Hideaki Sorachi was born on May 25, 1979, and grew up in Hokkaido, Japan. His ongoing series, Gin Tama, became a huge hit when it began running in the pages of Japan's Weekly Shonen Jump in 2004. A Gin Tama animated series followed soon after, premiering on Japanese TV in April 2006. Sorachi made his manga debut with the one-shot story "Dandelion," which is included in volume 1 of the Gin Tama graphic novels.
Talk about a high concept that's perfect for the Shonen Jump line of boy's adventure comics: samurais versus aliens. In this book, aliens invaded Edo-era Japan and outlawed the samurai way of life. Centuries later, Gin Tama is a renegade ronin, who does various odd jobs to help his friend Shin get his family dojo back in business. The chapters are actually much more character-based than one would expect from such a far-out idea. The theme of not letting traditions die in the face of changes in society is presented by Gin and Shin holding onto the samurai way while the rest of Edo gives way to alien decadence. Not only is there some food for thought in the book, the adventures can actually be pretty funny. Characters occasionally break the fourth wall. In the first chapter, when Shin asks why Gin held off attackers for only one page, Gin confesses that's still a lot for a manga artist to draw. Sorachi's characters are designed very appealingly, but his line work could be stronger. There are many times when characters would look much better developed, as a book with this much panache demands. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.