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Ratman, Volume 1

Review

Ratman, Volume 1

written and illustrated by Inui Sekihiko

Shuto has a very big goal for himself in life. Ever since he was little, he’s wanted to be a hero. Not just any kind of hero, but a superhero who saves the day.

Actually, that isn’t as far out as it might seem. In Shuto’s world, there are lots of heroes, and they get special hero licenses. Crime is way down. There are even superhero corporations.

The problem? Well, Shuto is 15 years old and under five feet tall. People make fun of him and try to convince him that his height will prevent him from being a hero. He knows better…most of the time. Sometimes he sinks into depression about it. Even his mom thinks he’s weird and is willing to say so.

Then one day he gets his chance to save someone. Of course he takes it. Everything is happening fast, and Shuto signs a paper he believes will enable him to save the victim. Unfortunately, he doesn’t read the contract before he signs it.

According to the contract, he now has to obey a bad guy group called Jackal. But he does turn into a hero…kind of. He turns into a hero known as “Ratman,” an obviously mocking name. And instead of doing good, he has to do whatever people at Jackal tell him to do. Everything is going wrong. Now the official heroes with licenses are after Ratman, thinking he’s a villain. How will Shuto let everyone know he means no harm and was only trying to help?

On the cover, Ratman looks as if it could be a children’s manga because of the style of art, but it’s really aimed at Older Teens. There’s a little bit of sexuality in it (like images of a girl bathing) that earn it this rating. So Ratman will probably get an audience consisting mainly of teens and adults. The twist on superheroes is another pull and could attract readers who have enjoyed other superhero stories and would like to read one with a little distortion in it. Hero stories have made a strong niche for themselves in the world of comics and graphic novels, so Ratman both fits in and paves itself new ground.

Reviewed by Danica Davidson on October 18, 2011

Ratman, Volume 1
written and illustrated by Inui Sekihiko

  • Publication Date: April 27, 2010
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • ISBN-10: 1427817456
  • ISBN-13: 9781427817457