Oooouu, that epic scene with Rebecca and Diamante in the back-drop, it’s like Rosy Utena meets Sunflowery Samurai Champloo
I’ve always thought that Toriko is the shounen manga series that resembles Dragon Ball the most, and the
sensu bean cure water introduced in this week’s chapter pretty much confirms it
also, pretty pleased with the way shimabukuro resolved the whole getting torn in half ordeal, less of a cop out than i would’ve expected from his usual style of writing, the play-on the Japanese mythology concept of ogres being red an d blue primarily is cool (don’t particularly like the design of the blue one at all, though I’m glad the fight against Heracles is actually coming to legitimate fr uiti on) but the explanation behind Toriko’s blue hair is pretty pointless, because let’s face it, this is beyond fiction, and it’s not like we’re getting an explanation of Sunny’s smorgasbord of colored follicles next
Story: Narita Ryohgo (成田 良悟)
Art: Amano Youichi (天野 洋一)
There’s something about shounen and the powerhouse publication that is Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump that beckons even the most adept story-tellers into making a literary and figurative exodus to the adventurous tropes and writing conventions of the genre. Quite surprisingly, this includes Narita Ryohgo, the well-praised light novelist of the series Baccano!, Durarara!!, and more. Through my experiences with Narita’s works, basically comprising of just the two aforementioned, I’ve firmly established my impression of him as being one hell of an introspective writer, well-versed in the ways of character depth, build-up, and interaction. While this is my first time out of his realm of anime-adapted light novel series and into his realm of manga series, it should be noted that this isn’t quite his first time penning a rather boyish series (his Vamp! light novel series has quite the well-endowed fantasy-adventure atmosphere with its premise about rival vampire clans, a vampire princess, and a vampire hunter; and his light novel Bleach: Spirits Are Forever With You is based upon none other than the Weekly Shōnen Jump series that was once a part of the Big 3 ranking.) Going into the first chapter ofStealth Symphony, you can immediately justify its serialization in the magazine; a becoming art-style by illustrator Amano Youichi (original creator of Over Time and former assistant of Hideaki Sorachi, original creator of Gintama) supports the familiar premise of a young boy burdened by a curse that earns him the aggressive scorn of those around him but also grants him a formidable and fate-instilling power.
Protagonist Jig’s life was jeopardized early on in his childhood because of a severe sickness and the only way to save him was to perform a procedure that attached used cyborg parts to his body. However, the parts were rumored to be a life-support system that a deceased sorcerer had created for himself, in which whenever its wearer’s life was endangered, the support system would repel the attack with twice as much power. The man who promised to take full responsibility for Jig’s operation and life, someone Jig respectfully calls “director”, gave him supplies to travel, money for an exorcism and a good luck charm so that he could venture to Jinbocho, a city of fairy tales where elves, dwarves, lizard men, and countless other mystical species alike gather. It is in this metropolitan of crossed magical paths that Jig should finally be able to find a way to remove his curse. Upon arriving at Jinbocho, Jig’s curse immediately causes him to have a run in with city officials, so he decides to hire an invisible protection services agent named Yabusame Troma to protect the people of the city from his curse’s unpredictable detonations. From Troma, Jig learns of Jinbocho’s history, primarily about it being a place once run amuck with tyrannical dragons until the hero named Mimerond drove them out and made Jinbocho a free city where people could come from far and wide in search of the magical heirlooms left behind in the dragons’ ruins. Jig and Troma develop a subtle friendship after discussing the nature of Jig’s curse and each others’ dreams (or Troma’s lack thereof), but their bond-forming is interrupted by news of a telekinetic assassin named Kawaharada Jakking who has been hired to kill Jig. Prone to not only physical attacks, Jig’s curse absorbs Jakking’s explosion and fires it back at him. Outmatched, Jakking decides to reveal to Jig the conspiracy behind his current situation, that the good luck charm the director gave Jig was actually a tracking device, that the director hired Jakking to assassinate Jig, that the director was the one who made Jig sick in the first place, and that the life-support system is actually a dragon heirloom that the director used on Jig for experimental purposes. In a bout of madness, Jig activates a new ability from the heirloom, spawning humongous wings out of his back. As Jig is consumed by his madness, Jakking tries to crush Troma between two rock-hard slabs, but the attack is rendered ineffective. In describing Jig’s current state, Troma casually states, “Our young client has lost hope with the world and is trying to destroy it. That’s all it is. There is no need to abandon him or to run away from him.” Troma’s heartfelt words trigger Jig’s self-awareness of his state and his actions; and in desolation, Jig jumps off the building with the intention of ending his own life for good. Jig lands on the ground unscathed because of Troma’s interference, amazingly, and Troma reveals that he is actually not an invisible man, but rather, an invisible dragon.
With the first chapter read and well-re-visited in order to write that summary, I can confidently say that that sure doesn’t feel like the Narita that I know of. By standard shounen standards, I’d say that Stealth Symphony passes all tests; it’s got the common protagonist, it’s got the world lore, it’s set up a prospective and viable battle system through the magic dragon heirlooms (even including a ranking system), it’s teased a miniature skirmish with Jakking, it’s presented a sudden plot twist, it’s paved the way for more story-telling and story-expanding, and hell, it’s even got the rather contemporary gimmick of having an unexplained title (so far, at least). But where it’s really worth, I don’t think Stealth Symphony offers the story-depth and potential as is offered in prior Narita works. Perhaps it was the first three pages of the chapter that had me riled about the focus on Jinbocho as a metropolitan city (because the city setting where a large cast of characters converge might as well be Narita’s story trademark), but the premise fell a bit flat by the read’s end. It has undoubtedly set up a lively environment of perhaps an even more potentially eclectic cast than the likes of Baccano! and DRR!!, just because the diversity of fantasy species implicitly advances a further degree of varied fun; but as of now, I have a hard timely seeing that advancing past the rather dried-out dialogue, plot-progressions, and character dynamics of shounen convention. All in all, Stealth Symphony assumes the mantle of the next casual read in the Weekly Shonen Jump roster; and while I can most assuredly seeing getting nothing but better (as is the case with essentially every post-first chapter reading), I think it would a stretch to say that the series will be proving to be of the better works of the shounen genre and or Narita’s bibliography.
TORIKO NEEDS A LEGITIMATE ANIME ADAPTATION
IT’S ONE OF THE SHONEN SERIES THAT IS STILL GETTING BETTER WITH TIME