Random Manga Theatre 44: Green Blood

Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.

This time: Green Blood, by Kakizaki Masasumi

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Five Points: an infamous slum in Manhattan, New York City, filled to the brim with the scummiest of the scum and the nastiest gangs this side of the Hudson. Nobody really wants to live there, but not everybody has a choice – least of all the immigrants fresh off the boat. They’re looking for a fresh start in America, a chance at a new, happy life free of hardship. It’s all about the American Dream, right? But for Brad and Luke Burns, it’s more like a nightmare.

Caught up in the gang wars between the Iron Butterflies and the Grave Diggers, Luke just wants to earn an honest living and save up enough cash to get out of the cesspit of Five Points with his older brother. A bit of an idealist? Maybe, but he’s happy as long as he’s with Brad. Mostly, anyhow. He works at the docks all day for fifty cents, barely providing for himself and Brad, who doesn’t seem to have a job of his own. Not by day, at any rate.

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By night, Brad Burns is better known as the Grim Reaper: the Grave Digger gang’s greatest assassin, said to be inhumanly tough and and unparallelled killer. Cough up ten dollars, and your mark is dead. No questions asked. What Brad really wants, though, is to kill a certain someone, a person who hasn’t been in Five Points for years… And how long can he keep his double life a secret from Luke, who doesn’t know a thing?

Can the Burns brothers combat the corruption in Five Points, keep out of trouble with the gangs, keep their secrets, and maybe even make their dreams come true? Find out next time on Dragonball Z!!

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Verdict: Highly Cliche
If it wasn’t clear by that description, this manga is about as cliche as it comes. I feel like I’ve seen every single one of these plot elements before, written in a similar fashion. A secret hitman who just wants to protect his little brother, a naive and idealistic kid even in a hellhole like Five Points! It’s almost enough to make me gag, and it would be if Green Blood wasn’t presented with so much style.

The art is the real standout here. Apart from Brad, who pretty much looks like an anime character, the aesthetic reminded me more of western comic books than manga. Everything has texture in a way that’s pretty atypical of the medium, giving the slums a dark and gritty feel befitting of their reputation. It also doesn’t really shy away from showing nasty injuries when appropriate to do so.

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So I guess if you’re looking for something a little different from your run-of-the-mill manga, check out Green Blood. As long as you have a tolerance for cliche Westerns, you’ll probably enjoy the ride.

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