“Akaneiro #1” is the Rare Video Game Adaptation that Gets it Right

Akaneiro #1 (w) Justin Aclin (a) Vasilis Lolos Dark Horse Comics
Akaneiro #1
(w) Justin Aclin
(a) Vasilis Lolos
Dark Horse Comics

Potential Spoilers Below!

Crap, I didn’t realize that this was a comic adaptation of a video game. Those things can be scary. Unless you bring some uniqueness and a new angle to the story, sorta in a similar fashion that DC’s Injustice has been doing lately. Maybe then you can make me forget about any other media the story dwells in.

For some background, Akaneiro takes the Red Riding Hood story, throws it into a blender, mixes in some Japanese folklore, and asks us, with a devilish grin, if it will blend before hitting the on button. The cover promotes the fact that American McGee is involved in this, and that is a good sign for me. I liked American McGee’s Alice which took the Alice in Wonderland world and showed what it would look like in a very creepy, horror movie type of setup.

As I get into the book, a red flag is immediately noticed when the cover art doesn’t match the interior art. The interior art is sorta a weird mix of Chris Burnham, Frank Quitely, and Riley Rossmo at first glance. Lolos has a style that is a little weird at first, but definitely comes into its own while you are reading. I found myself really drawn into both the story and art, and the art was very easy on the eyes and flowed from panel to panel.

The story hits some of the major points of the classic Red Riding Hood story, and does a great job of developing a much larger story around it. I’m not too familiar with the Japanese folklore that may be referenced in the story, but what I am seeing and reading definitely grabs my attention and makes it difficult to let go. I’m always wary of stories involving demons and magic due to the unknown nature of the rules that those forces play within the environment. This story had a kind of comfortableness to it with those subjects that I really didn’t mind seeing a shape shifting wolf at the end of the book has it just felt like a very natural progression.

Kani, our Red Riding Hood stand-in, comes across as a very confident character in her own right. I know that the tale of Red Riding Hood has the Wolf eating her at the end of the story, but I think Kani can put up a great fight, if not coming out as the victor in that battle. We get a history of Kani and get to know her and her struggles to live next to her neighbors. I’m reading a lot of signs of a potentially well developed character that isn’t set up in a world with stereotypes instilled into place, and I like it.

This is a limited series with only three issues to tell the tale. If the next two issues are as jammed packed with story and art that matches the caliber that the first issue brings, I know that I’ll be doing my best to get these issues at the comic shop.