So, I won some manga from the 365 Days of Manga contest over at Suduvu.com so I thought I would actually review them for my blog. Word of warning, I asked from the strangest/weirdest stuff that Jason Thompson had so a lot of it is pretty "special". I received three volumes of Baron Gong Battle, and volumes of Central City, Orochi Blood, and Tokyo Zombie (which I already own, lols). If you post an image of yourself with the manga you can get five more. So here I am with the manga I won.
My first review is of the first three volumes of Baron Gong Battle. Now, I prefer to review series as a whole, but this is all I have so it will have to do. Thiss series has nine volumes total which it seems only the first six came out in English and it's been in limbo since 2005 or 2006. Though after after reading the first part I highly doubt that this title will take any interesting surprises to invalidate my review.
So, I am going to start with the art. The art is so offensive to the senses, that it would be the first thing anyone would notice about the title. Now I am pretty torn about the art so I need to talk about two different and distinct aspects of it, one the the drawing skill and two the character designs.
Ah, the character design... What a cluster fuck of terribleness. It's like Taguchi took everything in about terrible character design, and took it to heart as his style. I'm only going to talk the main character Baron Gong, otherwise this would never end.
It's like Taguchi thought "What could make this character as cool as possible? A scar! Well, if one is cool then five is totally bad ass. It would be even more cool if they were all on his face!"
The placements of the scars doesn't really make sense. They don't look like they were cause by fighting but placed on purpose. Which would mean that the Baron himself would have had to done it or at some point someone did it to him, either of those choices don't make any sense in the realm of the story. These scars are also never talked about either, they are just their for design effect. In this case the phrase less is more would have helped out a lot.
Then the hair, oh God the hair! Again this is an anime combo (to the max) of a whole bunch of things that might (keyword "might") be cool on their own and combining them into a travisty of a hairdo. Baron's hair looks like a cockroach who watched Dragon Ball Z hair and never left the 80's with a mullet. Taguchi, please pick just one! Don't combine them all into one über hairstyle! It's not cool, really! In the end every character ends up being so over the top on anime design tropes they just end up being really fucking ugly but not in some endearing way but grotesque way that leaves you with an uncomfortable feeling.
This causes another problem the background art with its hyper realism and the characters with outrageous anime character design cause a time distortion of reality giving readers cerebral hemorrhaging. Okay, maybe it won't cause your brain to bleed but it comes damn close to doing so. They just don't work together.
The story its self is a mess of the most exploitative exploitation film, and the most inexplicable, trope filled sci-fi story in existence. Our hero the Baron (Is he a Baron or is Baron his first name? ARGH! Brain hemorrhaging...) is after ancient monsters known as Neo Humes. Why are they called Neo Humes, you ask? The Baron came up with it himself, it is short for New Humans. (Yep, that's right...moving on now...) A female Neo Hume have been recently re-found and experimented on. Her children now want to take over they world as they need to eat regular old humans so they can sustain their molecular structure or some crap. They also can't have children they melt into piles of goop shortly after birth, but that doesn't stop the Neo Humes from trying really hard (and I mean really hard).
For the three volumes I read things pretty much goes on like that. A monster shows up, Baron kicks its ass in some over the top super macho way. I couldn't stop reading it though. I just had to see what was the next completely fucked up thing would happen next. Such as a chase scene that had Baron launch a Mini Copper into an elevator to make it to the top of a sky scraper. So as much as I hated a lot of what makes up this manga it's so weird and exploitative I really did enjoy it. I can't say most people would like it, but if you enjoy more of the insane exploitative manga titles like Wounded Man this is worth a look though.
Final Verdict: Brain Explosion