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Hideki Kakinuma, Author, Yusuke Ken, Illustrator
Hideki Kakinuma, Author, Yusuke Ken, Illustrator . ComicsOne $9.95 (196p) ISBN 978-1-58899-364-9
Paperback - 196 pages - 978-1-58899-365-6
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This Japanese graphic novel opens in an all-too-familiar setting for science fiction: a post-apocalyptic future Earth turned into a wasteland. According to the convoluted back story, the devastation was the result of the "Last World War." One faction migrated to Mars, leaving behind the Z.P.T., a computerized system for "cleansing" Earth's damaged environment. In the usual way of such stories, the Z.P.T. went out of control and began destroying Earth's cities. The heroes who take it upon themselves to save Earth are a band of three girls, Liza, Mill and Wooty, and a boy, Louis, ranging in age from 13 to 16. Characterization isn't one of this manga's strong points (e.g., Wooty is described as "short-tempered" and boastful about the size of her breasts, and in a blatant example of the book's pandering to its young male readership, Wooty rips off her top to show them off). The fact that the girls (and Louis) are all drawn in a standard manga mode (i.e., as big-eyed children) works against the book's erotic ambitions. Though the stories attempt large-scale action sequences, the confusing visual storytelling diminishes their impact, and it's often unclear where the characters are in relation to their surroundings. Occasionally the stories hit upon an idea with potential, like a woman who adopted an android in the form of a small girl. But such moments receive only superficial treatment. This book's main concerns are violence, vehicles, weaponry and gratuitous female nudity. (Feb.)

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