Juni Taisen Zodiac War Graphic Novel Volume 1 cover image
Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
Juni Taisen: Zodiac War is a manga written and illustrated by Akira Akatsuki. It is based on the Japanese illustrated light novel written by Nisio Isin (or NisiOisiN) and illustrated by Hikaru Nakamura. VIZ Media is publishing the manga as a four-volume graphic novel series, entitled Juni Taisen: Zodiac War. It will be released on a quarterly schedule in both print and digital (including for the VIZ Manga App).
Juni Taisen: Zodiac War, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 4) opens in a city of half a million people, a city gone dark for a coming epic tournament. Every 12 years, 12 fighters take the form of the Chinese zodiac animals and engage in a battle royale. Using their strength and mysterious super-powers, these mercenaries fight to the death, and the sole survivor is granted the ultimate prize – any wish he or she wants. This is the twelfth Zodiac War, and one of the combatants has been killed by a competitor before the tournament even begins!
[This volume includes a sketchbook section.]
THE LOWDOWN: VIZ Media sent me a review copy of the Juni Taisen: Zodiac War manga. Prior to this manga, I was not familiar with any of the creators. I am familiar with the term, “light novel,” a kind of Japanese version of the young adult novel, and I have read a few. My experience with manga adapted from light novels has been good, an example being Library Wars, a VIZ Media published manga adapted from a light novel.
Juni Taisen: Zodiac War Graphic Novel Volume 1 features some absolutely gorgeous art. It is heavily layered and textured with rich toning and lushly detailed inking. The story seems a little weird at first, but that are so many shocking turns of events that the narrative is hard to ignore. After the first shocker, I could not stop reading this first volume of Juni Taisen: Zodiac War. I think readers who enjoy “battle royale” manga and also fight comics will want Juni Taisen: Zodiac War. I cannot say that this will be an exceptional character drama, but the death and bloody mayhem look to make Juni Taisen a quite invigorating read.
I READS YOU RECOMMENDS: Fans of violent manga will want to try the Shonen Jump manga, Juni Taisen: Zodiac War.