By Leroy Douresseaux
December 29, 2009 - 14:37
|Madness Volume 1 cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.|
Romance/Action; Rated “M” for “Mature”
The manga, Madness, from creator Kairi Shimotsuki, is set in the year 3000 A.D. This is a distant future where violence rules over a wild wasteland, and the most ruthless practitioners of violence belong to the group known as Madness, “the artisans of murder.”
Madness, Vol. 1 finds a young priest named Luke Izaya tending Kyo, the leader of Madness, who is jailed in the back of the Church of Saint Shuhamiel, in the border town of Philistine. Three years earlier, Kyo came to the church with no memory of his true nature. Under the care of the beautiful Izaya, Kyo was a tranquil former criminal.
Then, Sae, an old enemy of Kyo’s, attacks the church looking for Kyo’s powerful sword (called “Siegfried”), and the smell of blood awakens the Madness in Kyo. Kyo decides to leave Philistine and become a bounty hunter. Kyo kidnaps Izaya, who apparently has something in him that can suppress the Madness in Kyo. Izaya, however, loves Kyo, and the Madness certainly lusts for the young priest.
THE LOWDOWN: While it is marketed as boys’ love or yaoi (comics depicting romantic relationships between male characters), Madness, with its violence and gore, is also seinen manga (comics for adult men). In fact, some may find the violence and gore mild or extreme, according to their tastes (extreme by my estimation). The action violence exceeds the romance, and most of the romance comes in the form of attempted rape.
Kyo and Izaya have the typical seme-uke or top-bottom relationship. Kyo is tall, dark, and handsome, and he likes to strike first and not ask questions later. Izaya is a thoroughly girlish boy (barely qualifying as androgynous or bishounen) with romantic longings. Thus far, this science fiction series set in a medieval world is all about the action and fighting, but the romance begs for creator Kairi Shimotsuki’s attention. Madness is an interesting read, but at this point, it only offers a small taste of what it has to offer.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of sword and yaoi will like Madness.