Saturday, December 31, 2022

REVIEW: The Geek Ex-Hitman (manga, vol. 1) by Ko-dai, translated by Giuseppe di Martino

The Geek Ex-Hitman is a comedy series. I bought my copy of this volume brand new.


Marco was once known as "The Oracle of Florence," or "T.O." He was a hitman for the mafia who suddenly disappeared for no apparent reason. What really happened: one of his targets had a Hades Girl Eurydice anime figure that snagged his attention. He canceled all his jobs, went to Japan, and became an otaku.

The mafia didn't take well to this, but they also didn't know his true motives. They figured he was planning on turning on them at some point, so they sent Viviana to take him out. However, Viviana happens to be a secret fujoshi. When Viviana is perceived as dragging her feet over completing her mission to kill Marco, another hitman named Andre is sent. He, too, is sucked into the otaku vortex in his own way.

Despite the fact that I know actual gangsters/mafia/etc. are dangerous people, I seem to be drawn to titles that make them cute, cuddly, and/or funny. Between this, The Way of the Househusband, The Yakuza's Guide to Babysitting, and other works, I'm not lacking for things to read. I bought the first couple volumes of this series because of that aspect, and because I liked the cover art.

It's ironic that the artwork turns out to be one of the things I dislike most about this series. It works well enough at conveying a sense of movement, so the action scenes are decent, but people's faces have a tendency to look really odd - eyes, chins, and mouths all out of whack. On the plus side, based on a quick flip-through of volume 2, it seems like Ko-dai improves a bit.

In terms of jokes, so far the series doesn't add anything new. All of Marco's intensity and toughness is now turned towards living his best otaku life rather than killing people, so on the one hand there's the otaku who naively see him as entirely one of them ("T.O." means "Top Otaku," dontcha know?) and on the other there are people who take one look at him and think he's seconds away from killing them. Viviana is a typical fujoshi, right down to the part where she mentally pairs Marco off with any guy he's even a little friendly towards - could we have a fujoshi character who just ships fictional characters, please? And then there's Andre. I can't reveal what manga his part reminds me of without spoiling things, but I wouldn't say the jokes involving him were all that fresh or unusual either.

I wonder, is this series ever going to get into the fact that none of the characters really have jobs right now (I realize Viviana and Andre's statuses are debatable, but still), and they're all involved in hobbies that require money? I'm probably thinking too much, but I can't help it.

I'll see how well volume 2 works out, but this doesn't seem like a series I'll be keeping up with for long.


One full-color illustration, the cover illustration sketch, a few four-panel comics, and 6 pages of translator's notes.

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