A gang of brutal yakuza have kidnapped an innocent girl, and the only one who can save her might be the newly-superpowered Ichiro Inuyashiki in this new series from the creator of Gantz.
Fumino and Satoru are a happy couple who haven’t done anything wrong in life, but that didn’t stop a gang of mobsters from kidnapping Fumino to be their leader’s newest sex-slave. Meanwhile, old man Ichiro Inuyashiki has found new life trying to be a hero thanks to his new robotic powers, but still hasn’t quite figured out how to use his new body yet. Determined to save everyone and eliminate the types of people who kept him down for so many years, he springs into action. Inuyashiki might be the only person who can save Fumino and Satoru from their current predicament...
How Was It?
The first two volumes of Inuyashiki have been focused around telling Ichiro Inuyashiki’s equivalent of a superhero “origin story”, and this has worked incredibly well as an unconventional take on the genre. It’s been really interesting to see a broken old man slowly finding life and a purpose in saving people, and this reversal of the protagonist for this type of story has complemented this dark tale effectively. Now that his powers are firmly in place, volume 3 spends its entire duration putting these powers to the test in an interesting episode where he attempts to save a couple in a serious predicament with a gang. I describe it as an episode because this volume functions almost like television episode in the sense that it spends the beginning setting up the story of Satoru and Fumino, who are unrelated to the main plot but are later saved by Inuyashiki.
This approach worked extremely well in building up the gang as a terrifying threat, but also created a distinct anticipation as things I waited for Inuyashiki to arrive on the scene with the save as things went from bad to worse for the couple. It reminded me a little bit of the scene in The Dark Knight when you just *know* Batman is about to arrive on the scene, but this could also be likened to a number of other comparable hero series. This was a very cool way to lay out the volume, and I appreciated the single-minded focus on creating an interesting story for Inuyashiki to demonstrate this heroics in. I also liked that it gave the villains a little more depth compared to the various mooks that Inuyashiki has battled before, and by the time that Inuyashiki did arrive on the scene I was very eager to see him lay the smackdown on them.
The action starts in earnest when Inuyashiki arrives on the scene, and this volume certainly delivered very strongly in that department. This series has had some enjoyable action in it thus far, but this volume was definitely the strongest in displaying some well-rendered fight scenes between Inuyashiki and the gang. This portrayed extremely well by creator Hiroya Oku’s art, which continues to create a hyper-realistic art-style that made the use of Inuyashiki’s robotic powers feel much more jarring in comparison to the rest of the world’s rather mundane surroundings. There were several wonderful full-page spread here that were well-framed, giving the action an extremely dramatic feel that really got across the tension of the situations well. I also enjoyed the way that Oku would show frames sequentially in slightly different positions to track the action, and this has the effect of emphasizing the impact each move had sheer quickness of each of the hand-to-hand fights. However, time was continually taken to show the facial expressions of the characters to emphasize the emotions at play, and I appropriate the way that the series never forgets the human drama that frames each conflict as the story continues to march forward.
While there is plenty of flair to be seen in the action, I also really liked that this volume built upon Inuyashiki’s origin story and advanced his character development effectively. Inuyashiki is still just starting out as a hero and the story makes sure to remind us of that with believable frequency thanks to his hesitation, and this feels strongly in-line with his character development thus far. The emotional stakes are laid out well, and Inuyashiki vividly grapples with the weight of not being able to save everyone in this volume. Again, this was very reminiscent of what one might see out of many comparable superhero stories, but it was unique here because his reaction is a little more of determination compared to the adolescent rage one would be used to seeing in this type of arc. However, I like that the story showed Inuyashiki’s continued process of really coming alive for the first time, and it’ll be interesting moving forward if he’ll be able to reconcile the fact that becoming less human in form has allowed him to become more human in spirit.
Inuyashiki Vol. 3 is another excellent volume in this series, and will be sure to please fans who are ready to see Inuyashiki’s powers used in earnest. The story is strong, creating a bit of an episodic adventure for Inuyashiki as he gets in the thick of a feud between the couple and the yakuza, and this played extremely well to the super-hero theme which continues to underlie this dark series. The heroic adventures of this old man continue to be highly entertaining, and this volume continues to cement Inuyashiki’s place as an excellent action series.
Inuyashiki Vol. 3 was translated by Stephen Paul and published by Kodansha Comics USA on February 23rd, 2016. Authored by Hiroya Oku, the series is currently ongoing in Kodansha’s Evening magazine. Volume 4 is scheduled to be released in English on June 28th, 2016.
Date of Publication: Feburary 23rd, 2016
Translator: Stephen Paul
Author: Hiroya Oku
Publisher: Kodansha Comics USA