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Sanctuary  
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Description
Two young men vow to transform the destiny of Japan, by any means. As children, they survived the horrors of the Cambodian killing fields together. Now, can they topple the leaders of both the Japanese Parliament and the yakuza crime syndicate?

Although cold and calculating when need be, Hojo and Asami exemplify the traits their colleagues lack: loyalty to friends, compassion for the downtrodden...and an irresistible way with women.

Deputy Police Chief Ishihara sets out to expose their ingenious machinations, but instead falls helplessly in love with Hojo...

Note:
While this was originally 12 volumes in Japanese, when translated into English by Viz it was printed three ways: first in comic book form (each issue had 2 chapters), second in a 5-part 14-vol compilation of the comic books, and finally in a 9 volume manga series. Because the translation is so early, the books were flipped to English left-to-right orientation.

The nine English volumes correspond to these compilation parts, floppy issues, and original chapters:

V1: Part 1, Issues 1-4, Chapters 01-12
V2: Part 1, Issues 5-9, Chapters 13-27
V3: Part 2, Issues 1-5, Chapters 01-13
V4: Part 2, Issues 5-9, Chapters 14-26
V5: Part 3, Issues 1-7, Chapters 01-13
V6: Part 3, Issues 7-8, Chapters 14-16; Part 4, Issues 1-5, Chapters 01-09
V7: Part 4, Issues 5-7, Chapters 10-14; Part 5, Issues 1-3, Chapters 01-05
V8: Part 5, Issues 3-8, Chapters 06-15
V9: Part 5, Issues 8-13, Chapters 16-22

Type
Manga

Related Series
N/A

Associated Names
Убежище
サンクチュアリ (史村翔)

Groups Scanlating

Latest Release(s)
v.14 by Manga Underground (2396d ago)
v.13 by Manga Underground (2417d ago)
v.12 by Manga Underground (2431d ago)
Search for all releases of this series

Status in Country of Origin
14 Volumes (Tankoubon - Complete)
12 Bunko Volumes

Completely Scanlated?
No

Anime Start/End Chapter
N/A

User Reviews
N/A

Forum

User Rating
Average: 8.7 / 10.0 (474 votes)
Bayesian Average: 8.58 / 10.0
10
 41% (195 votes)
9+
 22% (103 votes)
8+
 20% (93 votes)
7+
 8% (36 votes)
6+
 4% (21 votes)
5+
 2% (11 votes)
4+
 1% (3 votes)
3+
 1% (4 votes)
2+
 1% (3 votes)
1+
 1% (5 votes)

Last Updated
February 13th 2014, 7:44am PST


Genre

Categories

Category Recommendations

Recommendations

Author(s)

Artist(s)

Year
1990

Original Publisher

Serialized In (magazine)
Big Comic Superior (Shogakukan)

Licensed (in English)
Yes

English Publisher
Viz (9 Omnibuses - Complete)

Activity Stats (vs. other series)
Weekly Pos #836 increased(+24)
Monthly Pos #1149 increased(+79)
3 Month Pos #1344 decreased(-139)
6 Month Pos #1208 increased(+59)

List Stats
On 435 reading lists
On 814 wish lists
On 1043 completed lists
On 45 unfinished lists
On 227 custom lists

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User Comments [ Order by usefulness ]
 

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An art in its time   
Rating: 9.5 / 10.0
by ejusdemgeneris
February 18th, 2014, 1:42pm
Mind I tell the readers that this manga was serialized in 1990. Hence, the unusual western mob drama art and left-right reading orientation. Its artitst- Ryoichi Ikegama, was born around 1967 and started drawing at the age of 17. So, ranting on its crappy art is just telling Iron Maiden that they're not so heavy for metal.
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Excellent adult story   
Rating: N/A
by Uthred
July 3rd, 2013, 4:25pm
A very clever adult plot with a moving ending. The plotting was sublime and while everyone is free to like or dislike any media product anyone who found the plotting "confusing" simply wasnt paying attention. Similarly everyone is free to like or dislike the artstyle but complaing that "there are too many faces" is simply asinine.

