Welcome back to Rotten Ink my little blog here on the massive world wide net and as you longtime readers and friends know I grew up being a comic book reader and would read comics all the time and would even chat with friends about them on the playground. And of course Marvel and DC Comics was the most popular companies and of course later Image and Malibu Comics was topics. It was not until late High School that Manga became a thing that was on my radar as many of my Skate Boarding friends read them and would pass them around for all of us to read, and to be honest I never really liked the ones that I read and it would not be until I was an adult and was able to find issues of “The Gyver” and “Fist Of The North Star” that I found ones that I really enjoyed. And you readers know that “Tomie” is my all time favorite Manga series as it a great creepy Horror Comic reads. And while searching for Horror Comics I stumbled on an interesting title that’s name and cover art caught my attention as it was called “Lycanthrope Leo” and it was a comic about a teenager that turns into a werewolf and the world showcases other were-animals. So if you are ready lets travel to the world of Manga and see what Leo is all about. Oh and below is a picture of some of the Manga wrack at Mavericks Cards and Comics sent to me by friend Jeremy Hoyt.
When I was really young and before my family moved to Waynesville I spent time growing up in Kettering, Ohio on a street called Muriel Ave and right down the street from were I live was a Asian Market that was ran by a family and stocked all types of stuff from China and other Asia countries like food, movies, toys, comics and candy! I can remember that our neighbors who were from Vietnam use to buy soda pop that were in glass bottles and they were tasty as from time to time the would give me a drink. Sadly I was way to young so really did not get to go into that place often and honestly don’t remember anything about the inside of the place. We moved from Muriel when I was around 5 years old and that meant, as I grew older I was miles and miles away from that Market and never did get to fully shop there. It’s a shame as for some reason that little Asian Market seemed so special to me even though I barely stepped foot in there at a young age. Sadly sometime in the 90’s that small market closed down and in its spot for a while was a Bird shop that sold birds and bird supplies. And sometime in the 2000’s the Bird Shop moved out and the building was torn down and where this Asian Market once stood is now an empty field. While the Dayton, Ohio area does have its fair share of Asian Markets none of them hold that special place in my memories like that little store that was near Muriel, check out the photo bellow that was taken from Google Maps to show you the field that once held the Market.
Loudness is a Hairband from Japan that started in 1981 and was a major force through the 80s and 90s for that music genre. Over the years the band has released over 20 Albums with many being joint releases between Japan and America with their first major American release being the 1985 rocking album “Thunder In The East” and this will be the CD that I will give a quick review to for this update, as you readers know I love my 80’s Hairbands. And over the years Loudness has had its share of band members that have came and went and the lineup for this album is as follows lead vocals is Minoru Niihara, on guitar was Akira Takasaki, Masayoshi Yamashita on bass and Munetaka Higuchi bringing the boom via the drums. The album was released by ATCO and peaked at # 74 on the American Top 100 Charts and the releases biggest single was “Crazy Nights”, and with that lets give a listen to this classic album. This is pure 80’s Hairmetal and has blistering guitars and has an over all loud and that 80’s metal party sound with some of the best songs on this release for me was Like Hell, Run For Your Life, No Way Out and of course Crazy Nights, but to be fair I think this is a very solid release that almost every song on the album is rocking and packs a punch! So if you like 80’s Hairmetal and have not heard this release from Loudness you should check it out as it is really good and the guitar licks by Akira Takasaki are top notch. In other words get Thunder In The East by Loudness and have a rocking good time!
With that I think it’s time for us to dive into Lycanthrope Leo a Horror Manga series that was released in America via VIZ and this is a first time read for me and one I am looking forward to checking out. And who knows maybe this will be the first for more Manga released by VIZ to get the update treatment here at Rotten Ink. I want to thank Lonestar Comics for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So with that lets howl at the moon with Leo and see what this werewolf from Japan is all about.
