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Black Torch Volume 1 Manga Review


“Black Torch” is a messy but entertaining manga.

In the debut volume of writer/artist Tsuyoshi Takaki’s manga series “Black Torch,” readers are introduced to Jiro- a human (who comes form a line of ninjas) that has the ability to talk to animals. With his gift, Jiro helps animals whenever he cans. When he learns that a cat is in trouble, he decides to rescue him, but it turns out this is no ordinary cat. It’s actually a Mononoke disguised as a cat named Rago. A Mononoke is essentially an immortal ghost, spirit, demon, what have you. Anyway, Rago is on the run from other dangerous Mononoke AND is also being tracked by a Government ninja organization known as the Bureau of Espionage (which contains members like Ichika and her boss Ryosuke). Rago is eventually caught by an evil Mononoke, but Jiro goes out of his way to protect Rago. Alas, Jiro dies in the process, but Rago essentially merges with Jiro and the two become one (it’s a whole thing). Obviously, there’s more that happens after this, but I’m not here to spoil everything. Basically, Jiro and Rago are on a new path…together.

For the first volume, Tsuyoshi really crams a lot in here…perhaps too much. “Black Torch” isn’t exactly a smooth read. It’s messy, it’s exposition heavy, characters whine constantly, and things just sort of come out of nowhere at times. Despite all of this, it’s hard not get caught up in the weird world that the author has created here. By the time the last page comes around, you’re definitely left wanting to know more about the mythology and the Mononokes and various other elements that are hinted at (ala the Shadow World).

The real highlight of “Black Torch,” however, is the art. This is a very unique and stylish looking manga series. There’s so much going on in every page. There could be a very visual and bad-ass fight going on at one page and a very intimate conversation going on at another. Tsuyoshi really does create a very strong vibe and tone to every scene that takes place and it shows in his detailed art.

Note: The manga concludes with a trio of one page mini stories, Viz Media manga ads, and an afterword by Tsuyoshi.

September 14, 2018 - Posted by | Manga Review | , ,

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