A lot of seinen manga are adult only in terms of their sensationalist content (e.g. gore, sex, etc.) Sanctuary is a truly adult piece and while it seems a little condescending perhaps it is so perfectly targeted at its intended audience that it doesnt resonate well with those outside it. The comments on here would be infinitely more usefuel/readable if people simply had the courage to stand by their opinions over whether they like or dislike a particular manga rather than trying to couch their dislike behind ludicrous "criticisms". Is "too many faces" the "sharp knees" of manga criticism?
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You rarely see a manga with such different reviews - think about it   
Rating: 9.9 / 10.0
by SoaRin
October 10th, 2012, 6:07am
Personally, this is (well, almost) the kind of manga I've been always searching for. In other words, a manga with:

First and foremost: a good, interesting and clever plot. No pointless fighting or sappy romance but a balance between the two and some great political scheming. If you know another manga with a plot like this, please do inform me about it (well, I'm also expecting a lot from Cesare but it still has a way to go);

Second: as for me, the art was magnificient. So realistic and meticulous. Well, maybe not as good as Mephisto, and I missed more distinction between characters but oh well. And it was one of those extremely rare seinen mangas where the female body is drawn the right way. For that, boy am I thankful. And seriously, I think some people are just blind. They must be so annoyed by the actually proportional to the face eyes in this manga that they fail to see those complex and properly placed shadows and beautiful strokes. I wasn't able to find a single drawing mistake throughout the entire series - a rare sight in nowadays' manga.

Another thing: I really liked that the main characters were no supermen, had their (almost undistinguished, but still) flaws and not everything always went as they planned.What I appreciated even more was that the rivals weren't just rotten, evil idiots that had to be completely destroyed for the sake of humanity. What I didn't like though, was that throughout most of the series, Hojo mostly overshadowed Asami. Not good. They were suposed to be equal.

Finally: even the ending was kind of satisfying. There was no overwhelming victory, which I find stupid, or a Hamlet-like tragedy, which for me is unbearable. Just realistic - a consensus and a moderate victory. Perfect.

As for the portrayal of women in this manga: yes, I found that annoying. And thus I always imagined my own powerful female political figure. You can judge me for that but it helped me get through this issue. Of course, making the policewoman stand out more wouldn't have hurt at all, but what can we readers do?

All in all, I highly recommend to read this work and see for yourself. As for now, this is one of my favourite manga. But if I see something better, I'll change my rating accordingly.

... Last updated on October 10th, 2012, 7:36am
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good manga if...   
Rating: N/A
by andasideoffries
May 15th, 2012, 12:00am
Id say this is a very good manga- if you can appreciate oldshcool themes. like nail80 said-theres alot of patriotism going on. I personaly dont mind the machoism-more to the point, it was actualy refreshing to read a story that wasnt neutered so that it wouldnt offend people, or try to endear any current themes/politics (e.g peace and love, no nukes, whatever)

(though it does get tiresome-i personaly hate feminism/feminists but this manga just makes the woman, well...stupid. I'm not going to into it, because everyone else already did but...)

that being said- the final straw for me was when-they make America out as some evil monster (granted, many japanese mangas do this-still irritates me) and they take care of the problem by SPOILER sleeping with the American representative.
Wow! they're realy such manly manly japanese super heroes!

Bottom line: if you can stomach some of the more irksome aspects of the manga, then I would recommend reading it

