Shanghai Youma Kikai - Reviews

Alt title: Demons of Shanghai

Shanghai Youma Kikai
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nathandouglasdavis's avatar
Apr 26, 2021

This is a comedy fighting manga with a very basic formula for each chapter: There's a brief introductory monster suppression, there are jokes about the failing nature of the Demon Taoist Corporation and the characters' poverty, Jack and Yan are sent out on a job, Jack mocks the police guy for being unable to handle the situation, Jack gives the supernatural entity at least one warning (but often multiple warnings) to go back to "that world," and finally there is an intense fight sequence that uses both strategy and super powers. And then of course the chapters all end with some sort of wrap-up. In the first chapter, they fight against a vampire. In the second--Guan, the god of business. And in the third--Sun Wo-Kong, the buddha of victorious battles. The synopsis suggests that Su-An plays the most central role in the story, but it's actually Jack that we primarily follow. This Jack is a Jack that you've likely heard of before. The art is very good, as one would expect from the artist of Fullmetal Alchemist.

The opening scene and the complaints about destroying property during the course of their jobs reminded me of Fairy Tail. Though that impression might also stem from the excitable comedic style. The humor is based on things failing, on ruining dramatic tension. And on overexpressiveness. As well as some jokes about coercion and some basic irony. It's honestly not all that funny though, try as it might. And the fact that besides the humor the only appeal of this manga is its aesthetically pleasing fight scenes, I can't help but find it very devoid of entertainment value. I mean, for some people, just having nice fights might be enough. But it's not like the fights are that nice. They're good, but not spectacular or anything. They're not on the level of propping up the entire manga (at least in my opinion). And maybe for some people, the jokes land a lot better. But for me, they just fell flat. So those two things combined together made it so the manga just fell flat for me.

1/10 story
9/10 art
2/10 characters
2/10 overall
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