Otaku #02: Eagle

‘Eagle’ takes prophetic look at United States political process

Brandon Beatty, contributing editor

Eagle is a series with clairvoyance. No one could have known that it would predict President Barack Obama’s election eight years after it was published. In 2000, author Keji Kawaguchi, best known for his best-selling graphic novel “The Silent Service,” which goes into detail about the post-Cold War era, wrote a story about the 2000 U.S. presidential election. It evolved into what we know today as Eagle:The Making of an Asian-American President.

“Eagle” was originally introduced in “Big Comic,” one of Japan’s biggest manga magazines and simultaneously published by Viz Media. It focuses on Japanese journalist Takeshi Jo, who after dealing with the tragic loss of his mother, is assigned by his newspaper to go to Washington, D.C., to cover New York Sen. Kenneth Yamaoka, the first Asian American to run for the U.S. presidency. In the first chapter readers are introduced to Takeshi and his back story involving him and his mother and his search to find the U.S. Marine that is his father. The second, third and fourth chapters reveal more about Sen. Yamaoka.

Cover of the manga Eagle
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Yamaoka reveals to Takeshi that he is, in fact, Takashi’s father, which forces Takashi to be more involved in the story than he bargained for.

While reading Eagle, I gained a new and powerful perspective on how U.S. politics are conducted beyond regular print and TV headlines. At the same time, Kawaguchi has captured both possible scenarios of the 2000 and 2008 U.S. presidential campaigns that manga fans and non-manga readers will enjoy.

Will Kenneth Yamaoka become president? Can Takashi Jo manage both an irresistible career opportunity and a shaky family connection to the man who could be the first Asian American to lead the free world?

These questions are inevitably answered in future editions.

Brandon Beatty is contributing editor of Gaming Insurrection. Contact him by e-mail at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com.

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