Coming to do this review after just having finished binge reading the manga, I am not sure if I will be able to put my feelings into words but I will try. Warning Spoilers incoming.
This is definitely one of the best fighting manga I have come across, and I would say this is one the best manga I have read period. In terms of fighting manga, I would have to rank this amongst greats such as Hajime No Ippo and Ashita No Joe. The author Kouji Mori does a great job showcasing and explaining different martial arts with his great cast of characters, and he also does a great job of explaining how each martial art can be used in a street fight.
The story follows Kamishiro Yuu, a Highschool student who has been severely bullied his whole life. The first chapter picks up with Yuu getting involved in a fight and miraculously winning by landing his devastating 1-2 combo. This is the start of his long and violent journey of self-discovery. Yuu grows as a character through street fights, getting involved with various thug groups, and earning himself the moniker "Thug Hunter." Yuu is an interesting character because he is very averse to violence, having experienced alot of trauma from being bullied throughout his early childhood. However even though he is so against violence something compells him to search for it. At first he is afraid of fights but he invites them and pushes himself to actively fight. Through these fights he begins to grow as a character, helped by his friends he meets along the way, mainly his rival Masaki Iwaza, his best friends Shogou and Shin, and his love interest Mai Iwaza. The story follows Yuu as he transitions from a wimp to a certified badass as he slowly gains respects the respect of the streets and in doing so creates a place for him to belong in this world. The streets are his holyland. Favorite moments that stood out to me were the arcs when shin was attacked and Masaki eventually had to finish off an out of control and enraged Yuu, and the moment when Shogou shows Yuu the darkside of karate.
Yuu is the main protagonist and all he wants to do is find his place in the world. Somewhere in the midst of all the bullying he faced he completely shut himself off and now he thinks that through all the street fights eventually he might be able to finally love himself. I myself related very heavily to Yuu's issues with self-love and reading his journey hit me hard. Another aspect of Yuu's character that I really loved was his constant internal struggle he faced with coming to terms with his violence. Yuu was a kind person at heart but after facing constant bullying he built up a lot of anger, much of it aimed at himself but also at society for not giving him a place to exist. He decides to fight in the street to carve out a place for himself and through his fights he gains many friends and a place to call home. But he also becomes well acquainted with the violence inside him and has to come to terms with the fact that in order to remain with the people he loves, he can never break free from the cycle of violence. This internal conflict is fueled heavily by the actions he takes when his best friend Shin is injured, when he accidently KO's the boxing club representative with a headkick and finally when he KO's his best friend Shogou. The internal conflict reaches a climax when his girlfriend Mai Iwaza is kidnapped and he fully loses himself to the violence. After Mai's kidnapping he fully embraces his violent side. He is however saved by losing his mind completey by his friend Shin and his Rival Masaki Iwaza.