Today, I am going to write a review on Groove Adventure Rave, otherwise known as Rave Master. I am going to try a different format today. We will dissect this manga in slightly different aspects.
~ Exemplary Shounen-ness ~
First of all, Rave Master is Shounen. There is no dispute about it. It is also a good Shounen, and that means that every once in a while, readers starts to feel blood rushing into their heads. Or, as I would like to put it, it is epic. In this regard, it is on par with Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, etc. As we will soon see, though, Shounen is definitely not the only strength it possesses.
~ Amalgam of Genres ~
Another noteworthy trait about Rave Master is that expands its territories to encompass more elements than what a standard battle Shounen would include. Of course, all topnotch (popular) Shounen has shown this characteristic to some extent, but rave master has done this especially well. Other than action, fantasy, and comedy, RM puts a heavy emphasis on adventure (much like One Piece), drama, and even romance. Granted, the romance aspect is nowhere as explored as it is in romance-oriented manga. It is still a respectable amount of other elements added to this epic Shounen saga without ruining the Shounen aspect of it.
Moreover, while RM has more in variety, it cuts down on fan-service. This is a fantastic news to most of the readers who are tired of freakishly common occurrence of boobs on manga pages, but maybe bad news for those of you who find an excessive fan-service enjoyable. Nevertheless, the romance in RM makes up for a lack of fan-service.
~ World Construction ~
It is among some of the best world construction pieces ever found in fantasy manga, probably because the mangaka is a huge fan of Eiichiro Oda, creator of One Piece. Readers who appreciate a frequent change of setting throughout the narration of a story will surely love this.
~ Art ~
Depending on how much the readers like the art in One Piece, or a more direct comparison, Fairy Tail, there will be different opinions on the quality of art. Personally, I found this kind of a style quite different from a majority of other manga, in a refreshing and enjoyable way.
~ Character ~
Instead of talking about the entire character cast, I will only talk about the male lead, Haru Glory, which is, again, what sets this manga apart from all other Shounen.
Typically, male lead (in Shounen) is a bold, determined, adventurous, righteous individual in the manliest way. Obviously, there is an underlying flaw to this setup. It requires the male lead to be also a bit slow in the head and sometimes an EQ way below that of an average person. If I have to state one reason that a lot of people hate Shounen, this is why.
Fortunately, Haru Glory defies this rule. Sure, he has the typical boldness, an adventurous spirit, and determination, but in moderation. On the other hand, he is thoughtful, sensitive, and knows when to give up. Somehow, he seems like more like a person one can relate to instead of just an icon of justice (like Naruto).
~ Story ~
Where this manga truly shines. I said in previous posts that Psyren is a case of good brain-storming. Then, RM must be an incidence of phenomenal overall planning.
Let me remind you of another illness that befall most popular Shounen, the story will slow down between different arcs, and will almost come to a halt before the grand finale. For the most parts, this doesn’t apply to RM.
I will give you a succinct flow chart summary of my experience reading this manga:
Slow Start –> Gradual intensifying plot –> Epicness –> building up intensity –> Epicness
… … (repeats cycle)
(A few slowdown in between)
… … (repeats cycle)
FLASHBACK -> MIND-FUCKED in an amazing way
--> Grand Finale Battle --> Epic Ending!
Overall, Rave Master is a manga that contain most of the shounen epicness as well as tropes and cliches, but also worked around it so that these cliches are not so annoying anymore. It has a typical yet more likable male lead. Its story does not feel disjointed with the construction of different arcs. It has a good balance of different categories, and a comfortable pacing. Ultimately, perhaps most importantly of all, it is completed, so that readers will not agonize over one chapter per week.