It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot after getting back into manga. Its main character is incredibly strong and violent just like guts and Kenshiro. He’s in a different place in time meaning past or future, in this case, he’s in the slight future. He can just shrug off what would normally destroy someone and he’s got a softer side that is sometimes shown, oh yeah, and he’s also got 5 bullets lodged in his chest that he just leaves there to let you know how tough he is. So why isn’t Riki up there with these two juggernauts of violent anime and manga?
I think it comes down to timing and characters. Created by Masahiko Takajo in 1988, Riki-oh came out the year fist of the north star was ending and a year before berserk so he’s right in that sweet spot of one giant ending and one forming. In terms of setting the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic future in which prisons are privately owned and the rest of the world is destroyed by warfare so very fist of the north star. Riki is sent to a maximum-security prison after assaulting a yakuza who hurt a child he befriended and he is also on a quest to search for his younger brother. Since the first arc takes place with Riki in prison you have the warden and assistant warden as well as plenty of prisoners that he faces which is very entertaining. The movie ends after this arc but the manga goes through so many more stories and characters but the problem I think lies in some of the characters just not being very memorable. Most of them are only being remembered from the movie because of how over the top they were which is exactly how they act in the manga. Speaking of the movie it’s a good and fun adaptation while only changing a handful of things and with some of the effects looking laughable but only because of the time period when it came out and trying to be so accurate to such an over the top and gory manga.
In the end, I do think more people should at least check out this amazing series, I know I had some complaints but it may have only been a problem for me. Riki-oh definitely has an interesting story, if you want to check him or his movie out from the small bit I’ve told you then I highly recommend it. It’s not for everybody but if you like it and we can get a few more fans for it then that’ll make me all the happier!