Written By: Jordan Taylor
Art By: Sam Richardson
Published By: ShowMe Comics
“Wish for strength – not luck”- Kuno
Hafu Is a graphic novel that I wish the industry had more of. The story is simple yet deep. We follow our protagonist Akiko Kuno as she attempts to deal with being half Japanese and half American in Japan, while having a father who is distant at best, and a mother who is deceased. Through all the pain she has to endure because of her lineage she soon finds out that she is destined for greatness in the form of becoming a ninja. Akiko is an engaging heroine that is not treated as a damsel nor a man with a female character model but rather a fully realized character with depth and vulnerability.
Jordan Taylor seems to do a very good job of giving his characters and their dialogue weight and really makes you care about them. This is probably due to the relatively small cast which allows the reader to focus and attach themselves to the characters. The dialogue is believable and comes across as organic for each character. The way the story is told makes for a fluid read throughout.
The art in Hafu is gorgeous most of the time, however it suffers from periodic inconsistencies and problems with character anatomy in certain panels. The visual storytelling however is very well done and shows a trust between writer and artist that negates the need for lengthy exposition or word boxes to explain things. Most of the action panels are able to show a clear understanding of martial arts and physics. The backgrounds and architecture of the buildings are also very beautifully rendered and make it easier to enjoy the visual aspects of the book.
Hafu gives us a glimpse of how far creativity can go when unhindered. I love the modern take on ninja fiction that this book brings. If you like ninja stories as much as I do you should definitely check out Hafu.
I’m giving it 4 out of 5 NerdSkulls.
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