From the bookshelf: Smokin’ Parade Volume 1

Youkou Kakujou is used to looking after his disabled sister who for all of her life has been restricted to a wheelchair. Everything changes though when the medical organisation, Amenotori develop a way to transplant any part of the human body – including legs. With his sister Mirai able to walk, all seems to have improved in Kakujou’s world. Little did anyone know that a tiny proportion of Amenotori patients suffer from an awkward set of side effects: a desire for grotesque violence, loss/gain of limbs and a creepy animal head – becoming what is simply known as a spider.

It doesn’t take long for Smokin’ Parade to give us all of this information in chapter 1 as the innocent, if haphazard, Mirai Kakujou transforms from bubbly party organiser into demon, limb chopping rabbit.

First though, let’s go back a bit and talk about the protagonist of this sorry affair. Youkou Kakujou enters as a bit of an oddball – jumping from a bridge onto a car only to provide the driver with the trash he dropped moments earlier. This is part of Youkou’s ‘family rules’, of which there appear to be many.

The main ‘positive’ group so far seem to be The Jackalopes. These are mechanically adapted demons whose objective it is to destroy spiders, minimising the innocent people they kill in the process. Despite this, the outside world, as well as the group themselves, view the Jackalopes as monsters as grotesque and violent as the spiders themselves.

Speaking of grotesque I should mention our protagonists birthday cake in chapter one. I won’t share the exact details but it would be fair to say that the writer is going for shock value here, although I felt more uncomfortable than anything else. This is a feature that continues through the rest of the first volume as it gushing blood and distorted limbs continue to dominate proceedings. Perhaps this isn’t all that surprising as it fits in largely with the style of the manga-ka pairs’ previous work: Deadman Wonderland.

It’s still a little early to come to any conclusions on the characters as at the end of chapter four we’re still meeting new people. That said my initial impressions of the cast aren’t great: Kakujou himself is a typical shounen lead with no particular skill or ability at the moment, but a lot of heart and the potential to improve. The antagonist we met in chapter four, Kurama, also appears to fit into the mould of crazy evil scientist with a god complex – though I am willing to be convinced that there’s more to her than that. The Jackalopes are also pretty lacklustre, apart from Kakujou’s sort-of-mentor, Akuta. I will say he hasn’t done anything so far that makes him hugely unique, but does seem to have been involved with the bad guys and I’m intrigued to learn about his back story going forward – which to be honest is the only reason I might consider picking up the second volume when it come arrives on the 18th July.

Have you read any of Smokin’ Parade? Am I missing something with the characters or are they really as stereotypical as I’ve made them out to be? 

If you fancy giving Smokin’ Parade a go then you can pick up the first volume here.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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