Thursday, 20 August 2015

Wolf by Shige Nakamura Review

A young jerk called Naoto wants to beat up an older jerk called Kurozaki because he’s the deadbeat father who abandoned him and his mother when he was a kid. They’re both boxers and the book contrives for the two fighters to work their family issues out in the ring despite their two decades+ age difference. Let’s get ready to bullshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! 

Shige Nakamura’s Wolf is part of the Gen Manga line which touts itself as publishing outsider comics that wouldn’t appear in the mainstream. Except Wolf seems to be exactly the kind of rubbish that appears in mainstream manga. Bad physical comedy, a dumb bimbo character with big tits who’s only there to smoosh the main character (a male obviously) into them when he, erm, needs it, standard depictions of action – it’s all here! 

The only difference is the lack of a single character worth caring about. Our lead is Naoto but he’s an angry dickhead nobody could possibly want to see succeed. Kurozaki is the other main character who’s an even bigger dickhead who you just want to see get beaten repeatedly. And then there’s the one-dimensional cast whom you couldn’t mistake for characters. It’s also way too long for the simplistic Rocky-esque story it’s going for. 

Once the action starts up in the ring, the story becomes mildly interesting. Nakamura renders the fights well so you can tell what’s happening and how a fight progresses so it’s exciting to see. That’s the only positive this book’s got going for it though. 

The ending is a disaster. Not only does it do the same thing as Ridley Scott’s Gladiator - only ineffectively - it also has the two male characters brought together by severely hurting one of the few female characters, Naoto’s mother/Kurozaki’s wife. Gail Simone’s “woman in a refrigerator” theory continues to prove its relevance. 

When Gen Manga first appeared on Netgalley, the offerings were great. Now they’re putting up shite like this and dogs in schoolgirl outfits... I don’t think I’m gonna request any more manga from that site when they’re this bad. Moody young male teens might enjoy Wolf – I wouldn’t say it’s worthwhile for anyone else.


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