Lycanthrope Leo # 1 ***
Released in 1994 Cover Price $2.95 Viz # 1 of 7
Leo is a student who is also part of the track team and it’s his 17 year old birthday and is starting to run faster then ever before as well as other changes that seem to be putting him above and beyond normal people. One day after school he events the teams coach his classmate Kyoko Kiriyama only for her to leave once they find out his Cop father is home and does not seem pleased to see his son has a guest. His father starts to give Leo a lecture on how he needs to stop being so good at things and learn to be average and normal, he then also tells him that he wants him to quite track and only focus on his school work! Leo gets upset and storms out of the house and by accident swats at the dog and kills it, as his father tends to the dead animal Leo wonders off to walk the streets and cool off. His father then gets a phone call from an unknown person who tells him that he needs to deal with his son before they do, and says his job is to hunt and destroy and that he knows what has to be done. The next day Leo and his dad make plans to visit the grave of his mother, but instead Leo finds that his dad has taken him to a cabin in the woods and is armed with a crossbow. Leo sits and listens as his father tells him that he is not his real son and that Leo is really what’s known as a Blood Tribe Of The Beasts and that his real mother was one of them as well that he killed, he tells him that he took him in as baby and raised him as his own child. His father then alerts him that he will change and become something not human, and just then Leo turns into a beast that looks like a mix of a werewolf and a lion (Werelion) and has to kill his “father” before he becomes the victim. His fathers dying words warns him that other hunters will be looking for him as he and his kind have to be wiped out in order to balance out the world. Leo stays home the next few days wondering what to do and even is kind of mean to Kyoko when she comes to check on him…but promieses her that he will be at school the next day.
The first issue of Lycanthrope Leo does a fantastic job of introducing us to Leo a young High School Student who is not fully human and is really a half human and half animal person who’s world changes when he turns 17 and he learns that his parents where not his real ones and is forced to kill his “father” before he killed him. Poor Leo also transforms into a Werelion and has not control over his power and rage, so as you can see Leo is having a really bad day! Kyoko Kiriyama who is his classmate clearly has a crush on Leo, but is a little puzzled about his behavior as unknown to her he is a beast that has slaughtered his father in order to save his own life. His father who was a police cop also was apart of a group called The Hunters who are sworn to kill any and all Blood Tribe creatures, and is caught by his group when his adopted son is one and he has not killed him yet, and when he tries he himself becomes the victim and is slaughtered brutally by his “son”. The father tries so hard to try and make his son normal as you can tell he loves him and does not want the change to happen, so by being strict and hard on Leo he was really just trying to help his son. The scary thing for Leo is that he is now having to deal with this major life change on his own and also now has to dodge The Hunters who know where he is at and who he is…and they really want him dead! The comic does truly have a Horror Comic vibe to it and even has a pretty brutal kills as Leo not only kills the family dog by smacking it and snapping its neck, he also slashes his father to death and the blood does splatter. But keep in mind this also has a very classic Manga feel to it and I am sure in no time the Horror Element will go away and it will become more of a coming of age comic built around a Werelion. The cover is pretty cool and is one of the better covers I have seen on a VIZ Comic. The interior art is really good and is done by artist Kenji Okamura and I am a fan of his style and super glad I discovered this series. Over all a good first issue and really does make me want to see what issue two has in store for us.
Lycanthrope Leo # 2 ***
Released in 1994 Cover Price $2.95 Viz # 2 of 7
Leo Takizawa returns to school and is a nervous wreck as not only does he know it’s a matter of time until the body of his father is found, he also remembers his fathers dying warning that others are out there that know his secrets and it could be someone close to him! Leo starts to think its someone from his school and spaces out in his thoughts and starts to let his imagination run wild making every one a suspect. All the while Kyoko is trying to make sure her crush and friend is ok as she can tell something is very wrong with him, and this worry only gets worse when the police let out that his father is missing. Leo who now owns a cat that is not afraid of him even we he changes into the beast gets a threatening phone message as well as photo at his home causing him to have to calm his nervous, act normal and find out who this other hunter is. After school Leo’s teacher Mr. Okure wants to speak to him as he wanted to talk to him about his missing father, his grades slipping as well as how he feels that he should quit track to focus on school work, and ends the talk very oddly. Leo starts to head out and runs into Kyoko who waited to walk home with him, but before they leave his animal instinct kicks in and he knows that Mr. Okure is a Hunter and he gets Kyoko to leave to school and heads to his teachers office and is proven right as Mr. Okure is waiting for him with a massive automatic crossbow! Mr. Okure takes a few shots at Leo and then informs him that the tea he gave him during their meeting was drugged and this kicks in causing Leo to have to crawl to try and get away as his teacher tracks him through the empty school hallways. As the drug wears off Leo and Mr. Okure are in the school’s library and both know that only one of them will walk out alive as The Hunters and Blood Tribe have been enemies as long as time.
