Review of Additional Work • Anime UK News
Although relatively unknown in English-speaking territories, manga artist Keiichi Koike has earned a solid reputation in places like mainland Europe and his native Japan for his unique work that immerses you in the deep end of psychedelia. 1960s. In this compilation of psychedelic sci-fi one-shots written between 1984 and 2001, we English readers can finally experience both his talent and his drug-fueled weirdness.
There are eleven unique stories in this book, each offering something completely different in subject, tone, and message. On the one hand, you’ve got the tastes of the hard-core spy getaway Knock on heaven’s doorwhile on the other you have stories like post-nuclear apocalypse adventure 3000 leagues in search of his motherWhere looper, where a young boy gets bullied for bringing his pet turtle to school. While these might not seem particularly strange at first, each story has a range of twists and turns that completely tear your understanding of the story from beneath you or try to confuse you as you try to figure out what’s going on. And even if you think you’ve figured something out, the resolutions to many stories are a lot more mundane than you might think, so there are plenty of surprises in store.
While most of the stories offered here are well-written, the occasional one you get is one that’s completely nonsensical, where I really struggled to figure out what was going on. They are usually shorter pieces, sometimes only a few pages long, that seem to come from a half-baked idea that needed more time to define what they were trying to do.
Thematically, it won’t be for everyone either. A lot of the ideas here are very abstract and trippy, dealing with life, death and often the brutality of human emotion and desire, and ultimately what it means to be human. If you’re interested in philosophy in any way, then I think you might find it quite fascinating, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for it getting beyond its head. Also worth pointing out is that it’s very much aimed at an adult audience, not that it has a lot of gore and gore, but it does show explicit use of illegal drugs, although there are some scenes that some people might find distressing, such as mass performances. suicide and the aftermath of a plane crash.
Visually, it’s a fantastic piece of work with intricate and often fascinating illustrations that are rich in detail. Koike uses a very mature art style for most of the book, often evoking the image of western comic books more than the typical manga style of your wide-eyed high school cuties and wild-haired shonen action heroes. It is quite logical then that one of the stories, Landed, was a piece published in Marvel’s Epic Illustrated anthology, as its style is incredibly suited to the Western market. He’s also not afraid to change tracks sometimes, with tracks like Kenbo Diary and Stereo scope move towards more comedic styles both in the illustrations and in the story.
What impressed me most, however, is how effectively he can tell a story using only images, with a few of the stories here having little or no dialogue, being effective in plays like The Sponge Generation and Horizon, because it makes you think more about the meaning of the story being told and the experiences of the characters.
Heaven’s Door: Additional Works is published by Last Gasp, which isn’t a big name in English manga publishing but has released series like Barefoot generation. The treatment they have given this book is excellent, with a large paperback that has an overall premium feel and thick, good quality pages. The book was translated by Ajani Oloye and reads well without any issues to note.
Globally, Heaven’s Door: Additional Works impresses with a compelling set of stories that delve into human nature and the meaning of life and death, coupled with detailed, mature illustrations that both show off Koike’s talent and set the work apart from older manga releases typical that we see in the West. However, its execution and subject matter may be too trippy and confusing for many readers, leaving only a very small niche able to truly appreciate it.