Creator: Nobhiro Watsuki
Publisher: Viz
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Action
RRP: $7.99
Buso Renkin v1
Reviewed by Michael Aronson

“Talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time! High school student Kazuki Muto had no clue what he was in for when he rescued damsel in distress Tokiko from a monster known as a “homunculus.” Disguised as humans – who actually eat humans – homunculi are malevolent creatures that affix themselves to people’s brains, and once fully grown, the only thing that can annihilate them is a weapon called Buso Renkin!”

Now, I know that the rest of the world thinks that American comics have a distressing fixation with the superhero genre, and they’d be right, but Japan has their own share of imaginative draught in the comics field. I mean, does every story really have to be about a young boy who discovers some mysterious weapon/power/artifact and immediately becomes adept at using it with the help of a mysterious mentor?

And alchemy? Come on, I was sick of it before Fullmetal Alchemist even started, but do we need another series that refuses to just call it “magic”? When you’re pulling a gigantic sword out of the hole that used to be your heart, is there really that fine a line between alchemy and magic?

Personal tastes aside, there really isn’t much wrong with the opening to Buso Renkin. The art is crisp and the enemy designs are sometimes fantastic, though the action and storytelling are in great need of clarity. The characters all fit familiar roles, if overly familiar, and the action and stakes dive right into the thick of things. Plus the high concept, of a boy who needlessly sacrifices himself only to return as semi-undead, is kind of neat.

It’s too bad we’ve already been there and done that to death, but young readers might find it seemingly fresh and interesting.

13 October 2007
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