Makoto is a friendless, unhappy teenager who lives with his grandmother after the suicide of his father. He cannot see anything visibly special about himself, so he is bewildered when one of the most popular guys in school, Yuuki, begins to seek out his company. Yuuki, a long-haired rebel who is very popular with the ladies, fills Makoto's head with ideas of obliterating the corruption of the current society through the power of destruction. Yuuki almost seems to have guessed what Makoto is hiding: a powerful supernatural ability. How far will Makoto be willing to follow Yuuki's destructive ambitions?
Ah yes, Destroy and Revolution, a story that gone horribly, horribly wrong.
For those of you who are not familiar with Mori Kouji works, he is the creator of two fantastic works-Holyland, the coming of age story of Kamishiro Yuu and Suicide Island about teens that try to survive on an abandoned island. Naturally, as a fan of his works I was excited to read Destroy and Revolution (will now be refereed as D&R). He already proved himself, twice! so what exactly went horribly wrong in this particular story?
Let's about the premise of the plot-we have our main character, Makoto, a timid shy guy who has
some sort of telepathic power named "Oneness". He becomes friend with popular guy at his school, Yuuki, which discover about this power and reveal to him that he wants to become a terrorist and change society by force. So far, all is good and well. Sure, the political talk of Yuuki is very juvenile in nature, very naive. And there is a slight feeling that the story will go to someplace positive or at least make the characters develop and see a wider perspective. Instead, it goes in the direction of some sort cheap, action movie. Aside from the explosions the boys causes with this superpower, we discover that the author made every human being (except Yuuki of course) stupid. Yuuki spouts some generic lines such as "society is bad, we need to change it" or "how can some humans live good while other suffer?" and people worldwide shocked as it is some huge discovery. It also made a clear point that Yuuki himself doesn't know the answer to the world problems, but he rely that after he blows building and terrorize the country people will find solutions. This is incredibly stupid because from the beginning he is basically saying that he doesn't have an actual plan but we suppose to support him.
Moving on America getting into the picture and they are presented in a ridiculous, stereotyped way. Their first solution is to kill the terrorists, and if it doesn't works out, they can just drop another atomic bomb on Japan. Yeah, this is super realistic.
Another thing that really bothers me with the story was the fact that no one actually tried to give a proper argument to Yuuki, they all treated him as some sort of all knowing wise elder. Which brings me to the characters.
Let's talk about Makoto, he is our main character. He is timid, powerful and 90% of the time stutters or can't refute even the most basic argument. Sometimes he suddenly gets angry and strong, like some sort of Hulk, but it doesn't fooling anyone. The main thing about the story is that Yuuki (and Makoto too) want to destroy and change society because how unfair and how much they hate it. But after meeting ONE nice girl in his class Makoto worldview changed. Five Minutes after meeting this girl he get seconds thoughts about that hey, maybe society isn't so evil!
He is also, of course, against killing people although in the beginning Yuuki tells him that yes, eventually he would probably kill people, later on-Makoto is surprised that Yuuki actually killing people! what a shock!
Makoto isn't important anyway, he is just the brawn. Let's talk about Yuuki shall we? Yuuki is perfect in any way. He is, basically, Jesus. Maybe it's just me, but I had the feeling that the author really really wanted us to root for him. I mean, how else can you explain the fact that he talks about very basic politics and it makes everyone think that he has a powerful charisma? In real life, he would have been a laughing stock. Imagine a 13 years old kid suddenly realize that the world isn't really fair and tells about it to adults, and the adults are shocked and can only say stuff like "yeah but this is the world we created so it's probably good!", this is how everyone reacts to Yuuki. As the story goes on he gets more and more power hungry and sees himself as a god but all the while he remains cool and calculated because the author doesn't want to hurt his image. He constantly does stupid stuff (because destroying US military bases somehow will save the world) but always PRESENTED as a calculated master mind.
We have some more characters, all of them are very boring. I use the word "boring" because most of them are one dimensional, show up for a very little amount of time or even downright stupid. We have the love interest of Makoto which, as all the females in this manga, is completely useless and only can cry and give motivational speeches to Makoto. We also have the task force against Yuuki, and their supervisors-the Americans, all presented as stupid hot headed trigger happy people of course.
The art. What can be said about it? the art in Mori's works is always very basic. It's good, but not something to brag about it. Still, things are details enough and pleasant to the eye. The backgrounds themselves are not really impressive, some explosions are drawn very good, some are disappointing. As always, the character design is really bad. He has only like, 2-3 models for all the characters, so a lot of them looks pretty much the same but with a different haircut (at least we can different between them), the females looks the same, very weak point.
So, was it an enjoyable read? no, not really. As the plot went on it felt more and more like a cheap action film, when I finished the manga I was positive that "directed by:Micheal Bay" would appear, but nope. It was real. The ending was kinda amusing (although again, very stupid). I think the story would have more potential if it wasn't so focused on this very basics politics and ideals. As I say-don't go political at all, it's boring, it's usually stupid and it's relies heavily on if you agree with the character or don't. Which is why I believe a lot of people did like (and still, would like) the manga. I've seen plenty of comments about people that agree with Yuuki and actually cheer him on. So I guess in some way the author succeeded in his job. If you still find the plot interesting enough you have my blessing to read it, thanks for suffering through my rant, and good day.
“In the end, conspiracies or terrorism cannot reverse the flow of history. But they can make it stagnant.”
