I don’t usually review a whole lot of shonen manga, and I review even fewer violent shonen titles. Somehow, though, I wound up reviewing Maoh, 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 a fairly interesting hero (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). Ando is a high school student who has the power to make others say out loud what he’s thinking (he calls it ventriloquism). 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 after a few disturbing run-ins with Grasshopper, Ando senses that Inukai is not all that he seems.
Back Cover Blurb
As Ando continues to try to uncover Inukai’s plans, Grasshopper prepares for a major event to take control of the city. Just when Ando gets close to the truth, standing in his way is the most dangerous challenge he’s ever faced.
At the end of the last volume, Ando wasn’t looking too good. In fact, he looked like he was ready to keel over. As it turns out, he’s nowhere near finished. With as much sleuthing and running around as he does, you’ll be exhausted by the time Volume 6 is over.
The story gets off to a slow start with some machinations on the political front and fanatical stirrings at Ando’s high school. After a while, I almost got tired of Ando being the lone voice of reason among the strident, brainwashed mob. But then the story moves toward the Grasshopper Action Meeting, and the story really picks up.
The lead up to the meeting all but screams “epic battle coming!” Even the way, Ando sends Junya out of town very much has a “Farewell, Brother, I go to die” feel to it. So does the action that follows actually live up to the anticipation? I think it does.
The creators convey a definite sense of urgency with the countdown to Inukai’s plan, and the situation worsens when the Duce bartender shows up to thwart Ando’s efforts. At certain points, Ando and the bartender get ridiculously chatty for two guys involved in a life or death battle, but Ando’s frantic race to figure out the secret behind the bartender’s power will definitely keep you riveted.
To be sure, the last moments of their fight seem to defy the laws of physics and the action is a little hard to follow (it took me three reads to figure out what exactly happened with the bridge). The ending is also rather over the top with its image of the planet Earth. Overall, though, it’s a thrilling finish for this volume and our hero Ando.
Volume 6 is all about wits. Inukai has a secret plot to bring the city to its knees, and Ando must uncover it before it’s too late. But in the middle of his investigation, he’s attacked by Inukai’s dangerous henchman, the Duce bartender. The ensuing battle has plenty of crashing and flying projectiles, but it ultimately boils down to whether Ando can crack the secret behind the bartender’s power before he gets killed. For those who like smart heroes pitted against enormous odds, Volume 6 of Maoh will be a treat.
This title is rated Older Teen for lotsa blood and violence and an intense plot.
First published at the Fandom Post.