I always get excited when New York shows up in some printed material. It’s one of those little things that has carried over since I was a child; I like the possibility that maybe, just maybe, if things had been slightly different, this could have been what happened in the place where I was born in, and that I could be stuck in the middle of all of it in another universe. This is something that goes across various genres; mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, you name it.
Blood Blockade Battlefront is no different in that respect, and yet very different at the same time. In Blood Blockade Battlefront, by Yasuhiro Nightow (the same person who created Trigun), it takes place in New York — but it’s no longer New York. Instead, as they explain in the manga, it’s in a city that was New York City, but ended up on a Hellmouth-like structure which consumed part of the city. Now, it has been renamed Jerusalem’s Lot, where creatures from this other world and humans inhabit and live together.
The story is about a boy named Leo, who writes for Lonely Planet (yes, the tourist guide) about Jerusalem’s Lot. In my mind, he was already given points for having a job that most others in these stories don’t. But from there, his “normal” tale turns extraordinary, when he is mistaken for a guy who looks almost exactly like him and initiated into this secret sect called Libra, who make sure the peace is kept between the two worlds in a manner that isn’t sanctioned by the government.
The stories in the first volume were good, but I ran into the problem where the story that I thought was less interesting took up three chapters, while the story that I found more interesting was only one. However, the reason that one chapter was more interesting was because it sparked something to be picked up upon in future volumes. The first three chapters were all about the beginning of a man trying to break the bubble between the two worlds and force all of the worst things of the Hellmouth-like structure out into the remnants of New York City, and it set up the story for the rest of the series. However, the one chapter I actually liked the most was separate from that, because it focused more on Leo and why he was allowed to stay a part of Libra. It expanded on the powers that Leo turned out to have and made it so Leo was a far more interesting character because his powers were slowly growing.
I have to admit, I’m a sucker to stories like those. In which the main character starts out fairly normal, but discovers some hidden power within himself which develops as he develops as a person. It’s a cliched plot-line, and I always eat it up with a spoon. And it traces back to the same reason I get excited over stories that happen in New York; it’s that faint glimmer of hope that maybe, that could have been me. And, despite the ridiculousness of Blood Blockade Battlefront, it still made me feel like that all over again.
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Writer: Yasuhiro Nightow
Artist: Yasuhiro Nightow
Publication Date: September 04, 2013
Format: b&w, 200 pages; TP, 4 5/8″ x 7 1/4″
Age range: 12