We’re treated with an epic final battle of Dragon Ball Z proportions, but these Koushi-obsessed fighters are starting to grind on my nerves.
Writer/Artist: Shinobu Ohtaka
What They Say
With three of the four antidote compounds in hand, Momoko and Koushi move on to face their most fearsome opponent yet: Tenga Koganei! As the poison creeps ever closer to her heart, Momoko falls to the fierce leader of the Tiger Clan. Recognizing that there is little glory in defeating a weakened warrior, Tenga willingly hands over the final ingredient of the concoction that will save Koushi and Momoko. But there’s a catch: there is only enough antidote to save one of them!
This volume gets off to an unfortunate start as the girls take a pause from the battle at hand to have their own good-natured fight – over who loves Koushi more. It’s great that Ohtaka has given readers female characters in a shonen manga that are so physically tough, even more so than most of the male cast. But the constant reminder that the major focus of these hard-hitting gals is the boy they love is persistently frustrating.
Thankfully that silliness is soon over with, and Koushi and Momoko move on to their fight with Tenga. But with Tenga’s insane martial arts abilities, and the poison weakening Momoko, it’s a definite one-sided battle. Even the arrival of the antidote might solve nothing, with only one dose for the two of them.
In a moment of bravery (and self-degradation) Koushi gives the antidote to Momoko, believing that she deserves to survive more than he does. This brings on an epic fight between her and Tenga, with crazy moves and superpowers that reminds you of an episode of Dragon Ball Z. And when the fight ends, Momoko still has cause to celebrate, as Koushi predictably survives, due to a charm placed by his mother years ago.
After the stress of the first part of the volume, the last three chapters take on a more easy-going tone, more akin to a romantic comedy than a martial-arts manga. This is a welcome reprieve, as the girls’ fawning over Koushi feels more natural, and funny, in this kind of setting.
Sumomomo Momomo takes on a chauvinistic tone, not just with the girls flailing and fighting over their beloved Koushi, but also in the way Ohtaka has them speak, such as when Momoko references her “feminine frailty”. I love seeing Momoko power up and beat someone down, but this aspect makes me gnash my teeth and takes away a lot of that joy. That being said, the fight with Tenga is truly awesome, but even though he’s been beaten Ohtaka makes it immediately apparent that there’s more trouble to come, with two new fighters setting their eyes on Koushi. Koushi declares he’ll “take this martial arts stuff seriously” now, but only the next volume will prove whether he’ll be able to get ready in time. But even if Koushi continues to be weak, I’ll be happy as long as Momoko continues to be the toughest one around.
Content Grade: B- Art Grade: B- Packaging Grade: B Text/Translation Grade: B
Age Rating: 16+ Released By: Yen Press Release Date: November 30th, 2010 MSRP: $10.99
Angela has been writing about anime, manga and comics for the past few years, and her work can also be found on Manga Bookshelf and Creative Screenwriting. She recently received her MFA in Creative Writing for Young People from Lesley University.