Author - Miura Kentaro :: Volumes - 25 :: Pub Date - 1990 ~ present
Publisher - Hakusen Sha :: Comic Company - Jets Comics

This is a story of an extremely tortured man by the name of Gatts. He was born from a dead mother who had been strung up on a tree. He grew up in blood, learning the ways of a mercenary. Without smaller swords made for training children, Gatts developed the muscles to bear a weapon too heavy for the ordinary man. And not only can he use his huge sword, he swings it fast and with skill. When the leader of the hawk group witnesses this young man in action, he knows from the start that he wanted to own Gatts. Only after defeating the young warrior does Griffith convince Gatts to join the up-and-coming mercenary band. And thus Gatts' long and painful journey begins under the man who has been foreseen to only cause endless suffering to Gatts.

The manga has a rather realistic, fantasy setting. Sure, there is some magic and monsters, but overall there is the feeling of medieval times in which wounds take time to heal, armor protects and hinders a warrior, and politics is just as important as fighting strategy. It is also a very dark setting where children do get killed if they walk in the way of the blade and there is no time for sympathy when your life is at stake.

The development of the story is perfect. The first three volumes are placed in the 'present' time, and it leaves the reader with questions of 'what led to all of this?'. Then it is a trip into back from the beginning with the unusual, foreshadowing birth of Gatts. The reader watches the upbringing of the hero and learns about the making of the adult we have already been introduced to. And then there is the first meeting with Griffiths. We already know about the future of this beautiful leader, but it seems impossible considering this Griffiths of the past.

This is an excellent story for those who are looking for a serious, more realistic type of story. While the artwork needs help at times, it is the story that truly drives the reader to get more. There is a nice mix of fighting, politics, and character development that is somewhat rare in the shonen genre.

Rating - 8

ISBN Numbers
01 ~ 4592135741 02 ~ 459213575X 03 ~ 4592135768 04 ~ 4592135776
05 ~ 4592135784 06 ~ 4592135792 07 ~ 4592135806 08 ~ 459213690X
09 ~ 4592136918 10 ~ 4592136926 11 ~ 4592136934 12 ~ 4592136942
13 ~ 4592136950 14 ~ 4592136969 15 ~ 4592136977 16 ~ 4592136985
17 ~ 4592136993 18 ~ 4592137167 19 ~ 4592137175 20 ~ 4592137183
21 ~ 4592137191 22 ~ 4592137205 23 ~ 4592137213 24 ~ 4592137221
25 ~ 459213723X      

Translations - The Hawks :: Skull Knight :: The Spectrum Lab

Updated October 2003