Growing up a target of bullying, a senior high student, Shiroishi Hajime, is a skilled karateka, but goes completely weak at the knees with fear when it comes to fighting. Among all this, a power junkie and classmate of Ichi who does nothing but fighting, Akakuma Dai, sets his eyes on Ichi!! When Ichi starts to shed tears, all of a sudden a violent impulse that resided inside him is unleashed!!!!
Ichi the Killer holds a special place in my heart for being perhaps the first seinen or 'adult' manga that I remember reading and enjoying for its outlandish characters; over-the-top violence; and exploration of extreme sadomasochism. Such was my teenage enthusiasm that I bought the live-action movie directed by Miike Takeshi which is shoddy in the strict definition of adaptation but is still rather entertaining if you're into surreal black comedy. At the time however I was still 'shonen' and so probably too immature to fully appreciate this work, the only other manga I'd encountered being volumes of Dragon Ball in my school library. Years later I thus re-read Ichi the Killer and found that - while enjoyable - it suffered from a meandering storyline confused in what it was ultimately trying to say. In comparison this prequel '1' is much like its title: with a shorter, simpler storyline that lacks the interesting characters or setting of its predecessor. Other for the odd fight scene it holds little to no value and I would recommend reading the original or watching the movie instead.
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