Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: CMX Manga/FLEX Comics
Author: Shoko Fukaki
Genre: Graphic Novel
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T+ (Teen Plus)
Release Date: Now Available
Every hero has is day.
Imagine you can jump higher than any known person, move as swiftly as a panther hunting its prey and possess the strength of two men. Now imagine you can do all of this but only one day each month and you get an idea of what it’s like being Jinnosuke Tajima who is yet to make sense of his great power and its secret in Volume 1 of The Battle of Genryu: Origin.
Volume 1 opens quite interestingly seeing as we find a boy standing in the middle of a dojo with his defeated opponents on the ground. What makes this such a disturbing picture, however, is the fact that the boy’s eyes are wide, savage-like an inhuman. It’s almost as if there was a feral beast standing before the man standing in the shadows. Within seconds, the boy is taken down by the man with a few martial arts blows and mutters something about having to seal away something within the boy.
Flash-forward six years later where a young High school student named Jinnosuke is up to his usual antics of climbing atop the ledge of the second story of the school and devouring the lunch of his good friend Choji who was once an gang member but now a big softy with an appetite for sweets and the odd habit of giving girls names to his boxed lunches. We also meet Jin’s two other friends, one of which is an attractive and bosomy girl named Fusano. Of his friends, it’s obviously clear that both Jin and Fusano share more than just an interest in martial arts but also each another.
After having had such a wonderful day leaping from the building of his school and showing off amazing acrobatics, the next day Jin is more of a klutz. He begins to wonder his incredible power only shows up once each month and so does Fusano who realizes that there is more to Jin than meets the eye. Then, one day, when the four head out to a local arcade, two men posing as police officers pull Jin aside and start beating the kid up. If it wasn’t for his friends, Jin would have really been hurt.
Somebody is targeting Jin, that much is clear to Jin’s lovely older sister named Toko. Then the person who is looking to test Jin shows up at the market and invites Toko to a professional mixed martial arts match. This man named Soichiro Kagome is a promising fighter who shows Toko that he is powerful enough to defeat a champion without even breaking a sweat. What he wants with Jin is yet to be revealed but somehow Soichiro knows the truth about Jin’s powers.
It doesn’t take Soichiro long to finally confront Jin and he does so by using Fusano as bait. After she is confronted by two punks late after school, Soichiro comes to her aid and keeps her there until Jin shows up thinking this man is hurting her. He goads Jin on until, suddenly, a change transforms Jin into a feral fighter who pushes his fighting abilities in an abnormal manner. Unfortunately for Jin, this awakened power just isn’t enough.
While the characters are actually promising, the story feels a lot like way too many other shonen titles we’ve read before many times before and yes there are clichés aplenty as well adding some light fan service for good measure. Unfortunately, the fighting scenes can be a bit on the confusing side as well. Hopefully, this is the type of series that starts off weakly and gets better with the next volume.
In the end, Volume 1 of The Battle of Genryu: Origin just doesn’t really take off or set up a story that will grab you by the throat and compel you to want more. That said, there’s just enough here for action manga fans to want to stick around to see if these nicely written characters make the story far more intriguing than this first volume.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Jinnosuke is the type of High school kid everyone likes despite the fact that he steals your lunch and, more importantly, he’s the type of guy that possesses an unbelievable power that is available only once a month. Unfortunately, because of an event in his past, a mysterious man with ties to his family is targeting Jin.
The art is actually really good in this series although if I had to complain about something it would be that the action scenes can get confusing at times. Other than that, the characters and backgrounds are wonderfully detailed.
While it’s far from a bad shonen manga title, the first volume of The Battle of Genryu simply doesn’t make a great first impression. This is too bad seeing as there are some promising characters and developments in the works but so far this kind of story has been told before but with far more excitement than what is found in this first volume. Hopefully, the series gets better in the next volume.