Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku, Vol. 1

Yuji Kaku. Viz, $12.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-974713-20-2
Kaku transforms the clichéd ninja hero trope into an unexpected psychological thriller in this genre-blending manga. Ninja Gabimaru the Hollow, nicknamed for his résumé of emotionless assassinations, awaits death, sentenced by a double-crossing chief. Though resolved to his fate (“Any parting words?” “Nah.”), Gabimaru proves impossible to kill, despite several gruesome methods attempted. His ninjutsu training kicks in subconsciously, fueled by a deep-seated instinct to survive and return to his wife. Offered the chance to have his crimes pardoned, Gabimaru agrees to leave on an expedition with a group of death row criminals—and master decapitator, Yamada Asaemon Sagiri, who is charged with keeping Gabimaru in line—to find the elixir of life on a legendary island of paradise. But paradise comes with a price: those who set foot on the island never return—and their decaying corpses morph into thousands of delicately blooming flowers. Using densely hatched lines and manga’s typical lack of color to his advantage with copious shading, Kaku blends horror and shonen (teen male-oriented) genres. His detailed illustrations, reminiscent of Junji Ito’s horror manga, imbue the tale with an unsettling, gruesome charm. This mysterious first volume, and its intricate artwork, launches the series with promise. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/06/2020
Release date: 03/01/2020
Genre: Comics
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-1-974713-24-0
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-1-974713-23-3
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-1-974713-21-9
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