(W) Akira Akatsuki, (D) Hikaru Nakamura
Sometimes we are so desperate for one wish, we will do anything to take it. Even if it means going against our morals, we will fight for the one thing that means to us the most. So let me ask you this question; what do you fight for?
This is the biggest question that comes up in the manga, Juni Taisen: Zodiac War. This manga is about 12 people that represent a different Chinese zodiac sign. Each person has a special ability that makes them unique from other people. Every year, these 12 people come together to fight in a battle. Whoever is the last person to stand, they will be granted a wish. Of course, the only way to win is by killing the competition first.
I believe this manga is a decent action-thriller that keeps some reads on their toes. There are some political alliances that are created between characters to boggle a reader’s mind. Normally, this is something that tickles the reader’s mind. In this case, it is a necessity as much of the action only revolves around the 12 people. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to keep the story going as there would only be pure violence. While the story does go into the backstory of all of the characters, I don’t think there is a lot more that can be done. New characters or plot twist can be added, but what is the point? This is a really tricky story to create, but there are other aspects to consider.
The characters are unique enough as they each have been attuned to violence. However, every character hasn’t turned into sadistic people. Rather, each of them has a reason to fight for survival. Luckily, each character has their own personality and it is multi-faceted. They’re so multi-faceted that I can’t predict any of their moves and their political deals keep engaged with the story. It also helps that the characters are unique to look at. If I had to say one thing, I wish the story focused on all of the characters in the first volume itself. I understand that the story needs time to build, but I barely get to see all of the characters except at the beginning. My personal favorite character is Toshiko Ino. She represents the boar and her entrance in the story was a grand one. Her mind was broke because of her background and she strived for perfection to please her parents. Overall, her character was interesting to look at from the get-go and she had the most amount of arrogance amongst all of the members. I find it sad that her ability was very limited and it could have been designed a lot better.
The art style was very sharp and I sort of expected this considering it was a Shounen Jump manga. The action scenes were crisp and it shared the same level of detail as One Punch Man. I am worried that this will continue to be a standard for other manga artists and this may lead them to throw away their distinctive style. Luckily, there are hard-core manga fans that will appreciate this art style along with many others. All I can say to readers is take your time when you read through each panel.
The plot was pretty straight-forward from the beginning. There isn’t a lot to say except to expect some “twists and turns” throughout the story. As I mentioned earlier, the story relies on political intrigue and that is something people may or may not like. Bear in mind, every twist and turn will not be amusing for some fans. So take every plot twist with some caution.
Overall, the manga has a great start and is something that requires a person’s full attention. There are several details to keep track of and a lot of action scenes to drive me wild. The art is stunning, but I’m worried we will get drowned in the sharp angles of this style. This person is for the reader that wants to play a game of mental chess with only 200 pages. For more information about the manga, click here for more information.