Otaku USA Magazine
My Name Is Shingo Is Sci-Fi from Horror Master Kazuo Umezz

Kazuo Umezz, the famous mangaka behind such titles as Drifting Classroom, Cat-Eyed Boy and Orochi, might be best-known for his horror work, but My Name Is Shingo feels distinctly science fiction. It opens with a robot narrating to us about its birth, and then moves on to Satoru, a rambunctious middle school boy. Satoru’s teacher and mother might not appreciate his wild side or sense of humor (like painting scars on himself), but he comes across as quirky and excitable. His dad’s work is getting a new machine (which must be the robot narrating in the beginning). There are concerns that the dad will get replaced by the machine (sound familiar?), but Satoru just has awesome images in his head of a mecha at his dad’s work.

Satoru eventually gets to see the machine firsthand. It’s been named Monroe, after Marilyn. It doesn’t look like a mecha, but Satoru is still very keen on it. He also falls for a pretty girl named Marin who is likewise there on a field trip. The two begin hanging out more and more. What all Monroe is — or is capable of — is not shown in this volume, but it hints there are going to be issues. This feels especially topical now with AI and all the problems it can cause. This manga, though, was written years ago, and is not Umezz’s take on current events.

The art is amazing, as to be expected from Umezz. It’s detailed, intricately beautiful, and has something of a retro, 1950s style to it. The characters are drawn so well that they almost seem to jump off the page.

This is definitely a title for fans of Umezz to pick up, and it’s being published as a “Perfect Edition.” Fans of science fiction also ought to appreciate it. Even people who aren’t necessarily science fiction fans can still get into the story and the artwork. It’ll be interesting to see where Umezz goes with this yarn.

Story & Art: Kazuo Umezz
Publisher: VIZ Media
Translator: Jocelyn Allen


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.