HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "Sakamoto Days" - Volume One

MANGA REVIEW | "Sakamoto Days" - Volume One

MANGA REVIEW | "Sakamoto Days" - Volume One

As John Wick found out, you never leave the crime syndicate. Sometimes it takes time for that dark past to catch up to you. But do you let that violent bygone era swallow you up again, or do you do your best to embrace your new life as tightly as possible? If you’re anything like the titular character in Sakamoto Days, the answer is an obvious one.

A new series from up-and-comer manga author Yuto Suzuki, Sakamoto Days follows the day-in-the-life routines of Taro Sakamoto. He was once a former hit man, until he fell in love with a girl and tossed his violent side to the curb. But as he has gotten comfortable (and fat) with his new sales clerk life, the clairvoyant hit man Shin finds him and begs him to come back to the crime syndicate. That’s when people from Sakamoto’s dark past start appearing, with the former hit man doing all that he can to save himself and his family by any non-lethal means necessary.

Soon Shin finds himself working alongside Sakamoto at the convenience store, as they balance serving the people and avoiding certain death. You learn quickly why Sakamoto left his past behind, and it’s not simply because he got married and had a kid. Without going against the “Family Rules”, both Sakamoto and Shin have to figure out how to solve any problem that lands at their feet. Fortunately, they only just have to not kill anyone; they never said you couldn’t be violent!

This aspect of Sakamoto Days is presented with a great mixture of action, humor, and nobility. Seeing Sakamoto transform from handsome hit man to blobby convenience store worker is a silly form of character evolution, one that tosses his old ways aside for something more comfortable. But it’s when he goes into action hero mode in his new form when the manga presents something truly marvelous! Sakamoto isn’t some Kevin James-like schlub with a license to kill; he’s Keanu Reeves in a fat suit!

Once Shin becomes a part of Sakamoto’s work force, that’s when the spirit of the story begins to take form. Via their discussions both telepathically and verbally, Shin learns a lot of why Sakamoto changed his ways, and swears to do good for his wife and kid. He also sees why so many of the townsfolk like having him around, and it’s not because he’s a tough guy. In fact, as the first volume goes on, one can see that Sakamoto isn’t a clerk for his own benefit; he’s also in the market of helping those also trying to escape a violent past.

The addition of ex-Triad family member Lu also plays a key factor into this rehabilitating realization. Her introduction is perhaps the most exciting of the chapters, with the action scenes paying great homage to Chinese kung fu films of the past. But once you see why other mafioso are chasing her down — as well as what her mystery key leads to — it’s easy to see how much alike she is with both Sakamoto and Shin. However, as they’ve come to find out during a family trip to the amusement park, adding more ex-crime syndicate members to their staff just invites more evil people to their storefront.

Visually, Sakamoto Days delivers a great deal of beautifully-detailed action and side-spitting comedy. The numerous times Sakamoto kills Shin in his imagination is one of the funnier running gags in the series, with Shin being understandably upset the more extravagant the kills get. Perhaps the action comedic highlight of the first volume is found in its second volume, where Shin and Sakamoto save a bus-full of hostages from some angry men with guns. Why they’re angry in the first place, well, it’s best to read it for yourself!

Volume One of Sakamoto Days is an action-packed intro to a man who thought who could take it easy for the rest of his life. Its comedic timing and inventive fights make it a series that one cannot skip out on. With new dangers lurking around every corner for his family & staff, the titular hero of Sakamoto Days may find himself becoming both the hero we needed AND the one we deserve. Just be prepared to give him a good meal after he saves your behind…


Promotional consideration provided by David Olsen of VIZ Media. In stores April 5!

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)