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Meguru joins a mixed martial arts gym hoping to become stronger. He meets an old childhood friend who is practicing the same kind of shooto martial arts, and who harbors a dark secret related to their past.
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The attention to detail is amazing. Mangaka must have spent a lot of time researching. Also, he is very good at telling a story. Although it seems like nothing much is going on sometimes, it somehow pulls you in and makes you keep reading.
An addicting read
Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect since the description that I had read wasn't very 'descriptive' but since I love reading manga, I had to invest some time to give proper judgement. I am glad that I did! The pacing of this manga, the detail, the characters and their development are all just some of the amazing attributes of this manga. I <3 Meguru; his character is so realistic in the sense that he isn't 'special', he's had some good luck combined amazingly well with his hard training/dieting and I love that he genuinely looks like he's trying, he's giving it his all. The other pro of this manga is the rarity of females in these sports. Hiroki, I thank you for providing believable, likable female characters that represent strength and beauty alike and demonstrating the struggles of female mma fighter, kickboxers, judo, etc. If males have a tough time in these sports with dieting and opponents, it's even harder for women, so thank you for involving those details. Anyway, great read, one of my top favs so far.
I've practiced wrestling, bjj, judo, and mma, and this series is quite accurate when it comes to training and technique explanation. The only thing that is off from American lingo is some of the terminology. I am fond the main character becuase he gives 100% effort all the time, yet he doesn't always win. There is a bit of drama mixed in, but it is generally light hearted when the characters are not competing.
The beast Martial arts manga i ever read
I hardly give out perfect scores and this manga does not compare to other 10 like Berserk, Hinotori, Mars, Pluto and so on in terms of complexity and themes but i don´t think it has to. Hiroki chose the slice of life/sports genre and made it as good he can manage it the boundaries the genres give him. Don´t expect anything earth shattering but a very good and straightforward sports series. MMA gets treated with more respect i have ever seen! Even the small stuff like mat cleaning gets addressed and the muscle builds he gives the men and especially women are every intricately done. God good is the manga second to none in the presentation of movement. And while we are addressing the women i have to note that they are some of the best i even witnessed in a seinen manga. Normally you could expect some Rumble Roses esque garbage about mud wrestling but not here. A rarity indeed in the female action genre. I guess i could critique unrealistically slow moving romances but at least the characters have well established reasons for liking each other. My only "real"gripe is the lack of the second main character Takashi for big periods of time. He is a more complex animal than Meguru and would like to see more of him. Also surprising is the lack of explicit sex and violence i would normally expect from the author. Not that i am complaining but who would have though that the follow up to Eden would be a matter of fact slice of life drama ? All in all the manga has no reason to be so masterfully done as it is but here we have it. The perfect sports manga next to Ashita no Joe and Real. And yes it is very nice to read a realistically handelled manga about twenty somethings.
... Last updated on March 24th, 2014, 6:41am
Sports and Life anxieties
I'm familiar with Eden, when I started this I've known he was going to do a sports manga his way it wasn't clear when it was about Meguru, but when Yudai arc (if thats a acorrect term) it became more apparent, Life problems, news and incidents, uncertain future and adults anxieties (and not teen ones) especially for those in their twenties what are the correct answers? what are the correct choices? thats what this manga is about and of course some comppetive sports as someone one had started weightlifting in his lat twenties I can totally relate
Surprisingly enjoyable for a MMA layman
I've never been interested in MMA or sports manga/anime in general, and I only checked this out because Endo makes it. It ended up being a page-turner for me.
What really drew me in was some of the best realistic ensemble characterization I've read in a manga. No need for a bad guy, just people doing their hobby/obsession together, helping each-other out and becoming friends in the process.
To me, it reads like 50/50 slice-of-life/sports manga. The well grounded characters feel alive and realistic in their motivations and struggles, (very unlike Teppu in that regard) and the geniune friendship among the people at Meguru's MMA gym made me care for and root for them, not just in the fights but their issues with family and real life.
We even a view into the minds of the opponent characters, who have their own, realistic reasons for wanting to succeed in amateur MMA. There's no "bad guy who plays dirty" or "annoying unfriendly enemy" type here and most of the fighters have no animosity towards their opponents.
At first, I didn't pay attention to the grappling moves (there's quite a lot of those), but I ended up re-reading the manga and pay attention to all of the action. It's superbly depicted and movement is indicated in a way that makes it pretty easy for a layman like me to follow what they're doing, even with the complicated grappling moves.
You can tell Endo did a lot of research into the "boring" stuff in amateur MMA. Like, how hard it can be for girls to find opponents in their weight and skill class, or how the logistics work during a tournament. Too much to mention.
Surprisingly, a very very very enjoyable manga for me.
Suprisingly good martial arts/sport manga
If you read a lot of novels and manga then you will notice that some authors are just pure genius while some 'rarer' breed of authors are just simply good because of skills, experience, well researched and well-thought out plans. Endo Hiroki turns out to be both. His previous work was brilliant but rely too much on talent alone so it was somewhat detached and confusing to me. This one really shows his experience is starting to match up with his talent.
This work is simple, realistically grounded and straight forward. Yet, it's not boring but addictive. It has well paced drama and humor and a bit of angst. IAnyone with some writing experience will know it's incredibly hard to be simple and understandable. It's even harder to be simple and still manages to add certain depth to characters even with their simple/plain lives through some slice-of-life/humor moments. It has a seinen/sport vibe with a coming-of-age feeling.
An solid sport manga
A very good manga: it's a solid piece about sport and personal growth. The narration is very slice of life and down to earth, but it never bores: it's like a steady flow. Trough the trainings, the torunaments and various sublots we see the progression in skill and in character of Meguru going hand to hand with the exploration of the secondary characters' lives, who each possess their own voice and consistence. But the golden spot is taken by the sport: the fights are very well researched and beautifully drawn, the techniques are realistic and the explanations never feel heavy. Some themes of the author are constant (like the yakuza), but ultimately add depth to the story. From Eden is a great jump, but Endo never fails.
... Last updated on April 8th, 2012, 11:20am
Favorite Manga Ever?
This manga has got to be my favorite manga of all time. Only other one that can compete would be Holyland. However this manga just draws me in like no other, the best manga I have ever read.
... Last updated on December 27th, 2011, 2:29pm
I personally love this manga. As someone with some knowledge in mixed martial arts I'd have to say it's pretty accurate. The series is certainly grounded in realism and has the potential for a very exciting plot. The driving motivation behind the main characters is quite interesting and I find myself wanting to learn more and more about them; without giving too much information, this particularly true of Takashi. In the gaps between character development I find myself completely entertained by the interplay between the characters as well as the exciting fights (although it's been more grappling up to this point). I'm not sure if it's the novelty of a new series but I think this is a really good read.
To someone unfamiliar with the world of MMA I'm not sure how appealing this series may be to them, as it definitely relies more on the jargon and fundamentals of it then some other fighting series. If your a fan of series like Holyland or Hajime No Ippo then you'll probably enjoy this too.