Mangaka: Norihiro Yagi
Length: 84 Chapters compiled in 15 Volumes
Genre: Action, Comedy, Slice of Life
At the end of this dreamless, hopeless, inhospitable century,
There was a boy who possessed a serenly honest and simple heart.
But his outward appearance ...
From his tiny black irises ...
To his year-round ghost-pale skin and black marks under his eyes, which made him look like a patient in for heroin overdose ...
His eyebrows were nearly non-existant, and he had to use liberal application of hair gel to keep his vicious bed-head under control...
And so he looked like this
[I had another picture here, but I decided to remove it, as its a great picture that you should only see after reading the context.]Yes, as you can see, the picture is very scary.
That is the premise of this manga. The main character, Kitano Seiichiro, has the nicest heart that you could ever imagine. He always suspects the best in people, and doesn't know the meaning of evil. Because of this view of the world, he misunderstands everything - as do people about him.
Because of his demonic looks, people always assume that he is the devil, an evil in the mortal world. This causes alot of halarious misunderstandings, with people attacking him or running away to defeat/get away from the evil. Some people actually take this to extremes and think that he actually is the devil.
To explain [slight spoilers for the first chapter]
He joins his new school, Hekiku High. He's late in going to the principals office, as it is his first time in the city. Upon seeing him, the principal makes it his life goal to get the demon spawn expelled from his school. After going to class, everyone misunderstands what he says [which is along the lines of I'm a very nice guy], taking it as a sign of his utter strength that he can say something like that. After school, he goes to pick up trash around the school. He sees some litter behind an alleyway, and after picking up a tree trunk that had broken off [and therefor littering] goes to investigate it. In the alley there is the school guardian, Kuroda, whose taking a smoke with his friends [which is illegal in japan]. Upon seeing Seichiiro, they panic, then 'toughen up' for a fight, as they believe that he's there to obliterate them. Seichiiro looses his balance because he's carrying such a large log, and runs forwards and almost brains Kuroda. They surrender, and Seichiiro becomes the new guardian.
[End of slight spoilers]
That is just one small example that pales to the rest of the manga. Throughout it, he makes friends - some because of respect for the new guardian, some for realizing that he isn't such a bad guy afterall. People from the 'shadowy seven', an ultimate group of guidance counselors, try to 'take care' of him. He runs into romantic problems, as well as people from around the city thinking of him as a demon. Add into this an innate fighting sense, and the problems escalate even further.
Next, the artwork.
Alot of people might get turned off of it at first, because the first chapter's artwork isn't the best. That is for two reasons. One, the first chapter was intended as a one-shot, and quite a large amount of time passed between that and the second chapter. Second, in order to achieve the dramatic effects as noted above, the mangaka uses a minimalistic art style for this manga. He uses the bare minimal lines in order to make the drawings, and then really lays them on for more dramatic images, such as when focused on Seichiiro. [One of the highlights of the manga is whenever if focuses on his face like that, and he says something that a normal, peace loving person would. The way that you read it, [and the way that the people in the manga see it], because of the face, you imagine him saying it an 'evil' voice, which causes you to 'know' that he means the complete opposite. The great thing about it though, is that he DOESN'T mean the opposite, he truly means what he says.]
Sometimes, the artwork gives you shudders.
Another great part is how he uses contrast to achieve great effects.
Need I say more?
Cast of Characters [Its a brief summary without giving too much away]:
Kitano Seichiiro - The protagonist of the series. Has a face like the devil, but in reality is the kindest boy in the world. Has an innate fighting sense that furthers the 'he's the devil'! [Read the manga to see what I mean] Often 'Yells', in which he says something, but people can't understand it.
Koiso Ryoko - Heir to the Koiso Kobujutsu Dojo. She is the first one to realize who Seichiiro truly is, and a romance eventually develops.
Kuroda - The former guardian of the school, he's a real wuss. He constantly tries to beat Seichiiro for the affections of Ryoko.
Ikuno - Daughter of one of the shadowy seven, she becomes friends with Seichiiro. She has almost no feelings, and says everything in a very blunt way. She doesn't have much common sense or anything like it. Her body occasionally 'slips' up to help people in need, without her realizing it.
Takehisa - Seiichiro's first friend, he's a thug who was 'beaten' by Seichiiro. He fiercly protects Seiichiro, and is very loyal. Throughout the series, he eventually realizes that Seichiiro is a good person, but doesn't want to admit it.
Analysis: One of the best manga's I've read. The mangaka really uses the style of drawing to really bring out the events in the story, as well as create stunning effects that will leave you with chills down your back. The plot is good, and its funny. My only bug about it is that for about the first half of the manga, Kuroda is the one that causes most of the 'grief'. He's a real pain.
As the manga moves on, it deviates from short one-or-two shots and goes into arcs that can last a volume or more. There are great fighting scenes. A great part in the many stories are the fact that so much can escelate from a minor misunderstanding and such.
One thing that this manga teaches you is really, not to judge people based on appearances. Everyone assumes that Seichiiro is a really bad guy, and therefor take any action he does to the worst extreme, while if someone else did it, they would see it as a nice thing.
Another thing that it teaches you is how blatantly STUPID people are, by further expanding on the first point. People tend to over analyze everything based on what they see, when in fact the truth is nothing close to that. You'll see alot of it in the manga.
A great part in the manga is that you see it from both sides. While you laugh at what someone is doing, you shake you head at the stupidity of what someone else is doing. You know everything that is going on, therefor you see the stupidity of the other people.
So, as I've said many times in this review, this is a great manga. Its one of my personal favorites, and I hope that it becomes yours too.
Hopefully, my next post won't take so much time. Until then