It’s a bit odd to be talking about “Sanctuary” now. I mean, it’s not exactly a new release, it came out during the mid 1990s and is long out of print in this country as far as I can tell.
My wife bought all the volumes back when they were coming out and has occasionally mentioned to me that I should check it out, but I’ve always resisted. To be honest, it was kind of intimidating – I mean, it’s a 12-volume series (bundled into 9 volumes for this country) all about Japanese politics and the mafia. Sure, it’s got Ryoichi Ikegami art and the main pair of characters are Truly Magnificent Bastards, but I didn’t think I’d be able to follow it.
The other day, though, we were having a conversation that actually turned to Japanese politics and she said that she thought I could handle it by now and that I should give it a try.
So I read the first volume to humor her and then I read the next 8 volumes in about a day.
It’s really quite good, is the point I’m trying to get across with that last sentence. It’s got the aforementioned pair of Magnificent Bastards, and a few more Magnificent Bastards to go with them and a couple more Magnificent Bastards just to liven things up. There’s lots of heroic posing and Blazing Gunfights and elaborate schemes that inevitably lead to dramatic double crosses and so on and so forth. It’s truly Manga For Men, though it has enough Improbably Attractive And Well Dressed Men to make it Something For The Ladies as well.
But, yeah, it’s also really dense and I’m glad I waited until I had some basic understanding of Japanese politics and post-war history and (to a great extent) basic geography and, well, I’m kind of startled that this actually got published outside of Japan. Glad it did, though.