Manga Mondays: Green Blood (Revisited)

green blood 1I’ve already reviewed this series once, but now that it’s all finished I thought I would take a quick second to review it again. Mainly, I’m pointing out one big error that was included repeatedly. Spoilers after the jump.

Green Blood follows Brad and Luke as they track down their father, Edward King, a gang leader causing chaos and mayhem in the wild wild West, and kill him for abandoning them and making their lives miserable. They go on some crazy episodic adventures along the way. I, personally, did not like these adventures because of the characters they featured and because of their very formulaic nature. It went something like this: Brad and Luke meet character of color, Luke befriends said character and realizes the stereotypes surrounding said character are wrong, character of color retaliates against other, nasty white people, Brad and Luke help character of color, and all three triumph. Although the character of color always meets a tragic end of some kind or another, whether it be death or something else (not saying more because spoilers). If you can’t figure it out, both the formula and the minority characters’ unfortunate ends are no good. It felt like the series was checking things off a list: we’ve got a Native American storyline, we’ve got a slavery storyline, we’re good. And the list itself is what makes these mini-adventures bad.

If you can’t naturally incorporate characters of color into a story, I would almost prefer you didn’t include them at all. This forced portrayal is casually racist, especially when the characters of color all have the same personality and practically the same storyline. As much as I liked how Green Blood tried to incorporate the issues and historical events of the mid-1800s in the USA, the checklist nature of it all was so blatantly obvious that it took away from the core of the story—killing Edward King.

I’m not going to totally spoil it, but the ending was also very strange. The last chapter is a jump to the 1920s, where you have old man Luke visit Brad’s grave with his granddaughter. And then Luke says, “We had a good life, didn’t we?” It was so anticlimactic and random. The entire series is spent emphasizing what a bad life Brad and Luke had, and to see it end well is nice. But there was no way in hell that Brad was just going to stop being himself (an assassin) and just go start a happy life. The happy ending was more than just unexpected, it was unrealistic, considering the characters and the story. In short, the ending doesn’t seem to go with the series at all.

green blood2I did love this manga. The art was still fantastic. And as much as I disliked the mini-adventures, the overall story arc was very well done. I still highly recommend this series to anyone with an interest in manga. And I’m definitely checking out the next series by the author, Kakazaki Masasumi, which is supposed to be about the Romans.