“All this has happened before. All this will happen again.”
The above quote from Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica recurred in my mind as I read Robot God Akamatsu — a graphic novel dealing with the impact of an ancient, giant robot on humanity. Created by writer James Biggie and illustrator Frankie B. Washington with dialogue from Josh Van Reyk, this love letter to Mecha fiction will leave you wondering how often history repeats itself.
Millennia ago, the city of Atlantis was protected by the giant Robot God Aka-Mat’Xu. As monstrous beasts called Kaiju wreaked havoc upon the city, Aka-Mat’Xu would normally save the day; however, Aka-Mat’Xu and his brother-god, Balan Uru had been at war with each other for quite some time. Their feud was unleashed on the people of Atlantis and ended with the city’s destruction and Aka-Mat’Xu’s robot form was lost in the depths of the sea.
8,013 years later, Dr. Ken Akamatsu and his team of scientists find the robot. During their discovery, a pan-dimensional portal is opened with multiple Kaiju appearing and entering the world from their own. As the city of Boston is attacked by one of these monsters, Aka-Mat’Xu’s spirit connects with the spirit of Ken’s comatose son, Jin, allowing Jin to control the robot god. Jin and Aka-Mat’Xu are able to defeat the Kaiju, but at a grave cost.
Two years later, Jin is now out of his coma and almost completely recovered. He and two other humans, who were chosen by Aka-Mat’Xu, connect their minds with the robot — allowing them to protect Boston and the world from future threats. But when Balan Uru enters the fray, will the cycle of destruction continue or will Aka-Mat’Xu finally prevail?
With the current revitalization of the classic giant robot stories of the ’70s and ’80s, Biggie and Van Reyk do a wonderful job at paying homage to the genre while simultaneously allowing it to breathe new life. They also aren’t afraid to poke fun at some of the silly notions within the category of fiction, particularly the idea that the robot needs to vocalize its fighting moves before it attacks. With fresh dialogue, damaged characters seeking love and redemption and a story spanning over 8,000 years, Robot God Akamatsu is a breathtaking adventure with true heart.
Washington’s art also hearkens back to the styles of such classics as Mazinger Z and Macross, relying on up-close, epic battles, massive amounts of mayhem and fast-paced transitions to move the story along. In all black and white, the art enhances the old-school feel of early mecha-related anime and manga.
Robot God Akamatsu successfully reinvents an existing idea while still adhering to the basics of the genre. This is definitely a comic to sync your minds with; and if history does repeat itself, I’ll be reading the second volume soon enough.