Saturday, August 9, 2008

Flame of Recca

Title: Flame of Recca
Author: Nobuyuki Anzai

What it's about: Hanabishi Recca is a high school student who is obsessed with anything ninja-related. He has made a vow that he'll be the personal shinobi for anyone who bests him in a fight. Then he meets Sakoshita Yanagi, a girl who has the power to heal people with a touch, and he decides to be her personal ninja, referring to her as "hime", meaning "princess". They become friends and hang out with Recca's pals Fuuko and Domon, and all seems well, but Yanagi's powers come to the attention of those with evil hearts, and Recca and his friends have to fight to keep her safe, as well as to save the world.

What I thought: Here is a skilled author who knows how to use humor to make dramatic moments more heartfelt. Instead of breaking the built-up dramatic tension, small humorous occurrences are used in a way fitting to the characters to portray a more realistic situation. What does this mean? Very little cheesiness, which made me extremely happy. I was just waiting for a cringe-worthy moment of great cheesiness to occur, but none did. See, this series has good characters. The main band, with the exception of Yanagi, are all fighters, kids who even before they got their power-enhancing items were going around acting like ninja. Recca is a likable protagonist, very determined and a good fighter. Yanagi is mostly an innocuous li'l cutie, but lest you think she's just kind of boring and in the background, she gets some subtle moments of more mischievous characterization, such as getting jealous of other girls who like Recca and forcing Domon into helping her with her picture books. Fuuko is another matter altogether, a tomboyish girl who has a lot of depth to her. Domon also gets some good characterization; he's definitely not just a dumb brute. Also, I have to say that this is a pretty good manga since it manages to make a tournament arc not completely boring. Really, the entire story is just very good. The whole thing makes sense, and it builds up to an emotional and fulfilling ending.

Overall: This is really an amazing series, so anyone who likes adventure stories should check it out.

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