Every twelve years, a dozen assassins and killers take on the names of the zodiac. In a battle royale setting, they fight until there is only one survivor using any weapons or special abilities along with their wits and fighting styles. The winner and sole survivor is granted one wish with no limitation. This is the tale of the twelfth Zodiac War.
Opening on to a barren city, the story is told from the perspective of a single observer of the twelfth zodiac war, Navi. After a brief introduction and explanation that the gem they were all forced to ingest is a time delayed poison, an explosion separates the killers. Warriors Boar and Rabbit meet in a damaged section of the building they were in, and Boar is killed and reanimated due to Rabbit using his power as a necromanticist.
Chapter two and three follows the Warrior of the Dog, having the special ability to have his body create any poison or antidote he is already immune to the poison he ingested earlier. Planning to hide in the large city until the others succumb to the poison, he is met by the Warrior of the Chicken. Coming of as extremely timid and weak, she immediately brokers an alliance with Dog who accepts. Dog plans to use her as a pawn to get her killed, but to help her survive he bites and injects her with a steroid to increase her combat abilities. At which point Chicken crushes his skull with her bare hands, her gaining the boost the whole reason for her proposing the alliance.
Chapter four begins following Dog’s defeat, Chicken turns her attention to the undead boar who was the reason for Dog giving the boost. Even though dead, Boar retains the special ability to fire her machine guns without reloading. Forcing Chicken to use her control of birds to attack and devour Boar. Losing a substantial amount of her birds to gunfire and the surviving flock being full from consumption, Chicken decides to hide and wait for her birds to be useful again. While raiding a convenience store she runs into the Warrior of the Rat who then takes Chicken to meet the Warrior of the Monkey, who have been hiding in the city sewers since the start of the war.
Having seen the anime version of the story first I was curious if there was going to be a noticeable difference between the written and animated version. And afterwards I can honestly say that that I prefer the animated version over the manga. In the series there was more flashbacks to the different warriors pasts and they showed far more in the animation than here in the book. At least for this volume.
The biggest question I have is why is there the mortal observer for these events? I can understand there needing to be some form of a perspective needed to tell the story, but for the most part the story happens without him being able to bear witness to the events. Like when Chicken and Rat meet in the supermarket. He isn’t there to cover it, and it’s the same for when Dog and Chicken first meet as well. I’m not sure if he’s there simply to express the audiences surprise, for people new to the story anyway, or if he’s just a gimmick, but it seems like a pointless character to exist and take up frames.
I can’t yet tell if I like the manga yet, it’s to early into the run after all. I’m hoping that something will come up in later volumes that adds more to the series, rather than making it feel like I’m reading still frames from the anime. Until next time everyone.