Dragon Head

Story and Art by Minetaro Mochizuki

Distributed by

Genre: Manga Ė Action/Horror

Rating: OT for Older Teen

Reviewed by Jon Minners

   Whoa!  Wow!  Iím speechless.  TOKYOPOP has done it again.  Now that Battle Royale is almost over, I have found the series that will keep my interest for the next year to come.  In time, Dragon Head will have everyone talking.  This is the best manga series I have read since TOKYOPOP captured my attention with the story of students forced to fight to the death.  Ironically, this is a story about three students forced to find a way to survive when death is all thatís at hand. 

Dragon Head follows Teru Aoki, a student returning home from a class trip.  The train he is on rides through a mountain tunnel when suddenly, the train derails for reasons that are unknown to Aoki.  The student awakens from the disaster that has befallen him and his classmates to find out that he may be the only one alive.  Dead bodies surround him as he searches his way through the dark for survivors and thankfully finds two, but can the trio make it out of the collapsed tunnel alive when they are low on light and short on food?  Can they keep their sanity when it appears there may be something else among them?  And with violent earthquakes shaking the tunnel around them, time is of the essence and escape is a must, but what kind of world are they escaping to? 

I loved this manga.  The artwork is just fantastic, wonderfully depicting the violent ordeal the characters were in and the horror they are facing.  The emotion displayed in the charactersí faces is right on point.  With no light, the artist also does a good job of depicting the darkness around them and providing the reader with the same intense fear the characters feel. 

At the same time, the story is well written.  In addition to the drama that is unfolding, we get glimpses at Aokiís history and will hopefully see more as future volumes are released.  I also hope to see a back story for the other characters, as was done so well in Battle Royale and Americaís favorite television show Lost.  I am also looking forward to the future interactions between characters, as the protagonists and antagonists are further developed.  Character development is key and this story just drips of it. 

Also, the writer does a good job of keeping the flow going at a smooth rate, without rushing anything and without boring you with too much detail.  Mochizuki also leaves readers with hope that there could be other survivors and also provides a sense of eeriness with what could be ghost lurking around the disaster or just a figment of one of their imaginations. 

This is one exciting thrill ride; a unique title with a lot of potential.  A quick read; its conclusion left me wanting more.  It felt great to find another title that I will go to bookstores every month for, cursing when I donít find the next edition; excited when I do.  What Lost did for planes, Dragon Head has done with trains and I canít wait for volume two. 


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