Fort of Apocalypse Volume 2 Review Discussion
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.
Chapters Synopsis (Heavy Spoilers Warning): Having successfully broken out of prison, the boys head back as all that they find outside is a ruined city teeming over with zombies and zero survivors. However, on their return, not only are they unwelcome but the newly self appointed leader of the juvenile delinquents declares that they will be thrown out for absconding during the time of crisis in the jail. Rather than being thrown out with no weapons or means of survival, the boys volunteer to prove that they are worth being kept alive by volunteering to forage out to a military base for arms and ammunition. And thus, they venture out sans car with the barest of weapons to face the worst of what remains of civilization as they know it and though they make it to their destination in one piece, what they find there may not let them leave with their lives.
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
If there’s one thing I can say after having read two volumes of this manga, it is that this series wants to go as over the top as possible with its depiction of zombies and the bad-assery of its protagonists. There’s literally a scene where they ride out on bikes into a hoard of zombies and one of them stands on the side car mowing down any oncoming zombie with a handheld chainsaw. So yeah, if you think that sounds awesome and you haven’t picked up this series yet, you should do it asap and I have the links to it at the bottom of this review.
Now having started with that, I would like to point out that it does feel a bit of an overkill at times for those who like some realism or more grounded stories but seeing as the premise of this story is teen-aged hooligans taking on a city of zombies, it’s clear early on that realism isn’t the priority here. Some readers might argue that the protagonists feel too overpowered and they seem to be defeating these zombies rather easily despite the manga’s numerous attempts to depict how vicious and deadly these zombies are. It is a valid complaint in my opinion so for those who want flawed leads who struggle to survive, there doesn’t seem to be much of one yet. No matter what situations the heroes find themselves in, they always manage to emerge victorious.
There are plenty of close calls that do get your pulse racing, such as the group encountering an unexplainable ‘creature’, being chased by an endless wave of zombies who can run at high speeds, having zombies literally rain down on them, the threat of being kicked out of the prison,etc. They manage to survive each situation with everyone intact but seeing as we are only in two volumes out of ten, you could excuse the lack of personal damage since it would be much too early for them to encounter a crippling loss.
The new human ‘villain’ that was the self appointed ruler and his lackeys inside the prison felt evil to the point of feeling generic. It isn’t an impossible scenario to have the prison now be in the hands of one of the many sadistic inmates but their delight at inflicting pain on our protagonists felt more like the author trying to shove it in our faces that these new characters were “eeeeeeevvvviiilllllll” and to push the point that our protagonists would have no option but to leave the ‘safety’ of the prison.
I was also initially irked by how Maeda seemed to take the loss of his family member rather calmly despite him caring so much about them that he managed to coerce his cellmates into breaking out of prison with him to go rescue them. He does have a breakdown in the second volume that’s clearly brought on by despair but he seems to snap out of it and recover from it in an instant. This pattern of momentarily flirting with emotions but always leaving it underdeveloped happens more than once in the volume so once again, for now, I have to reiterate that this series is mainly for readers who want to see bad asses being bad asses. There are definitely clear attempts to deal with the more emotional ramifications of a zombie apocalypse but the good news for those who dislike excessive sappiness in their stories is that there is no overdoing it in here.
The series does do action and combat pretty well, giving you rather iconic fight scenes and zombie encounters. It also flirts with mystery early on by introducing us to a creature that is unlike anything one might normally expect to see in a zombie apocalypse, adding to the suspense and tension of the situation. It also contains all different types of zombies, having our protagonists face off against tougher and tougher opponents so the excitement and adrenaline just keeps building.
We also got some intimate reveals about one of our protagonists in this volume, something I’m assuming we’ll get with the others as the volumes continue, in an attempt to help the readers connect and understand them better. For what it’s worth, while the revealed story may feel a little formulaic, it gets the job done and manages to make the ensuing ass-kicking feel more meaningful rather than just another zombie takedown scene.
I would still recommend this series to fans of zombie apocalypse stories as it is just so much fun with its numerous encounters and the absurdity of its combat scenarios. Though I was apprehensive of it being just another zombie story, it does have enough insanity in it to be worth the read. As a heads up, there’s plenty of colourful language and cussing if you hadn’t already noticed it in the embedded images, but it isn’t thrown around just for the sake of sounding tough and gritty. And considering the cliffhanger like ending reveal of the second volume, I can’t wait to start the next volume.