I’ve always loved reading and watching things with zombies, especially when I was a kid. However, after a while, all of the content started to blur together and be become boring and predictable. That was the case until I found the manga called I am A Hero. The horror series was created by Kengo Hanazawa, and the English version of the books are published by Dark Horse Comics. There are 22 volumes out, and Dark Horse puts two volumes together to make omnibus volumes. The art style is very detailed and very well done, but please note: I am writing this review with only the knowledge of the first three omnibus volumes.
The story takes place in Japan and follows a Tokyo resident named Hideo Suzuki. He is a manga artist who lives alone. He’s an interesting character because he does not see himself as the main character in his own life. That is what drew me to him, since its such an interesting mindset for the “hero” of the story to have. Hideo has one advantage going into this outbreak, and that is the fact that he owns a shotgun. Guns are scarce to come by in Japan because there was a law passed stating that no one is allowed to own guns or swords. To actually acquire a firearm in Japan, people have to go through all-day classes and then do a written exam. Throughout the series, he takes care of his gun making sure that it is locked up in his bag. This is entirely different to how typical stories go the zombie sub-genre. People are usually ready and guns blazing when the outbreak starts.
It is interesting to see how different cultures react to a zombie outbreak. In Japan, the community is a significant part of their culture. In the series, people are continually trying to get the infected help; even if they are attacking others they still want to assist them. In typical zombie stories, looting and panic spread instantly. However, in this series everything is calm. People do not realize what is happening around them until they get attacked. Some parts of the country have not even heard of the infection that is going on and think that it is just the flu. When the main character encounters and kills his first zombie, he tries to turn himself into the police. Even when everything breaks out and gets chaotic the main character still tries to obey the law. For example, Hideo hesitates to steal a bike since its illegal even though he is being chased by a pack of zombies. Even later in the series, he makes a point to leave money after his cab crashes, and the driver is infected. It is interesting to see how they still try and adhere to the law, even if everything around them is chaos.
This series has me hooked, and I cannot put the books down when I start a new one. The way that it is written makes it feel so real and believable. There is nothing that is too over the top everything seems pretty grounded in reality so far. In a majority of zombie stories everything gets too convoluted, and then they keep trying to up the ante. This story has solid pacing and lets readers get in touch with the characters. I have to give this series a solid 9 and hope that it can maintain the quality that it has now.