I don’t usually review a whole lot of shonen manga, and I review even fewer violent shonen titles. Somehow, though, I wound up with the Maoh series, which has murder and mayhem in spades.(My reviews of earlier Maoh: Juvenile Remix volumes can be found here.) However, it’s more of a supernatural thriller than a gratuitous show of blood splattering and has some interesting heroes (if you can stomach all the casualties along the way).
The story takes place in Nekota City, which is not so much a dystopia as it is a community on the decline (think Gotham City from Batman). Inukai is the mysterious leader of a vigilante group called Grasshopper, which is at odds with the city’s redevelopment plan. Inukai is hailed as a hero among the common folk of Nekota, but is he really all that he seems?
Back Cover Blurb
Still trying to recover from the shock of his brother’s death, Junya decides to follow in Ando’s footsteps. First on the agenda is revenge on the ones who caused his brother’s death. Can Junya succeed where Ando failed…?
Having chosen to dive the underworld, Junya can’t seem to take two steps without running into assassins. He starts off by arranging a showdown with the Duce bartender, but their confrontation gets abruptly cut off when the Pusher, the greatest killer in the business, interferes. (The images for this scene are pretty intense. You can practically feel the rumble of the truck as it crashes through.) The Pusher’s meddling is a wholly unexpected twist and sends Junya on a journey that takes him to other supernaturally gifted individuals; a sadistic shadowy group known as Fraulein (you’ll be gripping your fingernails after meeting them); and ultimately, Inukai.
As angry and vengeful as Junya is, he’s still very much grieving for his brother. Every now and then, something triggers a memory, and he winds up in tears. It’s proof of his affection for his brother, and with a bond so close, it makes absolute sense that Junya’s the critical link to Ando’s dramatic reappearance when Junya confronts Inukai.
In the meantime, reform in Nekota City isn’t proceeding the way its good citizens would hope. The convenient demises of Grasshopper’s opponents is weighing on the new mayor, forcing him into the very tricky position of striking a deal with unsavory characters to try to gain an upper hand on the underworld. Whatever’s going to happen next, it feels like all involved are going to sink further into darkness.
Junya’s out for revenge, and not even the threat of death or violence can stop him. It’s one gripping encounter after another as Junya gets to the bottom of what happened to his brother. He’s gone through a dramatic transformation in the last few chapters, but that’s nothing compared to what happens when he discovers the truth from Inukai himself!
This title is rated Older Teen for lotsa blood and violence and an intense plot.
First published at the Fandom Post.