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Bankara
by Zoro on November 29th, 2011, 4:02pm

Rating - 7.6 / 10.0

User rating of this review - N/A out of 5
Story/Plot - 3.5 out of 5
Characters - 3.9 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4 out of 5
Enjoyment - 3.8 out of 5
Overall - 3.6 out of 5

Click here for series information

Plot/Story
The Cyber Revolution has finally globalized the world, this opens new doors for gangsters and mobsters who think they can become the strongest in the school with modifications to their bodies.
Chairwoman of said school takes responsibility for all the manner of keeping the school clean, even if it means beating gang members who come late to school. After stumbling upon a secret of hers, we discover the strongest gang leader of all time sealed off and set free by accident. He was the Bankara, Gouda Takeru.

A rather predictable outcome to a series that could only go as far as 'become the strongest'. Though Gintama author Sorachi Hideki throws in a few clever quotes and limericks, he can't hide his convoluted plot sequences that follow a basic story, and end with a damsel in distress.

We take delight in knowing a foreign world of machinery and modifications, but the sheer mention of bio technology only goes as far as upgrades to pack an even bigger punch for our characters. Sorachi doesn't want to fill us in to what the world has become, but because of his portrayal of Japanese teen angst, easily recognizable in popular culture, we're expected to believe the world has changed for the worst, or not at all.

Sorachi hands us a make believe past for our lead character Gouda Takeru, but it doesn't stick when thinking back his character. His appearance disturbs us after breaking the seal, this only complicates his character even more. Some may accept his complication, because Sorachi creates a character void of any birth or any death. We're left with little story to deal with in Bankara because of an engagingly more interesting character set.

Characters
The story, albeit pretty conventional for gangster angst, has a few techniques when discovering the actual plot. Sorachi is actually amazing when using his characters. He sets up an early character, to whom we think is our main lead (In this case is Mobu Mobuta), but we discover that he begins stalking our actual main lead (this would be chairwoman Miyamoto Shizuka), and from there she visits our real lead in the story (Gouda Takeru).

Jumping from different character perspectives is rather elementary for Sorachi. He sets them up in a way for us to accept them by themselves. Development of character relationships is bit hard to buy in some cases, such as the connection with Shizuka and Gouda Takeru. Despite that, each character can hold their own ground, and are interesting enough as they are, without having other characters influence them.

All the characters introduced in Bankara are almost always related to Gouda in some way, shape or form, thus creating our image of Gouda as the most godly character in the story. This is one of the aspect that hits the characters ratings rather hard. Because of their predictable personalities when considering Gouda, they lose any originality, and we lose interest.

Drawing Style
Extremely quirky and loveable, Sorachi and his team of artists take on a simple job with Gouda and his group of delinquents. Very presentable, perhaps from his practice in Gintama, the background and long distance portraits scream for being in such a small world of gangsters. There is also noticeable detail in character design, although being fairly limited in terms of features, there is a new aspect with machinery that Sorachi takes into account.

Enjoyment
The author has a very controversial sense of humor. He probably stands out the most from his One-shot due to his comedic charm in every character. The repeated use of the gimmick with the yakisoba bun gets funnier with each use, and after it's been overused the author likes to make fun of the fact that it's overused.

Sorachi deserves his place when dealing with gag situations, he doesn't want to admit loving comedy to the point where he forgets about plot and characters, but the readers love him for that simple fact.

Overall
Exceptionally gifted, but not a very appealing tale. We've seen the gangster story from Sorachi before with his One-shot "13", and possibly a thousand times more from other authors, but it may help Sorachi build a name for himself. Being 'that' kind of author who wants to give us 'that' kind of genre. A blend of angst with slightly more comedy can't be considered 'Dark Comedy', but it creates it's own type of genre. Luckily it's shounen-based. Well done Sorachi.
 
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