The action/dark fantasy (horror) manga, Shin Megami Tensei (KAHN) by manga-ka Kazuaki Yanagisawa, is the sequel to Shin Megami Tensei: if, itself a spin-off of the console role playing game, Shin Megami Tensei. Shin Megami Tensei (KAHN), Vol. 1 focuses on distressed, rebel teenager, Nobu. His old high school, Karukozaka High School, was sucked through a portal into the Underworld, where Nobu and his fellow students fought hordes of demons. In the end, only Nobu and a teen girl named Yumi returned to Earth, but they’re separated and neither knows where the other is. However, the demons are on Earth searching for Nobu. Tollman, a mysterious demon lord, is determined to have Nobu serve him and is willing to use Yumi as bait.
THE LOWDOWN: Rather than emphasize gothic style or lavishly-illustrated storytelling, Shin Megami Tensei (KAHN) is straight-forward horror. Edgy rather than moody, this manga is a venerable fugitive story, which finds the hero always on the run. Nobu’s back is against the wall – pressed there by pure viciousness and evil. The art by Kazuaki Yanagisawa is clear, with Yanagisawa eschewing deformed characters for layered and precision, fined-tuned toning. It’s like a high-definition TV version of comic book art, and it serves this matter-of-fact, high-octane, semi-splatter fest very well.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Horror fans that don’t care for TOKYOPOP’s usual output of gothic or gothic infused horror will find this edgy, violent, action-oriented horror to be quite engaging.