This second issue leaves us on a big cliffhanger as it has our hero Leo being hunted down in the school by his teacher who is a hunter and wants to toy with the high school student before he puts an arrow through his heart. In this issue Leo is a young man who has so much stress going as he knows its only a short amount of time before he is found by a hunter as well as the body of his murdered father is found. He also has the stress of being a were creature, school work as well as Kyoko who he as well clearly likes but is having to kind of miss treat in order to got allow her to get to close to him until he can figure all this out. His new pet cat is a black cat kitten that does not fear him and oddly enough rushes to the school as his owner is being hunted, I think there will be more to this cat then just being a pet. Kyoko is trying so hard in this issue to try and check on and cheer up Leo and each time she tries she is meet with a cold shoulder or an awkward moment. Mr. Okure is a chemistry teacher who is also a Hunter who teaches young minds during the day and at night uses his multi arrow-firing crossbow to kill members of the Blood Tribe. Okure also seems to like to play cat and mouse games with his prey as for him the mind games and the fear he can inflect is just as fun as the killing for him, plus he admits that he has killed other students that were Blood Tribe at that school before! The downside to this issue is that Leo only turns into the Werelion once and for very brief while at home with his new kitten, and it’s a shame as the design is really cool and I would have loved to see the creature in action, but with that said this issue is still really good even with out blood and creature attacks. Leo is a pretty likable hero and the supporting cast around him are interesting even if they are pretty cookie cutter, and The Hunters is as well interesting as it makes you wonder who else will be one and how crazy will they be in their pursuit in killing Leo. The cover is good and showcases Leo as the Werelion and has that VIZ Comic look from the 90’s. The interior art by Kenji Okamura is still great and has that Manga mixed with Horror Comic look. Over all another great issue that leaves me wanting to see what happens next!
Lycanthrope Leo # 3 ***
Released in 1994 Cover Price $2.95 Viz # 3 of 7
Mr. Okure has Leo in his sights and tells him that the arrows are really made of the bones of killed Blood Tribe members and that their own kind is what can kill them! As he takes aim the black kitten knocks into the teacher and causes him to misfire and gives Leo who is still feeling some effects of the drug a chance to escape. As Leo tries to fight back he fails and Mr. Okure ends up catching him and taking him to the schools screening room that is showing pictures of the Savannah desert as he wants this to be the place that Leo looses his life. All looks bad for Leo as Mr. Okure with his crossbow comes closer, but Leo hears a voice in his head that is coming from his Black Kitten that is telling him to use his beast side to fight back as he is The King of the Blood Tribe and needs to survive! Mr. Okure also can see that the animal is talking to Leo and sadly shoots an arrow killing the kitten but also by doing this he unleashes the beast that is the Werelion and has sealed his own fate. Leo in his Wereline form is massive and is about to kill Mr. Okure when a voice in the hallways echo’s out and its Kyoko who is looking for Leo as she has gotten worried about him! Leo spares his teachers life for the time being and turns back to human and meets his friend in the hallways saying to her he was just running the track for practice and the two walk home, but Mr. Okure looses his life at the hands of another Blood Tribe member that is unknown to him. While back home Leo is deep in thought that he almost killed a second person and this really does make him wonder what his life is becoming as well as who the voice in his head really was coming from. Meanwhile the new Blood Tribe creature is leaving the school holding the bodies of the kitten and the teacher showing that others are watching what is going on with Leo. The next day the school gets word that Mr. Okure is missing and rumors are running wild as Leo acts confused about it all and acts as if he has no clue about the hunter teacher. The new teacher is beautiful and is Mayuko Asuka and all the other boys are drooling over her, as Leo is deep in thought about the hunters and the killing of his father.
