Thursday, May 23, 2013
Review: AKANEIRO #1
DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics
STORY: Justin Aclin
ART: Vasilis Lolos
COLORS: Michael Atiyeh
LETTERS: Michael Heisler
COVER: Shu Yan
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (May 2013)
“The Path of Cloak and Wolf” Part 1 of 3
American McGee is a game designer perhaps best known as the designer of American McGee's Alice and for Spicy Horse, his Shanghai-based independent video game developer. McGee and Spicy Horse’s latest game is Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, a re-envisioning of Red Riding Hood set in the world of Japanese folklore.
Dark Horse Comics is producing a comic book adaptation of Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, entitled Akaneiro. The series is written by Justin Aclin and drawn by Vasilis Lolos.
Akaneiro #1 opens on Yomi Island, the home of the Ainu people, who were the first to settle Nippon. The island is beset by yokai, who will destroy humanity if too many enter the world. The Red Hunters of the Order of Akane hunt and kill yokai, maintaining a balance, but the Ainu and Red Hunters, at best, only tolerate each other.
Kani is a half-Ainu girl (on her late mother’s side) who lives with her father, a shabby ronin. Her lineage makes her an outcast to the Ainu, but an Ainu ceremony, the Iomante, will change Kani’s life.
I can’t tell how much Little Red Riding Hood is in Akaneiro, but the influences of feudal Japan-set fiction, as well as Japanese folklore and mythology are clear. Honestly, I did not find Akaneiro interesting at first, but once Kani begins her journey, the story takes a nice, wicked turn. At that turning point, it seems as if the Japanese folklore aspect lessens. Now, Akaneiro has a Sam Raimi-Army of Darkness vibe.
Two things to keep me coming back are, first, artist Vasilis Lolos’ peculiar, but compelling drawing style. The second thing is that the part of the story that begins in the last seven pages is just too good to be left hanging.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux