Kentaro Miura's Giganto Maxia

Giganto Maxia will be big. There is no doubt about it.

Berserk has a good standing within the manga-anime community for its great plot and fascinating characters. So seeing Kentaro Miura, its creator, coming out with a new tale (his first in about 20 years) is good news and I needed no further motivation to sign up for the ARC. For me, it was an opportunity to get one of the first looks at the work of a talented storyteller and illustrator. 

Giganto Maxia is set in a world "100 million years after the Great Destruction". The "Great Destruction" seems to be some kind of explosion caused by an ecological imbalance that wiped out a lot of species. A lot of humans seem to have survived, but undergo some modifications as their bodies adapt to the now harsher and unforgiving environment. Also, there are now beings of different capabilities with strange biological and physical makeup. 

Anyway, in this setting comes along our protagonists Delos the wrestler, and Prome, who is some kind of spirit. We are not told how these two met. However, they are both travelling the wastelands, apparently looking to kill Gigantos (a particular species that is as big as a mountain, but can be controlled). Their journey takes them to a land where they meet a tribe of half-men, half-beetles, who nurses a grudge against pure humans. On seeing Delos, their hatred rises to the surface. They take him and Prome to their arena. There they pitch Delos against their best warrior. Delos wins this fight and, through his humility while fighting, won the crowd to his side. The beetle tribe takes them in as guests after that.

Unfortunately, Delos and Prome did not have the time to enjoy their stay. A large army of humans and their mutated soldiers arrived at the tribe's doorsteps. Worse still, they came with a giganto. The latter part of the story dwells on the battle between the tribe, assisted by Delios and Prome, against the invaders.

Giganto Maxia carries the stamp Kentaro Miura is known for - interesting tale and believable characters. The story setting makes me want to know more about that world. The political factions hold a pull for me. Only two have been introduced so far, but the story's scope seems to suggest a lot more to come. Also, the main protagonist is not a normal guy. He is bulky like an average pro wrestler and has none of the cliched features a lot of manga protagonists are famed for. Delos is short, ungainly, bumbly, yet a good fighter.  Prime, on the other hand, isn't anything unique. However, her powers are nothing short of amazing - buy the manga to find out what I'm talking about.

The art style is good, but it is the big panels that does it for me. The blending of fight scenes with separate facial expressions (without lines to demarcate the panels) is a feature that gives the manga a unique personality. 

On the negative sides,  still don't get some Japanese manga's fascination with panty-shots, a few of which are exhibited in Giganto Maxia, albeit in a non-graphic manner. I kind of understand when it is done in trashy hentai series, but when a graphic novel with a world-class storyline and great characters does it, then it boggles the mind. It is a frustrating side of the Japanese manga culture. I hope this trait dies with time... or maybe I'm just too optimistic.

There are no big "whys" or life lessons to take away from Giganto Maxia - at least that's what I think. However, the excitement levels and the interestingness of the story is something fantasy, sci-fi and post-apocalyptic junkies will scream for joy over. Giganto Maxia will be big. There is no doubt about it.
Many thanks to Dark Horse Manga for review copy.


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