I talked about the first two volumes a bit at the end of the “Gantz” podcast as they represented a dramatic shift from mangaka Hiroya Oku’s seinen sci-fi action series. It’s still a sci-fi action tale, but one more concerned with how a timid old man, the titular Inuyashiki, adapts to the power granted to him by his rebuilt alien war machine body and his perceived loss of humanity. While the second volume indicated that the primary conflict in this series would be between the old man and a teenage boy who was transformed in the same way but doesn’t possess the same morality, vol. 3 takes us down a different and decidedly less interesting path.
The volume starts off by introducing us to a tall, dark-skinned, decidedly ruthless yakuza and lets us know that he’s into rough, dominant sex with either gender. We’re then shown an average, happy couple and the girl eventually catches the yakuza’s eye with predictably dire circumstances. I don’t think it’ll surprise anyone if I say that Inuyashiki eventually shows up and starts fighting the good fight against less-than-impossible odds. This is familiar, predictable stuff. Oku’s chops for depicting action in manga are still intact, and while he does his level best to get us to care for the new couple and hiss the new villain his efforts never really overcome the fact that we’ve seen this stuff done before and better elsewhere.
It all leads up to a volume that doesn’t feel satisfying in terms of storytelling or the amount of content delivered. Even if individual volumes of “Gantz” had their problems (and boy did they have some problems…), there was still a meaningful amount of progression to the story in each of them. With this volume of “Inuyashiki,” it feels like the main story was put on hold for Oku to tell a generic action story where his protagonist shows up halfway through it to go beat on some bad, bad men and save a happy couple. We don’t even get the end of this story here — we’ll have to wait until vol. 4 comes out for that! This series started out with such great potential, but now I’m starting to think that Oku doesn’t have a plan for it and is just making it up as he goes. To fairly dull results as seen here.