Originally serialized in Manga Sakura-gumi magazine during 1987, and later published as a single volume by Million comics on April 15th 1988, Legend of the Superbeast (Japanese title: 超獣伝説 – Chōjū Densetsu) is a short, 7 chapter SF/Erotic story set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity desperately seeks to eke out an existence against the backdrop of a harsh radioactive environment, debauched cyborgs, and a terrifying new breed of mutated human.
It is the year 19XX. The world as we know it has been reduced to nothing but a vast wasteland. Deadly radioactive winds beat against the infertile land and its countless deserts as humanity is forced to scavenge for any food or water it can beg, borrow, or steal. During the latter part of the 1980’s, mankind found itself on the brink of a digital revolution. Humanity’s greed for technology rapidly overshadowed it’s code of ethics and people soon became so obsessed with life in the digital age that basic morals soon became abandoned entirely. Before long, countries became nationwide police states embroiled in bitter civil wars with underground guerrilla organizations, and long standing gangster rivalries began to solve their disputes with laser guns and mini nuclear fusion reactor powered weapons. Even lowly hoodlums had began to sacrifice their own body parts in exchange for steel replacements. Civilization went through a seemingly endless cycle of destruction and rebuilding until mankind’s darkest hour finally arrived. Complete nuclear annihilation of the planet. Armageddon.
It is against this bleak backdrop that we meet our protagonist. A man that simply calls himself “C9”. C9 is a vagabond wandering the desolate earth in search of himself. Literally. Unfortunately for C9, he doesn’t have any idea who is or what his real name is. The only thing he knows is that he grew up in the slums of the C9 district. To him, he is merely “A man from C9” hence that being his chosen name. C9’s quest for information is what forms the backbone of this 7 chapter story as he battles his way through some really unique encounters and situations. During the first chapter we get to see what he’s capable of when he stumbles across a young girl being savagely gang-raped by a pack of “Differents”. In this post-apocalyptic world, a new species of human has emerged. These beings are humanoid for the most part but due to severe radiation they have become mutated during their gestation periods and are born with hideous deformations and quite often with unique special abilities to boot. “Differents” are considerably stronger than the surviving “pure-blood” humans and as such, frequently form gangs and run their local territories using fear to keep the people in line. Young human girls can fetch a high price on the now booming sex-slave industry that such scenes of rape are common. C9, however, doesn’t approve of their conduct and quickly intervenes to help the poor lady. After a short exchange of words, the leader of the pack finds himself laying on the dirt in a pool of his own blood and a fist-sized hole in his chest. Yes, C9 is a fucking badass.
Upon rescuing the girl, she explains that she is out for revenge and is looking to find and kill the head of the Differents, Mikado. Almost a spitting image of Jabba the Hutt, Mikado is a fat slug like being with several long, tentacle-like penises, who spends much of his time impregnating human girls in the hope of creating the perfect heir to his empire – a son with the physical strength of a Different but with the ingenuity of a human. The walls of Mikado’s lair are lined with incubation chambers occupied with heavily pregnant girls that have been lured into his trap with the promise of enough food and water to last a lifetime. C9 and the girl soon find Mikado in his lair but before the girl can exact revenge on the debauched tyrant, a freak earthquake occurs causing the ceiling to collapse and crush the sluggish Mikado as C9 and the girl escape safely. She got what she wanted but was denied the satisfaction of pulling the trigger. They part ways and C9 once again wanders into the distance….
Believe it or not, everything I’ve just revealed occurs in the first 2 chapters. In fact, that’s what makes this manga such an interesting read. “Legend of the Superbeast” is more of an anthology of sorts rather than a continuous story. Sure, the underlying thread of C9 searching for info on his background remains present throughout the book but the chapters are very much episodic in their own right. Throughout his adventures, C9 comes face-to-face with cyborgs frequenting a dangerous sex club whose human owner propositions C9 into impregnating his daughter, encounters a witch capable of inducing the human mind into a dream state where she can rape and rob her victims, as well as unwittingly becoming a courier for a mysterious drug that can temporarily transform Differents into humans. Each chapter is a Sci-Fi assault on the senses leaving you wondering what will happen next.
In the final act of the story, C9 is finally reunited with his mother (and his sister who he unknowingly had sex with beforehand!) in her underground complex where she is now a mature woman in a relationship with a Different gang leader. Soon after C9’s arrival, a riot breaks out and his mother brings the conflict to an end by sacrificing herself courtesy of a potent hand grenade to bring the complex down. C9 and his sister survive the blast and walk into the horizon together…
“Legend of the Superbeast” is a fun read with a very Fist of the North Star meets Bladerunner meets Mad Max feel to it. The artwork is fantastic throughout too as it was drawn during one of Maeda’s most prolific periods. I must admit though, as much as I loved it, I’m a little confused as to why this manga has this title. There is no “Superbeast” in the story at all (unless you count Mikado but he was just a fat, powerless slug) so I will definitely make a point of asking Toshio about that next time I see him! Unfortunately, this manga is no longer in print and also didn’t get an English translation but you can still find used copies kicking about online so definitely pick up a copy should you stumble across one!
Here’s the original Japanese cover artwork: