Manga Review: HANGER Volumes 1-3 by Hirotaka Kisaragi (2020)

Genre: Science Fiction Shounen-Ai
Year Release in English: 2020

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series.

In a future Neo-Tokyo, it takes a super-powered drug user to take down super-powered drug users. Hajime is partnered with Zeroichi, a Hanger looking to reduce his sentence by apprehending other criminals. What ensues is a twisty thriller dealing with identity and the moral quandaries of the means justifying the ends. Oh, and a slow burn romance.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: Drug use, violence, dubious consent

In this opening volume, we’re introduced to the world of the Hanger program and their various federal agents. The character designs are cool and, though everyone wears the same uniforms, it’s easy to track who’s who.

Hajime as a protagonist really works for me. He has his own goals, backstory, and convictions. The impenetrable wall of mystery that is Zeroichi works really well in contrast, but they don’t exist in order to drive their own plots.

The fight scenes are also super energetic, leaving enough space for emotions and world-building. I’ll definitely be continuing this one.

Content warnings: Drug use, violence, chronic illness, terrorism, cannibalism

The manifestations of the addiction in this series are a delight if you’re into deeply fucked up consequences of what is essentially magic. The different dynamics between all the partner-Hanger couples is so interest. No two are alike, and it’s cool to see the different chemistries and work styles.

The way this series explores grief in terms of identity and self-actualization is particularly effective. Zeroichi has to recognize Hajime as not his old partner. Some wounds take forever to heal and no amount of violence and wins can fix that. It’s great that the series addresses it, and I’m looking forward to more development there.

We get to see the villain in this one, and wow, what a formidable force.

Content warnings: Drug use, violence, terrorism, body horror

Finally some levity amidst the gloom and doom. There is some softness when Hajime goes on vacation, and he and Zeroichi go shopping together. There is so much tenderness there, and it’s so fragile. Having this duality enhances the pacing, allowing for some breathing room.

In the background, however, the primary antagonist is a force to be reckoned with. Their true plans are absolutely horrifying and it’s a wonder how our partners will get through this one. The body horror manifests in the form of monsters with rad designs that fit the overall aesthetic.

There is a twist here that had me screaming like Tyra Banks, so that’s fun. Except for the part where I don’t know where Volume 4 is.

2 thoughts on “Manga Review: HANGER Volumes 1-3 by Hirotaka Kisaragi (2020)

  1. Pingback: November 2021 Reading Recap | Jo Writes Fantasy

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