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Review Akimbo – Manga – Manga news

Three years after his first try in the manga register with the sympathetic Mary Kimpride, the French artist Djiguito, who needs no introduction given his now well-established notoriety, returned in July 2022 with a second project. in the genre, just released for Japan Expo on its stand, still in self-publishing, after having had successful crowdfunding a few months ago on Ulule (193% of the objective achieved!), and before its coming soon on the site www.sanouss.com (the author’s shop).

Akimbo is the name of a native American Indian who is presented as the rising star of hip-hop, which is debated within his community: some, like his grandmother the chef of the tribe, strongly support him, while others, such as the opposition leader Mikizi (a bald eagle, which will have its symbolic importance), consider him a traitor denying traditions. In short, the young man, behind his slender physique and his stoic side, is not unanimous among his people.

It is in this context that he is preparing to welcome by his side, for an initial period of 24 hours, Nancy, a little girl who won in a contest the right to spend this time with her favorite star. The little girl is obviously drunk with joy to meet her idol in this way, and the pleasure is mutual. But Akimbo has no idea then of the terrible pains that little Nancy hides deep inside her, nor of the drastic way in which she will upset her existence…

Project born in 2015, imagined in two parts that echo and follow each other, Akimbo allows us to find Djiguito’s rather unique touch, in a universe that turns out to be the same as Mary Kimpride, so many small elements are common to both stories. In this second part of what is gradually presenting itself as a kind of “Djiguito Western Universe”, the author continues to play with enthusiasm on various small shots of the western: Once again, with this framework of American-Mexican western, we feel that you can indulge yourself by using elements of this universe in your own way: the mariachi telling the story, the Indians, the bounty hunter with his bandana on his mouth, the buffalo… But in this very typical of several decades ago, Djiguito has the rather brilliant and wacky idea of ​​incorporating much more modern elements, especially around new technologies: Akimbo is a rising star of rap and hip hop, the characters use smartphones , our hero’s grandmother is addicted to video games and even does live streams, and of course there is the very modern language of the characters. Something to accentuate the wacky “made in Djiguito” part, even more when you add the clothing outfits intertwining the eras (just look at Akimbo’s look) as well as the different good faces of a Nancy sometimes worthy of a Arale by Dr. Slump and quite a few hidden winks (from the Spice Girls to Hugh Jackman via Stranger Things).

Delirium, communicative and hardly good little ideas, is therefore there… but precisely is it a simple delirium? If the question is posed in this way, you may well suspect that the answer is no. Clearly not. This, the author has the good idea to make us understand quite early in the book, with a brutal and sudden death, which we do not necessarily see coming as it swears with the joyful atmosphere installed. And from there, the story will take on a whole new proportion. Without spoilers, it will be about battered children, the opposition of a section of the population to modern advances in the face of traditions when the two are not incompatible, racism, the stigmatization of peoples, fake news that can reinforce this stigma when the reality on the ground is quite different… Djiguito then becomes a keen and alert observer of certain flaws in our society which have perhaps never been so present in our world as in recent years.

Faced with all this, two beautiful ideas also emerge from the story. On the one hand, the fact that Akimbo, caught between his obligations to his people and the rising buzz about his status as a new star, wants one thing above all else: to be quiet and do what he loves, which is the most important at a time when he has to deal with a number of issues and pressures exerted by what society expects of him. And on the other hand, the fact that rap with its often committed lyrics, and by extension music and Art in general, can have many virtues, such as being escapes and even saving lives, something that the e feel very good seeing how Akimbo is the only breath of happiness and freedom of the endearing little Nancy.

Beyond the inventive delirium allowed by the universe, Akimbo has a lot of things to tell, and it is quite impressive to see all that Diguito has managed to condense and transmit in just 150 pages, managing to analyze with a certain strength certain defects of our current societies. it is an excellent surprise, deeper than one might have thought before reading, and what is more is served in an excellent quality of edition. we actually find the same B5 format, the same glossy paper and the same print quality as for Mary Kimpride. And the supplements are abundant, between different sketches and presentations of the characters, and above all a vast and beautiful gallery of bonus illustrations (in color or in black & white) made by many guests including some very pretty names from the French manga, all this making the book exceed 200 pages.

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