Mori Koji is known as a one hit wonder by writing and illustrating the famous Holyland. With just one work he crated a fan base for him self. With his usage of the general thematic of escepism, realism, humanism, and combined it with his way of presentation be it his somewhat unique art, his fluid way of using dialog, to his pacing and his famous info dumping that surprisingly worked. However I for my self as a fan of Holyland , doubted that he can deliver something
of equivalent standards and as such stayed away from his work till this day. Well the day has come to convey my latest read from him and I hope it can pick up your interest not just in this manga but even his other works as well and with that lets jump in.
The story of Destroy and Revolution starts with the same subtle way of conveying Moris thematic that where present in his previous work, however in D&R the scale have widened from one boys personal life to the so popular theme of turning Japans society upside down. In that since we have the usual, two individuals meeting that have different personalities, different values, different moral vision but they have one goal that being to change their country and in the process maybe even the world. Well this has been done quite a lot of times in manga form, be it the famous Sanctuary or Akumetsu, however D&R is entirely different. It is a story far grayer, far from the usual absolute evil that the government is presented as. The characters are aware that the government is not evil. They know that it’s just their hate being projected in that direction. However they can’t help them selves, they demand change, but they are aware how incapable they are to provide answers for such changes. In that sense they search of those capable of providing the answers, thought out their path of destruction. That is the basic plot line, but there is more far more to it than just that, but than again I don’t want to spoil the fun. Anyway let’s mention some negative aspects of D&R. The beginning of D&R is very weak, not because of its ideas, but rather in how to convey those. The problem can be divided in many little parts. One being bad pacing, enhanced by bad flow of dialogue, than we have the problem of how to explain the origin of the super powers, which I will further convey in the characters section. Than we have various plot wholes, the biggest one being on how the heck the characters still haven’t bean caught by the authorities of a whole country and that’s just one bit of its problems, however as the story moves on it regains everything it has lost trough its early stages. The pacing of the story becomes great, the dialogue between the characters becomes more natural, and the plot holes become less apparent, as Mori moves his focus more on the inner workings of Yuukis and Makotos terrorist group, more so as a metaphor on how their group has the same problems as the very thing they want to change. I guess I must mentioned that Mori doesn’t use to much fan service through out the series, however when he does it sticks out a lot.
The main focus is centered around Makoto and Yuuki. Let’s focus on both more individually.
When I first saw Makoto, he seemed some what like a cowardly character, but you can’t really put any character in a box in this show (beside female characters). He is a character that has far more depth to him and what’s more awesome about his and Yuukis characterization is that they genuinely feel human. He had a very problematic life, from his youth, to his loss of family to his loss of the only person who cared about him. He just wanted to escape from that very troubled life, and when he meets an old man in the hospitals he may or may not actually archived that. You know when I mentioned the powers and the problem in how to explain them? We will focus now on that a bit and how it further enhances Makotos character. Lets just say the old mans entity is rather obscure, in how he just gives him the power and vanishes. The gives away some what the usual realistic approach to Moris shows, but than again the very existence of the power takes that away anyway. Which I personally don’t really like, however I can’t be denied how important that very power is for moving the plot forward. The very power opens up Makoto eyes that equality exists, not only between humans but to everything in the universe. However even as he realizes that, his escape mechanisms turn into hatred. His being can’t fully accept such thing as equality when human beings have robed him from his happiness. However, thought out the series he realizes how shallow his hate was. It was just that he didn’t have more options at the moment. He just had one way to convey his emotions that is destruction. This leads to some really interesting character development.
On the other hand we have the total opposite of Makoto. Yuuki is by most characters seen as a charismatic, good looking and intelligent individual. But he is more than that. He has different values than most people, even far different than the very people he trusts. He is not portrayed as a evil genius like for example Light Yagami but he is just a normal human, who finds meaning by not falling into the melancholy we call normal life, but instead he decides to fight.
For a better tomorrow, even if he needs to shed blood for that goal. What is even more interesting is the way he interacts with Makoto. He doesn’t think of him as just a tool to be used, but instead thinks of him as an individual of equal grounds. Or is he? What I additionally find interesting about him is that I don’t fully believe in what he is saying. He has that mysterious aura around him that makes me question him quite a lot through out the series. Add to that
the way Mori uses monologs to indicate how important those characters are, however Yuuki never has such inner thoughts, even in situations where you would expect him thinking, he instead speaks his thoughts out loud. I especially want to see where his character will move through out the story.
Mori Kojis art is more on the realistic side of the manga world. You know at first glance when you see a picture of his character designs, that it is him who illustrated it.
However I wouldn’t say that he is by all means as good as an artist as I thought he was when I first read Holy land, and it especially seems to be the case in D&R, as I guess he is more focusing on his other currently on going project. But let me explain my self. My biggest problem is that I can’t understand why he draws heads so big. The proportions just don’t match with the body and sometimes even the body isn’t exactly in proportion but the head is by all means the biggest problem. Or is it even a problem? I sometimes question Mori, on how many times he can miss the proportions, but it is, probably, more a stylistic decision. Other than that the background is drawn well, but a bit simplistic if you want. None the less the art is passable.
-Final Verdict and Enjoyment-
D&R is by no means a work you will like if you want just a fast read. If you do so, it will be just a shallow and distanced work for you. However, if you are ready to invest a bit of your brain mass into the story and the characters, than I guaranty you that it will at the very least be an entertaining read.