Hellcyon is an anime-inspired story of revolution. The book is set on the garden world Halcyon, which after an uprising becomes known as Hellcyon. This is science fiction doing what science fiction does best: telling contemporary stories with a futuristic setting. Now, I am about to commit a criticism sin by reading too much into the author’s biography. Lucas Marangon was forced out of Argentina as a young boy, during the rule of the junta. Much of the plot of this book loosely fits this description, complete with needless brutality, the disappearance of most anybody who showed the slightest opposition, and the blurring of the lines between the military and the government. By encasing this story in a thin science-fiction shell, Marangon is able to more easily tell the story of resistance and oppression.
Now, English 102 level analyzation out of the way, is it worth your time?
I haven’t read much manga or seen much anime for about a decade, so I can’t compare this to what is currently going on in those genres, but this fits quite well in the anime box in my head. The story is sufficiently over-the-top. The main characters are all teenagers, who are surprisingly good at military combat. There are mech-suits and futuristic motorcycles. And, most of the adults are slightly caricatured. This is all fun.
The story seemed overly ambitious. My concern is that Marangon tried to fit too broad a story into four issues. I should explain. There are two stories being told here. The foreground is a group of teenagers suddenly fighting a guerilla war, and trying to come to grips with their role in the conflict and the loss of their lives back home. The background story is the entire history of the war, and, unfortunately, it feels crammed in. I enjoyed the struggle of these kids and liked the background bits of context. There were scenes that didn’t fit, though, where we saw the political and military advancement of the bad guy. The problem here is that this character was about as developed as Grand Moff Tarkin. There’s nothing wrong with a vaguely evil villain, but I don’t care when he becomes the president. I just want him to be bad. So, occasionally clunky exposition and oddly detailed information about our villains aside, is the story good? I enjoyed it. There were some truly cool moments and everything fit together nicely.
Three revolutionaries out of five.