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Gachiakuta Volume 1 Review



Gachiakuta Manga Volume 1 Cover Art that features rudo standing

Publisher Summary


Rudo lives in the slums of a floating town, where the poor scrape by under the shadow of the rich who live a sumptuous life, simply casting their garbage off the side, into the abyss. Then one day, he’s falsely accused of murder, and his wrongful conviction leads to an unimaginable punishment–exile off the edge, with the rest of the trash. Down on the surface, the cast-off waste of humanity has bred vicious monsters, and if Rudo wants to have any hope of discovering the truth and seeking vengeance against those who cast him into Hell, he will have to master a new power and join a group known as the Cleaners who battle the hulking trash beasts of the Pit!


I received this volume as an Advanced Review Copy from Kodansha Comics in exchange for an honest review



Background


Prior to Gachiakuta's serialization in Weekly Shonen Magazine, Kei Urana worked as an assistant under Atsushi Ohkubo for Fire Force (which you can read our review here) Ohkubo also has gone on record to name Kei Urana is his successor on X (Formally Twitter)


Gachiakuta began serialization in Japan February 16th, 2022 & is currently ongoing with five volumes. Kodansha USA revealed on March 30th, 2023 that the series will receive an English print & digital release in Fall 2023. KManga also revealed on April 21st, 2023 that the series will be simulpub'd in English on the KManga App.


Review

An opening shot of someone writing, a alleyway, and a garbage can

(This Gachiakuta Volume 1 Review will contain narrative spoilers)


When you think of the word garbage, what is the first thing that comes to mind? debris? junk? filth? It's textbook definition describes it as "any matter that is no longer wanted or needed." Gachiakuta opens up asking the following question to the reader: "They say that when an object is well-loved, it is eventually imbued with a soul. Then what about the garbage—the trash that gets thrown away? What is that imbued with?" This question alone sets up the elements we're about to see throughout this volume as we cut to our main protagonist, Rudo, rummaging through a waste facility to salvage a plush rabbit before escaping out to the outside and we're introduced to grudge Mad Max-esque world of Gachikuta.


The art style and presentation really helped me understand the world I was getting thrown into, the streets are lined with piles of trash, people are confined to live slums that was originally made for criminals and their descendants, and most ominous is the "pit": a giant chasm that everyone's garbage and criminals found guilty of committing crimes in the slums are thrown into with no second thoughts.


Rudo standing on a cliif overlooking where the pit is


Regto leaning against the wall making his presence known to Rudo

This is where I feel Gachikuta starts to fall flat with its narrative. We're introduced to Rudo's caretaker, Regto, who we're told took in Rudo as a child after his parents abandoned him and his father was thrown into the "pit." While I like Regto as a character who helps Rudo understand the world around him, I wish we got more time with him, as later in the story, it's revealed that Regto was murdered, but given the circumstances, Rudo was framed as Regto's murder, and without question, he's thrown into the "pit." I know some people prefer this so we can get into the action right away, but I feel like this moment would have been more impactful if we got more time with Regto and Rudo interacting with each other in this trash-filled world.


Rudo falling into the pit

While it's narrative setup falls flat, it immediately picks back up when it introduces it's power system, which answers the question. Then what about the garbage—the trash that gets thrown away? What is that imbued with?.


Every piece of trash found in the world has a form of human emotion attached to it, such as happiness, sadness, anger, etc. This is described as anima. When a bunch of anima is collected together into one spot, it can lead to the creation of something called "trash beasts," which can take shape into many different forms, as we see in the introduction of the second chapter.

A group of giant monsters chasing rudo through the wasteland

How do you counter the trash beasts? You'll need something called a "Vital Instrument," which is similar to how a trash beast is made: you need to feed an object with emotion for a long time before it's able to take shape into a usable weapon. In this example, we see a really cool bladed umbrella being used to take down the trash beasts chasing Rudo.


After finishing the first volume, I'm wanting to learn more about "anima," and I want to see what emotions can lead to the creation of the "trash beasts" and the "vital instruments" that are used to combat them.

A mysterious figure using his umbrella as a weapon to fight against the beast attacking rudo

Final Thoughts


While it's revenge story plotline falls short compared to other stories in the space, it's unique power system, art style, and world-building help Gachiakuta stand out and have made me want to continue to the second volume.


I'd also add that if you're a fan of Fire Force, you'll feel right at home with this one as you can see where certain elements are inspired from.


Verdict: Buy It


Gachiakuta Manga Volume 1 from Kodansha USA is now available at all retailers.


You can also read Gachiakuta on KManga if it's available in your region

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