There are lots of shounen manga available today, and lots of them tend to borrow and overuse the same concepts, the same plot techniques, the same story lines, and most just fall flat eventually. Bleach, Naruto, D.Gray-man, it's all very mediocre.
Kekkaishi to me is a manga that doesn't have or do anything particularly special, and like its cousins it uses common aspects and features of action manga that don't break any conventions. However, it manages to accomplish much more.
For a start, the Protagonist's ability is absolutely genius, and it allows for a good mix of flexibility, strategy, power and defense which despite being frequently used
almost never gets stale. There are no flashy shouting attack names or overblown special moves, the characters progress simply by economically using their ability to create useful effects which make interesting battles, not with power ups and gigantic laser-spewing razors.
The rest of the manga is made up of decent characterisation, unimpressive yet likable and well-rounded villains, political intrigue, layers of mystery, appealing art and most of all, a plot that progresses further and further without ever forgetting it's roots that made it good in the first place.
Kekkaishi seems to be a forgotten shounen series that lags behind other manga, despite how solid it is. Definitely worth reading if you either like shounen or want to restore your faith in it.
I've recently finished reading Kekkaishi and it's the first shounen manga I've read by a female mangaka, the mangaka being Tanabe Yellow. The most outstanding thing about Kekkaishi is the story. Like other shounen's such as Bleach and Naruto it starts with the basis of completeing missions, finding out small truths and the spoof chapters for humour. Though throughout the process small hints of a bigger plot start to come out, keeping the reader intrested. Tanabe Yellow unlike alot of other mangaka's doesn't go off track, although she keeps up the twists and turns, constantly making the reader question whos the real evil guy or
what's going to happen next. She sticks to the main plot, always answering questions before raising too many. Kekkaishi ends at 345 chapters, and I put this to the fact that she stuck to her original story completely, she thought Kekkaishi out impeccably well. This is what makes Kekkashi so enjoyable, its not long winded and confusing, and it has a plot it sticks to.
The Character's are likeable, especially Toshimori the main character, he isnt an unreasonable powerhouse. Infact he's actually pretty hopeless throughout most of the manga. He's a believeable character who the reader can relate to. His brash behaviour, obsession with protecting Tokine and love of baking cakes are just a few of his loveable characteristics.
Tokine the female lead of the manga is older then Toshimori, and completely his opposite, where he is brash, she is thoughtful. Where he is clingy, she is distant. But their relationship between eachother is one of the main things that makes kekkaishi so pleasurable to read.
The only thing lacking in Kekkaishi in my opnion is art, it's good don't get me wrong. But not as detailed and in depth as I would have liked. Up against other mainstream shounen manga's the art is just as good. Yet for such a different and out on its own manga like this, with better art it could become even more special.
Overall, if you're looking for something different, that will keep you hooked and won't leave you thinking 'what the hell' because it went off the track. Then kekkaishi is what you are looking for!!
Kekkaishi is probably one of the most underrated shounen mangas out there, and if you saw the anime, you might get why. The manga, on the other hand, takes the story to a whole new level that really makes it worth the read.
Story: What's interesting about the story is that the plot itself is pretty original, at least to an extent. There's ayakashi (demons) which isn't exactly original, but I hesitate to call it cliche because it's more of a subgenre. However instead of flashy swords or guns, the characters use boxes called "kekkai's" which trap subjects and then destorys them, kind of in
an explosive kind of way. What makes it more interesting is the ways the characters use them as not only destructive weapons but tactical ones as well, and they continue to come up with new ways to use them which might have you thing, "huh, I wouldn't have thought of that." Of course, the kekkai's are only used by the kekkaishi users, and the further you go into the story the more you discover more powers and whatnot, which includes a lot of really unique ideas. The ayakashi, too, can have some really neat traits.
Kekkaishi begins like most shounen manga: first are missions and then an overall plot. What's good about kekkaishi is that it stays true to the original plot, and while it appears to deviate at points it always connects back to the origins. There are so many events that happen which you wont think are significant later on, and then they are!
Art: I think art is pretty subjective, but I think that most people will come to like it after a few chapters regardless of what they think originally. If you're reading shounen for the bishounens, this probably isn't for you. However they aren't unattractive by any means, the style is just a little different from your average shounen. Some of the sceneries are very well drawn, and the action scenes are very comprehensible, which I find sort of rare and is definitely a plus.
Character: One thing that everyone looks for in character is the development, which is plentiful in Kekkaishi. The biggest example is the main character, Yoshimori. He starts of as headstrong and overpowered, but has no idea how to use said power so is fairly useless. This isn't a very new idea, but what I like about his development is that while he he changes drastically throughout the manga, he's still the same character. He's very entertaining and once you get past some of his more annoying traits, he's very likeable. After all, all characters have their faults!
