Otaku Corner #10: Eagle Vol. 2

Political appeal comes through in second volume of Eagle

Brandon Beatty, editor-at-large

Welcome back to “Otaku Corner,” where GI showcases the best in Japanese comic art and animation. I am happy to announce that GI editor-in-chief Lyndsey Hicks Mosley will debut the Anime Lounge where she will review various anime that new and veteran fans will enjoy.

In a previous issue, I reviewed a manga that foretold the election of the first black president of the United States, Barack Obama. Now, in the spirit of the 2012 presidential election, I’m reviewing the second volume of that manga that not only showcases the main character as a unique underdog, but also shows what can result when Japanese comic art collides with American politics. This is “Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President.”

In “Eagle Volume 2: Scandal,” by Kaiji Kawaguchi and published by Viz Media, the road to the White House continues as Kenneth Yamaoka, a third-generation Japanese-American senator from New York, vies for the Democratic nomination in the 2000 U.S. presidential race before the New Hampshire primary. Joining Kenneth for the whirlwind ride is the Photo courtesy of Amazon.comsecond main character, Takashi Jo, a Japanese reporter assigned to cover Yamaoka’s campaign. Jo early on learns that Yamaoka is his long-lost father as a result of an affair that Yamaoka had in Okinawa before heading into the Vietnam War. Upon arriving in Boston, Takashi is introduced to Yamaoka’s family where Takashi learns that his long-lost dad not only has strong financial backing, but also he has a kindred spirit in his adopted sister, Rachel, who is the press secretary for the campaign, and a younger brother, Alex, who is testing Takashi’s patience and skills as a journalist while trying to prove to his father that he can take the pressure of the political campaign. Meanwhile, as the campaign moves into Manchester, N.H., Yamaoka plots and succeeds in not only luring the Republican Party’s top strategist, but also derails a top Democratic rival’s campaign with proof of an affair.

“Eagle” has not missed a step ever since I started reading, thanks to a strong and fresh plot and characters. Kawaguchi retains his golden touch of combing fictional writing with real-world politics while presenting the possible future of a American minority who could hold the position of “leader of the free world.”

As a political wonk, “Eagle” appealed to me, showing that comics in general can have sway in readers’ opinions on certain world events. Credit goes to Carl Gustav Horn and Yuji Oniki for an excellent mix of adaption and translation of this political manga that has a deserving spot in my manga collection, but guarantees that otaku will want to grab this series and never let go.

Brandon Beatty can be reached by email at gicomics@gaminginsurrection.com