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by Riccardo Panichi
translation by Chiara Martellossi

Who created it? Sanctuary establishes the artistic cooperation between Sho Fumimura and Ryoichi Ikegami, two mangaka who frequently crossed their paths in the 90's and are now finally getting their deserved success in Italy as well. The writer is renowned for his ability in creating powerful and "superior" characters, and reaches higher ambitions after having given a generation an unforgettable hero such as Hokuto no Ken; the artist provides a realistic, skilled trait that's grown finer and finer with each and every work of his fruitful career (we surely have to mention, among the others, Crying Freeman and Mai, the Psychic Girl). Sanctuary starts in Japan in 1991 on the magazine Big Comics. In Italy it is published for the first time with Granata Press, that prints two editions, one monographic and one anthologic, but none is ever completed; finally, in September 2000, it is published thoroughly by Star Comics on the magazine Point Break, this time in a format that mantains the breakdown of the original tankobons'.

What is it? Sanctuary is the story of two boys and their vision. Chaki Asami and Akira Hojo take consciousness of the political and moral decay of Japan since their early youth. Scarred from a harsh childhood in the Cambodian internment camps, they find nonetheless the strength to choose two parallel paths that will lead them to change Japan from within. They share out lights and shadows, well aware that one cannot exist without the other: Asami will start a career in politics, whereas Hojo will attempt the climb to the head of yakuza, the criminal organization which influence is almost as powerful as the government's own.

Who are their friends? Many are the characters that cross Asami and Hojo's path. Among these, we cannot pass without mentioning Tokai, Hojo's sidekick, an old school yakuza man, violent and faithful. The only female character worth of notice is police deputy inspector Kioko Ishihara, a beautiful woman whose only weakness is being in love with Hojo. Among the ones that support Asami with his political career are the young independent deputies Yoshikawa and Sengoku, and the leader of "Seventies", Kariya, whose old dream, tainted by the power games, is taken up by young Asami himself.

Who are the enemies? Since the book talks about a climb to power, it is difficult to talk about "enemies": perhaps it is more correct to speak of "adversaries". Hojo and Asami will meet several such adversaries on their road; among these, sadly, even old friends. A special mention goes anyway to the secretary of the Liberal Party Isaoka, the puppet master who pulls the strings of Japanese politics, and the man who embodies to the ultimate degree the decay of the political scenery and of the ideals that it represents.


Sho Fumimura
in 1991

Ryoichi Ikegami

Ryoichi Ikegami
from n.1 to n.12

Sho Fumimura / Ryoichi Ikegami / Shogakukan, Inc.
Copyright (c) 1991
all right reserved worldwide


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