Death never looked this good before…
4 Volumes – Completed
Akira Yuusa is a tough Tokyo detective, renowned for his impulsive actions and thoughts, bending the rules and brutal treatment of criminals. However, he always manages somehow to solve the case, which is probably why the book hasn’t been thrown at him… yet. One day, however, his life changes – abruptly and violently.
Having just witnessed the assassination of his lawyer brother, Akira sees a face in the crowd – that of the beautiful and deadly killer, Kilico. His inner voice tells him she is the culprit and so begins a game of cat and mouse as Akira sets off after her in search of justice and vengeance for his dead brother.
If you get the feeling while reading this that you’re watching a movie play out before you, don’t be too surprised. It would appear as if Kiba was originally planning to work in the film industry and has obviously carried what he’s learnt about cinematography over into this tale. This is clearly apparent in the set-up of the opening chapter, where we’re rapidly introduced to the protagonists, given an indication of their characters, then with the skillful use of cut scenes, we’re shown their convergence to the fateful encounter. Although his drawing style takes a bit of getting used to, it achieves what the mangaka sets out to do – in a surprisingly subtle way at times too. A good example of this, is when Akira spots his brother’s killer through the crowd. Maybe not as far fetched as it sounds at first glance – after all, in a group of shocked onlookers, wouldn’t an unsurprised or calm face stand out like a sore thumb?
Below: To a good cop, you’re never just a face in the crowd…
However, this particular arc plays only a small part of the overall story, as what could have been a simple tale of vengeance is fleshed out with a complex plot, multi-layered characters, style and substance to become one of the better and more engrossing action stories I’ve come across in a while. It’s one of those stories where no individual is truly good or evil and it’s watching the central characters deal with their inner demons that makes this well worth reading. As much as the hunter and hunted are both cold and ruthless in the execution of their objectives, it’s when the author delves into their motivations, especially where Kilico’s past is concerned, that you realise what a skilfully crafted story this is.
At the end of the day, it’s not about who’s going to win against who, but who has the strength to break free from the cycle of violence – even at the risk of self-sacrifice. This, combined with the feeling you are watching proceedings through a camera lens, makes for gripping read, worthy of it’s place within the action genre. As I mentioned, his artistic style takes a bit of getting used to and it’s probably not for the squeamish either, but if you can get past that, give “Kilico” a whirl.
[Reviewer: Gerwyn Petty]