It’s all a matter of balance as Kani and the other red hunters would point out. Akaneiro is one part Japanese mythology, one part Little Red Riding Hood, with a large helping of American McGee and video game tropes thrown in for good measure. This charming series comes to a close with this third issue in a manner that made me both glad it’s found a suitable stopping point and sad that this is it.
Issue #3 is all about two things: fighting and the quest for identity. The fighting is rather routine, almost anime style with powerful attacks, recharging them, and a grand, cliché-ridden showdown that left me more confused than satisfied. Kani’s quest for identity is much more interesting as she reacts strongly to having lost her tattoo, which she saw as a part of her identity and her struggle to find her true role on Yomi Island. Kani’s search for the “real” her is touching and well handled even in the middle of all the chaos and action.
But, Akaneiro is not in balance. The issue’s climax was unsatisfying, being entirely too short and too sudden a change in the status quo. It was like seeing Chekov’s gun in act one and by act three it has become a bazooka. The other thing that went through my head while reading this issue is how this setting would be perfect for adaptation to a video game. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but it seems more true with every issue. With all of the fighting, special attacks, significance to weapons, and important of Karma crystals in Issue #3, I can’t help but feel more sure of that. Part of me can’t help feeling the adaptation would be an opportunity to decompress the story and let it take its time where it needed to.
Now, what about the ending? Akaneiro #3 is satisfying in some ways and dissatisfying in others. It hides from the bigger questions about the setting and the impact Kani’s actions would have created due to a lack of time. It’s not seeing the impact of these actions that I found most disappointing in this issue. Instead of closing off before it would have to show the changes, Akaneiro sidesteps them to act like nothing ever happened without any explanation.
In spite of these issues, one fact remains: Fox is the best.
Three Face Tattoos out of Five