Take yourself back to the 1880s where the KKK is thriving and the African American community lives in fear. The African Americans don't fear the KKK simply because they beat, rape, and kill them. No. They fear the KKK because the KKK eats them. They are the aptly named man-eaters, a kind of mix between werewolves and vampires. They consume human flesh, can shapeshift into various forms, and are practically immortal. Only one man, an ex-heavyweight boxer named Victor Freeman, dares to stand up to them. Equipped with a small arsenal and a set of modified brass knuckles, can our hero defend his people and avenge his past?
Have you ever wondered what early Berserk would be like if the Black Swordsman were actually black, the demons he fought were members of the KKK, and the whole thing was set in the American southwest of 1880? Well, Blaster Knuckle is the answer you your questions.
Blaster Knuckle is one of those novelty manga that no matter whether it’s any good or not, is going to get it’s own little cult fanbase just for being what it is. The plot is as follows - Victor Freeman is a former heavyweight boxer whose father was killed by the KKK when he was young. However, Victor knows
the secret behind the KKK - it is headed by half-vampire half-warewolf demons that eat humans. Because black people are prejudiced against, they are easy to be hunted and killed and not missed, so the monsters mainly feed on them. Victor is out to destroy these monsters one at a time on his endless quest for vengeance.
Because the beasts he fights are immortal, he has to blow up their heads to kill them, which he does with his badass fucking shotgun glove loaded with silver shells. When he kills the demons, though, they become regular human corpses, so the world knows him as a murderer and there is a huge bounty on his head. Therefor, Victor walks a lone road, taking the pain of being hunted and the burden of vengeance onto himself. Of course, like Gatts, he’s way too badass to mind.
The manga is only 3 volumes long, so the plot is pretty basic, but it does enough in that time to have a decent variety, not outstay it’s welcome, and leave a great taste in your mouth. It’s mostly about Victor Freeman being insanely badass, blowing off peoples heads, and freeing his fellow black man. The depiction of 1880’s American life is actually pretty researched and accurate aside from the, like, demons. Some fun side characters are introduced, and the ending is significantly epic. Interestingly, a lot of the plot is actually withheld for the later parts so that you only really get the full picture in the end. So, while the plot isn’t particularly deep or complex, it’s more than good enough to stand up to the novelty value and make it worth reading all three volumes and keeping it memorable.
The artwork in Blaster Knuckle is about as good as it really needs to be. It takes the usual seinen route of more realistic characters and more grotesquely detailed monsters. Victor Freeman is a badass, but he looks EXACTLY like Gatts from Berserk, only black. Even the Blaster Knuckle could be called a sort of copy of Gatts’ arm canon. What’s really important, though, is that Wazarai Shizuya knows how to draw some badass fight scenes. The fights flow well and are a ton of fun, especially because of Victor’s boxing style that gives an extra level of cool to the fights, like you can tell he knows what he’s doing. And while Victor is absurdly powerful, he does get kicked around enough that the battles don’t feel totally one-sided. Towards the end, there get to be some especially great fights when Victor and one of his com padres are taking out hordes of enemies.
And of course, seeing as how we’re dealing with demons and shotguns, there is bound to be a decent amount of gore. Blaster Knuckle does have some shock value moments, though they are more or less justified by the plot. That said, there’s nothing more fun than showing off some of the crazier pages.
It’s a shame that this manga is almost totally unheard of and will likely never, ever make it to America, because I would love to own it. Even if the main draw is the novelty, I do think it’s more than fun and cool enough to re-read, which just makes it that much more awesome. It’s one of those manga you simply can’t help but love no matter how silly it is. Even though you can never find it in America, it is actually fully scanslated thanks to a group that formed just to release this manga, and is findable right on MangaFox (which is good because I’ve been too lazy to download the series for like 2 years now, lol.) It’s more than worth reading if you’re like me and always wanted to see more black people in manga, or if you just generally like absurd gore, badass dudes, and crazy action fun.
Testosterone filled delivery of anachronisms which doesn't jump out from the ordinary, except for incorporation of a black protagonist; highly commendable and welcomed, even if only for the refreshment worth. For everything else it remains on already-seen basis, albeit presents it with certain vivaciousness which supplement the enjoyment value.
Environment in which it plays is perhaps the most memorable point, since plot is stuck in one firm direction and characters are debilitated in their development. They do have a few distinctive attributes, even if they are merely on appearance and manly portrayal basis. Basically, both plot and characters are affected by short duration, which in the
end also justifies them, obviously. Another positive point for the memorability factor, is the quite detailed art style, which offers a remarkable fluidity of motions from panel to panel, especially when battles are concerned.
Blaster Knuckle remains devoid of any sort of philosophy, nor does it try -- despite of potential for it -- to excel at profoundly conveyances, however, it does contain some obvious remarks and very few, minor, in-depth allusions on racism. In the end, it is consolidated in its presentation of a short and adrenaline filled time killer.
