"Middle Edo Period—One state becomes the gathering place for sinful martial artists, who believe in nothing other than power, know of no other way of life other than letting oneself go wild in the battle. That state is the Unabara State, the 'Haunt of Demons'..."
Washitzu Naosata, the ruler of the powerful state, Unabara, is looking for his successor. He calls upons all his 31 sons, and tell them to search for whoever they believe to be the strongest martial artist of all. Each of their chosen martial artists then are to fight against each other until only one is left standing. Whoever is the winner, whoever has the strongest martial artist in nation by his side will become his successor...
Out in the midst of the mountain is the doujo of the "Daigame Ryuu" (Giant Tortoise Style). There lives Kurogane Gama, the son of the legendary swordsman, Kurogane Jinsuke, who is believed to be able to kill 1000 martial artists in Unabara. There, one of the son of Washitzu Naosata, Washitzu Naoshi, comes in search of the legendary swordsman, only to find that he had gone missing several years ago. After seeing the battle style of Gama, he instead chooses to ask Gama to come with him. Wanting to become stronger, Gama agrees to his offer, and that marks the beginning of Gama's battle to become the strongest of all ...
Before I start: This is my first review, so it’ll not be perfect. If you read it, I appreciate the feedback.
I can describe Gamaran with one phrase: A complete blast of action. No unnecessarily complex plot, no exaggerated emotional breakdowns, almost no trace of romance; there are only ever-changing action and fighting. It makes Gamaran a paragon of shounen action/fighting series in my opinion. When I see “action” and “fighting” in genre section, I want to see some real fighting but most of the modern shonen “fighting” series gives us less fighting, more triviality. But Gamaran is sincere; it’s a fighting series and it gives
you lots of action and good fights. Nothing more, nothing less and I love that Garaman keeps his promise as a shounen fighting manga.
The strongest element of the series is the fight scenes, which is action-packed, not unnecessarily long and realistic. The mangaka is aware that in the ancient Japan, duels are concluded in several swings since duelists didn’t wear armour and this fact is reflected really well in Gamaran. Also, Nakamura-sensei shows his vast knowledge of the ancient weaponry, you can see it in the descriptions of weapons in series. It takes Gamaran one step further from its peers. And since fights are relatively short, we always see new fighters and different fights. It makes Gamaran more "concentrated".
The weakest point, though, is the almost non-existent story line and lack of any significant characters. However, it is 194-chapters long shounen fighting manga. So, it can be ignorable both because of it and the riveting action.
All in all, Gamaran is worth reading if you like action and fighting genre. This series is a perfect example of how a shounen fighting manga should be: one big blast of ever-changing action.
In my opinion, there are two parts to Gamaran; there's the intense and fast-paced action up to around chapter 60 and there's... the rest.
- - - S T O R Y - - -
The story is pretty weak, to be honest. In fact, up to around chapter 60, there's barely a story at all. It's pretty much just all about Gama wanting to get stronger. The manga is amazing action at every turn. Each enemy is a master of a different martial art, most of which using different weapons, which keeps things really fresh and interesting. Things go from one battle to another
immediately before the main characters have a chance to rest, then they continue the battles even while they're resting. It's pretty addictive to read with how the action doesn't let up. It's also great how the enemies are killed in just about every battle, so you don't get predictable repeat battles and drawn out crap. The technical explanations and the way every match has everything on the line makes it quite enjoyable. The intensity of the matches is similar to Hajime no Ippo, but with no training scenes or personal life.
For "the rest", the story develops a lot more, but the action dwindles. Whatever foes weren't eliminated before have their roles dragged on till the later chapters of the manga. For some reason, the author also decides to start giving nameless characters backstories before they die. To make things worse, the battles become a lot less realistic, less focused on weapon variety, and they last longer.
The later enemies are far too gimmicky and can barely be called martial artists. That's always the worst part of shounen manga in my opinion. DBZ went from martial arts to shooting beams at each other, Bleach went from samurai action to shooting beams and clashing swords while never actually cutting each other, Berserk went from medieval wars to solely fighting monsters. The enemies in Gamaran are still human (mostly) and they still get cut and die from mortal wounds, but it's just not the same, and just not as good. Thankfully, Gamaran never resorts to a "power level" system where the battle is over before it starts, like in Toriko or the later YuYu Hakusho.
- - - A R T - - -
I dunno why the other reviews are hating on the art. I thought the art was well done. It does have some similarities to a cross between Naruto and Bleach; that is to say the art is more realistic than typical anime/manga, but still keeps the part of it that makes it appealing.
