Why “Rooster Fighter” is the most surprising manga of the moment

In this story, written and drawn by Shū Sakuratani, a rooster discovers superpowers and confronts “kijû”, monstrous humanoid creatures born of society’s negative feelings.

Can a simple rooster save the world from ugly and dangerous creatures? This is the starting point of one of the most amazing mangas of the moment, rooster fighter, in bookstores since May 4. In this satirical story written and drawn by Shū Sakuratani, a rooster named Keiji discovers superpowers and confronts “kijû”, monstrous human-like creatures born of society’s negative feelings.

But this story, far from completely delusional, is a work haunted by the endless crisis of the Japanese economy. rooster fighter conjures up those left behind from the recession in a story far more moving and melancholic than it seems. Because for Shū Sakuratani his manga is also and above all an animal plea, he confides to BFMTV:

“Most animals live in a much more threatening environment on a daily basis than we are inclined to believe. I wanted to think about the fact that animals can lose their lives at any time without it being surprising, because they live surrounded by a very harsh and very hostile environment. nature “I wanted to show that they can be very isolated. And I wanted these lonely characters to be rescued by a hero like Keiji. It’s probably unlike these characters that Keiji can shamelessly twirl and parade.”

manga cover
Cover of the manga “Rooster Fighter” © Mangetsu

Keiji, the first name of this tough rooster, is not unimportant in Japan. It reflects one of the most popular mangas of the archipelago, Kejic by Tetsuo Hara (Know the boy who lived† “It’s true that I love the series Kejic, but I never thought it could refer to it! The name Keiji contains the mysteries of his origin that I will reveal little by little,” assures the manga artist, who believes to have been inspired by another important manga figure, the irreconcilable assassin Golgo 13, of which he was a crazy child.

Drawing a muscle chicken, a challenge

Shū Sakuratani has been attached to the figure of the rooster from childhood. “They were the first animals I came into contact with and perhaps I have more affinity with these birds than most people. Yet unfortunately for the chickens raised at home, my grandmother’s relentless hand fell on them before we could say goodbye and changed them in the main courses of our dinners.”

Staging a rooster remains a challenge, even for a seasoned cartoonist like him: “When I have to give strength to the attacks of a tiny hen, I struggle every day.” He also struggles to make himself credible against his enemies who are three times his size. “Since a chicken has no arms, I can’t make it carry anything. Compared to a human, there are few ways to indicate the variations in strength of its attacks, and I break my head every time to show these transformations .”

A leaf from the manga
A page from the manga “Rooster Fighter” © Mangetsu

Physically, his cock is impressive despite everything, with his pecs and his abs prominent. A unique case in the history of the 9th Art. To explain his power, Shū Sakuratani relies on his hero’s keen eye, inspired by one of Japan’s greatest stars, Ken Takakura. He spent tens of hours finding his rooster’s look: “I’ve spent my time drawing, then erasing, then endlessly starting over. Even now I feel like I’m playing my life when I draw it.”

“Sometimes scary or sometimes comical”

story of monsters, rooster fighter “can seem terrifying at times or comical at times,” Shū Sakuratani still specifies. “This is how I imagine my drawings. This aspect of my work is very pleasant,” observes the manga artist whose each creature, with a particularly repulsive design, feeds on the negative feelings of individuals and represents the unconscious. company:

“I wondered what ‘my negative feelings’ would look like if they took shape in reality, and what came out of my imagination resulted in these kinds of monsters. Because these are very negative emotions, it ended up producing very ugly designs. also supported their grotesque looks so that Keiji and his gang would look all the more cool fighting determinedly when confronted by these creatures that scare people off they are so ugly.

A leaf from the manga
A page from the manga “Rooster Fighter” © Mangetsu

By The Attack of the Titans until Kaiju #8 come rooster fighter, the “kaiju”, these gigantic monsters of Japanese folklore, are ubiquitous in contemporary manga. A sprawl related to the current climate that is quite negative, Shū Sakuratani believes, “It’s when negative feelings reach their climax that ‘kaiju’ monsters are created.” Facing them, the Keiji rooster is a much more solar figure whose exact role has not yet been defined by the manga artist. “Maybe in the future, when he grows up, Keiji can become the symbol of something…”

Shū Sakuratani already has the end of rooster fighter starring, but for now he’s focusing on the story: “I have a good idea what the ending could be, but… Keiji is such a lively character, to be honest, I’m not sure I it can take it where I want and do it the way I want…” He hopes to please his readers in the meantime: “Frankly, if readers could have a great time just reading their adventures, there would be no greater be joy to me!”

Cockfighter, Shū Sakuratani, Mangetsu, €7.90. Part available. The second part will be released on July 4.

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