A blind boy, Shinobu, lives a peaceful life with the support of his kind teacher and girlfriend, Mikoto, training daily to learn the ancient martial art of self-defense known as “Mibuchi Toshujutsu”. Until one day, when all is stolen from him by a strange visitor who appears at the dojo. This man, defeating both Shinobu and his teacher, steals away Mikoto with him. Three years pass— In order to take back his girlfriend, Shinobu climbs up from the depths of despair, and finds himself at a remote island prison where only the most abominable kind of criminals are housed. There begins a battle royal, a free-for-all fight to the death with the villainous men within!!
Source: MANGA Plus
This is so bad it goes around and becomes good. And I could end it here, but let's go a bit deeper. When I approached this manga I expected a deep, dark desperate story. But I found a swing between funny rage and sickly sweetness. Everything is just too intense and weird to take it seriously, I was literally unable to immerse myself in the story. I was laughing my ass off from start to finish and I don't think that was the purpose of the story. Sure, the intention of the author was good: the perseverance of love, the strenght of dreams, how love and dreams can be twisted, how the people we grow up with can make all the difference in what we become as a human. It's strong stuff, but the story doesn't deliver. I can't take seriously any character, and at every turn I already know things will go hylariously wrong or hylariously cliché good. I never felt sympathy or empathy to the main character and I was hoping they would all die horribly and tragically to give a sense to my time here. Some good stuff: 1 - The author planned an interesting symbology around blindness, or hints/foreshadowng, and surely put effort on everybody's backstory, other than the fighting scenes. The backstory of the protagonist is quite cute in some parts. 2 - "When faced with love, one's personal history and gender are nothing but hurdles to jump over. In the end, whether you find your partner attractive and are able to respect them, is all that matters." <-- this intelligent reminder of how a civilized species should act. All this manga is cliché and for my standard this quote is just basic human education, not a revelation, but someone still miss the basics, so this is a positive point to the story. To go deeper here, I think the sexuality of the antagonist is well done because it's not the reason he's a piece of crap (it's the basics for every gay antagonist, but a commonly missed one in my personal experience). But the positive ends here, because even this aspect meets the ceiling of the general shallowness of the story. I know this is a martial arts manga, but the story heavily leans on the power of "love", and half of the antagonist's backstory is all about his lost love. So I expected at least to care about this John from his past. I expected in vain.
I am a sucker for violent revenge stories and this manga hits all the right marks for me. I will admit that at times the story can seem pretty cliche. I do want to inclue a TW for sexual assault and rape. There is definitely a strong romance theme in the story and I would even go as far as saying it is the main plot point, as it is the MC's motivation for the events of the story. So if you don't like romance, I would not recommend this story. It's got a good villain that at first just seems cruel for the sake of being cruel, but later develops into a much deeper character with a backstory and clear motivation. He is an unhinged sociopath that has no remorse and will do anything to achieve his goal. The fight scenes are one of the best things about this manga, they are well choreographed and easy to follow. but then again, I would say that fight scenes make up at least 60% of the manga so... Another one of my favorite things is the charayers. The author does an amazing job of making characters that make you feel. Even the side characters have clear backstories that make you care about what happens to them, which is something that you don't see often enough. There is also a bit of comedy littered throughout the story. Some of the character's designs just make me laugh and it is a nice break from the story that can get very dark and depressing at times. I really like the art style too. The majority of the characters are expressive and have a unique design. The black and white colors also work really well with the story and its themes. Overall, I would definitely recommend this story to anyone who enjoys violent and dark revenge stories and doesn't mind a bit of romance.
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