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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