Monday, November 08, 2010

Manga Monday: Kuro Zakuro

Kuro Zakuro (Volume 1)
Yoshinori Natsume

Kuro Zakuro is a new series from Viz that introduces readers to high schooler Mikito Sakurai, a boy who's always thinking of those around him, but is always on the radar of bullies.  When his best friend gets disgusted with him when he doesn't stand up for himself yet again, Mikito gets what he needs to turn his life around, just not in the way he expected.  While sleeping, Mikito swallows a demon seed and has a dream featuring a creepy sharp-toothed kid that grants him his wish to be able to stand up for himself.  When he wakes up, he finds that he's super-strong and has perfect vision, and when bullies come for him again, he fights back, amazed at how easily he defeats his adversaries.  While this should be good news, Mikito finds himself having strange cravings, and in time, sees the people around him as meat.  Then he meets a demon who recognizes him as one of his kind, and has an encounter with a demon-hunter who tries to kill him, and Mikito realizes that his wish has a price, and that his life will never be the same.  He makes an effort to keep a distance from the people around him, and keep his new violent impulses in check, especially when a new face shows up at school, boasting the same hunting tool as the previous demon-hunter he came across.  A lot of stuff happens in this first volume, but it's all laid out pretty plainly, and echoes some stories readers have seen in previous manga like Parasyte with the transformations his body is going through, and Death Note with Mikito's attempt to outwit the demon hunter at his school, and the odd demonic kid who appears to him in dreams.  But Kuro Zakuro doesn't tell a story like either of those books and while it does have its creepy moments and neat scenes, it just seems like it's borrowing ideas from better books and changing them just enough to make them different, but not enough to seem cool or make them its own.  The art is pretty decent, although the action can be a little foggy at times.  The demons look pretty cool though, very monstrous and intimidating.  I wish the characters were a little more developed, because I think more interesting characters could have produced something a little more special here, but in the end, we're left with a pretty mediocre book.

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