Hire, Kill, Masterbate and Repeat.January 4, 2010
Ichi the Killer Review
A garbage manga does not exactly mean it cannot be great. Ichi the Killer is exactly that. To enjoy and comprehend a series like Ichi the Killer, you must realize it is utter and complete garbage, but it is the greatest piece of garbage you will ever read. It has no literary value, but it does have some reread value for analytical purposes.
Ichi the Killer follows a very commonly used premise for movies, but that is rarely used in manga, Yakuza. After a big boss in Tokyo is murdered, a group of thugs clean up the mess and take money that he had in his safe. One of his henchmen, Kakihara, a sadistic, BDSM loving creepy son of a bitch decides to discover who murdered him. Kakihara goes out of his way to find someone that he suspects by the name of Suzuki, who might have murdered Anjo and brutally tortures him. He stabs him with these skewers and throws this boiling hot stew substance on him. It turns out that all of this was a plan started by an old man named Jiji as a way to pit all of the Yakuza in Japan against each other. Jiji hires a guy named Ichi, the titular character, to kill people in very brutal manners. Ichi is a very
disturbed individual who was bullied in school and witnessed a rape in which he didn’t do anything to stop. Eventually, Kakihara catches on to Jiji and the plot starts to develop quite quickly. This is sadly as far as I can go without spoiling it.
One of the reasons this manga is garbage primarily rests on the plotline. It is completely absurd, and uses any excuse to treat people in heinous conditions and torture them. However, you must realize that some of these things DO happen in certain crime syndicates. I’m not going to say that the plot is interesting, it is one of the most interesting page turners I have ever read. I finished off the whole manga in about two days. One of the most interesting aspects of the story is why Ichi is the way he is. They slowly start to reveal whether he is simply mentally retarded or mentally scarred. Ichi is a person who’s mind reverted back to a child after he killed his parents and saw a girl get raped. Yeah, this story has a lot of rape for apparently no reason. I want to point out that this manga isn’t for the faint of heart. If a show like Higurashi managed to terrify you, do not in any way read this. The whole story defies logic and reasoning beyond belief. One of Kakihara’s thugs manages to break a man’s arm with his bare hands. Bare, fucking hands. Ichi the Killer is full of men with penis envy “I bet I can make him scream harder”. Not to mention the amount of homoeroticism, “Rape that dead guy”. You really can’t think too hard about this manga. If you do, you’ll end up thinking this is the stupidest manga ever. For anyone who enjoyed manga like Crying Freeman or Riki-Oh this is a must read.
I haven’t really gone into detail about the characters. The characters are all love and hate characters. You
will probably not care for about one or two characters, but you will have strong emotion about all the others. All the characters are one-sided sadistic bastards who only like to kill and torture. Everyone is over the top and retarded in their own way. There is one person in particular that I despised like no other, Jiji. Jiji turns out to be one of the most brilliant, terrifying characters in this manga. Throughout the whole manga, he seems to not be around and weaker than all of the other thugs. It turns out that he is indeed the most vile of all the characters and is the master mind behind everything. There are no heroes in this series, there are just antagonists and protagonists. Although Ichi is the protagonist, he is in no way a hero. It could be said that it is antihero versus antihero. All the characters in Ichi are portrayed in a very misogynistic form. All the girls in this are either whores or prostitutes. Not to mention the fact that they get raped almost every two panels. I’m going to go ahead and say it, ICHI IS MOE♥.
You really want to root for the guy after all he’s been through, but I simply couldn’t. The guy bitches all the time, cries, jacks off and kills. Did I mention he jacks off A LOT mingled in with the rape in this manga? Seriously, you could see any chapter in this manga and find a rape scene or someone jacking off. I simply don’t like any of the characters. How can you root for people who’s faces have been cut off with a shoe.
The main attraction to Ichi the Killer is the gore and violence. It seems like Hideo Yamamoto really knows how to draw cut off faces and corpses. It is said that for his other manga, Homunculus he passed himself off as a homeless person to see what it is like to be a homeless person. I wonder if he became an assassin to learn how to draw dead
people. Hideo also managed to do something no other manga has done: scare the shit out of me. There’s this scene where Jiji is in bed with some woman and the girl asks him if he’ll kill her. He simply says “Maybe” and has this weird fucking look on his face. I’ll make sure to put that picture in the sidebar. Hideo has this really distinct art style that could be considered the polar opposite of Naoki Urasawa. No two characters look alike, and almost everyone has oversized, big muscled bodies that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Nicole Richie. In short, amazing artwork when someone is getting killed. I’m in no way saying he is not a good artist, I’m just saying he does best when people are getting killed.
This manga is great. For all the nonsense and ridiculousness this manga brings, it triples the enjoyment factor. It is a manga that all lovers of Koike or Saruwatari would love. It’s full of brazen confidence, huge guys, and quick arcs that wrap up quickly. Sadly, Ichi has not been and probably will never be released here in America. It’s much to violent and would probably not be stocked in bookstores. Luckily, there are scanlations of all 101 chapters. You’ll have to take a shower after you read this series, but it’s as fun and amazing as any manga deserves to be. By the way, make sure to read this with the Death Note soundtracks. Almost any song fits the mood of any chapter.