Mangaka: Takeru Hokazono
Translator: Camellia Nieh
Letterer: Phil Christie
Read On: Viz/Shonen Jump
The hottest new Shonen Jump manga of the last two weeks is Kagurabachi by Takeru Hokazono. While the initial two chapters don’t astound, the series strikes a harmonious chord with its blend of action, moments of comic relief, and commendable artwork. In a landscape where exceptional ongoing shounen series are a rare breed, Kagurabachi emerges as a welcome addition to the genre, and it hasn’t reached its full potential yet.
Chapter 3 introduces a fresh face into the mix, a character with a backstory reminiscent of our protagonist, Chihiro. This newcomer brings a vibrant energy to the narrative, a refreshing contrast to Chihiro’s rather emotionless demeanor. The stoic hero trope, prevalent in both video games and manga, is exhausting. Chihiro pales in comparison to the charm exhibited by his father, mentor, and this lively newcomer, yet there’s ample room for his character to grow and evolve.
Chapter 3 introduces a villain who may not be a major antagonist, but shows promise. This chapter does a commendable job of laying down the foundation for the world’s rules, serving as a prelude to the antagonist’s introduction. The first chapter or two just introduced sorcerers and expected readers to accept them without explanation, but now we have more insight into their role within society. Thanks to this context, the new villain’s presence feels right.
If readers like big mouths, this is the manga for them. The use of oversized, square-shaped gaping mouths for comedic effect is a common thing among mangaka, and Hokazono is no exception. Chapter 3 may not be action-packed, but it compensates with clever panel arrangements that keep the dialogue-rich scenes engaging. The final panels, in particular, are explosive. While the overall artwork may not be exceptional, it’s solid for now.
Chapter 3 of Kagurabachi may not dazzle with extraordinary feats, but it continues to demonstrate its substantial potential. It's a series that will engage shounen enthusiasts, making it well worth keeping an eye on.