Jin is a strange kid with an angel mark on his hand. He lives a poor but peaceful life with his grandfather, along with the other destitute and abandoned vagabonds near the river. One day, his peaceful life changes when a strange monster named "player" appears, chopping off heads and killing everyone who appears in front of it.
Zetman was published in Spanish by Glénat España from October 2006 to June 2012 before declaring bankruptcy; it was republished and finished by Ivrea España from June 2013 to March 2016. The manga has also been published in Brazilian Portuguese by Jbc since June 2015.
Zetman is a Devilman derivative (or in the case of the original one-shot, an obvious pastiche) that fills the niche of those looking for a darker, sexier superhero comic while retaining some of the camp of the genre, along with character duality reminiscent of a reversed Batman/Superman dynamic. Fans of the slow-burn will enjoy the steady build of the plot, while others may be frustrated at points where it seems to move *too* slow.
Its strongest point lies in its artwork, which will likely keep people reading despite bumps in story construction. The artwork is beautiful and polished, with immaculate attention to detail and anatomy put
into the character designs and settings, which is impressive during extensive fight scenes with highly detailed characters. Those who appreciate the hyper-detail that goes into works like Berserk will likewise also appreciate the effort put into Zetman's art and design.
Storywise, Zetman is a familiar sci-fi take on a classic subject and becomes fairly meta as genre-specific anime origins become integrated into its plot. While slowly paced, the story is full of timeskips and flashbacks, at times becoming incoherent or suffering from superfluous dialogue when the priority should be "show, not tell." The attention to detail is extensive, but the storytelling would benefit with streamlined editing. While the overall soul of the story is meant to be in the internal conflicts of the main characters with a "nature vs. nurture" subtext, it remains weak by being largely driven by plot points, with the main character remaining fairly static. While a hit-and-miss for some, Kouga's character arc remains the most dynamic thus far.
This lack of dynamism extends to the female characters to a great degree - most lack dimension and serve as plot devices to create conflict for the male characters. It's worth mentioning that this manga could be called "Fridged Women: Zetman Edition." Those with a low tolerance for this trope will quickly become frustrated by the constant sexualized peril and exploitation of the female characters, which appears so fetishistic it can border on guro. While tolerable the first few times, the constant recurrence can quickly become redundant and exhausting. Those discerning of well-developed romance will probably crinkle their nose when the first major one comes out of left field, feeling jarringly hasty and uncharacteristic. The motive for the shoddily constructed romance is blindingly obvious, which will leave some with a sour taste.
For all its flaws, Zetman has its poignant moments and is worthwhile for those looking for a niche seinen with retro superhero vibes. This story could also satisfy anyone simply looking to read something with beautiful art. It is committed to retaining suspense and tension, which makes it an exciting read when all the elements flow smoothly. With the action only now seeming to truly kick off, it could still have time to iron out its flaws.
Zetman is a Seinen, Sci-fi, Action, Drama that traces the lives of two rival heroes; developing and enacting their own form of judgment in a DC Comics fashion. Still it is a major problem, since you’re mostly unaware of what Zetman is about until much later on.
Describing the story for Zetman is quite the arduous task, because not only is it hard to make any sense out of the 1st couple chapters but nothing is clearly explained until much later. The beginning basically sets the scene for this manga, which has something to do with monsters known as ‘players’ and it introduces a kid who’s
somewhat involved in all this. Then we jump to another kid who’s grown up idolizing a cartoon superhero, which soon influences his future aspiration. None of the numerous plots floating about really makes sense at this point and it takes a long time before the real story surfaces. Till then all the reader can do is follow the lives of two boys (Jin Kanzaki & Kouga Amagi) who share a sense of justice but live completely different lives. It’s quite odd that this manga suddenly splits into two separate stories but then again it’s also captivating the way it shows the different hardships our characters face, which lead them into sharing a similar goal.
Sure there are two main characters that share the same strong sense of justice but they’re both incredibly different. Jin Kanzaki is a “down to earth” kind of guy, who is both blessed and burdened of being a superhuman known as “Zet”; whereas Kouga Amagi is a sheltered rich boy, who’s always dreamed of being a hero of justice. There are other characters that bring a good change of pace to this really grim story; be it family, friends or love interests nonetheless quite a few of the characters have unappealing personalities.
However what certainly isn’t unappealing is the artwork, as this manga does an amazing job in portraying the gritty reality of this unreal world. Even though everything from the backdrop to the characters look rather sketchy, there’s a great deal of detail put into all of it, including the towering skyscrapers and the technical devices. To sum it up, the art is near perfect, with everything having an interesting Western comic book style. I just had some minor qualms with the gruesome action scenes, not for the level of gore but because it can be difficult to tell what kind of blow was landed.
Overall Zetman is a great piece for those heroic/action story lovers, with a particular question that seems to surface a lot “what is your idea of justice?” Sadly it doesn’t even give the reader a clear idea of what the story is entirely about early on but part of the experience is from finding out yourself. As you read on you’ll begin to tell that the mangaka really makes an effort to construct a logical storyline. Sure the cover picture and the undeniable theme of justice may get you thinking of your classic Western comic book but that’s what makes this Japanese manga so special.
But what is impressive about Zetman is the way it chooses two characters, completely different from each other, puts them side by side and lets us see how their ideas of justice are similar and different. They have the same goals, but what is most precious to them, what they decide to sacrifice to achieve their
goals are very different.
Jin is a superhuman known as Zet. From a young age, he has discovered the hardships of life as he loses many people who are very precious to him. Through these incidents, he becomes sort of a cold person who likes to
pretend he doesn’t care about anything but inside doesn’t want to lose anyone anymore. To do this, he tries to keep distance from the people he cares about. He believes that the people closest to him are most important and that saving someone’s life is always right, even if the person doesn’t want to be saved. He didn’t want to become a hero but because of Zet, he realizes that he must or the people close to him will always be in danger.
Kouga on the other hand is a rich and quite spoiled boy who dreams of becoming a superhero. His friends have built him a suit that gives him more or less superhuman abilities. He doesn’t actually question what justice is to him until he encounters Jin and an incident that shows him the horrors of life. He is still a bit unclear of what justice and idolizes Jin for being so clear of his ideas of justice.
The two characters are quite the opposites, but when they interact the question of “What is Justice?” constantly pops up. As the characters struggle to find what they believe is justice, we also find ourselves wondering with them.
Zetman’s entertainment doesn’t all just come from themes and characters though. The action is quite nerve breaking. The romance subplot is also quite strong and enjoyable. It is interesting to read about the tension between their lives as people and their lives as superheroes. They try to understand what being a superhero means but also have to cope and protect with the ones they love. Of coures, the originality of this isn't there, but its still fun.
Oh. And The Art Is Amazing.
It’s quite an amazing feeling seeing all the details put into it. The characters, the background and the action scenes are all just drawn so well.
Sadly, the pacing of the manga is rather very hard to follow as the beginning explains very little about the setting. The direction of the plot for a while is almost impossible to follow especially "the Kouga arc". I admit I’ve actually dropped this manga a few times. Still, if you keep with it, and when everything connects, simple enjoyment will overwhelm you.
I have to give this manga a 10! Everything about it is stunning. From the story line to the artwork it is a must read. The emotions and events that happen in the manga keep you on the edge of your seat wanting more. Ok enough talking please go and read it you won't be disappointed!^_~