Aha! Here we have yet another manga which falls victim to my "choose a random manga or anime and review it" strategy! Congratulations!
Story: "Busou Renkin" (or however you want to spell it) is about a boy named Muto Kazuki. He is walking around one day (or whatever the hell he was doing) and is nearly killed by something. Well, actually, he IS killed, but a girl named Tsumura Tokiko gives him an artificial heart-thing and saves him. Kazuki is now able to fight, Shounen Jump style! (But that makes sense. T.T)
If you have never read a shounen manga in your life, this story may sound original. If you have... then all I'll say is that most Jump manga follow this strict, strict guideline.
Art: The quality certainly fluctuates. I could hardly believe this is the same mangaka who created "Rurouni Kenshin;" the art looks so different. Sometimes the art is so cool you want to leap ten feet into the air, and other times it's so disappointing you want to rip out your hair in frustration. As far as character designs go... odd. Tokiko looks cool, with her scar (Kenshin, anyone?) and short haircut. Kazuki's resemblance to Takashi from H.O.T.D is uncanny; they look EXACTLY the same. Papillon's flamboyant (and disturbingly tight-fitting) outfits may scare viewers. I practically choked when I first saw him.
Plus, even though this is Shounen Jump Advanced, they had to censor some scenes using pixels or speech bubbles. Which (kind of) brings me to my next point: the weaponry. Despite the stupid names, some weapons were pretty damn cool. Tokiko's Valkyrie Skirt was original and made her all the more badass. Kazuki's Sunlight Sword or whatever it was wasn't too unique, but I suppose he could have had a baseball bat (he's already too much like Takashi, thankyouverymuch). And so on.
Characters: Kazuki kind of bored me. Sure, he's nice and all, but way too generic. I mean, he likes his sister, which is in no way unique ("Bloody Monday," "Code Geass"). He wants to protect his friends ("Bleach," "Naruto"). He has a crush on his sidekick (Do I even need to name anything for this one?). Tokiko, on the other hand, spent a good chunk of time as my girl-crush. You know, if I ever switch up my claimed characters, Tokiko has a shot at being one of mine. She's badass, no-nonsense, not a tsundere, not a benchwarmer, and just awesome--exactly what I want in a manga character. And her catchphrase ("I'll splatter your guts!") could certainly have been worse. Unfortunately, the villains didn't fare so well. "Busou Renkin" has some of the worst villains of any manga out there--they are not intimidating, not tragic, not likable, not aggressive, and serve no effing purpose. I can't believe how much potential was lost because of them.
Overall: "Busou Renkin" is a prime example of wasted potential. It was never anything special, but could have been so, so much more. I dearly hope there are more Tokikos out there. She is the reason to read this manga; there is nothing else particularly good about it.
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