Bôken o Beet, “Adventure King Beet”
• Riku Sanjo (story), Koji Inada (art)
• Viz (2004–ongoing) • Shueisha (Monthly Shônen Jump, 2004–ongoing)
• 12+ volumes (ongoing)
• Shônen, Fantasy, Battle
• All Ages (violence)
In a postapocalyptic fantasy world ruled by monsters called Vandels, the endlessly optimistic young Beet becomes a Vandel Buster, a sort of paid Vandel assassin. He sets out to destroy all the Vandels in the world, accumulating teammates along the way. In Japan, creators Sanjo and Inada are best known for Dai’s Great Adventure, a manga based on the Dragon Quest video game series, and Beet also reads like a role-playing game come to life. Busters get points for destroying Vandels and other monsters, and everyone’s strength is judged by their “Levels.” Bright, energetic artwork, a cheerful tone, and a focus on character development make Beet a bit better than most manga of this type. The Vandels are actually more interesting characters than the humans. The Viz edition censors some of the PG dialogue; most notably, a dirty-minded pilot’s desire to grope girls’ breasts is downgraded to wanting kisses.
BLACK SUN, SILVER MOON
Because of his family’s debts to the church, Taki becomes the servant of Shikimi, a priest. By day he does tons of chores—but by night he and Shikimi head out to the graveyard to fight the walking dead!