So, three years later, Go Nagai brings Violence Jack back to the pages of Weekly Shonen. From what I’ve seen of his work, I’d say he’s now past his creative peak. I’m not sure if it’s down to using assistants or too heavy a workload, but his cartooning doesn’t have the energy or verve it had on those 1974 pages. And that makes following the story a little harder, given my lack of Japanese skills.
This story is about a group of evil sumo who bully those weaker than themselves. Even taking into account the fact that the last story featured naked amputees forced to act like dogs, the level of sadism of the villains feels, if not amped up, then at least dwelt upon more. Of course in Nagai’s world, such fiends are equal opportunity bastards. Much like Shameless School, it’s not just female characters who find themselves in bondage. When the young man who Jack helps out this time round, tries to fight the sumo after they kill one of his friends, he gets caught, stripped naked, hung from a tree and is whipped.
They then strip and tie his girlfriend to the tree too and use them as human dartboards, however they both are saved by Jack, in probably the best scene in the story, when he just pulls the tree out the ground and walks off with it.
Freed, they return home, only to find their family and friends dead, haning from nooses, and the evil sumo in the house. When the sumo kill the girl, the boy is filled with rage, causing Jack to show up once more and start with the killing.
Honestly, this story isn’t much to write home about (or to write internet about), it feels like a simple re-introduction that pales beside the first two stories. It’s only the increased nudity and sadism that gives it any notable place in the grand scheme of the series, and frankly that will be othershadowed fairly quickly when we get to the opening salvo of the 1980s run.
Thankfully the remaining Weekly Shonen stories are far more interesting for a variety of reasons.