01/03/2011. Contributed by Phil Jones
pub: TOR/Seven Seas. 192 page small softcover. Price: $ 9.99 (US), $10.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-7653-2181-7.
check out website: www.tor-forge.com and www.gomanga.com
The all-girls boarding school Tenchi Academy as well as being known for its high academic standard also has an unusual after class activity, sword-fighting. The girls pair up and compete trying to again opponents stars to gain rank, prestige and monetary prizes. The condition of winning these bouts is to obtain your opponent’s stars within a set time. The fights are grouped into ranks the lowest of with is D.
Into this world, enters Kurogane Hayate, taking the place of her sick sister so that they don’t lose eligibility to the school. In trying to fit in at the new school, she becomes embroiled in the whole indoctrination into the fighting ranks. This becomes especially true when she learns of the debt her orphanage owes to the Yakuza.
Having joined the school year late, she struggles to find a sister-in-arms to help her in the ranked fights. There are only the loners and odd students left but eventually she teams up with Mudou Ayana.
This series of manga will appeal to shōnen manga fans mainly with its fast-paced action and school setting. The drawing and artwork is fast and dynamic but occasionally confusing in structure and appearance although this blends well with the frenetic style of the plot. Also, with the slightly interesting female relationship overtones, it will probably have elements that appeal to shōnen manga fans as well, though I would say this is more an aside then a real story element. It heavily hints at female relationships but doesn’t delve much deeper.
Overall, it’s fun and a bit flyaway and, hopefully, the fight sequences will find a bit more focus. As the series progresses, it would be good if characters can be developed a bit further and a bit more depth added. It should though keep its fun frenetic style as this is what will draw people back.
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