Review: Slum Wolf
For anyone who has ever been to Japan, there’s something both magical and mysterious about the wonderful country. When I was first temporarily assigned to the USS Obrien in Naval Station Yokuska, it very much felt like I was living in a storybook. At first, I felt the emptiness of being a stranger in a strange land. That is where the magic of being in Japan practically whisks you away. The land, its inhabitants, and the places along the way, makes the whole country so beautiful and amazing experience. I also became very much enamored with its history. It’s complicated, storied, and epic, making the nation’s story so compelling.
What the world knows about Japan usually lies in what mass media portrays. Many of the movies that are imported from Japan usually are focused on the Yakuza and fall into over the top action. Then there’s anime which both tug at the heat and leaves viewers in awe. Rarely, other than Grave Of The Fireflies does the Western world get a glimpse of what happened after World War II . One such creator, Tadao Tsuge, made it his mission to portray the Japan he lived in and one of his first collections to be printed here in the United States, Slum Wolf, gives the Western world a peak into the mind and view of this master storyteller.
In “Sentimental Melody,” two old friends reminisce of friends lost and times they rather forget. In “Sounds,” one man gets haunted by what he believes he hears but it’s what he isn’t paying attention to which causes him concern. In “Legend Of The Wolf,” one retired hitman looks back at his life and mistakes a stranger for a work colleague. In the lasts tory that I will highlight, “The Death Of Ryokichi Aogishi,” a student pontificates on his life within the grand design which leads him to some murky roads.
Overall, the graphic novel is a sprawling collection that traverses genres and audiences to tell a complete story of Japan and its impact on the world. The stories by Tsuge are smart, relatable, funny, and sometimes tense. The art by Tsude is at times only serviceable, but at other times, magnificent. Altogether, the father of alternative manga delivers his best work and brings his own style to the art form.
Story: Tadao Tsuge Art: Tadao Tsuge Translator: Ryan Holmberg
Story : 9.7 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy