Zombie Powder

Genre: Action
Length: 4 Volumes
Allegiance: Shueisha Ltd.
Mangaka: Kubotite (Kubo Taito)
Vintage: 1999-2000
Intelligence Agency Report by: Djudge
There are stories that speak of a legendary substance that has the ability to wake the dead and grant immortality to the living. Treasure hunters from all walks of life all over the world have spent their whole existences searching for this “zombie powder” to no avail. One man currently on a quest to find the relic is Akutabi Gamma, an infamous criminal swordsman with a hefty price on his head. However during his journeys, Gamma runs into a young man whose own personal need for the mythical panacea changes the outlaw’s outlook on life.

Research Agent Report by: Djudge
Overall 6.25
(not an average)
After becoming infatuated with Kubotite’s current supernatural manga click, Bleach, I felt compelled to seek out other works by this extremely stylish mangaka. Zombie Powder is the result of those late night excursions and after reading through this short cult-hit title it’s safe to say that those nights weren’t completely all for naught. The manga wasn’t as refined as its present day cousin, but managed to hint at the qualities that would make Kubotite an even larger success later in life. 

Artwork in Zombie Powder stands as one of the mainstays in the entire manga, as characteristic of nearly all of Kubotite’s works. Right off the bat, one of the first things that should catch the reader’s eye is the visual design of the major characters. Gamma, in particular, was drawn with a unique style that, as obtuse as it was, worked oddly enough throughout the whole series. Other characters, such as Gamma’s aloof gunfighter partner-in-crime C.T. Smith, are drawn with a more conventional look yet maintain that very same quality that visually eccentric characters exude. However there are times when Kubotite and staff get a little carried away and design villains that are just plain ridiculous to look at (homicidal magician Balmunk anyone?). If it’s any consolation for action fans, the rough edges presented in the character design department can be overlooked by the inclusion of some fairly dynamic fight scenes that consistently manage to keep a good balance between intensity and duration. 

Alas, the storytelling department in Zombie Powder is what eventually brought down what could’ve been a very entertaining action title. To be more accurate, the cessation of the manga’s publication in Weekly Shonen Jump in 2000 after only twenty-seven installments is what killed this particular title. The manga left off at a critical point in the plot and left a bitter taste in the growing fanbase’s minds. This disappointment was compounded by the fact that readers wouldn’t be able to follow up on both the increasing emphasis on character development and the appearance of new cast members that had the potential to profoundly impact the storyline. Above all, the death of the manga at such an importune time affected the title’s overall quality and thus traps it in the lower tiers of action manga. 

Even though Bleach is a much better Kubotite manga than Zombie Powder, I highly suggest that you at least skim through this title if you’re a fan of the mangaka’s artwork and style. There are a few similarities to be seen between the characters of both titles and the level and quality of humor present in both are nearly on par with each other (though eventually Bleach beats out its predecessor). This is one manga that had the potential to escape perpetual existence on the shelves, yet suffered from some rather unfortunate circumstances in during its publication. If anything, this manga at the very least makes for one of the best time-killers I’ve ever come across.