“Area 51”; a Multinational Manga That Mixes Various Genres
Manga is a visual work and many works cannot be clearly categorized as either science fiction or fantasy. For example, it seems a story is evolving with scientific evidence but mythical characters or monsters may appear. It gallivants freely in a chaotic world that the author creates. We would like to introduce such a work, “Area 51”.
“Area 51” is a world where legends and myths from all over the world actually embody.
It is an area where threats to human society or existence that cannot co-exist with mankind are quarantined, such as mythical monsters and aliens.
It is a city created by US-led construction, where many existences beyond human intelligence are quarantined and live.
There is demented King Arthur, who is out of his mind and rampages, brandishing the holy sword Excalibur.
There are skirmish between mafia-like gang of Chinese mythical characters such as “Songoku (Monkey King)” and gods of Norse mythology led by “Odin”.
Of course in Area 51, where monsters and gods live, problems frequently occur that cannot be solved by ordinary human beings.
The story depicts McCoy and Kishiro who work as a private detectives in Area 51 where various monsters and super-human entities live.
1. Tokuko Magoi
She used to be a police detective in Japan, but her lover and child were killed in a case. In her pursuit of the perpetrator, she finally arrived at Area 51.
She has long hair down to her hip, and she is strong-willed and reckless. Her appearance in bold actions with long disheveled hair receives admiration even from monsters in Area 51, who has super-human physical abilities.
He is McCoy’s assistant, but his personality is a polar opposite of hers, being timid and commonsensical.
He approached McCoy with a secret intention to keep an eye on a holy sword “Kusanagi no tsurugi”, which McCoy is hiding.
3. Colt M1911
It is now used and cherished by McCoy, but it started to have its own will, perhaps under the influence of the other-worldly Area 51.
Once fired, its bullets change the trajectory freely, and they give damage to monsters and gods that are unharmed by ordinary weapons.
The gun appears to channel the shooter’s emotional energy such as anger, but its control is yet to be finessed. It is dormant in large part, with its strong ability being sealed.
“Area 51” is the name of a real place. It is the nickname of the Gloom Lake Air Force Base in the southern Nevada, controlled by the US Air Force. This place has become wildly famous with its reputation that aliens are incarcerated or UFOs are hidden. The author Masato Hisa brought forth “Area 51” based on such information, developing the fictional world with his imagination.
Avoiding the use of border lines as much as possible, pictures are drawn with black and white contrast, and the designs appear to be in the mold of American comics.
With Japanese symbolic designs mixed in, the story has a very unique atmosphere that is not seen in other Japanese manga.
Words and exchanges among the characters are witty, and they appear to be written with American movies and dramas in mind.
However the story employs Japanese, Chinese, Norse or biblical monsters, and it even includes unidentified creatures, such as Loch Ness Monster “Nessie”.
Basically each episode is self-contained, and various stories evolve based on a myth, legend or supernatural theme.
The stories are well planned, and their wide variety captivates the readers, sometimes deploying scientific phenomena or at other times, episodes from myths.
The Japanese sun goddess “Amaterasu” is interpreted as psychologically afflicted and socially withdrawn. If you know the legend that she hid herself in a cave “Amanoiwato”, it is almost funny. There are many stories that tickle the readers into a smile.
And there is a firm, main story that weaves through minor episodes like those, and it keeps the readers wondering how the main story continues and unfolds.
The readers may receive an impression from “Area 51” similar to a sense felt by a stroll in a multinational cosmopolitan city. It is filled with light spirited actions and witty conversations. Please read the story of McCoy, Kishiro and their actions in Area 51, where various myths and legend of the world mix.