Crime drama, Political thriller
Sanctuary (Japanese: サンクチュアリ, Hepburn: Sankuchuari) is manga written by Sho Fumimura, and illustrated by Ryoichi Ikegami. It was serialized in Big Comic Superior from 1990 to 1995, then released into 12 volumes by Shogakukan. It was published as 46 comic books and collected as nine volumes in America by Viz Graphics from 1995 to 1997. Sanctuary was a bestseller in Japan, and inspired a live action film.
Sanctuary is a political thriller and crime story that featured two childhood friends, Akira Hojo and Chiaki Asami, who are ruthlessly struggling to set a new paradigm of living in Japan. However, the two friends took radically different paths (playing Rock Paper Scissors to decide who does what): Akira chose the dark path and joined a Yakuza gang, while Chiaki strived to become the youngest member of the Japanese Diet. Being survivors of the Cambodian killing fields, the two characters developed an unmatched aggression and survival instincts, helping them to achieve their common ultimate goal: making Japan their own sanctuary.
The story starts with Hojo as a minor mob boss and Asami as a political advisor. The plot first focuses on their rise to positions of greater power. Hojo's rise is decidedly quicker than Asami's, whose struggle to get to the top lasts the entire manga. Hojo is a Yakuza Don by book 2. The story then follows his attempts to gain control over the entire Yakuza while secretly paving the way for them to become a legitimate enterprise. Asami, meanwhile, must try to enter the Diet by forming his own party that represents the younger people of Japan. He is constantly opposed by the current Dietmen, who are aging politicians intent on holding onto power (often considered to be a thinly-veiled reference to the Liberal Democratic Party).
By the end of the series, both Hojo and Asami succeeded in their ambitions. Hojo successfully united all of the major Yakuzas under his banner to extend the longevity of Yakuza (through educational reform) while Asami successfully became the youngest nominated politician to become Prime Minister of Japan. At the end of their journey, they returned to where it all began, Cambodia. Unfortunately, Asami died due to illness.
Viz Media's English release was translated by cultural anthropologist Matt Thorn. It was nominated for the 1995 Harvey Award for Best American Edition of Foreign Material.
Sanctuary was adapted in both a one-shot anime OVA and live-action theatrical release. Both versions were released in North America by Viz Media, who also distributes the manga.
ReferencesSanctuary (manga) Wikipedia
Sanctuary (manga) IMDb Sanctuary (manga) themoviedb.org