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First Look: Billy Bat

April 2, 2010

Happy, Master Creation, Pluto, Monster and 20th Century Boys are all genius series by Urasawa Naoki-sama. Now he strikes back with his latest masterpiece called Billy Bat.

The story takes place in 1949 and is about Kevin Yamagata who is a half Japanese half American working as a cartoonist for “Marbel Comics” in New York. He is the creator of a successful comic series called “Billy Bat”.

One day he finds out that he isn’t the original creator. In the Japanese Jump magazine there’s manga with a bat looking exactly like Kevin’s Billy. So he puts Billy Bat on hiatus and travels to Japan to ask this mangaka for permission of using the character design for Billy Bat. He meets up with a friend called Charlie who works for the American OSS (Office of Strategic Services). Together they go to the archives of the OSS ’cause Charlie knows where to find the bat Kevin is looking for. He pulls out a ancient Japanese book where a bat is shown wich looks just like Billy. Charlie blackmails Kevin into paying him. Otherwise he’ll tell everyone that Billy Bat is jut a copy. As Kevin is about to decide, his view gets blurry and suddenly Billy Bat appears before his eyes telling him to kill Charlie. If he won’t do it, then the comic will be cancelled and he’ll never become super rich.  When Kevin comes to his mind, Charlie is laying dead in front of him.

Who killed him? Was it Kevin or the manifestation of Billy Bat? And why Billy tells him to kill Charlie?

Somehow, the first chapters of Billy Bat are reminding me at 20th century Boys. A mysterious symbol appears and the main character starts invastigating. But later, the story drifts off into a very interesting direction and I really can’t wait what happens next.

I read the manga until chapter 30, pretty much is going on right now and I don’t know if it’s possible for me to keep the overview of these many storylines. I already re-read the currently available chapters in order to write this fist look.

But nevertheless, it’s fucking genius! That Naoki-sama can build up so much tension in the fist 30 chapters is amazing. Plus, it’s a manga which is almost completely focused on the dialogues of its characters. This is something only the best mangakas can create and you don’t see often nowadays.

So concerning all the good and hardly any bad aspects, I rate this one with a 8/10 points. I don’t give it 9 points ‘cause the characters and the story still need to develop a bit.

PS: If you like Billy Bat as much as me, then you might check out my article about old Batman mangas from the 1960s. ->CLICK<-

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