Hikkatsu! Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Go! Comi
  • MSRP: 10.99
  • Pages: 200
  • ISBN: 978-1-933617-57-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Hikkatsu!

Hikkatsu! Vol. #01

By Sakura Eries     November 13, 2007
Release Date: September 30, 2007


Hikkatsu! Vol.#01
© Go! Comi


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yu Yagami
Translated by:Christine Schilling
Adapted by:

What They Say
In Earth's distant future, geomagnetic abnormalities take mankind's struggle for survival to a whole new level! Ordinary everyday appliances are going haywire, and the fate of life on Earth depends on one man: the karate student Shota, who can fix the malfunctioning machines with his "recovery strike" technique!

The Review
Packaging:
The front cover features Shota with his right fist upraised in a karate stance. He looks deep in concentration, ready to deal a Repair Blow. Shota wears his signature outfit: baggy khaki pants, karate black belt tied around his waist, red short-sleeved mock turtleneck, and fingerless black gloves. His right fist seems to glow, and there is a red and yellow sunburst pattern behind Shota as if to accentuate the power of his Repair Blow. The mangaka's name and the black-and-white title logo with the subheader "Strike a Blow to Vivify" are arranged across the center of the front cover.

The backdrop for the back cover of this shonen title is red and, interestingly enough, pink. The title logo is placed at the top, followed by an illustration of Momoko banging on a malfunctioning vending machine which has stolen her money. The illustration looks like a black-and-white manga panel that was colored for the purposes of this cover. Below the illustration is the story summary in white font, and at the very bottom are the Go! Comi logo and rating icon.

Materials are satisfactory. The alignment is noticeably slanted on a few pages, but the print job is otherwise satisfactory. Extras include table of contents; an explanation of honorifics; a page of translation notes; a five-page bonus manga about the development of Hikkatsu; and ads for other Go! Comi releases.

Artwork:
Functionally, Yagami's artwork does the job. Character designs are distinct and easily distinguishable. Panel spacing and allocation are pretty good. The flow of illustrations for Shota's and Momoko's action-packed "make up" chat at the end of Chapter 3 was particularly good. In terms of action scenes, Yagami favors showing multiple stages of a moving character's progression in a single panel, which can get a little busy at times.

Stylistically however, the artwork leaves much to be desired. The prettiness of Yagami's illustrations is definitely not the selling point of this manga. There is an unevenness and sloppiness to his lines, and he's skimpy on backgrounds. His character designs are average shonen work, but they tend to disintegrate into caricatures of themselves. It feels a bit like looking at a rough draft as opposed to a final copy. Except for Chapter 4, which has a nighttime setting, tones are used sparingly, mainly just to color the main characters' clothes and hair and a couple of special effects.

Text/Translation:
Go! Comi keeps some of the original Japanese sound effects with translations placed beside them, and in other places, the Japanese is replaced with English overlays. They've done a thorough job translating the sound effects; the lettering styles are easy to read and match that of the originals. However, some of their word selections seem a little strange (i.e. "lie" and "press"). Signs, labels, and papers are translated with overlays in mostly plain text. The appearance of the overlays isn't completely consistent though; some signage is initially translated with overlays and then reappears untranslated in Japanese.

An odd grammatical error on the "Concerning Honorifics" page is that the initial words in six sentences are not capitalized. (All those words that should have been capitalized began with the letter "i.” Not quite sure what happened there.) Actually, Go! Comi could have probably done without that page because I only found one honorific used in the entire volume. For the most part, characters refer to each other by given names. Shota even refers to his karate instructor as "Master" instead of "Sensei." The dialogue translation is satisfactory.

Content:
In the future, the Earth is a much more hostile place. Geomagnetic abnormalities have become an everyday occurrence, wreaking havoc upon the very fabric of society. Magnetic storms make air travel impossible; bands of criminals and mutant beasts roam the Lawless Territories outside city boundaries; and electrical discharges cause appliances and machines to unexpectedly go haywire with deadly results.

This is the world Shota hopes to whip into shape with his Repair Blow Technique!

Shota first conceptualizes the Repair Blow Technique as an elementary school student. Though just a child, he is already an expert in karate. However, after defeating several older karate students that picked a fight, Shota is reprimanded by his instructor, who declares that karate is not for fighting but to "enhance one's own life and that of your opponent." At that, Shota quits karate. He wanders aimlessly, unable to make sense of his instructor's words.

Until...

…by coincidence, he happens to pass by a home electronics shop where a television malfunctions, going from clear to static. However, with just a tap of his hand, the store manager has the screen back to normal once again.

And suddenly, a means to put his instructor's words into practice becomes clear to Shota!

Shota then dedicates the next 10 years of his life to perfecting the Repair Blow Technique, where with a single blow, anything can be repaired.

The only problem is that Shota stinks at it. He spends his days trying to repair malfunctioning equipment with a single punch, but for the most part smashes them to bits.

However, while his success rate is dismal, it's not zero. As a result of the miraculous occasions that Shota's Repair Blow works, pigeon girl Momoko is in love, and street hustler Kanji senses a potential fortune. They team up with Shota to help him perfect his Repair Blow Technique. Unfortunately, even with their help, his results are still more "miss" than "hit," and a mistake from Shota's past may put an end to his training efforts for good!

Comments
This manga falls into the category of action comedy. The synopsis gives you the impression that Shota is actually proficient at the Repair Blow Technique, but you quickly find out that he really isn't. (He really really isn't.) Although Shota takes the Repair Blow Technique seriously, he goes about it with the elegance of a drunken elephant. As a result, this manga is not serious at all and would probably appeal to younger shonen readers, who aren't very interested in character development and just want a good laugh.

Most of the jokes are derived from Shota's unswerving single-mindedness to perfect this technique (i.e., lots of things breaking). The rest of the humor comes predominantly from Momoko, who is just as unswerving when it comes to her infatuation with Shota. However, Shota is completely indifferent to her affections, and most of the laughs stem from the clash between reality and Momoko's delusions. Unfortunately, these obsession based jokes start to get a bit old by the end of the volume. Watching Shota "practice" on hapless appliances is funny at first, but the indiscriminate destruction of various pieces of equipment does get stale after a while.

The three main characters are relatively one-dimensional. Shota thinks only of the Repair Blow; Momoko thinks only of Shota; and Kanji thinks only of how to capitalize on the situation at hand. There's not much background material on the characters either. No background material at all is provided for Kanji, and the only references to Shota's upbringing is his karate training. Yagami shows that Momoko was raised by pigeons, but how or why she ended up with them is still unclear. However, Yagami does introduce a fourth character in the last chapter who has the potential to deepen Shota's character and keep the story interesting.

This title is rated "older teen” for violence.

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