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Saturday, 21 September 2013

Manga in the 80's Pt. 5

Xenon Heavy Metal Warrior. Written and illustrated by Masaomi Kanzaki.Ran for 23 Biweekly Issues from December 1987 to November 1988 by Eclipse International\Viz Comics completing the story arc. Taken from serialization in Shonen Big that started in1985.

[reprinted in volumes (1 to 4) and owned by Viz Communications in 1992]

This is our first foray in to a technological World of Science Fiction, when after missing for three months the17 year old Asuka Kano having been kidnapped by the organisation of the “Bloody Sea”, and against his will made into a weapon, a Cyborg no less! The trauma of which has given him amnesia, so he does not know that he has been transformed!!

Now the deemed the 'ultimate project' and labelled 'Xenon', Asuka has become two fully integrated creatures, one mechanical, and one Human, and after his escapee from the Bloody Sea's laboratory, he is hunted by those employed with a psyche found in nature of violence, bloody violence (volunteers to be man-machines), all is not lost as his High School friends try and help him regain his identity and memories, and as luck would have it the girl with the schoolgirl crush on him has a Grandfather who is a scientist (a little off his rocker...you could say) with a fully equipped mansion laboratory.
The action of blood and oil, wires and sinew took place over comic-book panels where the art replaced the dialogue in telling the story (the Manga style).

[You will find this a reoccurring theme of “man and machine” is part of the Japanese national Psyche. In understanding industrialisation, and a hope for a better tomorrow.]

[ In issue 3 a two page article written by the author of 'Manga, manga: the World of Japanese comics' Frederik L. Schodt was entitled 'Japan – A land in love with Robots'. From a child android and remote controlled brutish robot, to the piloted warrior robots, and Cyborgs, to the machine known as a Mobile Suits, Japan was indeed in love with Robots, and so it was in the West in the 1980's too!]

[A forthcoming book in January of 1988 from the pen of Frederik L. Schodt entitled 'Inside the robot Kingdom: Japan, Mechatronics and the coming Robotopia' would give us all an insight into this fascination of Japanese obsession with Mr. Robotto!]

[Later in 5 Issue had another two page article appeared, this time written by Abra L. Numata from the Viz Communication Inc.'s editorial team. It was all about the Manga industry and the Japanese art style that has a storyboard\cinematic look and feel to it, and the up and coming emergence in1983\1984 of leaders progressing the Japanese Manga comic-book to new levels, (Translated examples of this 'new wave' of comics are given as AKIRA & GREY), and the article explained how they were editorially put together for a English readership (very interesting).]

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