This is so great as all three issue this far in the series is fantastic and captures a great mix of Horror, Hero and Manga and delivers a very captivating story that is keeping me very interested in what will happen with the story and characters. Leo in this issue turns from a victim who is trying to fight for his life while drugged to a creature that is now the hunter and puts the fear of god in the heart of the person who was trying to kill him! Leo is also showing that he is starting to have a little control of his creature side and also learns that he can hear voices of other Blood Tribe creatures in his head, his powers and abilities are growing so fast as is his size once turned into the beast and now he is growing to Incredible Hulk size! Kyoko once more is a caring friend and thanks to her caring this allows Leo not to take a second life, and by all accounts this helps him keep his human side alive and his creature side in check. The poor little kitten saves the life of Leo and is killed for trying to deliver mental messages to Leo, like its sad as the cat takes an arrow to the body and is pinned to the wall! So keep that in mind if you are a cat lover as the panels can be upsetting for some I am sure. Mr. Okure is pretty sadistic and really does get joy out of scaring and killing things, and even after having his life spared by Leo he still gloats about killing a kitten, what a scumbag! And lets talk about the other Blood Tribe beast that is running loose at the school it kind of looks like a werewolf or maybe even a werecat? But what we do know is that it’s watching over Leo and takes care of the hunter teacher to clip off that loose end of one that knows what Leo really is. The issue plays up a little more its horror elements and shows Leo as the Werelion in all his glory and shows that he can also grow in size making this beast even more of a threat to mankind! The issue also has a little bit of blood and violence and builds the story even more making me really wanting to see what is coming up next from page to page and issue to issue! Cover is really great for this issue and is a face split of Leo showing his human side as well as his Blood Tribe side for fans of Manga as well as Horror Comics from the 90’s this is very eye catching. And like I have said sense issue one the interior art by Kenji Okamura is really good and the way he draws the Blood Tribe creatures as well as his use of shadows is really cool and reminds me of the Horror Comics that was released by Eternity Comics at the time. Oh and I should also say I wonder what kind of role the hot new teacher Mayuko Asuka will play in the story, and I am going to predict now that she is the other Blood Tribe Creature and is the one who killed Mr. Okure and is also the voice that Leo heard in the screening room at the school. Well lets get to issue four and see if my prediction for the new teacher is right!
Lycanthrope Leo # 4 ***
Released in 1994 Cover Price $2.95 Viz # 4 of 7
Leo goes to the cabin in the woods to see if anyone has found his fathers body and to his shock not only is his fathers car missing but so is the body, and the cabin is even clear of any blood and gore, its clear someone is covering up the murder. While back at school at track practice his mind is filled with ideas of maybe turning himself into the police in order to maybe get answers of what he really is! While washing up an arrow is fired near him and sticks into the wall and he sees that if came from his new teacher Mayuko Asuka who is holding the crossbows of both his father and teacher and she alerts him that she is from the Blood Tribe as well and has taken care of the bodies to cover the crime and that she is a friend and she then gives Leo a ride home to tell him the truths about The Blood Tribe. While is track mates go in to find him they see that he is gone as he was suppose to get food with them, and once more this hurts the feelings of Kyoko who was very happy to be going out with him. While driving home Mayuko tells him that the Blood Tribe also has their own army of hunters that are called Protectorate that travel around schools and try to save teenagers who are apart of the Tribe from hunters, she tells him that the Tribe is taking care of him money wise and that he need not turn himself in for his fathers death as he was just protecting himself, she also tells him he is from the rare Lion Blood Tribe and then oddly hits on him while the school bully witnesses the affection. The next day in school the bully tells the class that Leo and Mayuko was in a car kissing down by the river and this crushes the heart of Kyoko even more, but Leo denies it and grabs the arm of the bully and squeezes it up to the point of almost breaking it before the teacher enters the classroom and the fights stops. After school Kyoko is trying to ask Leo about the rumor of him with the teacher when they run into the bully and his gang of goons and they beat up Leo and make Mayuko watch as they drag his bloody body to a car and hold him down and are about to burn him with a lit cigarette!
