When was the last time you picked up a manga, read even just a few pages, and looked up with wide-eyed surprise at a brilliantly executed premise? In the case of No/Name, it’s likely no sooner than this weekend, as Rafal Jaki, the creator of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners teamed up with Machine Gamu for a a dystopian thriller manga with a sinister take on superhumans. The best part about this new manga? You can read it for free right now.
No/Name is an Unabashed, Intense Dark Mystery Where Your Name is Your Power
My favorite thing about a lot of Western comic book writing is the deep dive into the meaning behind different characters’ powers and how they use them. No/Name is a beautiful infusion of Western worldbuilding and mythology along with the vibrant style of manga. The fact that it takes place in Northern Europe is an interesting choice, but when the central gimmick comes into play, it helps clear up some confusion.
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People’s names are tied directly to special powers. As a result, naming your own child is often not a possibility, creating quite the dystopia. Instead, this decision is often in the hands of the Nordic Name Bureau, which you’ll soon see is led by some incredibly twisted, corrupt individuals. But when a case of a runaway mother and her child is concerned, these ugly truths threaten to expose themselves. Tricky subjects like abortion are tackled head-on when faced with the prospect of your child being given monstrous potential at birth. No/Name is an unabashed, intense, dark mystery where your name is your power.
From Rafal Jaki, Nobody Should Be Surprised by the Quality of This Manga
Without spoiling too much of the first chapter, things get compelling within less than 1/5 of the way through. You’re introduced to several characters, along with the Scandinavian origins behind those names, and you wonder just how literally those manifest into powers.
When they encounter Vivica who transforms into a literal fortress, you realize it can be humorous but also badass. When you see a character with a more abstract name implying they’re a commander, and the horrendous possibilities of somebody whose powers would thus control people’s actions, you see what’s at stake. Finally, when you see a character whose name is Kara, you learn the ferocious potential of somebody with powers based on being “wild, stormy.”
From Rafal Jaki, creator of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, nobody should be surprised by the quality of this manga. I was instantly enamored with this first chapter in similar ways to Lemire’s Animal Man or Haro Aso’s Zom 100. The characters feel alive and undeniably human, and make an excellent impression on the readers. We will surely keep you posted on updates for this series, so stay tuned for more chapters of No/Name courtesy of Manga Plus Creators!
- This article was updated on September 10th, 2023