Manga Reviews

Sunday, March 19, 2006

History's Strongest Disciple: Kenichi

History's Strongest Disciple: Kenichi
Scanslated by Eternal Blue
IRC Channel: #eternal-blue @

Topic: Fighting, Comedy, Mild Ecchi

Shirahama Kenichi is an incredibly weak high school student, who aspires to become strong. He reads tons of "How to" manuals, and joins the Karate club but is mercilessly picked on by his sempai in the Karate club. One day, about a month into high school, he meets a new transfer student - Fuurinji Miu. She looks like a foolish ditzy girl but displays amazing combat prowess (she defeats multiple yakuza in the span of a few seconds.) Kenichi is amazed and begs her to teach him martial arts.

Happily, Miu agrees (because Kenichi is her first friend, everyone else has been scared off by her) and takes Kenichi to the dojo where she lives. There he meets five talented martial artists: Aphachai Hopachai (an expert in Muay Thai), Kensai Ma (an expert in Kung Fu), Shio Sakaki (a general all around martial artist), Akisame Koetsuji (a "fighting philosopher"), and Kosaka Shigure (an expert in weapons). Though Kenichi rapidly begins to have second thoughts, the experts all decide to take him under their wings. And thus begins Kenichi's hellish training, in 5 different schools of martial arts. Will Kenichi be able to survive the brutal training? Or will he wimp out and return to his weakling days?

The character art for this series is very good, with highly detailed faces and elaborate clothing. Amongst the five "sensei"s, there's a wide variety of art styles. The background art is very simplistic, often relying on action lines or single-shade backgrounds. The plot is very simplistic - Kenichi starts off weak and through the training of his various senseis learns to defend himself against an every increasing variety of opponents (who conveniently show up).

There are some mangas where the plot is meant to take a back seat to other features (such as art, or character development). Unfortunately, the character development in this series is also lacking. Despite the fact that Kenichi gets stronger, nothing about his attitude, outlook on life, etc. really changes. He's quite a bit like a doll, always going through the same motions without evolving. This manga has only had a couple volumes scanslated so there's still room for improvement but while this manga is entertaining in short bursts, there's nothing in there that leaves you thirsting for more.

Rating: 5.5/10.0


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