Review Akaneiro #1 “A Japanese Red Riding Hood Twist”


Upon Yokai Island, there is an uneasy truce in place between the ancient Ainu and the Order of Akane, otherwise known as the Red Hunters. The Ainu pray to the Kamuy for balance and protection while the Red Hunters try to take out the Yokai before too many can enter our world and destroy humanity. When a sacred ceremony of the Ainu is disrupted by a Yokai that has managed to slip past the Red Hunters, young Kani is able to help destroy it and offer herself to be a liaison between the two sides in order to prevent a war. Little does she know that her journey is far more important than she could ever imagine.

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The cover states that this story comes from American McGee, the creator of the popular Alice video game series. I imagine he is merely a presenter as his name appears nowhere else in the book. The story is by Justin Aclin, who for the most part is able to create quite an intriguing tale with a well developed back-story. He has given Kani a nice voice for readers to follow along and the journey is sure to be enjoyable. My concern is the length as the series is expected to run for only three issues. That’s hardly enough to tell the kind of story Aclin is trying to tell in full without making it seem rushed. It’s the feeling I get upon reaching the last couple of pages of the first issue.

akaneiro01-pageThe book is illustrated by Vasilis Lolos. There is a rough appeal to the drawings, and it pays a bit of homage to the old ways of how the Japanese drew, as opposed to the modern era we’ve come to know all too well. This does mean that perspective is a little tricky, making for body parts that seem to appear disproportionate. Nevertheless, Lolos creates some pretty cool visuals. There’s one showing what happens when a Yokai merges with a dead bear to create one hideous looking monster. And the fight scene that follows is quite as impressive. To be honest, the fight scenes are perhaps the best part about the illustrations. Everything else just seems to be there for the sake of being there.

Not entirely sure if I want to recommend Akaneiro or not. On the one hand, there is some nice promise of an interesting story being told and the illustrations of the fight scenes are impressive. On the other hand, knowing that this will only be three issues long makes the story feel rushed and the artwork in-between the fighting are nothing special. I think only those curious to see something different might consider taking a peek. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

What is your favorite retelling of Red Riding Hood? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @LordAkiyama.