Collected and published as a single volume by Suberu Comics on September 6th 1993, Rika and Jiraiya (Japanese Title: 里香と地雷也 – Rika to Jiraiya) is a 10 chapter mini-series that tells the story of an old man who, together with the aid of his grandson, seek to protect their village’s lone surviving female from a horde of vengeful zombies.
The story is set in a nondescript suburb of Tokyo where a young girl called Rika lives. Rika is home alone due to her mother being on vacation visiting Rika’s father who works in New York. Unlike most teenage girls that would immediately head to the nearest club, Rika is a precocious young girl and would rather spend the evening relaxing at home. Unbeknownst to her however, another young lady who happens to be passing by her house, is about to wish she stayed at home too. When the young girl confronts a mysterious figure that appears to be spying on Rika, she realizes she’s made a terrible mistake as this stranger is none other than a maggot infested Zombie! Well, I say Zombie, but in this manga they refer to themselves as “Half-Rotten Humans”. These decaying corpses are afflicted with the (un)fortunate need to engage in sexual intercourse with other humans at least once every 10 days lest their bodies will melt away and perish. Half-Rotten Humans you see, feed on the sexual energies that are expelled when one climaxes during intercourse and it’s this energy that keeps them from rotting away. No sex No life as it were!
Unfortunately, should any man or woman have sex with one these zombies, they will find their own life-force severely drained and, though death isn’t a factor, the remainder of their lives will be spent from the confines of a dramatically aged and haggard body. Not nice huh?
Though Rika is yet to discover that she is the target that these creatures are searching for, she is in luck because she’s about to get paid a visit from two very strange people. Shinzo Kongoji and his grandson Raiya. Both Shinzo and Raiya (who goes by the nickname of “Jiraiya”) are among the last remaining survivors of the fabled Kongoji village, an isolated place said to be located deep in the mountains of rural Japan. According to Shinzo, the son of the legendary Minamoto no Mitsunaka, Yorimitsu, employed the use of a powerful exorcist in order to defeat a “demon” residing on Mount Oedo. The exorcist was successful in his effort to seal the demon’s spirit deep within the mountain and called upon the Kongoji villagers to watch over the mountain. However, when it was discovered that true demons are a by-product of mankind’s inner desires, many of the village’s powerful sages took it upon themselves to perform rituals that would actually call forth these demons into the human world in a vain attempt to vanquish them once and for all. These powerful sages and the common townsfolk lived on opposite sides of the river surrounding the base of the mountain where they lived in relative harmony for hundreds of years until an unprecedented landslide piled 54,000 tonnes of rubble onto the unsuspecting villagers killing them outright. Only a handful of mostly elderly people survived the disaster. Not a single young girl survived.
A year after the tragedy, it is revealed that the long thought dead sages actually survived and dug their way through the other side of the mountain to freedom where they emerged as half-rotten corpses. Angered at becoming wiped out, and jealous of the surviving villagers, the undead sages seek to track down the sole remaining fertile girl of Kongoji ancestry. …That would be Rika then! Should Rika ever become pregnant, the bloodline of the Kongoji family would remain intact and those angry rotting corpses will never find peace in death… Rika and Jiraiya is a fun ride from start to finish. Despite his appearance, Jiraiya is only 15 years old and when tasked with having to protect the life of Rika, you can imagine how useless he can be at times. Though pure-hearted and sincere, Jiraiya is more than capable of handling himself physically so when the zombies get too close to Rika, it’s usually curtains for the undead before they can say “Braaains”. However, due to his absentmindedness, Jiraiya finds himself allowing Rika to walk the streets alone at night. This mistake nearly costs her her life were it not for Jiraiya getting there in the nick of time and transferring the life-force of a nearby 40 year old woman that is fatally wounded, to the unconscious body of Rika who came face-to-face with a zombie just moments prior. Due to Jiraiya’s lack of experience with handling spirit energy, he fumbles the process of spirit transferal and ends up infusing the personality of the 40 year old into Rika with hilarious consequences.
Rika and Jiraiya is a typical Maeda story infusing gratuitous sex and violence with an engaging storyline that is filled with lots of cheeky humor to lighten the mood. Though only clocking in at around 206 pages, it doesn’t feel rushed and knows exactly where it wants to take the reader. As to be expected with a Toshio Maeda manga, the artwork is crisp and dynamic boasting some awesome 2 page spreads. Sadly, this title is yet to recieve an English translation so is currently only available in it’s original Japanese form. As is always the case, fans wishing to get hold of a copy should simply type “里香と地雷也” into the Amazon Japan search bar where you will no doubt be able to track down a copy!
Here is the original Japanese cover artwork: