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Fake Rebellion Series Review


Volume 1 cover of Fake Rebellion. The cover has Kaomaru on the front

Publisher Summary

In a nightmarish future, humans fell under the control of the Machine Empire and were ranked according to arbitrary ranks. The princess of the former Einheit empire, Hanamiya Kikuhoin, along with a devoted group of low-rank war orphans, dreams of revolution. Humanity's last hope, the “Mortal Genesis Impulse”, will open up the path to the future.


Mangaka: Yuchang Sasaki

Translator(s): Gustavo Álvarez & Ignacio Gonzalez

Letterer: Marina Leon



I received a copy of Fake Rebellion volume 1 as an Advanced Review Copy from Alien Books in exchange for an honest review.


I purchased Fake Rebellion volume 2 personally with my own funds.


Background

 

Fake Rebellion is a 2 volume series from mangaka Yuchang Sasaki. The series was serialized in Square Enix's Monthly Big Gangan magazine in 2018 and ran until November 2019.


The series was licensed in English by publisher Alien Books in November 2023. The series was one of the first titles to introduce Alien Books into the English manga market.


General Thoughts

 

Fake Rebellion takes place in a world where robots overthrow humanity after killing the emperor and the royal family. The machines put the remaining human race into labor camps, providing them meager rations to survive.


the machine telling humanity that "You are alive because we allow you to live"

People are given a rank based on their usefulness. The ranks go from A to F, where F-ranks are the lowest and assigned hard labor while provided with minimal food to survive. Those with the same rank live in the same region and are provided a specific role in the machine controlled society. For example, E-Ranks are in charge of farming and harvesting crops.


The story is straightforward: create a rebellion and have humanity overthrow the machine empire. Every uprising needs a pillar for everyone to rally behind, which is where the fake Hanamiya comes in. The pair traverses the land taking down important pillars and symbols of the machine empire to inspire the people to rebel. This isn't unique but the series handles the theme fine.


Kaomaru, one of the lead characters

Kaomaru is one of the lead characters in the story. He has a special ability where he can convert the wishes of the dead into power against the machines. Unlike your standard spunky protagonist, Kaomaru is more blunt and brutal in his mannerisms and speech with a dash of cynicism. This is a counter to "Hanamiya" who is more hopeful even though she deceives others.


The "princess Hanamiya" our other protagonist

"Hanamiya" is our other protagonist. Her behavior is counter to Kaomaru where she acts proper and civil. To survive, she deceives everyone impersonating the dead princess from the royal family. Even though she acts proper, she can be just as crass as Kaomaru. You see this when they get into arguments throughout the series, which can be pretty funny.






Gilbert is a pretty fun character when introduced towards the end of volume 1. While his backstory is tragic, I found it a little generic. His personality works well with the interactions between Kaomaru and Hanamiya. I would have liked to see more interactions with him and the group had the series continued.


The art style is really cool. It reminds me of Atsushi Ohkubo, the creator of Fire Force and Soul Eater. You can see this with the character designs, especially the facial features. The double page spreads are great too! I feel like this is a skill that can be difficult for action mangaka to do but Sasaki knocks it out of the park!


Kaomaru firing an energy beam at a solar pillar, causing it to explode

I enjoyed the banter between Kaomaru and Hanamiya. It's mainly them tossing barbs at one another, which I tend to enjoy when characters do that. The mangaka placed them in good places to give the reader a nice reprieve from the serious, grim tone of the story.


What I didn't like is that you get a giant lore dump in the second to last chapter of the series. You find out the backstory of Kaomaru after the fall and what the machines have been doing up until the start of the series. All of this is occurring during a battle. This slows the fight to a screeching halt, which messes up the pacing.


The story's "twist" fell flat. To me, it seemed like the mangaka didn't want to make Kaomaru be as ruthless as the situation needed him to be, so it feels like a cop out. Also, introducing the suffering of some of the villains at the very end is odd because there was no foreshadowing or buildup that these things were occurring before the final fight. This situation is likely due to the series getting cancelled and the mangaka having to wrap up loose ends before the final chapter.


The mangaka seemed to have thrown in a love pentagram(? It's not a polycule) relationship between the group at the end of the series. Hanamiya even talks about how complicated it looks, to which she just shrugs it off and accepts it. I'm not even sure why it was added in the first place because there was little to no romantic tension between the group, with the exception of Gilbert and Ajisai.


Final Thoughts

 

If you're looking for a sci-fi adventure in taking down machines with some cool action scenes, you will enjoy this series. However, due to how poorly the story gets resolved and the unnecessary romantic relationships tacked on at the very end, I would suggest buying the series during a sale.


Verdict: Buy it on Sale


Fake Rebellion volume 1 and volume 2 from Alien Books are now available at all retailers

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