Fort of Apocalypse Volume 1 Review
Fort of Apocalypse:
Reviewed by: Linny
Synopsis: Yoshiaki Maeda finds himself sentenced to life imprisonment in the juvenile correctional facility, Shouran Institute, after being framed for murder. His desperate pleas of innocence are ignored and as he struggles with prison life, a zombie outbreak in the city reaches the insides of the prison and his situation goes from bad to worse than he could have ever imagined.
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Yep, this is another zombie story, there’s no point beating around the bush about it. It starts off rather generic, and even the setting of a zombie survival story in a prison has been done by many other stories in many other forms of media. We start with the news reporting what is clear indications of the start of a zombie outbreak that nobody seems to catch on to in the least bit. We then immediately jump to Shouran institute and see our innocent protagonist being berated by bitter and jaded adults who all believe him to be a ruthless killer lacking remorse, and hence deserving to end up in what is described as the correctional facility for the worst juvenile criminals.
We then meet his cellmates, three other guys with personalities wavering from sly to stoic, but all clearly showing signs of their hardened or criminal ways and past. They seem to accept him readily, and make it clear that they are not there to judge him, regardless of his innocence or guilt. The first chapter jumps between the prison and the city, showing Maeda struggling to accept his incarceration, and the spread of the zombie virus throughout the city, culminating with the zombie outbreak finally sneaking its way into the prison. It all comes off a little generic, with the prison displaying the kind of violence and characters that most of us have come to accept with an imprisoned teen aged cast. Even the zombie outbreak is another predictable romp so unless you really enjoy zombie stories, or are new to the whole prison and zombies combination, you might feel lethargic about continuing the story for fear that you are going to basically just be re-reading every zombie story ever.
Chapter two starts documenting the chaos that builds as a result of our main cast and their fellow prisoners realizing the s**tstorm they are now in, and their inept attempts to warn other inmates and authorities in the facility who are unaware of the situation, while trying to find safety themselves. Once again, Maeda’s cellmates prove to be ruthless and coldblooded as they never hesitate to shoot and kill as they deem necessary to escape being bitten, while Maeda continues to be a whimpering mess. While I found Maeda and his constant whining annoying, I will admit it feels like that would be a realistic response from a mild mannered school boy who suddenly finds himself not only wrongly imprisoned for life, but also then suddenly thrown into a violent battle for survival. For those who don’t care for realism, there is also some humour in the chapter, though most would label it unintentional comedy. It has some pretty hilarious dialogues such as a zombie grabbing a man’s face, ripping his jaw off and yelling lines like ‘they told me to get a grip.’ For some reason, that came off extremely hilarious to me even if it was not necessarily intended to be so. But may I present to you one of my favourite dialogue.
Chapter three continues the gore fest as our heroes struggle to maintain a safe zone with the zombies overflowing and managing to follow them no matter where they coop themselves up in. We are also shown the sight of the city in flames and chaos, making it clear that the zombie outbreak is truly beyond control by this point. There’s some bad-assery displayed by some of the characters as they dispose of zombies in unique ways to compensate for being weaponless. However, some of these methods feel rather questionable in their actual functionality and the art style at times makes it a little confusing as to what exactly is happening. They then somehow manage to not only escape the prison but also make it all the way to Maeda’s house to check on his family members. It is on this trip that they finally encounter something a little unique that may finally impress or atleast pique the curiosity of even the most jaded reader..if they managed to make it all the way here and we get to end the volume on a cliffhanger of sorts as we wonder just what it is that the boys have run into.
As a whole, Volume one of Fort of Apocalypse is sure to please those who like zombie stories solely for the gore and scenes of bad ass zombie disposal methods. However, if you crave originality, the volume does not offer much signs of it, not even in how its gore, save for its concluding panels which did personally engage me enough to want to keep on reading for the sake of answers. There’s dashes of unintentional humour here and there, and it’s clear that Maeda’s cellmates are going to prove to be a good match for the zombie apocalypse. Maeda himself seems to not be contributing much of anything as a protagonist for now, but one can excuse it as an attempt to accurately portray the terrified reaction of a mild mannered teenager to such a violent situation. The other thing I also really liked about the series, besides the mysterious Chapter 3 ending, was it’s stylistic usage of crows to portray the dismal and gory atmosphere, and a countdown of remaining survivors at the end of each chapter, which was not only informative, but added to the survival vibe of the story. If you’re still undecided, the good news is that its official publisher, Kodansha comics actually has the first chapter available to read for free on their site along with links to purchase the other digital volumes on several services. You can read it by clicking here.