Battle Club Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: N/A
  • ISBN: 1598161385
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Battle Club Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     March 07, 2006
Release Date: March 07, 2006


Battle Club Vol.#01
© TOKYOPOP


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Shiozaki Yuji
Translated by:Ryan Flake
Adapted by:

What They Say
The school of hard knocks has just received an extreme makeover! New kid Mokichi wanted nothing more than to become "Big Man on Campus"--and battle-babe Tamako is just the girl to show him how! When Mokichi arrives at his new school, he causes more than just a little ruckus. Not only does this battle-challenged boy get beaten, bloodied and bruised, he is humiliated before the entire school! What's a dude to do? Join the wrestling club!

The Review
Packaging:
Presented in TOKYOPOP's standard tall B6 (aka: digest size) GN, this series is in its original right-to-left format. The front cover features a modified version of the Shonen Gahosha version, with lead female Tamako testing out her strength suit on a exploding sheet background! The exploding cloth theme is everywhere (except on the original version). It is inside the covers in black. It is seen on the back cover, where Vice-captain of the Swan High Wrestling Club Higuchi works on her(/his???) weight training. The rest of the trim dress is designed like a bandage wrap complete with pin clips. Everything was quite appropriate for the contents.

TP did not have to do much with the logo since it was originally partially in English, but in a different font. This new logo conjures images of the logo for FIGHT CLUB and that kinda works for me.

Inside the printing is pretty good. The inks are strong and while there is some minimal moiré issues, overall this looks fine. I guess the main thing about the print is being able to see Shiozaki's subtle tone use in some of the more etchi scenes. As far as the rest of the manga goes, TP keeps the original headers and at the end of the GN, provide a message from Shiozaki and included a preview blurb for the next volume.

Artwork:
The art of Battle Club is hands down its strongest point. At times it really was pushing the level of etchi with tight fitting and its mammoth share of exploding t-shirts. Shiozaki comes from a doujinshi background where he often exhibits his love for bouncy bosoms long legs and tight buns. His characters have all that in this series (even his males!!!). This might throw off some readers, but as Shiozaki notes throughout the manga he originally created Battle Club as a golf manga and then he changed it to as fan service friendly a manga as possible (possibly without changing the cast). Therefore, practically all of his characters have the same basic features, as noted above, in his very anime friendly line work and action intense layout. Shiozaki uses strong line work to create a comical feel even in the most intense moments. And when he needs to add detail, he lays down more ink for depth and texture (very much in the vein of the Capcom designs he loves so much).

This title features the occasional frontal nudity scene (with areola), often accompanied by the prolonged but detailed action scene. The two actually tend to come in bunches in this action heavy manga. For the most part everything was solid; even the SD which is definitely Capcom inspired (big round heads with whatever detail going to the costumes).

Backgrounds were very good, and there as is also traditional to Shiozaki's work he does not let up for either his characters or the setting they are in. The layout had a good mix of active and passive panels with some interesting perspective being presented. This is done to maximize the action while keeping the comedy lively (and well timed).

Text/SFX:
The translation for this series was going to be something I would keep an eye on after my experience with Battle Vixens. While this manga has its moments with slang and colloquialisms, I can vouch that this is not a re-write type of adaptation. Most of what is written is done in good context, though this title is pretty unique because of the subject matter. It might take a bit getting used to. But pay attention to the dialogue between certain characters. Their looks are deceiving and at times; so is the dialogue used around them.

As per TOKYOPOP's policy the SFX in this series are not translated. As this is an action title, they will be missed in some of the more tense scenes. Outside of the SFX, the translation was fine, though there was at least one situation where the aside text was not translated (pg 118 last panel).

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When most people think about wrestling they might imagine WWE or pap-per-view matches from OsakaDome with Agile mask wearing latino high-flying grapplers. If not then you might think of oil or mud wrestling. Two women rolling around, grabbing each other in the heat of the moment. Sounds pretty exciting either way. Consequently these two, as well known establsished aspects of wrestling, tend to overshadow the fact that the sport is a long respected martial art form which displays strength, agility and a true essertion of one's will as competitors use their entire bodies as weapons. From acient Greece wrestling was considered an art form but now its popularity has diminished across the globe.

No one knows this more than Mokichi. Not much more than a runt, Mokichi has basically livedhis life running away. He has just transfered to a new school and is looking to finally not be at the bottom of the power pyramid. While his bat might hurt a few punks, if his swings land true, but against the warriors tend to avoid all these distractions. Karate, juudou and aikidou all sound like great ideas but he got to experience in first person the awasome power and total lack of respect that are asscociated with Greco-Roman wrestling. The throws, holds and weight distribution make other fighting styles look ineffecient and slow. That is what strength is about, and it does not look really hard to pick up either.

Well, maybe it is harder than he thought. While the moves might look simple; the training, especially with his seasoned sempai, make learning almost impossible. Rentarou, Takako, Higuchi and the rest make wrestling look overwhelmingly powerful and beautiful. The aggregated bloodloss when around the previously all-girls (??) wresling-club is off the charts, but that is relevant to how great this club is. They are capable of taking on all posers looking to claim Swan High as their own. Hopefully when Mokichi joins he will beable to live up to that standard. He better or else face the supple but very firm belly-to-back suplex of motivation!

Oh the pain! Thank you lord!

Comments
If there ever was a manga with yuri subcontext it had to be Battle Club. Actually, subcontext might not begin to describe what Shiozaki has done here for he seems to be re-inventing the idea in a twisted way.

If you don't know Shiozaki's work, he is the guy who worked on IkkiTousen (and the unlicensed Karen). Basically Shiozaki comes from a doujin background focusing on Capcom Street Fighter parodies. While has made some tame stuff (ie the baseball/fighter parody Karen for Shueisha), he has made his living making manga with etchi violence and all sorts of sexual context. The action is pretty detailed, the parody can be extremely deep and the exploding tops are very common. That is what drives all of his manga; even the tame ones. While the detail of the nudity varies and the level of violence depends on whether the story is a comedy title or action title, all those aspects are always presnt in his manga.

With Battle Club Shiozaki goes the comedy route but decides to have the humor revolve around the sex instead of the action. This is where the "sub"-context comes in. Most of the female characters are not what they seem .Sure they have bazooka-boobies and look good in string bikinis and from crotch-level angles, but they piss standing up! They might have perfectly packaged cameltoes, but they are also packing meat! These specific "girls" are even bustier than the "real" girls, sport blatantly male names (Rentarou and Ryoutarou) and even lust for women but are consistently treated as women by the greater student body.

Maybe Shiozaki is trying to make fun of the homo-eroticism that revolves around the grappling. He consistently draws his bustier characters practicing their bridges, the suplexes and bar locks while making sure that the cast is positioned in arrousing poses. The wrestling would not be anywhere near as intersting or funny with more males like Mokichi around, so the idea is definitely one that seems to work. But I really don't know if I should be laughing or suffering from blood loss! Maybe I should just laugh at the disjointed storyline (lack of continuity even in individual chapters) and just have a good time with the rest.

Either way, as long as you turn off the noggin, this is a pretty entertaining title. Yeah, there is no plot in sight. The fan service commentary might be a little strange, as well. However, this fills up a void for TP and does etchi much better than say Girls Bravo, while still providing nice action and slapstick comedy rounding out a fun mature title.

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