Published on September 10th, 1990 by Studio Ship under their “Gekiga King Series” moniker, Eden no Kaze (Japanese title: エデンの風) is a short 6 chapter biker gang manga set in Yokohama.
Kazuo Yoshii, a prominent member of the renowned biker gang “Yokohama Hell Punks”, has the worst day of his life when, trying to escape from a police patrol car, stacks his bike and sends himself and his passenger, Yoichi, flying across the asphalt. Kazuo somehow emerges from the accident relatively unscathed but his comrade is killed instantly. One month later and Kazuo is working long hours on the Yokohama docks as a laborer and drinking every night to escape his depression and feelings of regret for accidentally killing his friend. Leaving work late one afternoon, Kazuo is met by Mako, a female member of the Yokohama Hell Punks and younger sister of the deceased Yoichi. She berates Kazuo for killing her brother and for doing nothing to make amends, choosing instead to drink booze each night instead of facing up to his obligations. She tells Kazuo to never show his face again at their gang meetings and rides off into the night. Several hours later, Mako and fellow gang member, Masahiko, are jumped by a rival gang. Two of the gang members try to rape Mako but Kazuo appears out of nowhere and intervenes just in the nick of time to prevent them from succeeding. Suddenly, Katsuragi, the rival gang leader, bottles Kazuo over the head from behind knocking him out before fleeing the scene. Kazuo wakes up in hospital where his injuries are being treated when Mako’s mother drops by to check up on him. He tells her about his feelings for Mako unaware that Mako is actually eavesdropping from outside the door. When Mako’s mother leaves, Mako pays Kazuo a visit too and tells him that she feels the same.
The second chapter deals with fellow Yokohama Hell Punks member, Masahiko. A cute waitress called Junko who works at the coffee bar that his gang frequents, catches Masahiko’s eye and he is quickly besotted with her. His fellow gang members try telling him that she’s nothing but a slut but he refuses to listen to their sordid stories about her. Junko soon seduces Masahiko and makes out that she was gang raped and hasn’t had her period since the ordeal. Masahiko gives her money for an abortion and sets about getting revenge on the culprits responsible for assaulting her. He successfully tracks her so-called rapists down but they just laugh in his face and said she was a whore that loved every minute of it and will sleep with anyone. Enraged at their insults, Masahiko starts an all out fire fight with the gang by throwing sticks of dynamite at them and blowing them all over the place. Elswehere, Junko is seen tricking another man into sleeping with her…
The flow of Eden no Kaze is an episodic one with each chapter focusing on a character that appeared in the previous chapter. Chapter three focuses on Masahiko’s older sister, chapter 4 deals with Masahiko’s playboy friend that his sister falls for, and so on. Despite each chapter being largely self contained, the reader doesn’t feel pulled around at all since each character is linked inextricably to all the others which in turn makes for a fun reading experience. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of Eden no Kaze is when the final 6th chapter rolls around and things are brought full circle with Kazuo making a return appearance in a story arc that not only lets him exact revenge against the rival gang that hospitalized him in the first chapter, but we also get to see him be the big hero when he fulfills a promise to help out one of Mako’s lady friends. An awesome fist fight ensues and for once, the Yokohama Hell Punks come out on top. Eden no Kaze ends on a happy note when we see a key character in the manga get married to her fiancee. Happy days indeed!
Contained within the same book, Eden no Kaze is followed by a 4 chapter manga called “The beast’s underworld” (Japanese title: 獣たちの黄泉 – Kedamonotachi no Kōsen) in which a young man by the name of Masashi Fuji finds himself having quite possibly the worst luck of his life. Masashi’s life is turned upside down when he witnesses his lover, Yuriko, get crushed in a freak accident when an overhanging steel girder suddenly falls on top of her whilst she bids farewell to him alongside a construction site. The doctor tells Masashi and Yuriko’s parents that her condition is critical and that she will unlikely survive the next couple of days. In a state of shock, Masashi leaves the hospital when a beautiful nurse by the name of Akie Okabe hands Masashi an umbrella to take out in the rain. Upon arriving home, Masashi finds a terrifying demon in his house standing over the dead body of his father and the words “Stay away from the girl!” written in blood on the wall. 2 days later Yuriko dies in hospital. At the funeral the same beautiful nurse appears telling Masashi that she wanted to see him again. Unbeknownst to the pair of them, the sinister demon looks on from above…
The beast’s underworld is a short, exciting read which strangely compliments Eden no Kaze despite the story being completely different. It features some great artwork and though it ends rather abruptly, it doesn’t feel lacking in any way. Like most of Maeda’s work, Eden no Kaze is also long out of print but you can often see copies appearing in the usual places like Yahoo auction and Amazon marketplace. If you see a copy, be sure to give it a whirl!
Here’s the original Japanese cover artwork: