Inuyashiki has a family, a wife and two kids, none of which care about him. When he learns that he has only three months to live, he realizes that the only one who will miss him is his dog. Shortly after this realization, he is killed in a crash landing by aliens. He is rebuilt by them as a machine with a human exterior. How will his life change now that he isn't human?
Inuyashiki has been published in English by Kodansha Comics USA since August 25, 2015, in Italian by Panini Comics under the Planet Manga imprint since October 24, 2015, in Spanish by Milky Way Ediciones, and in Argentinian Spanish by Editorial IVREA.
What it means to be human is a topic that has been discussed and explored throughout many works of science fiction. I've seen this idea and concept brought up so many times, I've lost count. Inuyashiki brings up this concepts but twists it in a way that I haven't really seen before.
I'll get to that when I can but first, an overview of this manga.
The premise of Inuyashiki isn't too horribly complicated. A man by the name of Inuyashiki is living a very boring, unfulfilling life. His family doesn't care all that much for him, he doesn't do a whole lot throughout the day
and is seen as a burden most of the time by the people he loves. One day, he decides to take his dog out to the park. There, he and another young man, Hiro Shishigami, get crushed to death by aliens. The aliens decided to rebuild the two as robots and leave.
From this point, we see how these how these two men handle being robots and how they use their newfound abilities. Inuyashiki decides to become the hero for once and helps out everyone he can. Hiro on the other hand...
Let's just say that he doesn't.
The story of Inuyashiki is about these two men and how their views collide. The story gives a balanced treatment to both Inuyashiki and to Hiro. I'll get into these two in the character section but overall, the story does what it needs to do and is mostly carried by its two main characters.
I find the art of Inuyashiki to be the weakest part of the manga. I know that Oku was going for a realistic art style with Inuyashiki but I just couldn't go with it. A lot of the times, the characters are drawn in a way that makes them look ugly. Again, a more realistic style but it's one that didn't sit well with me. In addition, the backgrounds are a weird mashup of either fully drawn backgrounds, realistic photos or both. There are multiple scenes where there are just real photos plastered onto the background.
The realistic style was one that put me off when I started reading this manga. Other people might praise this for the realism but I didn't like it.
This is where Inuyashiki shines. The two main characters, Inuyashiki and Hiro, are explored in depth throughout. First off, Inuyashiki. Inuyashiki is shown in the beginning as a pathetic person. No one in his family loves him and he's often on his own. He views himself as worthless. He sees that the world is terrible but he's powerless to do anything. However, when he learns of his powers as a robot, that's when he starts to change. As he helps more and more people, he begins to finally have faith in himself and views himself as a force for good. However, throughout the manga, he finds himself questioning his humanity. I'll address this in a bit but before I do so, I want to talk about the other robot in this manga.
Hiro is the opposite of Inuyashiki. Rather than using his powers for the greater good, he decides to use them to perform mindless evil. I don't want to get too into spoilers but what I will say is this: Hiro performs some sickening atrocities throughout the story. He's compared to by characters in the manga as a modern day Hitler, which isn't far off from the truth. However, despite all of my claims that Hiro is made a villain, he isn't completely evil. He still views himself as human and he struggles throughout the story on his value and his humanity, even though he is no longer human. Despite the truly horrible things he does, he still has feelings. There are moments in the story where I really felt sorry for the man. However, actions have consequences and Hiro spends the whole manga trying to prove that they don't.
Throughout the manga, these two characters try to deal with the fact that they are no longer human. Even they look human, and think like humans, and feel like humans, they aren't human. They are robots with incredible abilities. They can fly, they can fire weapons, they can perform miracles or atrocities. They can do all these things but they aren't human. However, both these characters realize by the end that it doesn't matter whether or not they truly are human.
There are two main ideas presented to the reader in this manga. The first being that we define ourselves as humans. Inuyashiki and Hiro learn this by the end, with the help of some side characters. It doesn't matter whether or not you're physically a human being. If you can think, feel and look like a human, then there's nothing else saying you aren't human. The second idea brought to us is that we give meaning to life and the way we do so is with death. Hiro doesn't learn this until the very end. Throughout, he commits these horrible acts and views life and death as meaningless. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that he learns his mistake at the end.