I've always been a sucker for over the top and ridiculous action in anime and manga. What makes this type of action even better is if there's a special spin or twist added in to make the action more unique. Blaster Knuckle is a manga that is unique in many ways. Anime and manga that take place in the Western Hemisphere aren't exactly unheard of but they aren't common either.
Coming into this manga I thought it was gonna be just basic action with gun duels and a great western feel. Well I was correct on 2 thirds of that prediction but the
action in blaster kunckle is anything but basic.
Well let's start with the basics, Blaster Knuckle is a 3 volume long manga written by Shizuya Wazari. This series is often compared to berserk which I cannot comment on because I have not read berserk yet. But I'm definitely going to say that in my opinion Blaster Knuckle is a very special manga with some interesting concepts ingrained within it.
One thing I really liked about this manga is the premise. I would have never expected that the Ku Klux Klan would be portrayed as demonic beasts that eat the flesh of humans. The narrative is fueled primarily by the vengeance which is what the main character is seeking for. The setting is the southern United States which is pretty interesting and it connects to the context of the Ku Klux Klan and racism. The time period is captured very well in this manga which is important.
The characters here were pretty good but the only two characters that can transcend the realm of decent are the main protagonist Victor Freeman and an important side character named Alex Mcgregor. These 2 characters are very well done. Victor in particular really drives the story with his extremely cool character design and demenaor. Mcgregor also exentuates cool but adds some comic relief and humor into the story.
One can argue that this story is driven solely by action which is kind of correct. The action sequences here are great and ooze cool. Victor has fists and Mcgregor has guns in unexpected places and watching them destroy the demons was entertaining.
The conclusion of the manga was good but I large problem I had was that some crucial info about the two characters were info dumped way to late into the story and could have been further elaborated. The length of the series was also a slight issue because the majority of the anime is taken up by that third story arc. I felt some other interesting stories could have been weaved if the manga was longer.
The art here is great with the monsters being very detailed and the character designs were also top notch. The backgrounds were drawn well and captured the time period in both art and dialogue.
So overall I enjoyed this series for its fresh plot elements and creative story. The world that this anime takes place in was well done and the character design was meticulously detailed. This is for the people who love straight up action and monster flicks that dont mind gore. Definitely check this out for the western atmosphere, the detailed main characters, and that wonderful dose of brutal action.
'Blaster Knuckle': A niche seinen historical horror manga from the early 90's created by a good friend of THE Kentaro Miura. Sounds good already, right? Unfortunately, it was cancelled only 20 chapters in (you can surmise why after reading the story segment) and was never continued again. The existing chapters, however, make for a good weekend read thanks to a strong plot, gloriously gory art, and well-rounded characters.
[Story - 8]
The story is rather unique for a 'monster-hunter' setting: It follows the adventures of Victor Freeman, a black man living in the southern USA during the 1880's. After witnessing shapeshifting beasts eat people alive as a
child, he dedicated himself to becoming the best beast hunter alive. Naturally, he would face many more hardships than usual due to his status as a visible minority in the deep south during a period of rampant racism.
The story follows typical plots of this specific genre during its run, but also mixes in the impact of hate crimes and division amongst ethnic groups. While it can be rather ham-fisted at times, it's still worth praising since it can be handled rather well at other times. It feels very 'tough-dudebro-masculine', but I don't particularly find that an issue as I expected it going in, and so no complaints are found there. The pacing is mostly solid: While the very first chapter is a rather long-winded introduction, the two arcs that come afterward are handled just fine and feel natural. The last arc has a satisfying ending in spite of its cancellation, although it definitely brings up concepts that would have been further explored had it continued.
[Art - 10]
The art is the most noteworthy feature here: While not super unique, it still stands out due to the beautiful shading palettes and intense degree of detail put into every panel. The character designs are rather timely and unique to everyone, especially in regards to the beasts that are hunted. The weapons look rather authentic, and naturally the gore resulting from their usage is grossly amazing.
[Character - 8]
Since each arc involves a different specific locale, the cast changes: the only constant is our protagonist Victor. He comes off as rather bland at first, but is soon shown to have a complex moral dilemma inside of him as he deals with the beasts and the discrimination he faces. Despite that, he has a rather tragic backstory fitting of the genre, and can be rather cliché at times with the dialogue.
The other characters don't have a lot of depth to be frank, but I attribute this to both the format of the arc structure and the early ending this series had received. The only other character worth noting would be the anti-hero/anti-villain/neutral/yougetmypoint bounty hunter, Andy MacGregor. He comes off as a typical 'cowboy' archetype, but is actually engaging once he encounters Victor. You'll see why if you read it, but I know he would have been a recurring character - and a fun one at that.
[Enjoyment/Overall - 9]
This series was honestly such a blast to read. Sometimes it's fun to lose yourself in straight-forward 'action horror' manga, especially if it has a unique take on it. I definitely would love to see this series make a comeback (even if it is nowhere near being a favourite), but that's obviously never happening anytime soon. I'd definitely recommend this to people who love this sort of manga (over-the-top monster-hunters), and if you want to see a fairly unique setting in manga.