Review: Ichi the Killer (Koroshiya Ichi)

Ichi the Killer (Koroshiya Ichi)
Gap within gaps

Hideo Yamamoto

Plot Summary
Kakihara is the oldest son of Anjou; the leader of the Yakuza gang, Anjougumi. Anjou suddenly disappeared with all the gang’s money. People speculate that Anjou ran away with the money, but Kakihara insists that his father is being kidnapped and the kidnappers took the money. Kakihara took over command and lead Anjougumi to find his father with only one clue, the number 1 (Ichi).

Personal Opinion
Most reviews I read about this manga had the tendency of mentioning Ichi (the protagonist) and Kakihara (the antagonist) as their main interest. I have to admit both Ichi and Kakihara had unique personalities that I’m sure most -if not all- of us have never met in real life. Both of them shares similar pleasure from violence in extremely different form.

As the story unravels, we will get to know more about Ichi’s and Kakihara’s background. What is the cause of their current psychological state is an interesting point in this manga. Simply by being bullied, Ichi has managed to become so deadly with his super-human martial art skills. He had become a killing-machine with perverted personality as in being aroused after successfully killing his target.

Kakihara’s background is equally interesting. How did a person managed to get a Glasgow smile and scars all over his face? What kind of torture did he survived from? How is he able to enjoy pain so much that he could masturbate with? More questions should pop-up in our heads as the story continues. These are characters beyond our imagination. It is natural if we develop an intense curiosity in this manga.

As I stated above, this manga is all about Ichi and Kakihara from the start to the end where these two arch-enemies finally encounters one another. The story develops smoothly that we can easily keep up without confusion. The characters aside from Ichi and Kakihara should be able to boost the quality of this manga.

That being said, I still think the real value of this manga lies in Jijii’s plot to find “gap within gaps”. The best part of Koroshiya Ichi -in my case- is how Jijii’s strategies managed to tear down the huge Yakuza fortress. It is amazing to see how one person could pit one Yakuza group with another that results in no group surviving the war.

It is true that he who holds information holds power. In this case, Jijii holds great power by being able to manipulate information and led astray those people who believed in him. It’s like playing chess but not as the players who control the pawns. Jijii acts as the one who controls all the chess players. To describe this completely, I think 10 paragraphs would not be enough.

Another thumbs up in this manga lies in its explicit sexual and violent graphics. Not that I condone sex dan violence, I simply think that this is a story evolved around Yakuza. I don’t think we could expect any less explicit than what Koroshiya Ichi has to offer. This might go the opposite for the faint at heart and the weak at stomach, but I guarantee that you would not regret reading it no matter how many times you puke or fell unconscious. Nevertheless, you’ve been warned.

Last but not least, this manga has a disturbing plot. I personally can’t even imagine being able to live in such a world where Ichi or Kakihara exists. In my case, Koroshiya Ichi really opened up another perspective in my life. At the very least, I learn that it is possible to have the twisted personality of a perverted human killing-machine while looking like a wimp.

Personal Rating

[Reviewer: Amir Syafrudin]


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