Red

I am now the proud owner of two volumes of Red by Yamamoto Naoki, analysis of which will form a part of a paper on contemporary representations of the United Red Army.  DVDs and a few novels are awaiting purchase, but should it all go to pot and I fail to find them, I will have to plump for Amazon and their exorbitant shipping fees.

Yamamoto Naoki is an interesting chap who probably deserves some closer investigation himself.  He caused a bit of stir in the early 1990s with a manga called Blue (1991), that has the dubious honour of being designated ‘dangerous material’ (有害物)under the Youth Protection Law and being a reference point in the ensuing debate.  I know very little about this debate of dangerous comics, and it is fair to say that Japan has its fair share of racy illustrated material, but it seems Yamamoto Naoki is no shrinking violet when it comes to his themes.

It seems that Yamamoto first started writing about terrorists with a serialised manga called Believers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Believers), which was inspired by both the Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attack and a book on the United Red Army (yet another thing to buy I suppose).  I haven’t done any research into the motivation for Red, but I assume it was a continuation of this original interest.  What I have read of the first volume has been very compelling, and also quite eerie, with the reader being told in advance how long the characters have left to live, or how long it is until they will be caught by the authorities.  Some of the characters are also numbered, which in an ominous indication of the fate that awaits them…

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