Mania Grade: B-
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- Art Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: N/A
- Text/Translatin Rating: A+
- Age Rating: All
- Released By: ADV Manga
- MSRP: 9.99
- Pages: 146
- ISBN: 1-4139-0017-8
- Size: Tall B6
- Orientation: Right to Left
Apocalypse Meow (aka: Cat Shit One) Vol. #01
By Megan Lavey
July 20, 2004
Release Date: July 01, 2004
Apocalypse Meow (aka: Cat Shit One) Vol.#01
© ADV Manga
Translated by:Jeffery and Masako Lilly
Adapted by:What They Say
Inside the jungles of Vietnam, a courageous Special Ops. Unit is fighting the most infamous war of decades past?the Vietnam War. This bold account follows the brave exploits of Sergeant ?Perky? Perkins and his unit of?rabbits! Join Rats, Perky and Botaski as they fight against the cats of the Viet Cong. From the Tet Offensive to the My Canh bombing, watch these commando-style bunnies through an anthropomorphic lens as events unfold and violence erupts. Non-human cast of characters notwithstanding, this compelling and painstakingly-researched work places an emphasis on factualism in order to accurately portray the events of the Vietnam War. With a fresh perspective on one of history?s greatest calamities, Apocalypse Meow is a daring new take on a conflict that won?t soon be forgotten?especially after these young rabbits are done!The Review
Part of ADV's lineup that comes out at the end of July, Apocalypse Meow is different from any other manga I've read before - a replay of the Vietnam War from an animal's point of view.Packaging:
Since this was a galley proof of the book, my cover is in black and white and features Rats, Perky and Botaski being stalked by one of the Viet Cong cats. The back features one of the rats set against a black background. Artwork:
This art style is very realistic, so you're not going to find sparklies, large eyes or breasts with this title. A lot of attention is paid to the little details of war - the jungle that the manga is set in, the weapons, the uniforms and other artillery. There's a lot of death by shooting that takes place here, but it's not graphic. My review copy has somewhat light printing, so some of the detail is lost in the artwork.Text:
One of the things I enjoyed about this title is not just the handling of the translation, but the added notes that allow a casual reader like me, who does not have much beyond a fading textbook knowledge of the Vietnam War, to learn about the era this story takes place. There are trivia bits, an article about the Vietnam War itself and a guide to the weapons used. At the end is the original author's notes, which explain the reason behind the story.Content (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS):
Apocalypse Meow is a series of one-shot stories set during the Vietnam War, showing different aspects of the war. It starts out with some typical combat missions, including the rescue of a wounded commander. After these missions, our comrades get a brief chance for rest and relaxation, followed by a mission to bring a former enemy to politcal asylum. This is followed by a special one-shot that is a human story rather than one told with animals.
In this series, the role of the American soldiers is played with rabbits, and we see the war through the eyes of soldiers Rats and Botaski and their sergeant, Perky. The Vietnamese are represented by cats. The Soviets are seen as bears and the Japanese as monkeys, to name a few of the represented nations in the series.
My favorite stories in this book were the last two - the one where the three comrades go on a 72-hour furlough and experience life in Saigon as an American GI and then help bring a Vietnamese to political asylum. You're completely immersed in the culture here, and it is nowhere near politically correct. I was impressed with how the text is translated here. No punch is pulled as to the descriptions of words and the language used. ADV did not shy away from using the language needed to accurately translate the piece. This is not a manga for young readers.
But while some of the stories are enjoyable, the main problem comes if you're a causal reader. If you're not familiar with war stories, the beginning of the book comes off as very dry. However, well-placed footnotes help with the digesting the lingo that is tossed around during the stories. One of the things that ran across my mind while reading the book is that it would be a great supplement to American History classes that are focused on the Vietnam War. There is enough supplemental material here that it will help drive home what life was like for soldiers during the Vietnam War. It may also provide some insight into what the troops overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan are going through right now as well.
Even though this is set against the backdrop of war, there is really no overall arc. This is very much a slice of life piece, much like Azumanga Daioh is to Japanese school life. If you know anyone who is a war buff, or is one yourself, they will enjoy this series. I handed this volume over to my boyfriend to look over. It's the first manga he's ever read and even he's been drawn into it, because he can relate to the war aspect because of the movies, etc. that he's seen.Comments
This is the first military manga that I am aware of on American shores, and it's an intriguing one. At three volumes, the series is not very long. This book is for people who enjoy war stories and reading George Orwell's "Animal Farm." With the inclusion of various historical notes, explanations and guides, however, it allows the casual reader to get a good grasp at what's going on. But, it does tend to be a little dry, like most war movies tend to be. If you like those types of stories, you'll enjoy this series. If you're not, you probably want to skip over this purchase. But, it's worth flipping at least once.