ICv2 Stars: 4 (out of 5)
Posted by L.B. Bryant on October 15, 2015 @ 2:28 am CT
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Creator(s): Ryukishi07 (Writer), Soichiro (Artist)
Format: 192 pgs., Black & White, Trade Paperback
Age Rating: 16+
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
When you have a manga featuring a story by master storyteller Ryukishi07 (Higurashi--When They Cry, Umineko) you know that you're in for a wild ride.
In this series, Ryukishi does something very different though. Instead of the usual gory horror story, the story focuses on an alternate postwar Japan which has been virtually taken over by both America and China. The Japanese people are now minorities in their own country and have to go so far as to change their names to something more western sounding in order to get by.
The hero of this particular tale is a former soldier named Leo who has arrived with only the clothes on his back. After saving a madam named Rose from hoodlums, he finds himself hired as a bodyguard for her club in order to protect her and her employees from a mafia family who wants protection money.
Told in the form of a long flashback, this is a story that does a great job of taking the reader back to a time that feels like it could've really existed and does it with gusto starting with the art and character designs. One of the things that made this particular volume stand out to me is that while the story told within these pages is gritty, the character designs are actually fairly cute and pleasing to the eye. Some people might find this jarring but most people will ultimately get over it very quickly and come to enjoy the designs.
Beyond the artwork though, this is just a very well told story. The action is very swift and the story itself moves at a very brisk pace. Characters are introduced at a good rate and no one feels like they are getting lost in the shuffle. In many cases, stories like this attempt to introduce too many characters at once and the story suffers because of it. Rose Guns Days does a fantastic job of balancing character introductions with storytelling in order to keep the reader entertained and interested in what is happening on each page.
If you have any interest in alternate history stories or you've ever enjoyed a story told by Ryukishi07 in the past, you owe it yourself to pick this one up. This is a very fine story that will pull you in and refuse to let you go. Very recommended!