Lately, I’ve become a big fan of manga author Kengo Hanazawa (花沢 健吾) after finishing his manga series called “Boys On The Run” (ボーイズ・オン・ザ・ラン). Kengo Hanazawa tends to write seinen mangas (青年漫画) and his work always seems to be about a looser who tries to get ahead in life.
Boys on the Run was something out of left field for me. It’s about a dude named Tanishi who is terrible with the ladies, has a string of shitty jobs and there is some amateur boxing thrown in for good measure. When I picked it up, I was immediately drawn into the story. Not because this is a story about an underdog climbing his way to the top, but because it is quite the opposite as the main character is constantly kicked down in life. The story is quite realistic (I know people like him in real life) and I even felt embarrassed for him many times to point of wanting to punch the book. At first, I hated him for being so nice and his general naivety. Regardless, he keeps trying to be a better man despite himself and I actually started to cheer for the character after awhile in the series. I highly recommend this manga if you come across it. Unfortunately, the manga is only available in Japanese and you’ll have to look for it in Japanese bookstores in your area. There are scanlations in English floating around the web, but I’m not going to link up any of those sites here.
I just picked up Kengo Hanazawa next manga called “I Am Hero” ( アイアムアヒーロー) today from a used japanese bookstore chain called Book Off down in Torrance, CA.
“I Am Hero” is a bit of a horror manga with a looser protagonist, but I haven’t got that far into it to give it a proper review. Neither manga uses furigana, so if you are a beginner Japanese student like me, it will take you awhile to read!
Check out Hanazawa’s website for more of his artwork!