Finding something good to read can be hard to come by. It is as if looking for small chunks of diamond amongst the sand. We wait for a review or more so often ask friends for suggestions on what are some of the must read Manga(s) out there. Of course, as always, Google is also a good option to dig out some of these hidden gems. Fret not my friends! Although, I may not be able to recommend you some of the fine reads out there as frequent as I can, behold! This time, I have just the thing you might be keen on reading.
I Am a Hero, ended it’s serialization on the February 27th, 2017. Being a big fan of horror, supernatural and zombie genre, I could not help myself but to give the series a try. Boy… I was not disappointed. To be honest, this may be one of the best horror Manga(s) I’ve read in awhile. Unlike a certain highschool zombie flick featuring bombshell females with erotic bodies to sway its audiences. I Am a Hero despite not having all of these, kicks ass. Allow me to elaborate further in three aspects why you should give the series a try; mainly story, characters and the art.
The story is set in modern Japan and our character a Mangaka (comic artist) does his usual routine. Wakes up in the morning, goes to the studio, draws and is often seen struggling to meet the deadline. In the studio, of course we’d have the usual drama of co-workers infighting, doing or saying something behind’s each other backs. Things were pretty normal. Nothing special. Until, there were cases of reported of bite attacks. People, becoming increasingly crazy with reports of mother attacking their kids and etc. That is when, one day, when the protagonist of the series visited his girlfriend who reportedly bitten and had gotten sick… things took a turn. Fairly quickly after that. I’ll try not to spoil you much when it comes to the narration but the way it led up to the outbreak was done very well. It then develops further with some very twisted developments happening along the way. The narration if I may say, is pretty well written. Especially with regards to the characters which I’ll talk about in the next section.
The protagonist in the beginning of the story where things were fairly normal.
The protagonist during his visit to his girlfriend. This is where the story picks up.
The main character of the series is Hideo Suzuki (above). His name is written 鈴木英雄 in Japanese where 英雄 (Hideo) could also be read as eiyū which means “Hero” in Japanese. As mentioned above he works as a Mangaka and was serialized before the series was cancelled due to poor sales. He then had to work as a Mangaka assistant for other Mangaka‘s serializing works. Because of that he always think of himself as a failure and often have delusions where he often argues with his own inner self. Despite his looks, the dude is afraid of the dark. He would cower and panic whenever there is no electricity. This would actually cause him to be more delusional and he would require help from someone to calm him down. Usually, his girlfriend. Surprisingly, he owns a license to carry a gun in Japan. When the outbreak occurred, he eventually becomes the most reliable person albeit not being able to shoot the infected initially cause he thought killing them would make you a murderer hence, a criminal.
Hayakari Hiromi (above) is another main protagonist of the series. The name is written as 早狩比 呂美 in Japanese with 美 in the name means beautiful. She is a student in an all-girl highschool. During a field trip with her classmates, Hiromi stumbled upon Hideo while walking through the woods. There, she witnesses Hideo who was in panic due to the absence of light. She was worried about him and proceeds to calm him down. From thereafter, the two become closer as they journey through an infected Tokyo metropolis. Unlike Hideo, Hiromi is somewhat more level-headed and braver. Of course, later on in the series the two develop as a character and they become much better than they were before in the beginning of the series.
Of course! There are more characters in the series, but I think covering the two main characters are enough but, I can assure you the characters in the series are amazing. Some are assholes, yes. Given that you are put in a situation where people are killing each other indiscriminately. However, their presence I believe is justified and fits really well with the narration. What I like to highlight here is that, the characters are properly flesh out and there is enough backstory for you to know in order to get into the characters. These I believe, are the very main reason why we sometime feel attached to these characters. It is because we could relate to them and they feel real. The characters would eventually grow on us, cause we got to know them deeply. I often see that the lack of character’s backstories and characters not being flesh out as one of the main reason why a narration could fail. I Am a Hero does not have such an issue.
Now the art of this series is amazing! I’ll just put down a few image(s) for you to judge yourself. I’ll have you know that, there are very little MOE elements here. Perhaps a character may act a little MOE, but the overly cute demeanor is barely used in its character designs. I mean look at all the attention to details! Read what is MOE.
Then, the Zombies. Yeah, they are disgusting as hell. Hanazawa sensei (the Mangaka of the series) took it to the next level. I know that zombies always appear to be sickening, but here, they are a little bit above disgusting.
I give the series a solid 8.5/10. Now, you probably am going on “What the hell? You said this is one of the best?!”. The series was unfortunately and undeniably… axed. Seriously! It was apparently not doing well in Japan during its last few Tankoubon (volumes) sales. Because of that, the ending was a bit… meh. But, it does not change the fact that this is a must read! I really do hope that an animation studio would pick up the series and give the series a proper closure. Until then, I’ll make do with the ending they have now. See ya!