Manga Review – Outlanders Vol. 1

This week I’m taking a break from all things CLAMP in the manga reviews for something slightly different, an alien invasion manga, published in the US in the mid-90s by Dark Horse.

General Information

Title: Outlanders Vol. 1
Written and Illustrated by Johji Manabe
Translated by Dana Lewis and Toren Smith
Lettering and Touch-Up by Wayne Truman
Originally Serialized by Hakushensha’s ComiComi Magazine.
Currently out-of-print, but originally published in the US by Dark Horse Comics.

The Premise

Tetsuya Wakatsuki is a photographer for a Tokyo newspaper. He and his reporter, Aki end up caught in the middle of an alien invasion of Earth by a race that claims to have actually been here first. However, a vast global conspiracy is aware that they were coming and they will stop at nothing to destroy the aliens.

The High Points

It’s wonderful to see a crusading journalist in anime and manga, particularly two of them.

The Low Points

Just once, I’d like to see a mangaka take into account the old saying about a secret being known by the number of people who have been told about it squared.

Content Notes

No nudity, but a lot of blood.

The Scores

Originality: I don’t think I’ve seen the alien invasion concept handled quite this way in anime before (as the alien invaders aren’t precisely elder gods either)… no, wait, I take that back – Harlock ’78 kind of did that with the Mazone. That’s about it though, that I’m aware of.  5 out of 6.

Artwork: Very nice artwork, both in terms of action scenes, backgrounds, and vehicle designs. 4 out of 6.

Story: Being that this is the first volume, we’re not getting a lot of answers. However, what we do get does make me intrigued about what’s to come, particularly with a rather impressive twist towards the end of the volume. 4 out of 6.

Characterization: Our two reporters are pretty well fleshed out. However, some of the military supporting characters, and some of the aliens which will probably become important later on are currently fairly two dimentional. 3 out of 6.

Emotional Response: The reporters are interesting and well written, and the story makes me want to know what happens next and what happens to our heroes, I don’t care too much about the supporting cast. 3 out of 6.

Flow: 4 out of 6.

Overall: A good start to an late 80s manga, and I’m definitely going to keep reading this. 4 out of 6.

In total, Outlanders Volume 1 gets 27 out of 42.

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