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Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection – Review

Time-Killers-cover-Image-01You know, reader, I really like the Manga “Blue Exorcist”. Actually I moreso like the lady behind “Blue Exorcist”. A Mangaka named “Kazue Kato” who, like anyone in some sort of artistic spotlight, started on her career a very long time ago but only in the last decade or so gained mainstream success. This is the plight of all who want to do something creative for a living. Singers, musicians, artists, film makers, actors, each of these careers follows a long and arduous road that many never reach the end of.

Kazue Kato has reached that end with her Manga “Blue Exorcist” but has decided it is about time she shows her fans exactly where it was she started and she’s doing it with one of Madman Entertainment’s more recent Manga releases; “Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection”.

Thanks to the Australian Anime and Manga distributor, we’ve been given the chance to experience the life of a Mangaka from her first concept all the way up until the one that eventually lead to her industry success and we couldn’t be any more thankful for the opportunity.

Explore fantastic realms of imagination in this stunning collection of short stories by Kazue Kato, creator of the smash-hit manga series Blue Exorcist! With Kato’s amazing and distinctive art leaping from the page, Time Killers includes her first work, Boku to Usagi (Me and the Rabbit), and features the stories and character designs that would become her breakthrough series, Blue Exorcist. Take off on a flight of fantasy with Time Killers! – Madman Entertainment

Like any series of short stories, “Time Killers” basically documents the evolution of a Mangaka. For the most part, the stories featured in the compilation are gravely lacking in substance. Some of them only span about a page or two and, as a reader, you don’t really get much out of it apart from the feeling of wanting more, but this is the whole point of a short story. These are a bunch of small tales that didn’t quite pick up in popularity and didn’t quite lead anywhere in regards to Kazue Kato’s career…apart from ONE short story which eventually became the much-loved Shonen-type series “Blue Exorcist”. The final story of “Time Killers” tells of an exorcist on a grave mission and the main character just so happens to look exactly like Rin.

This, hands down, was the most appealing of all the stories but there were a couple that came very, very close. Unfortunately I couldn’t help but feel somewhat bored while reading through “Time Killers” and I simply have to chalk it up to the fact that this is a short story compendium. If all the stories were good, Kazue Kato would be far more famous than she already is. That doesn’t necessarily excuse this release from being not that great bu the fact that most of these were written/illustrated when Miss Kato was at a young age does give a good reason as to why these idea just didn’t pick up. While some of the individual stories were flat, the story of an artists life told through “Time Killers” is much more rewarding than any lone tale. You just have to read between the lines.

Much like Miss Kato’s writing, her art style has also changed over the years. At the beginning she was rough with her linework and a great deal of her illustrations looked sloppy but by the time you reach the end of the book you can see just how much she would have worked at her art and just how talented a Mangaka she is. Her drawings went from flat and boring to striking and bold. While that took many years to perfect, we as readers are given the chance to see it laid out in front of as as a 200+ page Manga volume. That’s pretty amazing. Reading “Blue Exorcist” you quickly come to realise just how likable her art style is. The characters are drawn soft enough but gritty enough to appeal to a wide audience and through “Time Killers” you get to see that develop. Her coloured illustrations, sprinkled throughout the book, are quite the site to behold. She’s a wonderful artist that can work just as well with paints as she can with solid ink and, as a young man with a dream of being an artist much like her, it’s aggressively enviable.

“Time Killers” wasn’t made with the intention that each of the stories will impress you more than the last. It was actually made to, well…kill time. Miss Kato says it herself at the very back of the book, but I think it was put together for a lot more than that. As I’ve said a couple times throughout this review; it’s about the evolution of a practice. The practice of art making. The practice of story telling. The practice of being a Mangaka. Even though not all the stories are compelling and lack “pizzaz”, I guarantee you’ll keep reading. Actually, I urge you keep reading. Not just for the story that eventually became “Blue Exorcist” but for the feeling you’ll get as you reach the final page of the book. That’s not to say this doesn’t have faults, obviously, it’s actually assumed that these stories wont be as good as what made the artist famous but I don’t think that matters in the end. Read it and I guarantee you’ll understand something that simply can not be put across through words alone. One thing I can guarantee, grade aside, is that you’ll definitely enjoy this read.

Check it out by purchasing a copy of “Time Killers: Kazue Kato Short Story Collection” from Madman Entertainment’s official site: Click Here.

Grade: B


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