Comic: Akaneiro

Red Riding Hood has come a long way, from an innocent little girl doing errands for her family to a badass demon hunter you don’t want to mess with! Once more, American McGee manages to pull out a surprisingly good twist on a classic tale that no one saw coming! XP

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This tale, written by Justin Aclin, with art by Vasilis Lolos and published by Dark Horse Comics is what’s born when a classic western story is introduced to japanese folklore on a date orchestrated by a guy as crazy as American McGee! But fear now because the end result is not a freak but rather a well accomplished work that’s certainly worth your time.

This 3 part story takes place on the Yomi Islands, a land plagued by the threat of the invading Yokai, shape-shifting demons who seek to unbalance the world and make it their own, that’s also home to the Order of Akane, or Red Hunters who dedicate their lives to fight the said demons, and the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan. It’s opening sequence actually involves all of the above as a couple of Red Hunters pursue a rogue yokai through the woods but not fast enough that they can avoid its invasion on an Ainu village where a sacred ceremony to the gods is occurring. Assuming the form of a horrible beast, the yokai rampages through the place unopposed until it tried to kill Kani’s (our main character) father and had to face a very angry axe wielding girl who just barely manages to distract it long enough for the Akane to arrive on the scene and put an end to the mayhem. Putting aside the fact that without the intervention of the Akane they would all be dead, the village’s elders blame the hunters for the rampage and sacrilege that just took place, even going to the extreme of considering a war declaration on the order! (damn, this old guys had no chill! XP) To avoid any confrontation that may risk their whole existence, (as the Order couldn’t possibly face the Ainu and still prevent the Yokai threat) Kani proposes to join the Hunters as a representative of the Ainu, something that both parties agree upon but also means that the girl must first set forth on a journey to prove her worthiness… a journey riddled with danger and yokai.

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Ok, it could be better but it’s hard to write a decent thing without giving too much of it away and, more important still, spoiling the whole thing! That’s a big  no-no XP

It’s a very solid graphic novel from start to finish but, at least for me, Akaneiro’s strongest point is its art style (no surprise there, normally this is a deal breaker for me, either it’s interesting from the very beginning or I don’t even bother to read it XP), the way it manages to give that ancient japanese art feel, perfectly depict the environment, characters and monsters alike, not to mention the excellent fight and action scenes – all complemented with a vivid color palette that makes it all stand out and pop!

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Also, while searching pics for this post, I found out that the Akeneiro comics originally served as promotional material for its own action rpg game counterpart entitled “Akaneiro: Demon Hunters” released by Spicy Horse Games back in 2013 (wait a second there, who the hell licked the horse to know that?). For what I’ve seen until now “Demon Hunters” hasn’t exactly the best of reviews or game score but, similar to the comic, its art style and world may make it worth a try at least.

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– Mugen

 

 

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