Jun 22, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - The Weekly Graphic Novel: Week 12 - Battle Vixens v.1, April 2004


What does one do with such a beast? Go on. Have a look at that cover. The back matter reads "Hakufu Sonsaku is a busty, beautiful girl with an irresistable lust -- for battle!" And that, really, is about all you need to know, at least for this first volume of Ikki Tousen, or Battle Vixens. I picked up the first 12 volumes of this series for $1 each at a thrift shop, and it looked amusing enough that I didn't balk at the price. It took me a long while to actually pick up the first volume and give it a read, and, for a little while, it was exactly what I thought it would be: lots of bouncing, heaving bosoms, lots of panty-shots, lots of mentions, some subtle, some not-so, on the main character's....um...assets? But having watched a number of episodes of the remarkable anime Kill La Kill, I was willing to entertain the notion that the ridiculous exploitation might be done from an ironic perspective. It is. Sort of. But what the series, thus far (and, as of this writing, I'm part way through the second volume), is doing is to set up a story of young people possessed of the skills of ancient warriors through mystical gems passed down through their families. It just so happens that the focal character happens to be a voluptuous high school girl. As focal characters often are in such manga.

I did a bit of research, and the manga has reached, as of September last year, 24 volumes. Whether or not that's the end, I didn't check, in the interest of avoiding spoilers. What that tells me, though, is that the artist has, and perhaps continues to have, a vision of where this story is going, which helps in reading these early chapters. It also helps that the English edition was overseen by the inimitable Keith Giffen, a writer and artist whom I hold in high regard, high enough that I'm willing to give this series, which looks very silly and more than a little insulting, a chance. I'm mildly impressed with it, so far.

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