Manga Village

Jin is a typical high school kid who lives with his chiropractor dad and homebody sister. But one day he discovers that he has abnormal martial arts powers (great fighting, leaping and running skills). Mysteriously, however, he only has these powers one day a month. Jin has a core group of friends: an attractive girl named Fusano (who likes Jin but would never admit it) who’s also good at martial arts; former bad boy Choji; and brainy computer nerd Tomonori. After school one day, Jin and his friends go to an arcade, where he is called outside by some tough guys posing as cops. It seems they were hired to test his abilities, but unfortunately he doesn’t have any of his special powers on this day, so they beat him up until his friends come to help him. Almost more mysterious than his occasional powers is the truth about the gang of bullies…who were hired by his estranged older brother.

Originally reviewed by Dan Polley
Battle of Genryu 1By Shoko Fukaki
Publisher: CMX
Genre: Action, Martial Arts, Adventure
Rating: Teen+
Price: $9.99

Jin and his female friend, Fusano, both have very good fighting skills. But Fusano is a much more adept student while Jin seems to glide by on his natural abilities.

And Jin engages in some tomfoolery that enrages his friends. But Fusano seems to feel that something is amiss. And as she continues to grapple with that feeling, she unearths more and more about what makes Jin tick.

As Jin and friends get into various encounters, Jin comes out of some of them worse for the wear, whereas other times, he seems to be invincible. It’s a frustrating scenario for his friends, but especially for Jin.

At home, Jin lives with his sister and father, and his sister exhibits a lot of bizarre behavior, such as smelling his laundry when Jin is out of sight. “I only wish things would stay as peaceful as this,” she thinks.

His sister gets a surprise visit, but she doesn’t seem to be receptive to the now stranger. But she takes his gift, a ticket to a martial arts fight, and she comes to watch the event. During the match, the stranger behaves oddly, and Jin’s sister turns cautious in her dealings with him.

Later, after Jin and Fusano have been training, Fusano decides to walk home. But she encounters some grief on the way there and Jin comes out to help her. Unfortunately for both of them, the commotion now centers around Jin and just what secrets he might hold.

The artwork in this is superb. The lines are crisp and clean and there is a surprising amount of detail in the facial constructions, providing a huge boost to the reality of the volume. And that artistic style especially goes hand-in-hand with the darker, more brooding scenes, giving them an intensity plot alone could not achieve.

The Battle of Genryu: Origin has a similar first-volume setup to a lot of manga, though, which does hinder it a bit. However, it’s still a fun and interesting take and should be read.

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