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
To get revenge for his brother’s death, Junya decides to follow in Ando’s footsteps. To get to the bottom of who killed Ando, Junya will have to develop his own special powers. But before he can deal with Inukai, another group of misfits might beat him to it.
Previous chapters have given glimpses of Fraulein, but Volume 9 provides a really good look at the organization. Unlike Grasshopper which is simply violent, Fraulein is violent and depraved, a culture that definitely stems from the mob boss and his son. Sex, drugs, and blatant disregard for human life is par for the course, and though they’ve been lurking in the shadows, they seem to be positioning themselves to join the power grab for Nekota City.
Meanwhile, Junya’s normal life is turning into a distant memory. Our favorite assassin, Semi, and his boss Iwanishi show up again, this time at Junya’s behest. In addition to seeing Semi slit more throats and throw a couple tantrums, we get more insight into Junya’s power. Just as Ando and the Duce bartender had their limits, Junya’s “against the odds” power has limits as well. It’s more complicated than a radius of influence, but the fact that Junya isn’t completely omnipotent will force him to think (just like his brother!), making for a more intriguing plot.
As for Inukai, his political popularity continues skyrocketing while Nekota’s puppet mayor loses his tenuous grip on what little control he had. As it turns out, the seemingly upright Mayor Tatsumi has a weakness, one that Fraulein gleefully exploits. Inukai, on the other hand, they’ve targeted for elimination, but even having learned of Fraulein’s plot, Inukai maintains a calm, fatalistic attitude of the future. Junya, however, is determined that Inukai’s death comes at his own hands, even if that means saving Inukai from Fraulein (yes, there’s irony in that). This volume ends strongly, with the anticipation of how one lone youth will fare against an entire organization.
Junya gets more embroiled with the underworld, he gains a new enemy: the shadowy organization Fraulein. But Junya’s quickly picking up the rules of survival, plus he’s learned to harness his own special powers. The tumultuous battle for Nekota City continues with more intrigue, more killing, and the introduction of some new degenerates who make Inukai look like a decent fellow.
First published at the Fandom Post.