Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Manga review: Battle Club

Last weekend I finished reading the first three volume of Battle Club, the new and on-going manga series by Yuji Shiozaki of Ikki Tousen (Battle Vixens) fame. The books are published in trade paperback style and is available from most good comic stores in London, as well as traditional stores like Borders, Foyles, Books etc. and Waterstones. Nothing much to add except that the scans are none-flipped/mirrored, meaning you read them from right to left.

There are plenty of fan service here, in the form of ecchi art. Even the author acknowledges them. It is harmless enough, although because the combat is now geared towards judo/wrestling (instead of traditional martial arts in Ikki Tousen), there are plenty more revealing upskirt/cameltoe shots than usual. Even the mangas are shrink wrap (Again, what is up with people? Violence are okay, but sights of nipples are not? Get a grip, we all have them!). It should be noted that Battle Club is not as violent as Ikki Tousen, and doesn't take itself seriously - at least not in the first three books. While graphic violence has gone down, the sights of nudity has increased. Fan service indeed Shiozaki-san.

The plot is far simpler than Ikki Tousen. In something not too dissimilar to Slam Dunk, the self-proclaimed protagonist of the book, lowerclassman Mokichi Saitou, decides that he needs to be the most feared man in his new school. Unfortunately for him, he also happens to be lame and was soon defeated and humiliated by a female member of a wrestling club. Determined to make a name of himself, he decides to join the female dominated club, and after a torturous entry test, he succeeded. Thus begins his adventure with the group of misfits that includes an old perverted codger and a sexy she-male.

The only problems I have with Battle Club is the excessive fan service (I don't mind them per se, but reading this on the Tube or bus is nigh impossible especially if you happened to be sitting beside a prude - plus you look like a perv in general) and the lack of character design variation. Hell, one of a new character introduced in book three even has an eye patch that mimics that of Ryomou Shimei of Ikkitousen. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate the characters as the books are published in grey scale. The only way to do so is by the uniforms they wear (even then it may be difficult especially during combat, as the female cast tends to loose 99% of their garments!) or the way their hair is tied.

Yuji Shiozaki is clearly well adept to drawing the female form, so do not be surprised by the plenty of panchira and nudity shots here. Male characters are mainly relegated as they hardly participate in battles. It is far too early to see whether Battle Club, among all the gratuitous fan service and comedy (there are cute references to other popular mangas such as Ranma 1/2 and Dragon Ball), will chart out a more serious plot like Ikkitousen did, or whether it would be like any other Shonen mangas out there where the lame protagonist eventually proves his worth and gets his girl (Slam Dunk, Love Hina etc.). But so far I have already found myself enjoying it far more than Shiozaki's previous work.

Also check out Air Gear - plenty of action but with minor bits of fan service.


Jobove - Reus said...
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Anonymous said...

This has everything otakus would want. Boobs, action, panty shots and fan service. But it does not reach the level of hentai! The story isn't Shakespherean (there is a manga adaptation of Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet if you prefer) but is still great.

Anonymous said...

I ant to download this. Do you have link?

Jon Choo said...

Go buy it, or read it at your local book store/library.

@homster, I disagree with Sonia Leong's artistic style, but that is just me.

Jon Choo said...

There will be Tokyopop mini-manga con at Foyles, Covent Garden today from 6.30pm. If attending bring camera for embarassing cosplay pictures.

Anonymous said...

fuck you what info asshole
leave the link for download
if likes me a buy if no pues no wey
no mames

Jon Choo said...

Why the hell should I scan and share with cheapskates like you?

Anonymous said...

cause man its the humanitarian thing to do for those of us without cash or a ride to buy the thing