Sakamoto Days Vol. 1 Review – The Homely Hitman
Title: Sakamoto Days Vol. 1
Author: Yuto Suzuki
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher: Viz Media
I love a good Jump manga. Somehow, they just appeal to me, be they action or comedy. Sakamoto Days Vol. 1 stood out to me for being a mix of both, and I’m happy to say that it’s another hit for Jump. It’s charming, funny, and surprisingly intense, all at once, so you don’t want to miss it.
Sakamoto Days Vol. 1 is all about Mr. Sakamoto, a man who was once the most feared hitman around. One day, he falls in love, has a child, gets fat, and leaves the hitman life behind to run a convenience store with his family.
The trouble is, the life of a hitman doesn’t always stay where you left it, as other hitmen and organizations begin to come for Mr. Sakamoto. Alongside the mind-reading Shin (who is forcibly brought into the family,) Mr. Sakamoto tries to maintain his pleasant daily life while protecting others from the life he once led.
It’s less serious than it likely sounds, as Volume One doesn’t contain any lamentation of Mr. Sakamoto’s hitman life or anything of the sort. There are certainly serious (and surprisingly graphic) moments, which are highlighted by a shift in the art to a heavier, more intense style, but the overall tone is largely fun and laid-back. It’s sort of representative of Mr. Sakamoto as a character; serious when it needs to be, but primarily kind of silly and wholesome.
And Mr. Sakamoto is indeed a delightful character to follow, as his comedic timing and genuinely badass moments balance one another out pretty perfectly. His genuine love for his family and his desire to keep them safe makes for a strong motivator that keeps you rooting for him, despite his checkered past. You sincerely hope he can be happy with his family and newfound pals, which is the sign of a likable character.
The supporting characters are great as well, with Shin and Lu standing out as very fun characters whose dynamics work with Mr. Sakamoto’s quite well. The ongoing gag of Shin reading Mr. Sakamoto’s mind and seeing Mr. Sakamoto kill him for misbehaving is consistently funny, especially as it gets more and more creative.
The antagonists are quite unsettling, as you really get the feeling that these are demented, trained killers. They are really set up as evil characters, which makes Mr. Sakamoto and Shin taking them down feel far more gratifying. The battles are fast and fun, and it’s always pretty clear as to what’s going in on them. There are some goofy leaps in logic here and there, but this is manga, that’s what we’re here for. I’m down to see a bullet get deflected by a cough drop, or bulletproof glasses, why not?
All-in-all, Sakamoto Days strikes an impressive balance of being funny, heart-warming, and action-packed. It’s hard to say what genre it is since it works as both a gag manga and an action one, but whatever it is, it’s fun to read. I can’t wait for future volumes, as I want to see the world get further developed around Mr. Sakamoto and his delightful family and friends.
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