Oldboy Vol. 1

old_boy_vol_01.jpgrating-3.5Old Boy is the story of a man who was held prisoner for 10 years in a private cell, not knowing why. He was then released back into the world and now he is trying to find and confront the people who did this to him. I must admit that this premise piqued my interest. And when Dark Horse described it as "an intense, bare-knuckled thriller in the tradition of Pulp Fiction and Payback", I thought this should have a lot of action. Boy, was I wrong. Before I go on though, I will admit that I've never seen Payback, and Pulp Fiction does have a lot of interesting dialogue, but I still think of them as action films. Now Old Boy isn't a bad manga, by any means. In fact, it's pretty good. It's just that my expectations from the premise and the description sent me in a different direction then the actual manga went. This might change in later volumes, but so far, I don't think the description is accurate.
The manga itself is more cerebral, in that it is a cat and mouse game between the man and his antagonist. We learn about his thought process during flashback sequences of his incarceration. We also meet his antagonist, and we get a hint at why he did this to him. If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned his name yet, it's because you're not told, and he only comes up with an alias (Yamashita) right near the end of the volume.

The manga itself flows well, and since there is not much dialogue, it doesn't take very long to read. The art is more of a realistic style (no big-eyed cute girls with crazy hair), and Nobuaki Minegishi has a penchant for dramatic poses, which are well done. It does have a Parental Advisory on it, I'm guessing only for the nudity, as the violence is pretty minimal and not really gory at all. Overall, I would recomend it to people who are interested in a good story (which I think it will be), but it's not necessarily for everyone.