha Humble Manga Bundle and SimulPub you can pick it up and try it for next to nothing, and then buy the series if you like it. I know that’s what I’ll be doing, and will do a follow up post on the entire series once I’ve finished reading it.

Author: Ryu Sheng