The side characters go under some major development as well, another rare trait of shounen manga. And I don't just mean the major side characters (in this case, Tokine and Masamori) but also in others. Tokine is the main female lead, and she's pretty well done. She's the brains of the team, but while her power of strength isn't great, she gains power that isn't for strength but for other purposes, so she's isn't useless (I could name a lot of useless female shounen characters.) Masamori is Yoshimori's older brother, and he plays a much bigger part than he appears. He's a character you might just hate to love at some parts!
The character of the antagonists are also pretty impressive. They undergo development and have good backgrounds to them!
Enjoyment: This is where the "9" ranking comes into play for me. Despite the cliches and some of the other problems of this manga, I really enjoyed it. However this could change for different people. If you like "all action all the time" then you might get a little bored at some points, but there is a fair amount of it. However a lot of it focus' on characters and story, so some might not be able to get through the parts where there isn't a battle and more talking/etc. I'm personally pretty okay with this and don't mind breaks from the action. What's great is that it isn't confusing like so many other shounen mangas which have so many names and not a face for half of them. No named character is insignificant (to my remembrance) so you'll often be able to attach the name to the face and the background of the character. Also, the plot has a lot of points and gets messy at the end, but even then it's comprehensible who is doing what and where.
Overall, I gave it a 9 because I couldn't put it down (and I read the whole thing twice.) but I can't say it's not without its cliches, which is really the only downfall I can see.
Highly recommended for anyone looking for a good shounen that's not Naruto/Bleach/One Piece/Etc.
Kekkaishi is one of my personal favorites in the manga world. The beginning had its rough edges but overall great read. The characters are so devoloped into the story and you have that great feel to get to know these characters like Yoshimori and Masamori. The ending was a meh and the the many love hints between Yoshimori and Tokine were fun to get to know and watch them grow even closer together. These characters change during the time of the story And you get to know other characters and they keep the story going which I loved seeing.
First things first. My "reviews" system is explained on a blog entry. Which can be found through my profile.
To sum up the story. The biggest downfall for me was that after first main arcs. (until the first big boss was defeated) it was superb and it was the part that had Anime as well., which I've seen twice. But Anime ending felt rather unsatisfying thus why eventually popped Manga into my plan to read. Anyhow, after those arcs it started expanding with characters too much and it became fairly erratic, grand and chaotic, which lead to confusion and inconsistency.
It's a great battle shounen with
some more focus on world and character building, while still offering the great fights, characters and power stake increases. I rather have soft spot to spirit type of powers in Anime, which is one of the reasons why I loved this title.
But nevertheless, as mentioned it somewhat strayed off from the path of storytelling and progression. Where eventually It felt like watching some sort of a political drama Anime.
Another quirk about battle shounens that if they have some sort of romance entanglement or bait to it. They usually don't go anywhere or are absolutely irrelevant. But since this Manga is more character and story oriented and offers us a rather blatant love interests, we do get some nice moments. But biggest issue here is, that finale to that aspect...felt rather underwhelming and loose-ended.
Anyhow, story did suffer a bit after the primary first arc, but in the end it was still very enjoyable world.
It's a bit old-styled Art. But still pretty cool. Especially world, powers and creatures were very pleasant aesthetically. While character design was cool enough and fairly oldschool. Nothing too amazing.
Long story short. Plenty of characters. Main teamup being a thick headed powerhorse with many hidden talents and other being a school president type of a stubborn skill master.
A lot of side-characters and other characters of high value. While for the most part they were enjoyable and fairly interesting. I felt that I got tired of most of the characters and their depth reasonings fairly dull.
✦Enjoyment & Overall
I got romance, I got cool powers, I got spirit fighters, I got cool world and action. So by the end of the day it means that I did enjoy this Manga a rather big portion of the time. Biggest flaws being a bit tedious characters, needlessly expanded story and layering and a bit disappointing "wrapping it up" storytelling.
Yoshimori is a very likeable guy, he never pays attention to his teacher, yet he is far from naive. He never let anyone takes advantage of him and as far as i know it has never been stated whether he is academically stupid or not.
Tokine is a nice girl next door, although to my dismay Yoshimori surpassed her skill.
Those things put aside, what i like about this story is that there is no overdramatization, you know the moment in which a character cry like a big baby, or cry the heart out with a sound of piano in
Plus, except for few battles. our heroes need to use strategy to defeat their enemies. When the enemy is tough they will retreat for a moiment, regroup, analyze data to determine enemy's strength and weakness, form a strategy and then attack.
It's like an oasis because nowadays ,in manga the heroes leap before they think with their head first.Of course they are not a match for the enemy And in critical moment they suddenly gained a great power out of nowhere, well actually it's because of the support from their friends.