Manga Reviews Reviews

Manga Review: My Home Hero Vol. 1 (2023) by Naoki Yamakawa & Masahi Asaki

To what lengths would you go to protect your family?

“Tetsuo Tosu is a typical father whose biggest worries are his job and his rebellious daughter, Reika. That is, until he finds a bruise on her face. His worst fears come true when he finds out she has a secret boyfriend…and he's part of a crime ring that's using her to steal her grandparent's wealth. If that wasn't bad enough, the thug catches Tetsuo snooping around and threatens to kill Reika as soon as she gets home. Fueled by fatherly instincts, Tetsuo murders the man…only for his wife to walk in and witness what he's done. Now with a corpse to hide and a crime ring hot on his tail, Tetsuo must resort to his love of detective novels and his wits to stay one step ahead of a grim fate…” (Kodansha)

To what lengths would you go to protect your family? 's “” delves into that very question by plunging into any parent's nightmare scenario–the life of their child threatened. Faced with such an issue, a mild-mannered father, Tetsuo, becomes a murderer in order to keep his beloved daughter safe, leaning heavily into his experience as a mystery writer to help navigate his plans to cover up his crimes and keep his family safe. It is, undeniably, a visceral story that strikes straight at the heart of our desires to protect the ones we love from the injustices of the world, and Naoki Yamakawa knows how to engage her audience and draw them into the frightening scenario.

Unfortunately, in hitting the ground running, the manga bypasses character building for sensationalism that lessens the impact of the story (at least as far as the inaugural volume). Notably, young Reika exists as a means to an end as opposed to a fully fleshed-out character. Ever the dutiful daughter, her father's passion to protect her comes from his own memories of raising her yet does not touch on Reika's own ambitions or how she became entangled in an abusive relationship. However, it is Reika's blasé attitude towards the abuse she suffered and her parents' concerns that highlight the lack of consideration in constructing the character.

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While the lack of character development creates a slight disconnect from the family's plights, Yamakawa's writing has other charms to make up for it. Humor has a way of sneaking in, giving the book a dark comedic vibe and the background of Tetsuo as a crime/mystery writer adds some intriguing tidbits of info such as means to dispose of bodies. Furthermore, Yamakawa constructs a frightful villain behind the stalking of his family which will entice readers to stick around as the fates of the two, inevitably, become intertwined.

The art by perfectly compliments the work, balancing elements of light humor, action, and exposition, explaining how certain elements work in crime novels i.e. boiling a body to help separate the flesh from the fat. His portrayal of Tetsuo, in particular, is idealistic in how simple, or ‘everyman', he comes across to make his sudden need to protect his family become a fascinating transformation. In addition, the panel work in action sequences is stylish and Asaki has a command over the characters' emotional reactions to extreme situations that conveys the needed sincerity for a story of this ilk to succeed.

“My Home Hero” hits hard and wastes no time getting into the cat-and-mouse game of yakuza vs a family. In order to do this, it does sacrifice character development, and those looking for a reason to empathize with characters beyond their given roles in a family, are going to find the work rushed. However, its sensational approach has its own appeal, and getting caught up in the urgency of the situation will still draw in readers. There is still time for the series to develop and perhaps the lack of building up the personas of the family will be addressed in subsequent issues, but even if it stays consistent in its action/thriller approach, there is a lot to be admired in what Naoki Yamakawa and Masahi Asaki accomplish in the inaugural volume.

About the author

Adam Symchuk

Adam Symchuk is a Canadian born freelance writer and editor who has been writing for Asian Movie Pulse since 2018. He is currently focused on covering manga, manhwa and light novels having reviewed hundreds of titles in the past two years.

His love of film came from horror and exploitation films from Japan that he devoured in his teens. His love of comics came from falling in love with the works of Shuzo Oshimi, Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, and Inio Asano but has expanded to a general love of the medium and all its genres.

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