Characters have the different kinda faces you'd expect from manga. That is, you're bound to come across some pretty familiar faces as far as eyes, noses, head shapes, and hairstyles go. Some of the characters have pretty distinctly different eyebrows, though, which I think helped with making them look different.
I think the setting is quite well done. Pretty much everyone wears things like hakama and kimono. This manga doesn't have the "badass" samurai who walk around shirtless, carrying 9 swords, wearing bright red clothes and armour, etc. (I'm looking at you, Sengoku Basara). There is a lot more discipline and respect for the blade in this manga, and the way everyone dresses in traditional clothes makes it all the more convincing.
The colour pages disappointed me, however. For example, Zenmaru's hair is red. Why would a Japanese person in feudal times have red hair? There are a lot of characters with white hair, which, in manga, means it can pretty much be any colour. This part really doesn't fit in with the setting. There are some characters who are introduced as foreigners and they have blonde hair, which is fine, but what's everyone else's excuse?
- - - C H A R A C T E R S - - -
I have a few complaints here. Let's see...
Hyuga Bros.: They join the Ogame school as comic relief characters. They wish to learn the Ogame style, but are essentially ignored. I think they could've developed into cool and respectable characters given the opportunity. Obviously, they shouldn't be as strong as the main characters, but it'd be nice if they were able to at least offer some support.
Iori: He was incredibly badass. He always looked like he had such intensity to him. After a certain plot point, however, he becomes incredibly tame. Even the way he's drawn, his eyes just don't look as crazy as they used to. He's barely present in the story, so... come on, give us the true Iori when he's actually there, not this watered down version. The author probably wanted to give him rivals, but toning down Iori is not the right way to do it.
Ogame girl: I don't remember her name. She pretty much had no reason for existing other than offering some rare opportunities for jokes, which weren't even funny. It would've been cooler if she secretly knew how to fight.
Naoyoshi: Based on the relationship between his mother and Jinsuke, I thought he surely had to be Gama's brother, but nothing about that was ever elaborated on. It just kinda feels like a disappointing loose end.
- - - E N J O Y M E N T - - -
The humour in Gamaran is pretty weak. They shouldn't have even tried. You can only comment on Gama's lack of pubic hair so many times before it causes your humour senses to cry instead of laugh. What are we, 11 year olds? Kashitarou's obscene fantasies also weren't funny.
I'm glad this didn't have some ditzy, big breasted character, though. In fact, it barely had any females at all, which was surely for the best. Fan service is one of the worst parts of the industry.
I also feel I should mention the story has plot twists during "the rest", and you might not always see them coming, but, to put it bluntly, they aren't exciting.
- - - O V E R A L L - - -
Overall, this was pretty cool. The first 60 chapters were exceptional; perhaps the best battle manga I've ever read (and better than battle anime I've seen). It was all battles with no bullshit. Plus the battles were actually cool and had depth to them, not just senseless violence like Hellsing.
I recommend reading this up to the point where Ranmaru captures a certain person. Things go downhill after that, though. Before that is 9/10, after that is 6/10.
Gamaran is my first samurai manga. Its quite odd to have read a manga that doesnt have any super powers or sci-fi elements, but still, it was fine and fun.
I find the story very good and interesting, but somewhat it lacks creation. The setting is around the Unabara, or The Land of Demons as sometimes reffered, in which a tournament is held. But its not just some typical martial arts tournament because the tournament is held to determine the next Daimyo(landlord) of Unabara. The contestants are Daimyo's sons. 31 sons were given the task to find the strongest dojo they can and participate for
a chance to be the next Daimyo. The story follows the 30th son, Naoyoshi Washitsu, who aims to find the legendary Thousand man slayer, Kurogane Jinsuke. He visits the Ogame dojo, but Kurogane is nowhere to be found, and his son, Kurogane Gama is the only available Ogame student(And Gama is really mad at his dad, and looking for revenge). Naoyoshi asks Gama to help him and Gama agrees, and the two of them set on a journey to find which of the 31 fighting styles is the greatest.
I love the story very much, but I think it could be more creative. Roughly looking, the main plot is centered around the tournament with nothing more added to the story, until later on. You will get to see so much different weapons, so much different styles and moves. Every weapon has its own strenghts and weaknesses and its really well explained how it works. The moves are also well explained, as I see it, I believe that most of them are very legit, as we do see some odd footwork and such, but the mangaka explains it very well. Personally I find the end a bit too rushed and odd, so only 7/10 for the story.