... Last updated on May 15th, 2012, 12:05am
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Good, but still very flawed   
Rating: 7.5 / 10.0
by nail80
April 19th, 2012, 1:12am
Like the title says this is a very interesting piece but with plenty of flaws.
First of let me tell you about the art: simply hideous. That would be the way to describe the pages filled with faces. It's no lie, there are close ups in almost every single page, almost as if to fill spaces and to postpone the end of the manga. The old style drawings, reminding me of hardboiled series also do not look as good as they should be., the faces look weird and Asami's glasses top the charts in ridiculousness.
Then there's the matter of the sistematic abuse of women and how they are protrayed in the macho society in the manga. It just doesn't feel right, and most of all it serves no purpose because the story doesn't advance and it really does not develop any of the characters. The deputy chief is a prime example of this. She was simply there for fanservice, nothing more.
As for their grand design... it's also very flawed. I understand that nothing will ever be perfect, but they gamble so much, so so much, that it amazes me how they always get the upper hand. Their planning should have been better done. But hey, that won't affect the story that much.
This is a thriller, something rather rare in manga, so i enjoyed the story.
The intricate webs of conspiracy and connections are very interesting to see, and their ideas are fairly interesting. Asami and Hojo indeed move the plot and are amazing characters, some of the best i've seen, they are smart and cunning and rather complex.
The story is also good, but the plot starts wavering near the end. It's such a race that the story kinda loses track of itself. It begins to turn into quite a mess that somehow manages to clean itself up.
If you like politics and manga about the mob then this is for you. It's a very serious manga and one for mature readers, not because it's shocking but it takes a bit to understand.
Also it would be advisable to be a little tolerant towards the patriotic and nationalistic views displayed in the story and how the japanese duo seem to get the upper hand in several situations.
Again, this is a good piece, but one that could have been much better if it didn't have so many faces and much more plot.
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Very, very, annoying.   
Rating: N/A
by Ibleda
March 31st, 2012, 12:31am
ARGE! One thing I must mention first above everything else! This thing reads left to right for some damn stupid reason! Gotta say, annoyed the hell out of me.

Also, the art... I don't really like it. Although most the times I do like older drawing styles, but in this case, I don't. One chapter in and I realized, they can talk with their mouth closed and the seem to be able to jerk the edges of that tiny winy mouth up ridiculously high. Simply put, I don't feel like I'm reading a manga, much more like a mix between manga and those ancient chinese and japanese art which I have to admit I think is ugly. There's also some other parts that are simply too old styled and only look cheeky now... such as, the eyes = =;;
Another thing, the expressions look horrible to me. Doesn't come through. No emotion whatsoever. Well... maybe someone from the 40s or something might understand it? Certainly doesn't look like 90s art.

As for story, I gotta say, paired up with the reading direction and art, I didn't really get to enjoy it much other then thinking it as old and cheesy. *shrug* Might be good, might be bad, but the art was so bad it got me biased. Correction, modern bad, it's out of style, and I do believe even in the 90s if you compare this to other mangas around that time.
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My face when I saw Sanctuary was nothing but faces   
Rating: 6.0 / 10.0
by Fundefined
June 19th, 2010, 3:44am
Count the amount of panels in Sanctuary that are just reaction face images. It's at least a third of the entire series. 1/3 of the series is nothing but extraneous close ups of people's faces. My favorite is the face gazing to the heavens at inappropriate intervals even if they are facing each other. Naturally with a story and cast of such epic proportions, one expects some face recognition panels to remind the reader, but Sanctuary takes it to an absurd level where in every meeting there is recap face panel of every member there. No matter what type of action is happening, expect a face shot of every character there. Even worse is the double zoom face panel when the main characters speaks. Sometimes it gets more absurd when it turns into the triple zoom when they zoom into the eyes.

Oh yes, the eyes. The automatic test to see if this character will be significant to the plot and thus their coolness factor. Sanctuary's main fault is that it tells you the reputation of various characters and their notoriety and then proceed to never justify it. So and so boss/police/politician has such amazing wit and power yet they rarely put up a worthy challenge to the main character. Worse yet, is if they do actually put the dynamic duo on their heels, they withdraw because of the overwhelming presence of the their eyes. Their very gaze seems to stop every opponent and have them comment on the determination and fire they see within their eyes.

There is no denying that Sanctuary is chauvinistic. I would be fine with this, if only they didn't throw it in your face in every volume with the most useless character ever: Deputy Police Chief Ishihara. I imagined at worst the "tame the indepedent women" bit, and the "on opposite sides of the law but madly in love" act but her sheer uselessness was sickening. She did nothing. She is a Deputy Police Chief working on a huge mafia bust, yet all of the police action is done by her subordinate while she loiters around without doing anything related to being a police officer. She shows no sign of intelligence or hold any sort of job responsibility. Her entire existence is to fall in love with Hojo (in a unconvincing manner), and have him cocktease her until she gets relegated to occasion sex scene girl. Yet she consumed more panels than many other important characters and disrupts the flow the series when she periodically shows up to fawn over Hojo. Politics and Crime professions are male dominated but you don't need Ishihara, who seemed to be set up as a main character in the beginning, always reemerging to remind us about her meaningless existence and near ruining the series.