The main characters are the best thing about this manga. They have hopes and fears, feelings and emotions, and above all else, a desire: to be human. As for the side characters, they're alright. They serve their purpose but really, the meat of the characters fall on these two.
I read this entire manga in one sitting. I found it incredibly engrossing, as I learned more and more about these characters and how they act with their powers. I smiled when Inuyashiki performed miracles of God, I winced when Hiro mindlessly killed dozens of people. I laughed at the image of an old man standing shirtless in the middle of a field as people looked at him confused. I cried when tragedy hit Hiro where it mattered the most to him. This manga gave me the story of two men doing what they wanted with their powers. One decided to do purely good while the other indulged in evil. It was a treat to see it all play out.
"I think, therefore I am." This line provides the notion of what it means to be human. I myself can't exactly say what it means to be human because there's a lot of little details that need to be discussed. What I will say, however, is that Inuyashiki brings some idea of what it means to be human right to its reader. For anyone who wants some science fiction and some philosophy sprinkled in, look no further than Inuyashiki. I highly recommend any fan of science fiction to give it a read.
Writing a review for Inuyashiki is hard because my feelings for the story have warped so much since the days I first began reading it a few years ago. It starts out so strong and ends up spiraling out of control midway focusing too much on what I essentially consider "despair porn" chapters and moments.
What drew me into this series was the idea of an elderly protagonist. It's rare in manga to see something like this, as many writers tend to gravitate towards highschool students to try and appeal to their target demographic. Instead what we got was a fascinating view of the life of
a humble, modest man nearing the end of his life, and how he copes with protecting his family and dealing with the idea of having new alien robotic abilities. Through his actions we see him question what it means to be truly human or alive. Coming to the aid of innocent people in order to feel any sense of life and to convince himself that even after the accident, he still has a human conscience.
Another character in Inuyashiki begins to undo the niceties of our protagonist in chapters I previously described as just being despair porn. The story begins to focus less on what it means to be alive and the introspective of personal morality, and more about how many innocent people can we show being brutally murdered to try and nail in the fact this guy is a bad dude. I wont mention the characters name due to spoilers but it's frustrating to see an actually interesting character being overshadowed by another generic highschool student who listened to one too many linkin park albums.
The artist Hiroya Oku has a very distinct and expressive art style to his work. However a lot of his backgrounds tend to look like photographs he just filtered to look drawn. Apparently this is a style unique to him and some are okay with it. I however thought at times it looked very jarring. It also took a lot of the enjoyment out of double panel pages.
Overall I would give this a soft recommendation. If you're like me desperately trying to filter your way through the piles of generic cookie cutter manga then I wont lie and say this is what you've been looking for. But the chapters that revolved around Inuyashiki were always a good read. It's a shame this manga ended on such a dull predictable note, but there's definitely some chapters I'd consider a 9/10 near the start.
I've never written a manga review before, and this one will be brief--I just felt that I had to write SOMETHING after reading the reviews for Inuyashiki on here. At the time of posting this, there are only two other reviews, and they use words like "hilarious" and "heartwarming" to describe this series that is "recommended for everyone". Having read that, I went into this thinking that it was a lighthearted action-comedy. It is definitely none of the above.
Once you get past the exposition and into the midst of the story, this is an extremely dark manga with many parts that the
average reader would most likely find very disturbing. That being said, I've enjoyed reading it so far. The story and characters aren't the best you'll find in the manga universe, but overall it is quite good, and makes you want to keep reading. The art is pretty good too; it's a more realistic style which goes well with the overall tone.
To sum up, I'd recommend this manga to people who can enjoy dark, graphic stories. It's a page-turner and is worth reading--the chapters go by pretty quickly, so you can always give it a try and see if you enjoy it or not. Also, it's by the same author as Gantz, so if you're familiar with that, then you have an idea of what to expect.
This manga may be the most, exciting, beautiful and most story rich manga I've ever read!
The characters, the setting, everything about it!
One thing I *disliiked is that I don't get so much information about Inuyashiki's life. I know the basics but I would like to know more about him and hi's backstory, like why does he look so old? He's only what, 56? Younger? But he looks like he's 86?! (But they may tell us more about that further in the series, idk.).
I also absolutely LOVE the artwork. It's just fantastic!
I really enjoyed this manga and I hope you guys also like it! ^^