This issue gives us a little more background on the Blood Tribe Of The Beast and show that they are many and walk among normal man, they are have different species of animals that they take after and that they even have their own solider group called The Protectorate that go around and try and save young Tribe members who are being hunted down by The Hunters! We also learn that a very few of them have the telepathic abilities and that Leo is from the Lion Tribe and they as well are a rare breed. Leo in this issue once more has so much stuff thrown at him as he not only still is dealing with the guilt of killing his father, he also is dealing with school work and track, the fact that his new teacher is flirting with him and is a Blood Tribe member as well, that he will be taking care of for life by the Tribe, that one day they will call on his ability and worse he also has gotten himself in trouble with the school bullies who now want to teach him a lesson! Kyoko who is a loyal friend and still can not help herself from crushing on Leo finds herself being in the middle of the bully fight as well as a little sad over the rumors of Leo and the new hot teacher being a thing. The Bullies are just that young punks who are picking on people they out number, I really do hope they get what’s coming to them in the next issue. Mayuko Asuka who is a Blood Tribe member herself is trying her best to try and teach Leo about what they are as well as trying to tell him that his human side is not his real side, she also very oddly tries to make out with him! But I told you that she was one of the Blood Tribe Beasts! The issue is not bloody and have no kills besides what’s shown in flashback of Leo killing his father and is more about building the legend of what The Blood Tribe is and what they are all about. I am digging the story very much still and this far this series has four great issues in a row in my book as the story and characters are all very interesting and yet all so classic feeling. The cover for this issue is ok and I do not think fits the vibe nor feeling of this story and looks more like a generic Martial Arts comic cover. And like a broken record the interior art by Kenji Okamura is top notch and really has made me a fan of his work. With that lets see what Leo does to escape the bullies in the fifth issue of thus series.
Lycanthrope Leo # 5 ***
Released in 1994 Cover Price $2.95 Viz # 5 of 7
Leo gets burnt by the cigarette and the bullies then set their sites on Kyoko as they rip open her shirt and are talking about assaulting her, and this cause Leo to fight back and makes quick work of four of the bullies in order to save her and the fifth bully who has a knife is taken down by Shunsuke Tatsu who runs the schools Kenpo Club, its clear that Shunsuke knows what Leo is as he walks away with all the bullies badly hurt. The next day word gets out that all the bullies are in the hospital but are not talking about the attack as they know they would be in big trouble, and after class Leo is in more trouble as Mayuko Asuka gives him a lecture about using his powers to beat up the bullies and makes him promise that if he does have a run in with humans again that he will kill them and not let them live! She also once more comes onto Leo and its clear that while he thinks she is hot her actions also creep him out a little. After the lecture Shunsuke finds Leo in the hallways and tells him to join the Kenpo Club as he thinks that he would enjoy it, and after a brief talk with Kyoko about the events and the attack Leo makes up his mind that he will be late to Track and will try Kenpo! At the club Shunsuke has one of his students go full force against Leo and the student uses full power and knocks Leo around and while hurt Shunsuke informs the class that he himself will now face the injured Leo.
The plot thickens in this fifth issue as new questions are coming up that makes you wonder who really is friend and who is foe! But before I get into what I think is going on I would like to say that Leo does a great job in this issue having to try and hide his beast side as he is getting beat up by bullies and its only when they threat the well being of his lady friend that he uses it to make short work of them. He also can take a beating and shake it off and heal fast, he also has self-control as he could very easy kill humans and fights the urges to have relations with his hot teacher. And Kyoko can not win to lose as she not only keeps getting ignored by the boy she likes she also almost gets sexually assaulted by bullies of her crush! She is a great character and one that I find myself feeling sorry for, as she just wants to do the right thing for herself and Leo and always seems to come out on the loosing end. The bullies should have been killed for their actions as they attempt to do some terrible things to both Leo and Kyoko and deserve to be in the hospital or worse. Mayuko Asuka is using her knowledge of the Blood Tribe as well as her sex appeal to try and keep Leo in line, but to me she seems to be very much into the idea of killing humans and makes me wonder if she really is a friend like she claims to be. Shunsuke Tatsu is a high school student who is a martial arts master and who as well seems to have super speed and power, as for me I think he is for sure a Blood Tribe member and not a Hunter like its teased. The issues has some blood and violent acts and has a really mystery feel to it as so much strange things are happing and not only Leo is trying to put it all together me as a reader is as well. The cover for this issue reminds me of a 80’s Hair Metal Cover for like a band called Lion Blood and that makes it awesome in my book! And yep you guessed it the interior art by Kenji Okamura is fantastic and great and at this point I feel like I really am a broken record on praising his art style. Lets see what issue six has in store for us as we are so close to the end of this series so all the answers will be shown soon. And oh yeah I don’t trust Mayuko Asuka anymore as I feel she is using Leo and has her own agenda in all this killing and secret society mess.
