THE EMPTY EMPIRE (Kara no Teikoku, “The Empty Empire”) (????) • Naoe Kita • CMX (2006-2008) • Hakusensha (Hana to Yume, 1994-1997) • 7 volumes • Shôjo Sci-Fi Fantasy • 13+ (mild language, violence, brief mild sexual situations)
In the 26th century, the death of the Emperor Idea–a handsome young ruler/messiah with psychic powers and the kind of fictional-character charisma where we aren’t really given any concrete examples of why people like him–has thrown earth into chaos. Rose, a clone of the emperor, ends up in the gutter with amnesia, where he meets mad scientist Eiri and whip-wielding tough girl Ririka. Soon, another clone of Idea is making a play for power, and various bishonen men want to kill Rose, bask in his presence or groom him for the throne…but Rose, a sensitive young street punk, isn’t sure about how he feels about ruling the world. Loosely drawn and meandering, with lots of introspective moments, The Empty Empire is comparable to other shojo fantasy/sci-fi manga such as Dragon Knights, Vampire Game and The Demon Ororon (with which it shares a fascination with alternative families built around a charismatic hero). The central plot is engaging, but some of the subplots feel very random (the treasure hunt, the quest for the emerald dragon, etc.) and the minimalist, stylized early ’90s artwork often makes it difficult to tell what’s going on at first glance.
Today’s winner is Courteney H. of Florida! Congratulations, Courteney! And continuing our Studs Terkel-esque investigation of manga readers across America, we have another picture, this time of Justin!
Congratulations, Justin! Thank you for baring yourself before the world of science fiction and manga fans! You won’t regret it!