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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ro-Land of the Rising Sun


Knight vs dragon: Could a more 'western,' Renaissance indeed, subject be dealt with? But the great sagas of chivalry have long been made trivial and boring in the West, so the duty has been transferred to a Japanese author: Go Nagai. His Jushin Ryger, created in 1989, has just been published in Italy in a wonderful edition (big format, good paper, accurate translation). The plot is an impressive elaboration of typical Nagaian themes, Japanese culture, and European lore and even religion. In this case, both the knights -- wearing armors that follow partly Renaissance, partly samurai types -- and their enemies are giants, therefore their combats demolish whole neighborhoods. And in the end, the very end of the world impends, but thank God, our heroes [NO SPOILER].

The text and art of Jushin Ryger provide a triumph of the purest Go Nagai with his pros and cons, his cons being as lovely as his pros. Fast, extreme, epic, essential while Baroque, tender and high-tech, humorous, sexy, and furious. Just one critical remark: since the basic look of Ryger the Divine Cyborg is absolutely glorious, it is a pity that he is often modified into less interesting fight modes. Anyway, if an uglier armor makes him able to save the world, it is welcome.

Go Nagai, Jushin Ryger, Torino [Turin]: Hikari, 2016, pages 424, euros 18