Peace Maker: Volume 1
TOKYOPOP, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto
he first volume of Nanae Chrono's
is a typical shonen action manga, but set during the Meiji Revolution (1864). Though the manga came before the immensely popular anime series, the anime arrived in the U.S. first. But that is fine because from what I have seen of the anime, it stays pretty true to the manga.
etsunosuke is all alone except from his big brother Tatsunosuke. When Tatsu gets a position as bookkeeper for the Shinsengumi, fifteen-year-old Tetsu wants to join too, to get revenge on his father's killers. However, while Tetsu has a lot of spunk, he is small for his age. One of the most famous members of the Shinsengumi, Souji, sees potential in Tetsu and challenges him to a fight. Due to Tetsu's sheer determination, Vice Commander Hijikata allows Testu to join – as his page. Happy to be a member of the Shinsengumi, but unhappy with his role, Testu looks for ways to move up. It is after his first disastrous attempt that Volume 1 ends.
is well-written and will appeal to fans of anime and of shonen manga in general, there is really nothing that makes it stand out from other manga about the Shinsengumi (a group of samurai who acted as an unofficial police force during the Edo period). Well, except for the pig. Souji's pet pig Saizou, a very memorable character, is what made me realize that one of the animes I have seen was
(one of the two episodes I saw actually starts with the last chapter of the first volume of the manga). Many action mangas, both shonen and shojo, have a non-human sidekick character. Usually, this is some fantasy creature with special powers. What makes Saizou so different is that he is just a pig – a grumpy-looking pig, but just a plain, ordinary, non-magical pig – which supports the historical fiction aspect of
he story and art of
is very straight-forward in the typical shonen style. The one question I have, though, is: why does Souji look like a girl? I was shocked at first to learn he was boy, especially since he is met halfway through the first chapter, but it is not until the end of that chapter that his identity is revealed. I have read another manga with the Shinsengumi where one member appeared very feminine (but it was a shojo series, and it is common in shojo for at least one boy to have girlish looks), but now that I have read two, and one shonen, I realize there must be some reason that I cannot figure out because either because I have not studied Japanese history or because I am a Westerner.
olume 1 of
gives a strong start to a story that will appeal to boys (teenaged boys – it is rated OT), especially fans of the anime looking for another
fix. While it is mostly an action series, it is steeped in a historical context, which gives it a little extra over other shonen fare.
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