The newest series running in Shonen Jump Alpha, and brand new in Japan as well, is Takama-ga-hara. The series poses the idea “If mythology was actually history, then modern man is descended from the Gods.” And since it is a Shonen Jump manga you can expect they use their God-like powers for fighting. People don’t seem to be aware of this fact about being descended from Gods yet, but nevertheless there are the infamous Yamada brothers known for their pursuit of strength!
Except Yamato. He doesn’t want to train and be strong like the other four Yamada brothers, he wants to be a manga artist instead. Too bad the rest of the world wants to challenge him to fights since he is a Yamada.
Takama-ga-hara had me cracking up within the first few pages! The brothers have great interactions and their brawn VS. brain rivalry created hilarious moments. Also characters’ reactions to Yamato’s presumably terrible manga are priceless.
We haven’t really jumped into the God part of the story within the first chapter. The opponent is just a really big, strong delinquent guy who wants to make a name for himself. Although, we do see that Yamato’s right arm holds incredible strength that is dying to be unleashed.
The art isn’t very polished or detailed (minus speed lines), but it has solid layout and great comedic delivery. And as long as it keeps me laughing like this first chapter, I’m on board for more.
I would like to update by recommendation for Yamada and the Seven Witches as Manga of the Month with this Ongoing Investigation. I originally said the series was a body swap comedy but I was waiting for the other shoe to drop when the full meaning of the title was revealed. Now that Miki Yoshikawa has revealed more of what is going on I must reassess my statement about the series. It is actually a magical kiss power series where one of the powers is body swapping.
I have to say I am always impressed by the way that Miki Yoshikawa creates series that have an always evolving plot especially in chapters 16 to 26. So much comedy tends to move in the same circles for a majority of the story. I don’t mind that formula too much. As long as the comedy makes me laugh I am content. But with a series like this I have to admire the ability to keep the themes and tone consistent but have a feeling of progression and accomplishment when so much comedy manga is about preventing that. Bravo.
Now that we know that the seven witches are seven different people at school how have kiss powers the plot is beginning to true take form. The series is more about finding the remaining witches and learning how his phenomenon came to be in the first place. Since Ryu is like a Final Fantasy Tactics mime I am curious to see how he will use his new-found powers as much as what the other witch’s powers are in the first place. Fun.
I will also note that as Narutaki mentioned to me it is so unusual for a shonen series to have so much kissing. Any and all kisses are usually huge deals in the genre. But here any and all genders of characters are kissing like most people just say hello. It is just a bit remarkable in that sense.
Urara Shiraishi impresses me as being sufficiently different from Hana Adachi but also a great character in her own way. You can easily accuse Ryu Yamada of just being the Daichi Shinagawa clone of the series but Urara really comes of as unique. She is clearly book smart but also the clearest thinker in the series. Her main problems are big physically weak and very poor at grasping social cues. But she has a social awkwardness very different from Hana. My only regret is that she is a very closed off character so at times Miki Yoshikawa keeps her in the background least the overexpose her feelings and thoughts.
Once again if you don’t mind scans or can read Japanese you should be at least trying out Miki Yoshikawa. She is just that good.
The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.