Bento Review: Akaneiro

If there’s one thing Comic Bento can assure me of, it’s that there’s a decent chance anything they send me from Dark Horse will be somewhat weird and different, sometimes in a good way.

The most recent is something called Akaneiro, and it combines the story of Little Red Riding Hood and Japanese folklore.

OK, that’s mostly what it does.  The world was apparently created by someone named American McGee.  Comic Bento tells me this individual is a “video game auteur” responsible for some sort of Alice in Wonderland-themed game.  None of that means anything to me, so let’s judge this book on its own merits.

And with that, you know, this could very well be based off another video game.  Writer Justin Aclin tosses in ideas that sound like “power-ups” as a young girl leaves her late mother’s village to join the Red Hunters to fight demons and try to keep a balance going.  There are some ideas floating around that the Hunters, who collect “karma” from the spilled blood of demons for additional power, may be less discriminating than they should by going overboard for their karma collections, but ultimately there’s a demon king and a werewolf village that our heroine is sent to by a mischievous fox spirit.  The girl, Kani, is the key to maintaining friendly relations with the Hunters and the Ainu people of her mother, and she’s somewhat straddling different worlds as it is.

But as it is, this was a pretty short book, clocking in around 72 pages.  The overall result is the whole thing felt inconsequential.  The saving grace is the artwork from Vasilis Lolos, coming up with truly manga-esque looks and some highly creative demon figures.

Like this demon bear.

If this is an adaptation of a video game world, maybe players would enjoy it.  As for me, I didn’t dislike it, but it didn’t grab me much either.  Seven harmless mushroom people out of ten.

NEXT BOOK:  We’re back to Dynamite, with a comic series based off a novel series by L.A. Banks about her Vampire Huntress character.  It looks…odd.

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