BLANK SLATE • Aya Kanno • Viz • 16+
Zen is a ruthless criminal guilty of “murder, robbery, assault and battery…every crime imaginable.” Traveling on a nonstop crime spree throughout the country of Galay, he is utterly amoral, and behind his cold smile is his amnesia; his first memory is of finding himself with “an urge to destroy everything.” He’s also really hot, and with his pale eyes and luxurious black hair, this sociopathic killer lures men, women and manga readers alike. The sexy murderer character has been done in many a bad bishônen manga, like the abysmal X-Kai or the mediocre Switch, but Blank Slate has a few things going for it. For one thing, there’s a decent ongoing story, an espionage action tale about the corrupt Galayan government and their oppression of the resentful, dark-skinned Amata; the classic fascists-vs.-terrorists conundrum. For another thing, Zen himself is refreshingly free of emo, leaving the angsty internal monologues to the supporting characters, like Dr. Hakka, an idealistic good guy who finds himself forced to follow Zen around. Will Zen regain his morals as he regains his memories? And what is his true origin? The plot is second fiddle to Aya Kanno’s impressive artwork, which features sexy guys and more than adequate action scenes. One word of warning to Boy’s Love fans: it gets considerably tamer after the first chapter’s suggestive scenes of “you hold my gun and I’ll hold yours.” (No, they don’t actually say this.) (This review was originally printed in Otaku USA magazine.)
** 1/2 (two and a half stars)
Today’s winner, fresh off the automated contest entry form randomizer, is… Kim P. of Wisconsin! Congratulations, Kim! Prepare to receive a bunch of manga!
Alaina P. sent this photo of herself with her manga: Red Hot Chili Samurai vol. 1, Gatcha Gacha vol. 1, and three volumes of Pichi Pichi Pitch! Thanks for sending us the photo, I hope you like them!