This is where we start to get more of what Violence Jack is about. And something that seems to fade over time.
Which is to say… Violence Jack, friend to the children!
The focus of this chapter is Jack helping the kids battle the evil adults of Kanto. He appears and rescues them from some adults, then takes them into town and to a restaurant. Then things get stabby.
We begin to get hints of Jack’s supernatural nature, as he takes a sword blow to the head and gets stabbed in the abdomen. In fact he uses his abs to then break the sword while it’s embedded in his body!
After they leave town, we learn of the evil behind the state of Kanto, namely it’s ruler Slum King. A masked man, dressed as a samurai, guarded by twelve identical women, his Slum Queen, he also has two “dogs” who will be familiar to readers of Devil Man.
It’s Ryo Asuka and Miki Makimura, and the first major hint that Violence Jack is, in some way, connected to Devil Man. Those two characters are notable as being the two (of the three) characters who loved Akira Fudo/Amon in the previous series, so you might have presumed some kind of link this early on (it’s not confirmed until much, much later).
However, Nagai has another trick up his sleeve which obviously helped make the link more ambiguous. For they are not the only characters from an earlier Nagai series that show up in this chapter.
Those three above are the main characters in Nagai’s 1972 series Omorai-kun. Which seems to have sunk somewhat into obscurity, not even warranting a Japanese wiki page. What little mention there seems to be of him in English is in walkthroughs for the Legend of Dynamic Goushouden GBA game. What I can glean is that it was another coarse social satire from Nagai, this time about a family of beggars and the scatological humour content was amped up somewhat.
They make a brief cameo here, but it’s something Nagai will build on throughout Violence Jack. He employs something similar to Tezuka’s Star System, using characters from other series as characters in Violence Jack. However by time the 80s revival of the series comes around, he will go one step further, often basing arcs on the deconstruction of the original series that characters came from. Just wait until you see the Mazinger Z arc, it will blow your mind!
This whole recycling and rebuilding of his characters and concepts is a fairly important part of Violence Jack and one that gets left out in any discussion of it, in favour of the sex and violence. Even the stories adapted for the OAVs have some of it, and outside of it being briefly mentioned in The Anime Encyclopedia, I don’t think I’ve seen it discussed in English beyond the Devilman connections. And certainly not what other series they were referencing.
OK, back to the stabbing!
Yes. He has picked a swordsman up by his head and used him to slice another man’s arm off.
So, the kids declare war on the Slum King and by war, I mean Violence Jack takes his coat off and starts with the murdering. It’s all going great for the kids, until we get a glimpse of Violence Jack’s dark heart. When one of the adults uses a young girl as a human shield to stop Jack attacking him, Jack’s response isn’t exactly typical of your average action hero…
There’s been hints up to this point, Nagai had superimposed an image of a lion over Jack early on in this story, but this confirms that Jack is as much a beast as he is a man. Finally, he faces off with the Slum King, breaking his mask. We don’t see why the King needs a mask yet, but that is enough to defeat him. Well that and the kids burying his army under a mountain of cars.
Finally Jack wanders off into the wasteland once more, where he is met by a glowing bird of prey. A glowing, TALKING, bird of prey.
This is one of the biggest mysteries to me, and I do wonder if being able to read the actual dialogue would help or not. At first I thought it was supposed to be Silene from Devilman, because that would make sense. However the use of the bird is different in the 80s version, as Jack, Ryou and a third character seem to be able to change into such birds. I’ve still a few more volumes to go, so maybe it’s all revealed properly in the end when various other characters masks are dropped.
Checking the indispensable www.mazingerz.com, this story marked the end of Violence Jack for 3 years, until it returned in 1977.