12/09/2008

TOKYO ZOMBIE BY: Yusaku Hanakuma


I'd accuse George Romero of stealing ideas from Tokyo Zombie, but that would imply he was in touch with pop culture on any level. Baldie (or Hage in Japanese) and Afro (or Afro in Japanese) spend their days working in a factory and practicing Martial Arts. After killing a shit talking company higher up, they bury the body on "Dark Fuji", a mountain of trash and whatever else you can hide in a hole. Once noxious industrial waste becomes involved, all the dead bodies placed there come to life, quickly turning Tokyo into a zombie wasteland.

Afro and Hage get out of the area, but while on a food run Afro gets only snacks forcing the older, more responsible, Hage to head back for essentials. While saving a dog, he gets bit, and understanding the inevitable, he takes one for the team and jumps out of the truck. Forced to drive on, Afro and his dog travel for years finding themselves behind the "safe" walls of a militia protected city, the wealthy ruling over all. While most poor break their backs doing manual labor, Afro breaks the backs of zombies in "Zombie Fight", where former pro-wrestlers and fighters take on zombies for food and the opportunity to live behind the walls.

Tokyo Zombie touches on a lot of issues plaguing Japan and America, from simple shit we all deal with when being "working class" and serving the more fortunate, to the value of art in the internet culture, "reality tv" world we live in. Afro's Jiu-Jitsu isn't nearly as appreciated as the other fighter's fake slams and attractive kicks. Accessibility and simplicity over difficult complicated works.

Yusaku Hanakuma, the writer and artist of this book, is a "heta uma" artist, which translated literally means "so bad it's good". His drawings look like something you'd find on someone's desk, all shitty with the occasional perfect hand or mouth. The teeth on Hanakuma's zombies are down right scary, seeming out of place in a good way. The action sequences read better than most X-Men fight scenes, each panel directing the next. The same sound effects are used for fucking and flesh eating, which add an idea of satisfaction zombies get from eating. It's also gross.

There's the instant satisfaction of seeing someone smash a bat over a coworker's head who makes more money than they do but doesn't work as hard. There's the dick and fart jokes that make it great, particularly when a fucked up gym teacher who works his students too hard is burying one who couldn't take "one love tap" gets his dick chomped off while jerking off to trash porno.

All the fucked up people you know are present in one way or another, the awful customers, annoying people on the sidewalk, and your friend who buys pudding but doesn't grab spoons. It's a little bit of everything while still being something completely new.

BONUS:

Tokyo Zombie movie trailer!!

1 comment:

bov said...

Great description.

I must have this book!