Blaster Knuckle

July 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm (Review, Seinen) (, , , )

Japanese: ブラス・ナックル
English: Blaster Knuckle
Author: 技来静也 Wazarai Shizuya
Amazon JP: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3

Description:

Take yourself back to the 1880s where the KKK is thriving and the African American community lives in fear. The African Americans don’t fear the KKK simply because they beat, rape, and kill them. No. They fear the KKK because the KKK eats them. They are the aptly named man-eaters, a kind of mix between werewolves and vampires. They consume human flesh, can shapeshift into various forms, and are practically immortal. Only one man, an ex-heavyweight boxer named Victor Freeman, dares to stand up to them. Equipped with a small arsenal and a set of modified brass knuckles, can our hero defend his people and avenge his past?

Review:

This may contain spoilers, you have been warned.

Victor Freeman is quite possibly the most badass African American hero ever depicted in manga form. Afro Samurai is cool and all, but he has nothing on Victor Freeman except for an anime adaptation. Victor Freeman has real problems to deal with.


Like racism.


White people.


The KKK.


Flesh eating monster werewolf-vampire-zombie hybrids.

You know, real world problems.

If that’s not enough to convince you that our man Victor Freeman is way better than that punk upstart Afro Samurai, well, you suck.

Seriously though, Blaster Knuckle is quite possibly the best blaxploitation manga ever created. It has everything going for it. It’s like Boss Nigger with a supernatural element to it and decent story writing. I found myself enjoying everything about Victor Freeman’s story, from the snippets shown about his past, to the nonstop punching in of the Man’s face on nearly every page. It’s quite possibly the only Western-style manga I’ve ever read and thoroughly enjoyed. Granted, that’s probably because Victor Freeman is strapped with a pair of brass knuckles with four shotgun barrels on the knuckle that he blows people’s heads into literal smithereens with. But hey, he does it well, damn it.

The artwork here is also something to take note of. Many people have found the art to be ridiculously similar to that of Miura Kentaro, the genius behind the Berserk manga. It’s true, there are many, many similarities to Berserk found within these three volumes. It’s been speculated that Wazarai Shizuya is a penname for Miura, but the more likely answer that I’ve heard is that he’s a high school buddy who was once Miura’s assistant, much like Mori Kouji the author of Holyland. That in mind, the artwork is amazingly fitting to the time period and the people in it. Victor Freeman and all of the other African American characters introduced here actually look like African Americans, not the freak caricatures that you usually find in anime and manga.

The demons also look like, well, disgusting demons. They’re drawn excellently as well.

In any case, I’ve found it best to read Blaster Knuckle while not trying to figure out any similarities it may have with Berserk or Miura’s art style or any of that. Just enjoy the ride through the mystical wild west and watch as Victor Freeman takes on the KKK monsters for what they did to him.

If you enjoy heads being blown up, racism, sticking it to the man, westerns, manliness, or extreme amounts of awesome, then you’ve probably already read this. If not, go find it now.

****/*****

(English versions thanks to Chinkara.)

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3 Comments

  1. ballzyohimesama said,

    The reason why there aren’t many black characters in manga these days is because of Victor Freeman. He’s just too BOSS for anyone else to exist.

  2. Forever It Shall Be said,

    My, I haven’t read Manga in a dog’s age, but when marketed to me as ‘racist’ manga, how could a curious soul resist? XD Turns out to actually have quite the infectious storyline. Being African American myself also helps. :)

  3. Brothaman said,

    ONE OF THE GREATEST MANGA EVER. Finally a black man as the main in a manga.

    Afro Samurai
    Knights
    Me & The Devil Blues
    This manga

    Are the only ones so far, with a black main character in a manga. WE NEED MORE HOWEVER, COME ON BLACK PPL STAND UP!!

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