X-Kai Volume 1

X-Kai Volume 1

By Asami Tohjoh (TokyoPop)
ISBN 1-59816-373-6

The Japanese have a peculiar skill in blending seeming opposites in their culture and especially in their arts. This series, with the faintest echoes of Kazuo Koike and Ryoichi Ikegami’s Crying Freeman saga, recounts the adventures of Kaito Yagami, a florist with an unusual side-line. He is a melancholic, contemplative assassin-for-hire who uses his knowledge of botany to kill with vegetable based poisons.

As we follow his contracts from commission to completion we experience his innermost ruminations and recollections. In Japan killers are more often poet than psychopath, it seems, and the author’s ability to create empathy if not sympathy is impressive, whilst the artwork haunts and captivates.

Slow and lilting in delivery, this is a thriller to ponder with rather than rush through. This book is printed in the ‘read-from-back-to-front’ manga format.

© 1998 Asami Tohjoh. All Rights Reserved. English text © 2006 TOKYOPOP Inc.