ICv2 Stars 4 (out of 5)
Posted by Nick Smith on December 13, 2022 @ 4:21 pm CT
Publisher: Square Enix Manga
Release Date: November 9, 2022
Format: 192 pgs., B&W, 5" x 7.5", Trade Paperback
Age Rating: Older Teen
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
There have been several pieces of fiction, ranging from manga to TV shows, about special police departments that deal with things not from around here, whether the premise is fantasy or science fiction. This one handles it very well, given that the main character, Akira Gunji, is the son of a deceased police officer. That gives him a very different take on what being a police officer is, and in this story he is offered a police trainee position at a very young age, which is one of the clues to the real story.
In the world of this manga, large numbers of sentient aliens visit Earth all the time, and most of them are peaceful visitors who disguise themselves as human, acting as students or tourists. The rare exceptions are what the special police have to deal with, especially the aliens who view humans as prey. There are also relatively peaceful violators of visa rules and other such non-lethal-but-illegal aliens who really are aliens.
Within the story, the number of aliens seemed strangely high, but there may be reasons for it that haven't been explained in this first volume. What does come up in this volume is a set of reasons why the special police are so interested in Akira. The story appears to be headed into an action-adventure police procedural science fiction story about inheriting a career from your father… and yes, that's an odd combination of genres, but it could work in this case.
The artwork is good, but not exceptional. It is comparable to most decent serious manga artwork, but breaks no new ground, other than the interesting aliens. The age rating is reasonable, based on violence and themes in the story.
--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.
ICv2 Stars: 3.5 (out of 5)
September 25, 2023
Here's a review of Combat Arena: Lair of the Beast board game, from Games Workshop.