Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Confuse-o-Vision Week, #3: Black God, Vol. 15

This week's bizarre attempt to bump up posting frequency sees me reading later volumes -- much later, in this particular case -- of series that I read the beginning of, but then missed for a while. I doesn't make much sense, but I explained my rationale in the first post of the series on Monday.

Today's volume is the fifteenth of Black God, a very shonen series (full of demon-fighting and loud professions of eternal friendship, plus gigantic conspiracies and their coincident interlocking secret plots) by the Korean team of Dall-Young Lim and Sung-Woo Park, done originally for the Japanese market. I read three early volumes back in 2008, but missed the ten volumes in between. 

Series hero Keita started off as both a manga creator and a complete jerk, but this book is so totally focused on action and the machinations of its battling-superhuman-factions plot that he has no time to be either of these things this time out. (He may have stopped being either or both of those, but I can't tell.) He's still eternally bound to mototsumitama Kuro, the girl on the cover -- OK, she's not a "girl," but a member of a nonhuman race with vast supernatural powers that get even greater powers when they bond with a human contractee and "synchro"together. (It's still just the supernatural half of the duo that does the fighting, as far as I can tell, but I bet the humans will mix it up before the series is over.)

As usual with a series about people fighting in complicated ways, the cast has proliferated, through what seem to have been either chance encounters or battles, and this volume begins in the middle of a standoff, as half-mototsumitama Mana (another cute girl, blonde this time -- seasoned manga fans are nodding their heads in recognition of a standard trope) battles Kaien, who is tall, adult, male, and arrogant, which all mark him as a very nasty villain. (There's room to write at least one Ph.D. thesis on shortness as a marker for righteousness in manga.)

Once that battle is settled, we dive into the next story (which doesn't end in this volume, either; it's like manga-makers do this deliberately to keep their audiences buying more!), where the smaller, weaker "family" that our heroes belong to try to set up a trap for the head of a larger, nastier family and kill him. It looks like the big problem will be that said nasty is Kuro's brother Reishin, but, of course, there's plenty of other problems before that, and lots of fighting at high speed with extreme blur lines and cool pictographs (because you have to yell out the name of the fighting technique you're using for it to be effective, silly!) superimposed on them.

The art is still top-rank, state-of-the-art shonen-style; if you like fighting manga at all, Black God looks amazing. The story is good -- equally right down the center of its genre, without anything to surprise or disappoint -- so this is a great discovery for fans of this kind of story. (Though there is a very fan-servicey side story at the end -- in which the group goes to a public bath, which every manga cast has to do every twelve volumes or so -- which not only has a lot of carefully-drawn upper female anatomy, but centers on the girls' competition over the comeliness of their "boobies," until they burst on on Keita and insist that he judge among them. Let it not be said that Black God doesn't earn it's OT rating.)

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