First Impression: Blood Blockade Battlefront (monkeys, blood, and bug burgers)

"Blood booger battlebots monkey something" - Dr. M

This is the first review of a wave of newly published books from what I like to call the Old Masters, mangaka who have had a very successful series put out and are now doing a sort of victory lap with a new series. This series, Blood Blockade Battlefront, which has conveniently been to shortened to B3 for fans who know keyboard shortcuts, is from Yasuhiro Nightow, the man behind Trigun, which I always found pretty entertaining.

This series starts off with the briefest of brief introductions, right before jamming your head between the bars of a jail cell full to the brim of complete and total mayhem. There is a little bit of a sense (for me at least) that Nightow might have had a fuller introductory chapter that cut to the editing room floor, and it can leave you feeling a bit lost on first read. The introduction actually seems more like the introduction for the 52nd chapter of a serialized manga, where everyone already knows what the deal is, and the character bios are just a wink, wink for the fans.

The main character is a bit of an underwhelming underachiever, named Leo. Hilariously (to me), he writes and photographs a tourist guide for Lost Planet, which just cracks me up every time I read that line. As we learn more about Leo, he has a crippled sister (Nunally?) and he's busting his ass in the biiig ciiity to make some money to help her. However, because he's an underwhelming underachiever, he sucks at this, and doesn't even have money for a burger, which, by the way, is a burger made out of what looks like a giant grasshopper leg. This is due to the fact that the biiiig ciiiity he is in, is Jerusalem's Lot (no, Stephen King, not like yours). Jerusalem's Lot used to be New York City, rift opens, all sorts of aliens pop in and start chillin at the Holiday Inn, except for the giant grasshopper aliens, who are made into burgers, apparently.

Leo's job as a writer is cut a bit short, when he loses his meal, and his camera, to a "mechamonkey", which just looks like a cute-ass little monkey. This is where things get interesting, because Leo is the only one who can see what took his camera as mechamonkeys are too fast to see (LeLouche?). This leads into the bigger story arc for the volume, where Leo chases the monkey (LeLouche chasing Arthur?). Whilst chasing the robotic simian, Leo gets face-stomped by a chain-smoking badass dude, named Zap. Zap is part of Libra. Libra is a shadowy organization that seems to be some sort of vigilante group, operating outside the law. Zap thinks Leo is Libra's newest recruit. Pretty basic setup.

Things get interesting, when Zap drags Leo to Libra headquarters, only to realize in a hilarious, mix-up way that only manga can deliver (you have to read it, you really do), that Leo is not the newest member of Libra. Klaus, the big, square-jawed man on the cover, is the leader of Libra and realizes that Leo has special vision, which allows him to see things that are moving faster than the eye can see. Neat!

It gets even neater, when Femt, "King of Depravity", unleashes a scheme on Jerusalem's Lot. Femt doesn't seem to be the biggest bad guy for the series, but who knows, maybe Nightow likes to setup all the players from the get-go. Femt has a giant demon from that rift I mentioned, and he's set-up a portal that allows half of the demon to exist in Jerusalem's Lot for a couple of seconds at a time, every so many minutes, and the other half is stumbling around the city looking for it's arm. -_- This is actually more interesting than it sounds, because every time the arm comes out of the portal, it swings a sword and blows a bunch of shit up! :o Apparently it's Kenpachi Zaraki's arm! :p

In case you haven't yet guessed it, the portal is in the monkey! So, the wacky (not really) and wild (pretty wild) chase for the fast little guy is on. And Leo, backed by Libra, are the only ones who have both the ability to see the portal opening, and do something about it.

As far as the actual manga styling goes, this is pretty solid work. Occasionally the action might require a bit slower reading, it tends to be a lot of speedlines and that can be difficult to decipher when there's explosions and fighting going on, but in general, it's a very solid drawing style, easy to read. If you've read Trigun, this should be a familiar feeling, it's got a lot of the same style. Also, it's violent, but not gory. No entrails hanging out, just puffs of blood and the like, a good medium for this kind of story in my opinion.

The biggest complaint I have about the book is that it left me craving more, so badly. I wanted to know more about the characters, I wanted to know more about the powers, I wanted to know more about Nunally his sister back at home, and Libra looks to be an interesting bunch as well.

All said and done, this is a solid series from a mangaka who isn't likely to get his series cancelled anytime soon. If you're looking for a new series that has solid action and burgers made from big ol' cricket legs, give this one a shot. ;)

P.S. It doesn't really come across as anything like Code Geass, I just find it funny when story arcs match up like that. :P


The Moon in Autumn said...

Nicely summarized. The twist about the crippled sister kind of left me speechless. Bring on volume 2!

Mr. Empty said...

@the moon in autumn I know! I'm so ready for volume 2 and some more information! this one just left me soooo hungry for more!