Lycanthrope Leo # 6 ***
Released in 1994 Cover Price $2.95 Viz # 6 of 7
Shunsuke Tatsu beats down Leo with fast kicks as the fellow club members watch in horror as Leo looks as if he is dead! But after some harsh words from Shunsuke the fighting instinct kicks in and Leo is ready to fight and they pair fight hard and fast and just as Leo is about to turn into the Werelion he is punched in the head and knocked out. As Shunsuke Tatsu picks up Leo to take him to the nurses office he runs into Mayuko Asuka who knows that he is a Blood Tribe member now and is snarky to him cause he is from The Mountains and is a none meat eating creature, its clear that they do not like each other and it’s the first time they have met. Leo wakes up in the nurses office and Shunsuke is their and informs him that they are both from The Blood Tribe Of The Beast and that while they are different they are very much the same and also drops hints that he is not a fan of the Protectorate and what they stand for. The next day Leo is once more at the Kenpo Club and after the training he once more blows off Kyoko who wants to talk to him in order this time to hang out with Shunsuke at his home. While hanging out Shunsuke informs him that he and his people only eat vegetation and that the main goal of the Protectorate is to get the Tribe together in order to go to war with humans in order to take over the world as the most powerful species and this news does not settle well with Leo, but he also learns the same voice that saved his life is also why Shunsuke is there to help him. Once back home he gets a call from Kyoko to meet her at the park as she wants to talk about the track team, but once he shows up he finds that it was not his friend that called but was Mayuko who wants to know what Shunsuke told him and then shows him that she has one of the bullies tied up in the park and wants Leo to kill him! And when he says no she gets naked and demands that he kills the bully as he knows way too much about them!
In this issue Leo learns that The Blood Tribe Of The Beast is not all together as its rift into two sides with the meat eating creatures want to kill humans and be the top of the food chain in the world with the vegetarian creatures wanting to be left alone and just live alongside the humans. He also is being torn in all directions, as he does not know if he should trust Mayuko anymore and is clearly following the words of Shunsuke as he thinks he can trust him. And lastly Leo’s human life is falling apart as he is ignoring his friends and is more wrapped up in his Blood Tribe life. And because Leo is being so cold to his friends you can tell its upsetting Kyoko who he seems to not have time for, and she clearly needs to talk to him. Mayuko Asuka is very much into murdering humans and is trying so hard to turn Leo into a cold blooded killer as well and is using her body to get him to fall in line with her and the Protectorate’s agenda. Shunsuke Tatsu seems like he is a good person and is trying to do what is right for Leo, but he also seems to have a darker side as the look on his face when Leo leaves his house after hanging out comes off very menacing. So is he a good guy or is he really another Blood Tribe member with an agenda? With only one issue left in the series it makes me wonder how this all will come to an end as so much is going on and I feel like at this point we are not even close to an ending that would wrap up so many story lines for so many characters. I feel that we will have to have a big fight between Blood Tribe members for this to have an epic ending that it should, and I think Leo needs to stay clear of both Mayuko and Shunsuke and stay true to who he is and not allow them both to fill his head of what they think he should be. The cover for this issue is ok and while not great it does show a werebuffalo so that’s pretty cool. And yeah you know the deal on the art and who did it and how I feel about it so lets just move past that. This issue has some blood in it all via the martial arts fight at the start but does as nudity to the mix now as Mayuko goes topless. Well with another great issue behind us lets see what this final issue in this series has in store for us.
