«Hanzai Japan» A criminal (and fantastically futuristic) anthology worth your ink.


hjCreeping with 16 tales of suspense, crime and horror, Viz hit our bookshelf recently with “Hanzai Japan”; A very unique collection of short stories that dabble into both futuristic and dark fantasy elements, also including some of the more iconic elements in the Japanese culture from the hand of talented writers such as Hiroshi Sakurazaka (All you need is kill), Genevie Valentine (Catwoman), Carrie Vaughn and many more.

Like most anthologies, there were some stories that I liked a lot, others not so much, but most of them surprised me, and some even left me wondering about the character’s fate long after I finished the last sentence. I’ll admit that there was one story that I felt went over my head, but still never made me think I wasted my time. Without going into a spoilerish territory, I will give you an idea of what you will find in this book, and I am intentionally messing the order up, so you have a fair chance to be surprised:

A man condemned to hell for all eternity patiently wait for his son’s arrival, while he reminisces about the circumstances that put him there. A yakuza gang decides to rob a bank vault taking advantage of the destruction and confusion caused by an iconic monster. A sex doll seems to be the responsible for an old man’s death. A sexy yakuza discovers that her taste for violence is only surpassed by her love for cinema, although not by much… A young man seeks to escape from a serial killer, by turning himself in one. A retired musician finds himself choosing between a chance to revive his glory or save a young man from a existence in limbo.

A young woman that is part of an urban explorer group debates if she should tell them about her new friendship with a corpse. A reporter find how far Sumo wrestlers devote themselves both body and soul for victory. A most peculiar narrator shows a deep sense of duty and servitude to his master, even his hobbies not very noble. In a society where vampires are no more than second class citizens and menial laborers, a strings of murders appear as an answer to social repression. After a horrible break-up a high school girl decides to confront the skank that stole her boyfriend away, and has no trouble to use the chainsaw she inherited to deal with those that try to stop her.

A young woman that claims to be a magical fox seeks the help of an skeptical friend to recover a precious object, otherwise she will be doomed to a life in marriage. A girl will do anything to win the band battle at her high school, no matter if the world outside is literally collapsing. A farmer’s paranoia turns into reality when a huge disaster causes the food and resources on the big cities to run out, sinking the survivors into chaos. A man that years ago walked out on his family to start a new life as an assassin finds a familiar face from the past with a secret intention. A demonic tattoo that makes the owner share somebody else thoughts …and dark intentions

As you can see, each story is very different from each other, and there were some tales I would LOVE to see adapted to film (or even better, animation).  There were only a couple of stories that I thought were a little bit off, but the book, (Which you can buy here) is highly recommended, so if you have the chance to read it, don’t think twice and do it.




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