Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Battle of Genryu: Origin, vol. 1

By Shoko Fukaki
Published in the US by CMX Manga

Slugline: A plot an uncertain as its fight scenes are smooth

Jin is a high school student that also practices martial arts and while he is good at it he is not exceptional. Except for about one day a month when everything seems to go his way and he can pull off near superhuman feats of agility and strength. Jin chalks off those days as his lucky days but his family knows it is just a sign of his growing power. Unknown to Jin, he has deeply hidden abilities that have secreted away so that he doesn't lose control and kill people. But Jin days of hiding are over because his missing brother Soichiro has found him while also using his own marital art abilities to rule the fight circuit. At first Soichiro has Jin beaten by ordinary thugs during one of his weak days but quickly escalates to challenging Jin himself while trying to convince their sister that he has their best interests at heart.

This is another example of how the story doesn't seem to know where it wants to go. At first it seems that Soichiro is going to be a mysterious mastermind but when he is more fully introduced he starts to look like one of the misunderstood characters who can be redeemed once their own errors are proven to them, usually by beating that into them during a battle royale . But the the uncertain, almost stuttering plot refuses to settle down to a consistent direction or tone. Martial arts manga are not required to have much of a plot but what little they have should flow as smoothly as its fight scenes. Unusually, the fan service wasn't too annoying, verging on the reasonable rather ridiculous while the art in the few fight scenes being especially well done.

The Battle of Genryu: Origin, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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