Discovering this one shot yesterday left me kind of shocked, or maybe surprised would be a more accurate word. I didn’t believe that it existed; even after hearing about it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86YI11-73T8&list=UUkkcUZJ-vrt3HomsacbTNLg&index=2, not until i actually went and checked it out for myself and even then i didn’t believe it; because there is no way what i was reading could actually be Kishimoto’s work. It is hard to believe. The way i heard it was that this was Kishimoto’s first one shot before Naruto and apparently either Kishimoto himself shelved it in favor of Naruto, according to one source, or, according to a more reliable source, shonen jump wouldn’t accept the manga because it was too bloody and violent;so they sent him back to the drawing board and Naruto came out at the end.
THE PLOT> I really can’t say much about this 51 page plot without ruining it. Just know the story resolves around a young half Sicilian half Japanese man named Mario, a hit man in Italy for the Mafia,Yakuza and any other criminal organization that might call upon him to do its dirty work. And he does it well, with little to no remorse; then one day he is introduced to a new partner with a dark past and that changes everything. I will leave it at that.
MY REVIEW:> I will say this right now, if Mario had been serialized instead of naruto, it would have been a wildly more popular series than naruto. That isn’t the excitement talking over reading the one shot. And i am excited, because this manga shows me a new side of Kishimoto. It gives me hope than even when Naruto ends, Kishimoto won’t necessary just retire and go into seclusion; he could still continue this new work and create a whole new franchise. But seriously, this one shot shocked me, because it was as opposite to Kishimoto as you would expect,not just because it is a seinen, but because of how brutal and bloody it is. Just think about this; Kubo’s first one shot was called zombie powder and it was pretty much in the same vein and genre as bleach, supernatural, with zombies and ghosts and all that. Mario is un Naruto, if that makes sense.
I didn’t know that Kishimoto had this sort of story telling in him; and from what i have heard, this was his plan A, the story that he had been working on for the longest and which he dreamed of doing. So that makes Naruto his plan B and look how great that turned out. Genius. It makes you wonder how good this could be if serialized; and it still can be. Sure it was rejected 15 years ago, but Kishimoto is a superstar now; who is going to tell him he can’t do this story, even if it was rejected before? Chances are once Naruto ends, they will be begging him to write some more, after all he is a cash cow.
But seriously, i am amazed at how good this as, and the ending was nothing like you expected , and the art is superb.. Maybe this is why one piece is good, because when Oda first came to them with the absurd idea of one piece, shonen jump let him run with it, no matter how wild it was.
I recommend this one shot to everyone, both naruto fans and basic manga fans. Trust me, it is worth your five minutes of time.
RATING:> 7/5, BLEW MY EXPECTATIONS OUT OF THE WATER.