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Black God Volume 1

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Black God Volume 1 by Dall-Young Lim, Sung-Woo Park, published by Yen Press

Black God Volume 1

© Dall-Young Lim, Sung-Woo Park/SQUARE ENIX

The Bottom Line

Keita is a gamer / programmer who enjoys a life of self-centered fun until he meets a homeless girl with mind-boggling strength. Now bound to the girl by a blood pact, Keita's world has turned upside down, as forces greater than the both of them conspire to put them and their friends in harm's way.

Black God includes some of the most adrenaline-charged fight scenes ever drawn in manga. Blood splatters and bones crunch with almost manic abandon. Black God's complex cosmology is often confusing, but its mix of humor, drama, action and fanservice is striking enough to make it worth a try.

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Pros

  • Adrenaline-charged fight scenes that have punch-to-the-gut impact
  • Exceptionally nicely drawn artwork with appealing character designs
  • A quirky mix of action, drama, humor and fanservice
  • Kuro is charmingly innocent and honorable (and the dog's cute too)

Cons

  • Revolves around a complex cosmology that it never fully explains in this first volume
  • Lots of exceptionally bloody scenes of hand-to-hand combat
  • Keita comes off as an unlikeable, selfish jerk with few redeeming qualities
  • There's a surprising lack of translation notes for the numerous cultural references

Description

  • Original Title: Kurogami (Japan)
  • Author: Dall-Young Lim
    Artist: Sung-Woo Park
  • Publishers: Yen Press (US)
    Square Enix (Japan)
  • ISBN: 978-0-7595-2349-4
  • Cover Price: $10.99 US / $12.75 CANADA / £5.99 UK
  • Age Rating: OT – Older Teens, Age 16+ for bloody violence, strong language, partial nudity
    More about content ratings.
  • Manga Genres:
    • Seinen (Men's) Manga
    • Korean Manhwa
    • Action / Adventure
    • Martial Arts Action
    • Paranormal / Supernatural
  • US Publication Date: October 2007
    Japan Publication Date: 2005
  • Book Description: 224 pages, black and white illustrations, 4 color pages
  • More Manga by Sung-Woo Park
    • Chun Rhang Yhur Jhun
    • Deja vu - Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
    • Zero The Beginning of the Coffin

Guide Review - Black God Volume 1

Keita is a self-centered twenty-something who's trying to make it as a game programmer in Tokyo. Keita's essentially unemployed, but he never lacks for food or shelter because he can always mooch off his childhood friend Akane, who's like his older sister / doormat / ATM.

After a night of drinking, Keita encounters Kuro, a cute but eccentric homeless girl with a ravenous appetite. Through a string of unexpected events (including an butt-kicking fight), he enters into a blood pact with Kuro, who tells him that she's a mototsumitama, an evolved being that's stronger and faster than ordinary humans. Equally mysteriously, Kuro partially explains why Keita's mother died years ago after she encountered a woman who looked like her double. But what they don't know is that forces greater than the both of them have put Keita's friend Akane in the same kind of life-threatening danger.

Almost right off the top, Black God will impress you with its nicely-drawn artwork. Park has a knack for creating appealing characters and putting them in situations that segue between drama, action and humor effortlessly. But what makes his style so eye-popping are the dynamic, adrenaline-charged fight scenes. Superhero artists take note – if you want to see what "clobbering time" can really look like, check out Kuro's bone-crunching, blunt force trauma-inducing moves. You never doubt that the survivors of these fights will be left aching (and likely in the hospital) for days.

The downside to Black God is its complex cosmology that raises more questions than it cares to fully explain. What is a "mototsumitama?" Why must doppleliners die when they meet their double? And why does Kuro need Keita to kick her strength into overdrive? These are all intriguing questions that aren't answered here – you'll just have to read on hope that Volume 2 will make a bit more sense.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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