Ryuko Volume 2: The Brilliant Manga Crime Thriller Races To A Beautiful Conclusion

by Richard Bruton

The explosive finale to Eldo Yoshimizu’s manga gangster tale, Ryuko Volume 2 is a continued rush of reading, complete with some beautifully kinetic artwork that makes 200+ pages simply fly by.

With the first volume, I described it as a ‘spectacular exercise in comics art, a kinetic, breathless rush of a read‘, and things don’t slow down any in this second, concluding volume.

There’s a covert war raging in Japan’s underworld and the motorcycle-riding yakuza princess Ryuko is right in the middle of it. Volume 2 continues all that went before, with Ryuko finally discovering the truth behind her mother’s disappearance and uncovering just who she’s fighting against.

Add in international intrigue, ancient criminal organisations, and plenty of action, and you have a fabulous thriller that looks a lot like this…

Oh yes, it’s another real incredibly fast-paced romp of beautifully choreographed scenes. Yes, it could still be criticised as being a little bit too complicated, with too many twists and turns, a little too much exposition going on to explain everything that’s going on, but there’s a joy to be had in the sometimes bizarre twists you’ll find, every chapter throwing some extra complication in.

(Oh, and as before, remember this is formatted to read from right to left.)

And of course, all the while, you get the chance to work your way through some exquisitely drawn pages. Like a lot of Manga, it’s a fast fast read, but that’s all held together just fine, as Yoshimizu has that magnificent skill of being able to tell a really fast tale but hold everything together, the storytelling never secondary to the page looking great.

Again, as with volume one, Yoshimizu uses a real mix of styles, so many in fact that it just shouldn’t work, but it does, whether it’s super tight linework or a more sketchy style, even going to near-abstract imagery, strange perspectives, dropping in so much shade to the page, using extensive jump cuts, throwing the camera angles around at will, switching zoom to go in ultra-close only to pan out for the wide reaction show, oh, there’s so much great stuff going on.

It’s quite beautiful and somehow just all sits perfectly together. Just look at the page design here, so much going on, a page many artists would just make a mess of, but here it’s just a glorious thing…

And there’s page after page after page of work as bloody marvellous as this.

Again, just look at this and tell me it’s not superb.

As I said with volume one, Ryuko is a great example of how different, how incredible, how staggeringly great Manga can be. It’s been a great pleasure reading Ryuko and I can only hope that Titan Comics look further to Manga for more of their Hard Case Crime line.

I shall leave you with one fabulous sequence, where Yoshimizu goes so wonderfully over the top and where you can see all of that fabulous invention, all of that panning around, the jump cuts, the zooms, the long shots, the close-ups, all in just two fabulous pages… and yes, she can be serious…

Brilliant don’t you think?

Ryuko Volume 2, published by Titan Comics, written and illustrated by Eldo Yoshimizu, translated by Motoko Tamamuro and Jonathan Clements – and it’s out right now.

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