Recent Reading: Inuyashiki Volume 1


Over the holiday break, I took some time to catch up on some manga that I have been meaning to get to. The first item up for reading, volume one of Inuyashiki. This series became my priority for reading, since I read that it is supposedly getting an anime series. It is done by Hiroya Oku, the creator of Gantz. Gantz is one of my favorite anime series, due to the social commentary it contained, but admittedly I have not read all of the manga. One of my favorite things about that franchise is the difference between the manga and anime. I wanted to flip the script on this series and tackle the manga first and also before I fall too far behind, so let’s dive in and see what this series is all about. I wanted to see if it packed the same social punch as Gantz.

The story centers around Ichiro Inuyashiki, a 58-year-old man who is very shy, timid and lacks confidence in himself. We get glimpses of his life, how his interactions with his family and how he fits into society. Needless to say, it’s very uninspiring and you can see that Inuyashiki’s strategy is to basically get by in life, remain hidden from trouble and not to cause any form of confrontation, whether with family or strangers.

But his personality and place in society is not the only thing going wrong with Inuyashiki. We also find out early on that he has cancer and doesn’t have long to live. This life changing diagnosis, inspires him to purchase a dog and they quickly become best friends. A friend that Inuyashiki feels like he can talk to, quickly developing a relationship more in depth than that even with his own family. However, one night, Inuyashiki takes his dog for a walk and has a terrible, unexplained, accident.

Throughout the next few days, Inuyashiki struggles with himself, not feeling like he is the same person he was prior to the accident but also still confronting the fact that he is nearing death.

If you don’t want the first volume to be spoiled, I would suggest not reading much farther.

Inuyashiki, feeling ill, visits doctors and more to get clarification on his diagnosis. These medical tests all come back with errors and the doctors are baffled with the situation. It is revealed that Inuyashiki has now become a robot. With his newfound robot capabilities, Inuyashiki starts to change and decides that he can explore his new capabilities.

While out, Inuyashiki comes across a homeless man that is being assaulted by a younger crowd of kids. This is a topic that makes it’s way into Gantz, so I am eager to see how this develops in future volumes. Inuyashiki is able to help stop the attack and even uses some social media components of his new powers to share the attack and information with other people through sites like Youtube and more.

I felt that the first volume of Inuyashiki was pretty intriguing. I don’t know of other series that have an older super hero. There are also many different social angles I am interested in as well, the role of the homeless (given the fact that it was involved in Gantz as well), how Inuyashiki will handle and adapt with his powers, but most importantly, this concept of public shaming the attackers through social media. I will have a review of more volumes of Inuyashiki as I get them read, I think there are currently 4 or 5 volumes out so far.

Recent Viewing: Gantz (Live Action)

It’s good to have a little free time again. I wanted to write about one of my favorite franchises. I need to first be up front and say that I am a pretty big Gantz fan, so with that in mind, check out the trailer below and we will see you on the other side.


First off, Gantz is broken into a couple films, and this is a review of the first one only. The trailer above showcases clips from both films. For those who aren’t familiar with the Gantz universe, it started as a manga series before being adapted into an anime series and eventually into live action films.

The premise of the franchise is that when people die they are taken to a room by a black orb and are given weapons to hunt aliens for points. I haven’t finished the manga series yet, I have completed the anime series a few times and am now working on the live action films.

The first film covers the first several games of the Gantz series. The live action adaptation has its ups and downs. As with any series, when condensing it down into a film you have to make sacrifices. In this case, the sacrifices came at the cost of character development. At times I felt they were stringing key scenes and buzz words from the anime series. It is probably some unfair harsh criticism, since I do hold the anime series in a pretty high regards from a character development stand point and also from a social commentary stand point. I felt they lost some of that in the first film.

The visual effects were pretty solid for the film, nothing to complain about. The film from an action stand point is also solid. If you are looking for an entertaining and action packed film, Gantz may be worth checking out. If you are a fan of deep character development, you may want to check out the anime series instead. The film takes a lot of inspiration from the manga series, even though the manga and anime are very similar for the first several volumes.

I think I am going to check out the second film at some point and see which direction it goes as well. It is possible the second film will focus on more of the character development too. I won’t know until I check it out 🙂 If you have watched Gantz, I would love to hear your point of view. Like I said, I am a little impartial because I enjoy character development above all else.


Recent Reading: Stray Dog of Anime: Mamoru Oshii

The other week I mentioned that I have been studying up on some of my favorite directors in anime. Currently, Satoshi Kon has been my subject. However, before I started with Satoshi Kon, Mamoru Oshii was my subject matter. It all started with Amazon suggesting the title “The Stray Dog of Anime: Mamoru Oshii” by Brian Ruh.

I haven’t seen all of Oshii’s work yet, but I have seen some of his works; Ghost in the Shell, Avalon and Blood the Last Vampire. The book made me realize I need to push more of his work to the top of my viewing list, such as his work on the Patlabor films and also Jin Roh.

So with reading about Oshii’s work and seeing a couple of his films, what can I say that I learned or was inspired by thus far. Without talking about this, there really was no point in studying or learning about each.

Prior to starting my study on Oshii’s work, I didn’t know much about him or his work outside of Ghost in the Shell. Oshii’s work have many themes in them, but all can be boiled down to technology, politics and war. This point was probably the biggest surprise to me to a certain extent but also an inspiration. For the sole fact that I always felt that most directors continually work on various projects with a wider range of themes. So reading about his work and seeing that he was continually using these themes but telling different stories with different character archetypes was intriguing.

Without seeing some of the films it is hard to distinguish which films (if any) deviate farthest from the generalization of the themes Oshii uses. So I will need to see more to see if I agree with the broad statement above.

I have been a fan of films and series that have a feeling of a social commentary in them. One of such titles is Gantz (the anime). Oshii’s work has elements of social commentaries but at the same time, stories such as Ghost in the Shell, (in my opinion) seem to take the social commentary and push it and ask a question of “is this the direction we want to go?” or showing possibilities of continuing down a certain path whether it is political or technological.

I will be sure to post up more things in the future about Oshii as my study of his work goes further with the viewings of more of his films and more to come soon featuring Satoshi Kon’s work.