Saturday, May 15, 2010

Maoh: Juvenile Remix vol. 1 Impression

Mao: Juvenile Remix vol. 1
Fan of stories involving wolves in sheep’s clothing? A tale of deceit putting on the face of heroism? If yes then check out Maoh: Juvenile Remix volume 1 from Viz’s Shonen Sunday line. This first volume offers up what seems to be a story of a kid just wanting to fit in but quickly transforms into more; what more, let’s see what Maoh is all about.

Ando has a special skill, the ability to make others say what he wants but it’s a skill that put him through much scorn as a child. Due to these past encounters Ando has decided to take the path of least resistance, to blend in and never stand out. Living with only his brother, both parents since deceased, this blending in is thrown for a look by the mysterious Inukai, the leading figure for the group Grasshopper. Grasshopper takes it upon themselves to police the city, help reduce crime and bullying but they are so much more. As Inukai spreads his influence it’s through a chance encounter that Ando see’s the true face of Grasshopper. As much as he’d like to just ‘blend in’ Ando is quickly confronted with a dilemma and choices that will put him front and center questioning the true objectives of the city’s new hero. Inukai, angle or devil and how will finding the truth impact Ando … if he’s allowed to get that far.

The art in Maoh is passable as it feels very anime, and what I mean is it’s got a cookie cutter design that works, is polished but also simple, simple like a Sunday morning comic strip when compared to a high quality graphic novel. The one piece of art that really shines is the cover and this is due to the intense stare of Ando, a look that tells more about the conflicting story to come. The story, original by Kotaro Isaka and adapted by Megumi Osuga, is the star of the show. There are many kids like Ando, not for his power, but just blending in, never getting involved. Ando’s transformation, change, can be an inspiration for all but when adding in a figure like Inukai, which just moves the story to a new level. The way he speaks out against society, recruits those he beats down, hell even his look all speaks to peace but the dark side, the mask wearing troops he commands, it all screams storm troopers and not those seen in Star Wars. The Third Reich had such a figure that could influence and take advantage and manipulate the weak. Inukai is the same figure which is frightening and now readers can begin to see Ando’s dilemma. Even with his power how can he expose Inukai?

And that my friends are what makes Maoh so enjoyable to read. This is an ant taking on a hornets’ nest, the juvenile taking on the heroes. How will Ando’s journey progress, who is Inukai really … gotta read to find out.

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