Of course the politics are simplified and the ideas presented are far-fetched but they make sense in context of the story. Early on it showed on trouble on the political side when most of Asami's actions were gimmicky speeches but it gets better as he moves up the political ladder. The crime side tends to be better though at times the yakuza barely offer resistance to Hojo and his fiery eyes.

The character designs and art are excellent and the art superb but the characters less so. Hojo is invincible making all of his crime buddies minus Tokai forgettable. Isaoka starts off as an unconvincing antagonist but becomes probable the best character and biggest threat. They all have their *@!$-yeah! moments to various effect.

Sanctuary is a good manga that has some big flaws in presentation and characters but the plot is unique and ambitious, making it a must read. The art alone necessitates manga fans drool over it, even if it's just more zoomed in faces.

... Last updated on July 1st, 2010, 1:15am
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great stuff   
Rating: 7.9 / 10.0
by coa88
February 21st, 2010, 4:20pm
This manga sure is good, but as any other it has it's good and bad sides. I have to say that the story was absolutely phenomenally conceived. The whole thing about changing the country with the sole will of those with the dream is great. What I didn't like is some things that damages realism of this manga. For example, when something happens in some other gang or political party everyone finds about it almost immediately. Looks like they all have some serious leaks. Also all newspapers and media have no problem wilth labeling someone a criminal even though that person isn't convicted as such. That just doesn't go in life.

The end was little surprising cause it wasn't so straight forward as the rest of the manga. And what to say about art. At first it will look as bloody amazing, but as you read on it feels less and less so. It starts to get repetitive, and the thing I personally didn't like was recycling of the images, as in using the same image again usually just little zoomed or shifted.

Despite everything I wrote before I still consider this manga a worthy read. While it certainly isn't the greatest manga of all times it's still ranks high in top half and you could only lose if you miss it.

... Last updated on February 25th, 2010, 3:04am
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One of the best   
Rating: 9.8 / 10.0
by CuthienSilmeriel
December 30th, 2009, 6:51pm
Without a doubt this is one of the best manga I've ever had the pleasure to read. This gripped me instantly and I found myself so engrossed I was foregoing sleep in order to read the next chapter.

Plot - 10/10
The plot was definitely intricate and that is what makes it so damn good. Not a light read by any means but what I love about this story was the way all the characters wove together whilst forging their own paths. Unfortunately the last chapter felt fairly rushed which, while still moving, did detract somewhat from the climax most of the manga had built up to. The plot, however, was excellent but a little overly dramatic towards the end to the point where it was slightly unrealistic at times. The cut-throat ambitions present in both the yakuza and politics made you wonder which path was light and which was dark, especially considering the deep long-running tie between top-level politicians and yakuza dons. The amibitions, whilst idealistic, really struck a chord and got me thinking about my own country what I was doing to get my own voice heard in English parliment. In this sense the plot definitely makes you think as well as being entertaining to read.

Art 10/10
The art was phenomenal. Enough said.

Characters 9.5/10
The characters were extremely well developed on the most part. My favourite trait is the fact everything each individual character does is in keeping with their nature. There is development without changing personality. Even supporting characters get a good look in and you can understand why each character acts the way they do. Most of the characters are well developed so you see the viewpoints of the enemy as well as Hojo and Asami. My only complaint is the lack of a role women play. Other than the american Bisset and maybe Yuki there were no strong female characters. The one female to get any real coverage was fairly weak-willed, doing little but stand around and worry about Hojo. Thankfully this degrading view of women is easily ignored in the presence of the other characters.

Overall 10/10
This was well worth the read despite it's faults and I recommend it to anyone.

... Last updated on December 30th, 2009, 7:12pm
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Deserves a 10+   
Rating: 10.0 / 10.0
by markdarkangel
March 4th, 2009, 12:29pm
For the record, i have to say that this is one of the best mangas i ever read, period!! How this manga portrayed the characters and the story in such a way is genuis and deserves 10+(if the rating scale went over ten).

I highly recommend you stop reading the comments and go read it ^.^

... Last updated on March 22nd, 2009, 5:28pm
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