Art is very well done. The only thing why i give it a niner is that it is very much concentrated on people, and there is less attention given to the buildings and backgrounds, but they are also well made when they are around. Gamarans main forte are the fights. Art in the fights is very good, all the moves are drawn neat and clean, and there are plenty. Most of the time the story is centered around the fight and you will see a lot of it. I think that there are only around 20 chapters without any fights. And there are 197 chapters to read so you will see a lot of hack and slash :D As it is a tournament, there are plenty characters in the process, and I find it very well done as the characters are beatifully drawn.
There are a hell lot of characters out there. The thing is that every one of them gets a little background inside a chapter, ranging from two pages to almost an entire chapter to show why the character does what he does. As I find it a bit simplistic, and in any other manga I would find it unsatisfying, but in Gamaran its preety neat. I know that the opponent is gonna die eventually so there is no need for a long backstory as there are many opponents that are gonna get defeated. I fthink Gama is a great character, and I cheered for him during my readings as he is preety awesome in his own way. But Sengoku Iori is my favourite, and if you read it, I think you will see why.
Overall, sometimes I think that Gamaran is quite simple but in way it has its own perks. I wouldnt reccomend it to everybody. If you are looking for a deep and awesome story, I dont think you will enjoy it. But if you are looking for good fights or some casual fun, then Gamaran is the real deal, fights are very awesome and really well done, thats Gamarans forte and thats why I love it.
I decided that I should write review for one manga I really liked, and I chosed Gamaran.
My english grammar is not the best, but I will write everything about this manga that I liked, hopefuly this will help
Good - 6/10
I would put this shonen in category of those I like to call, "darker" shonens. Just with the saying that this manga is set in "Middle Edo Period" you know that there are cruel things happening in it.
The ruler of the state Unabara(Also know as "Haunt of Demons" ) called Washitzu Naosata is looking for his succcessor. He calls his 31 sons and
tell them to find a worthy martial art school, they believe is superior to any other school. Son with the strongest martial artist by his side, will become the next ruler of the land - And there is the plot of the series, the whole manga is circling about this one "tournament"
Far in the mountains, there lives a boy called Kurogane Gama, the son of a legendary swordsman, Kurogane Jinsuke that formed "Ogame" school. Kurogane Jinsuke is believed to be a demon, man that was able to kill 1000 martial artist in Unabara.
One of the sons, Washitzu Naoshi in a search of Kurogane Jinsuke, comes to the doujo only to find that Jinsuke is gone missing.After seeing the skill of a young swordsman Kurogane Gama, Naoshi choses to ask Gama to join him, in order to beat his brothers and become the next . Driven by the will to get stronger than his dad, to become the greatest swordman of all the time, Gama agrees to his offer. That is the start of this journey, journey to become the best swordsman.
Now, the whole manga is really fast, it doesn't get much slower in any parts, and I personally don't like that, but Gamaran is just "jackpot".
Story gets more complicated and interesting - as characters evolve, the story evolves too. Since its shonen, story is not the top priority, the story of Gamaran leans on characters, theirs ambitions, past and motives.
Outstanding - 10/10
Characters, weapons/swords, fights, background, I found everything perfectly drawn. Serious style, with serious and similliar faces of characters, their movements, everything is really original and enjoyable. Art really does suit the cruel Edo period.
I believe that people that are new to this manga will really like this magnificent style and will be overflowed with it.
Great - 9/10
There are many things about Gamaran characters
Many shonen have really boring, all-same characters, expecially main characters. Gamaran is diffrent, in many ways.
Main character, Kurogane Gama is still a kid, teenager, but he really went through alot. He has that dose of "mainstreamnes" but on the other hand, he really is likeable, mature, smart and great main character. Other Ogame martial artist, Gama's best friends are really great and "badass" too. They all have their, well-presented and really tough past, all of them have something they want to achieve, and the tournament is the way to come step closer to that ambition.The bond between main characters is realy strong, they all believe in each other and are ready to put their lives on the line for their friends.
Like I said, as the characters evolve, story evolves too, they are really connected.
Main antagonists are really likeable too, they too have something they want to achieve, someone they want to protect - somebody that is important to them.
Great - 8/10
I believe that this manga is really special, it can easily become one of your favourites. Some parts of it are maybe boring and hard to read, but ones you get dragged in Gamaran's world, characters, you will love it.
Great - 8/10
It's a good manga that brings you great sword action scenes, good and interesting characters and on top of that, might teach you few new things about friendship and loyality
Hope this was helpful
Sometimes phenomenal manga series get passed over and don't become a TV series. This is a list of the top 10 martial arts manga that should've been made into an anime. Prepare yourself. These stories kick hard.