Manga of the Week: I am a Hero
May 5, 2012 3 Comments
“I don’t have to be the hero, but at least let me be the main character of my own life.” – Hideo
What lengths will you go to be a hero? Hideo Suzuki is determined to be one. In a world that’s slowly crumbling to pieces, he will become the hero it deserves… or needs… or deserves to need. This week, we have “I am a Hero.”
What it’s about: A mangaka assistant witnesses the beginning of a zombie apocalypse as the virus spreads with the people around him. The world he lives in is unaware of the concept of ‘zombies’ and the virus that they spread. The manga follows Hideo as he must do whatever it takes to survive.
What it sounds like: If Shaun of the Dead had a manga, it would be this. Despite being a zombie apocalypse, this manga displays dark humor in even the most horrifying of moments. Because the people in the manga haven’t a clue what a zombie is, most of them go about their day ordinarily, only reacting when someone’s face actually gets bitten off.
Why you should read it: “I am a Hero” is about as realistic as you can get with a zombie apocalypse. At the beginning, no one overreacts to the virus as they believe it would eventually disappear. Some people believe it was only a mere side effect of a disease that these infected people caught. Only until the catastrophe deepens does everyone begin to realize its maddening effects on those infected with the virus. The ‘zombies’ themselves don’t necessarily act like ordinary zombies. Once they become infected, they begin to reveal their deepest thoughts about the people they’ve been around with, but they also lose more and more of their humanity as well. In some ways, it’s like the virus from 28 days later as the virus tends to change those infected into different people, not necessarily reanimating the dead.
Hideo, the protagonist of the story, isn’t the hero he wants be. Just like anyone else, he’s an ordinary man doing what he must to survive. At times, he does show concern for others and willingness to help them, but only within the range of his own abilities. I am a Hero is a zombie apocalypse realism at its best. Where “HSOTD” can be filled with an incredible amount of silly moments, “I am a Hero” has moments that can be taken seriously. While the situation of a zombie apocalypse is purely surreal, the manga does have its share of natural characters. There are conversation spoken between two characters that flow in the same way any person might talk to another in real life.
As for the art of the manga, it’s incredibly detailed well. Many of the panels have highly detailed background as well as the character design. It’s easy to see how much effort the artist has put into this manga.