Manga Reviews

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Great Sword of Wah

Great Sword of Wah
Scanslated by: Lost Heaven and s.ADTRW
IRC Channels: #lost-heaven @ and #adtrw @

Topic: Shounen, Fantasy, Swords, Comedy

Warning: Gore

Unknown to most Japanese, demons exist. These demons live festering within the hearts of people, feeding on their hate until they finally take control of their hosts. At the end of the Shogunate period, there was massive public unrest which led to chaos throughout Japan. At this point in time, demons arose and added even more fuel to the fire. To combat the plague, a group was created, the "Devine Sword Group." Only the most talented swordsmen were chosen and trained to wield powerful weapons, allowing them to eradicate demons.

It's currently present-day Tokyo, and the group continues to exist. It's current incarnation consists of three swordsmen, Kijimiya Kazuma (the leader), Saruwata Natsume, and Kamiue Momosaburou. They attend a national Kendo tournament with the intention of scouting Sekizawa Keiichi for their group. But he's defeated in the finals by Inuzaki Takamaru, an incredibly talented and brash 15 year-old who's goal is to become the greatest sword-master in Japan.

It soon becomes apparent that Sekizawa has long harbored jealousy towards Takamaru and this hatred had grown to the point where he had been taken over by a demon. After the tournament, Sekizawa attacks Takamaru with the intention of killing him, but the Devine Sword Group intervenes, helping Takamaru kill the demon. Recognizing their strength and desiring to defeat them, Takamaru decides to join the group (now that their original candidate is dead, the group has little choice). Can Takamaru's innate gifts help him survive in the dark world he's now entering?

The plot for Great Sword of Wah is highly predictable as it follows the general pattern for most combat manga (new student with incredible talents appears and suffers from the training but at times shows amazing bursts of power shocking everyone around him). The comedic situations are rather fluid but once again, they are predictable. The characters are also cookie-cutter (the serious leader, the flirt, and the super-skilled kid form the original three members of the group). Yet even though it fails to break new-ground on any front, this still makes for an entertaining read.

The character art is surprisingly varied. Each character (including the various demons) has many distinctive features which allow a reader to absolutely identify each character at a glance. The characters aren't very detailed but they are highly expressive, which is sufficient and fits well with the light-hearted nature of this manga. There's very little background art which forces the reader to always focus on the characters. Most of the time, that's fine because the characters are performing important actions but in each chapter, there are a few frames which seem generally pointless.

Overall, I enjoy reading this series given that it follows a proven formula. However, the fact that it doesn't even try to throw any curve-balls leaves something to be desired.

Rating: 6.5/10.0


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