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BLANK SLATE Vol. 2 by Aya Kanno ( a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 18, 2009 by  



“The conclusion of the Aya Kanno’s intense, dark, violent, stylish and highly entertaining manga series.”

(C) Image courtesy of Aya Kanno

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MANGA TITLE: BLANK SLATE vol. 2 (Akusaga)

STORY AND ART BY: Aya Kanno (菅野文)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: By Hakusensha, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

What does it take to find your true inner self? Zen’s memory has been wiped, and he can’t remember if he’s a killer or a hero.  And a lot of people will do anything they can to keep it that way.

ANSWERS

At an abandoned military base.  Zen finally finds the truth about his identity.  Now that he knows who he is, doe sthat mean his destiny is written in stone?  Conspiracies, espionage and attempted coups d’etat all tie into the conclusion of Aya Kanno’s intense tale of lost identity.

The story ends here.

The conclusion of the dark and violent manga series “BLANK SLATE” by Aya Kanno is finally here!

With the last volume, we were introduced to a killer named Zen.  A man who cares about no one and all he cares about is simply killing.   But Zen has an interesting history.  He doesn’t know much about his past.  In fact, he just woke up one day with urges to destroy and kill.  The only two words that had consumed him since he had woken and he has only done just that.

So in essence, the story’s main character is a villain. But things change as someone seems to have beat him and maybe even come across his own personal nemesis who has the ability to control him.

Chapter 5: In this chapter, Zen and Hakka visit the village where Zen was found.  They run into Zen’s “Big Sis”, the woman responsible for finding him and nursing him back to health.  She gives him a little bit of details about what she discovered the day she found him.  His ability to quickly heal and how he became part of their group.  Meanwhile, Major Kyrie leaves the army with Miss rian to find Zen.

Chapter 6: Zen feels that the General’s summer house where met Rian may have some answers to his past.  He remembers that the tombstones made him remember something but the only way to find out is by returning to that cemetary.  Major Kyrie and Zen return to that same area.  Zen and Hakka try to piece together the information they learn from the tombstones and that Zen may have been part of a secret army unit as part of the Galay military.  Major Kyrie overhears their conversation and can not believe anythign Zen and Hakka are talking about.  But the question remains, why are all these soldiers dead?

Chapter 7: The colonel arrives and Zen remembers that he is the one that tried to kill him. But the Colonel reveals everything to Zen.  That his name was not Zen, it’s Zero and that he was part of the special forces twenty years ago.  Approved by Rian’s father, Colonel Gia.  Babies he knew no love but were grown to be a killing machine with no families, no loving emotions, just to fight and kill.  And the secret to who killed the special force unit was revealed.

Chapter 8: Zen was trying to find out the person who controlled him and everthing is revealed.  Conspiracies in the government and more.  A surprising chapter on who has been pulling Zen’s strings.

Definitely an entertaining conclusion to the overall storyline and the artwork by Aya Kanno was just beautiful to look at.  The men are drawn in bishounen, cool style and overall, the artwork was done quite well.  In fact, the character designs for Zen and various pages featuring him in sinister mode or a withdrawn, everything is well captured.  Especially in the eyes.

I have to admit that I was hoping that “BLANK SLATE” would be a longer manga series but overall, it started off with a bang (no pun intended) and ended with a bang!   The whole series was quite entertaining from beginning to end and in the first volume, you really got a sense of how dark Zen was because he was a killing machine but by the second volume, it was a volume about a man trying to find himself.  Despite being created for the sole purpose of being controlled by the military to be used to kill the opposition, Zen wanted to become his own person. Not Zero as he was known by but as Zen.

But I could have seen the series definitely going longer and I can definitely see a potential sequel but the conclusion of the “BLANK SLATE” manga series definitely ended in a tragic way for some of the key characters in the series but some opening for a sequel if Kanno decided to go that way.

Overall, Aya Kanno did a wonderful job in creating this dark and stylish world full of war (or post-war) and the violence and basing this series entirely on a bad guy.  And where other series would have the bad guy eventually finding some compassion, because of the way Zen was raised, his life is just about destruction and survival.  A fresh and unique storyline and Kanno is definitely a mangaka to keep your eyes on.

“BLANK SLATE” is a fantastic two-volume series that fans of darker tone series like “DEATH NOTE” can probably get into and enjoy!  It’s not a happy storyline by any means.   It’s dark, gritty but yet it’s written well and the artwork manages to capture the storyline very well.  Definitely check this manga out!

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