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3 July 2011

Tokyo Zombie (2008)

I can't remember the last time I sat down and read a comic. It was probably a copy of 2000AD sometime in the 80s. It's not something that I'm in the habit of doing. However, inspired by my recent viewing of Tokyo Zombie, I tracked down a copy of the original comic book. Things have changed a lot in comic-land over the last 30 years...

Leave The Zombies to Me, Tokyo Zombie by Yusaku Hanakuma 1998

Tokyo Zombie is described as 'horror-comedy manga' which conjurs up to me those stylised Japanese cartoons of children with huge eyes and pointy little chins. Forget about all that nonsense... Tokyo Zombie is a little bit different. The style in play here is Heta-Uma which apparently translates to: 'Bad, but Good'. I like the sound of that!

Actually, this comic very much has the look and feel of those doodles that you might have done yourself in your teenage years as you desperately looked for new ways to wile away the boredom of school. It's rough, crude, ambitious, but on the most part fun. I was shaking a disapproving head at some of it... but all the while I had a smile on my face!

Chapter 1, Tokyo Zombie by Yusaku Hanakuma 1998

So who is Yusaku Hanakuma?

I'm struggling to find out much about him on Google. If only I could speak Japanese! The best I can come up with is the standard blurb: born in 1967... Manga illustrator... Martial Arts enthusiast... blah, blah, blah. Anyway... I'm his newest and biggest fan!

Yasaku Hanakuma in a Cool T-Shirt
Yasaku Hanakuma in a Cool T-Shirt

Here's a shot of the cover, so you can read the fuller biography yourself...

Biography, Tokyo Zombie by Yusaku Hanakuma 1998

As you know, I've come to the comic having watched the film. I get the impression that the main characters - Afro and Baldie - are part of a series of pieces that Yasuka has been doing over the years which were all leading up to Tokyo Zombie... Yusaku's seminal moment. I'm not going to bore you with an indepth comparison of the comic versus the film. Suffice to say that there are a lot of similarities between the two. But actually they both stand up in their own right and are different enough that you will get something unique out of each. What I will say is that the film trumps the comic in terms of fleshing out the characters and particularly the relationship between the two stars. But I guess that's the real difference between comics and films generally.

Tokyo Zombie by Yusaku Hanakuma 1998

The comic is altogether a quirkier affair than the film. When I first got the comic I was thrown by the fact that it reads from back to front. 'Oh no!' I was thinking 'My copy is defective!' Actually, no, this is how it's meant to be. It took a while for me to twig to the fact that you had to read the pages from right to left too. Even having made it half way through the book, I still found myself getting caught out by it. Confusing! But why not? I like it.

Pig Surfing, Tokyo Zombie by Yusaku Hanakuma 1998

So, if you want to regress a little, or you're just plain sick of the polished poop that fills the Internet's virtual shelves, then I would recommend you dig out a copy of Tokyo Zombie. On the Triple-B I'm going to fight with 7 zombies in the ring of death... and then pig-surf a victory lap. Buy Fujio, buy!

Update 7-Jul-2011: I saw this review on Amazon just now and felt I had to share it with you. Had me chuckling! Thanks Brizdaz... you've made my day! Just drop me a line if you'd like to do a post or two for the Ukulele Blog... I'd love to hear from you!

An alternate review of Tokyo Zombie
An alternate review of Tokyo Zombie

Update 6-Aug-2011: Check out my post incorporating Yusaku Hanakuma and Ukuleles.


  1. Well,
    I'm glad to see somebody takes my reviews seriously to some degree.-)
    It's taken me nearly a year to stumble across this post,but if you read the latest post on my blog;

    maybe the timing was no accident?

    I didn't ever think I would feature on a blog about ukuleles,
    I'm not a musician,even though I'm a big music fan and the funny thing is I almost bought a ukulele at the Woodford Folkfest,but then talked myself out of it,saying "what would I do with a ukulele apart from collect dust with it?"
    And then at the Byron Bay Bluesfest this year I was really tempted to buy one of these Cigar Box Guitars;

    but then I would have to learn how to play it,so I soon put that idea to bed.
    Anyway nice blog you have here,it's amazing which way the universe can take me sometimes.

    And maybe the one star review was a bit hard on my part,but I don't see a real lot of people talking the book up,either.-)

    Cheers / Daz

  2. Hey Daz! Thanks for dropping me a comment... I did wonder if you would ever spot it! It was a bit cheeky of me to stick up your review, but it really made me laugh... Still does! Yeah - I think I may be in a small club regarding Tokyo Zombie. I don't know... it just works for me. On the ukulele front... You've got to buy one! I've never played a cigar-box uke (though I'm considering making one). Buy one and do me a review! And, I did check out your post... I'd never heard of that either! You taught me something today ;-) Have you got any hot zombie tips? Hey - I feel like a long lost friend has paid me a visit! Take care.

  3. Feel free to post any book reviews of mine that you want,but I must come clean and tell you that I'm a high school drop-out fork-lift driver and not a full time book critic...not that you would have picked up on that in my excellent reviews of course.-)
    Who am I to judge Tokyo Zombie anyway? People cringe when I tell them that I'm a big 'South Park' fan.One man's Shakespeare is another man's Beavis and Butt-head,I guess.
    (I like Beavis and Butt-head too,though.)
    I really like those cigar-box guitars,but seeing the price of them I think I'll be buying a ukulele first.
    I kind of like the
    thought of singing
    "Tip-toe through the tulips",and feel it would be a song that even I couldn't do too much damage to.
    Although having seen the movie "Insidious",I'll probably have visions of a demonic Tiny Tim type music critic trying catch me with his razor sharp G-string .-)

    As for zombie tips,when it comes to brains - use 'em,or lose 'em would be my advice.

    Actually I just had a vision of a reverse "Wizard of OZ" zombie story,where Dorothy teams up with the Munchkins to do battle against Scarecrow brain munching,Tin Man heart eating and Lion gut chomping zombies in the land of ZO(M) as she tries to get to the Emerald city and get the Wizard a new brain.
    Maybe that's one to throw at the Tokyo Zombie boys?That's if they aren't scared of getting sued by Disney.
    Now I'd buy that one for sure and would probably give it an OK review on Amazon,too.-)

  4. I don't know but driving a forklift makes you a worthy book critic in my eyes Daz. Brilliant idea, the Wizard of ZOM! I think that's got legs! I don't think I've seen anything like it. You're onto a winner. We should pitch this to Yusaku Hanakuma and see what he can do with it! If only I could speak Japanese...

  5. You can pitch it to him if you like,you might have to go through Ryan Sands his translator of Tokyo Zombie to reach him,but I would love to see him do something like this.
    And I don't want a cent out of it,I'd just like to see what he could do with a storyline like this.
    I think the Japanese comic buffs would be up for this kind of story.
    It would kind of turn the OZ tale on it's head...think of the publicity it could generate from the bitching it would cause from the true OZ fans.-)

  6. I see a mischievous glint in your eye Daz. He's got a web site. I'm going to see if it's got an email address on it later.

  7. I didn't contact Yusaku Daz, but I did the next best thing...

  8. Love that poster :-)

    I can see that one going viral.