Lycanthrope Leo # 7 ***
Released in 1994 Cover Price $2.95 Viz # 7 of 7
Mayuko Asuka tries to make out with Leo and the young man pushes her to the ground and this makes her mad and forces her to turn into a Werebat that attacks Leo with her razor sharp claws diving from the sky and tormenting him as he tries to dodge her attack. Meanwhile back at Leo’s house we see that Shunsuke Tatsu is looking for him and picks up his sent to track him down. While at the park the attack on Leo continues as Mayuko keeps using her claws to rip at his flesh and this causes Leo to finally turn into the werelion just as Mayuko turns back human and orders him to kill the bully who has watched this whole thing and is scared to death. Before Leo can make up his mind if he is going to kill the bully Shunsuke shows up and lets it be known that he is not happy at seeing Leo raged out with murder in his eyes. Shunsuke tries all he can to calm Leo down and get him to turn back human he even tries to use Chi power to keep him calm and it all fails as Mayuko mocks that she used a drug that will keep Leo in a rage and this leaves Shunsuke no choice but to turn into a werebuffalo and try and fight his friend all the while trying to talk sense into him. The battle ends and Leo comes to his senses only after biting Shunsuke deep in the shoulder and injuring his friend badly, its at the point Leo understands that while he has these powers he really is human and this shocks Mayuko who looks on in wonder.
This is the final issue in the Viz Comics Lycanthrope Leo series and it was a great read but sadly it ends with no real answers and not closer to the series a volume two was in the works but never was released by Viz who I feel really dropped the ball here. For a comic reader like me who by all accounts is not a big fan of Manga this was a great series to get me interested as if brought a good touch of Horror to that style of comics and reminded me lots of the Indie Horror Comics of the 90’s in tone and even art style to a degree. Plus I have always been a fan of werewolf comics and this pretty much is a werewolf comic series just done with a different style then American comics based on that creature and others like it. Leo is a character that we grow with along this journey that starts as a normal teenager in High School and by the end is a ranging Werelion that must battle is own mind and body on if he wants to live as a human or as a Blood Tribe member! It looks like in the end of this issue he decides to be a human that has a special gift that allows him to turn into a beast. The one thing this issue also shows is that if he is pushed to far the beast comes out and at times he can not control its rage and anger and this could lead to him taking another life even though he swore to himself he never would after killing his father. Mayuko Asuka really is a mad woman who thrives on killing and clearly wants Leo to be just like her when it comes to taking lives, she also seems to enjoy even torturing him while trying to push him to anger and does not even lift a finger when another Blood Tribe member comes to stop and fight him in hand to hand combat or is that teeth, claw and horn combat? Shunsuke Tatsu seems to be a good guy by the end of this issue as he does what he can to try and get Leo not to take another human life and even risks his own health to do so, and when he turns into the Werebuffalo he is pretty cool looking. The major downside to this comic series and how it ends is that we get no answers on who is the voice that is talking to Leo in his head and is help guiding him, what will happen to the Bully who witnessed this all and we never get any payout for Kyoko who does not even appear in this issue. I really wish Viz would have released more issues from this series as I have heard it had more issues in Japan that they just never released here, shame on you Viz for not doing so and letting us readers here in the US never know what happens in the story and to the characters. I have to say that while the series was not a bloodbath it does have its fair share of the red stuff being spilt and has some gruesome deaths and even some nudity thrown in for good measure. The weirdest and more uncomfortable thing about this series was the older teacher trying to have sex with the teenage main character it was very weird and played almost like it was a normal thing. The cover of this final issue is cool but showcases the werebuffalo when it should have shown Leo as he was the main star of this series. The interior art by Kenji Okamura really is great and I love the way he draws the creatures as they look fantastic and spooky. I also should give a shout out to the writer of this series Kengo Kaji who I think wrote a captivating story about a teen dealing with the fact he is a monster on the inside. I would recommend this comic series if you like Horror Comics with a touch of Manga in them and would also say in you like 90’s Indie Horror Comics you might also want to check it out. Take a look at the artwork below to see the style used in this comic series.
After reading Lycanthrope Leo I have figured out that almost all the style of Manga I like have elements of Horror and Sci-Fi to them as this series clearly was very much inspired by the legend of the werewolf and even adds an element of films like “Island Of Lost Souls” and “The Most Dangerous Game” into the mix with the half animal people and the hunters stalking and killing men and women. It’s a shame that Viz did not release the rest of the series and stopped after only releasing the first story arch, as I do feel that this is a great series and I would have loved to see how it all truly ended and all this did is leave me on a cliffhanger and the fate of Leo. But lets not harp on that and lets take a moment and chat what the next update will be all about and it’s a Dell Comic based on the 1960 gladiator film Spartacus! So until next time read a Manga or three, watch a Werewolf Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update and get ready to yell “I’m Spartacus!” as you know you will want to.