Thanks to his wildly successful series, Bleach, Tite Kubo is one of the most respected modern manga artists out there. But Kubo's work didn't always meet with such a high level of acclaim. Tite Kubo's Zombiepowder - his first series - was a commercial and critical failure that was canceled after only 27 chapters, barely giving the fledgling work a chance to take off.
Despite a reputation that ranges from poor to nonexistent, the series still deserves attention, if only for its ability to demonstrate Kubo's development as an artist. Depending on your personal tastes, you might even appreciate the series on its own merits. If you're wondering just what is Zombiepowder, anyway, now's the time to learn about Kubo's first foray into the world of manga!
It's Set In A Futuristic Version Of The Wild West
One of the cool things about Zombiepowder is that it has an unusual setting that doesn't often appear in anime or manga - the old west. But it's not a historically accurate depiction of America's frontier - rather, it simply takes inspiration from that setting to create something that suits the story. Modern and even futuristic technology makes an appearance, creating an environment similar to what can be found in Trigun or in the Kiryuu arc of Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds.
It Has An American Fan Base
While the series never took off in Japan, it did enjoy some success in the USA. This is likely because it was released in the USA in 2005, after Tite Kubo's more popular work, Bleach, has already been released. Despite its inability to stand on its own - especially as an incomplete story - Zombiepowder was still interesting to people who wanted to know about Kubo's evolution as an artist.
There's A Trio Of Protagonists
Because it was cancelled so early, Zombiepowder never got the chance to develop a full cast of characters the way that Bleach would later, but it did have a trio of protagonists who would presumably have carried the rest of the series.
These characters include Elwood Shepherd, Gamma Akutabi and C.T. Smith. Elwood is a 13-year-old pickpocket who is tagging along with Gamma and C.T. in the hopes of resurrecting his sister using zombie powder. Gamma is a former mercenary with a huge bounty on his head, who has started collecting zombie powder in order to achieve immortality. C.T. originally appears as an antagonist, but turns out to be one of Gamma's old allies. Little is known about him, but like Gamma, he possesses supernatural powers.
The Story Features A Hunt For Immortality
With an evocative name like Zombiepowder, questions naturally arise as to what, exactly, zombie powder is. Zombie powder is an incredible substance that can bestow immortality or even bring people back to life. Naturally, plenty of people are on the hunt for this substance. It can be found in Rings of the Dead, which gobble up the life force of anyone unfortunate enough to come in contact with them. When all twelve are brought together, zombie powder can be extracted - no easy task considering how dangerous the rings are.
The plot centers around the three protagonists' journey to collect the rings and gain access to zombie powder. Each character has their own motivations, though unfortunately, the series did not have time to fully develop them.