Run, Forest, RUN! I’m sure most of you still remember that epic film Tom Hanks starred in. Not that there’s any actual relation to this manga and that movie aside from their similarity of having quite an avid runner for the lead role. Although I personally doubt it, who knows, perhaps “Forest Gump” did inspire Kengo Hanazawa in writing this piece? At any rate, I just wanted to ask a simple question, really:
Why (do you) run?
A. for survival/defensive purposes; to escape from harm’s way
B. to impress someone (via competition/sports or staying fit)
C. because it’s your talent/profession; your one and
only saving grace
D. because you’re in a hurry/running late for your MAL-related endeavors/responsibilities ;p
Well, I’m sure there’s a variety of other specific reasons/answers for each one of us. As far as the protagonist of the story is concerned however, and as one would expect from the title, he runs for pretty much every single reason I’ve listed except for the last one, that is.
Having considered the title, you might think it strange to refer to someone in his mid-20s as a boy, let alone in plural form (‘boys’), but make no mistake, BOTR is most definitely about that guy—your typical, average loser who just can’t seem to act his age, and whose simple dream in life is to get laid, and with a good enough looking chick to boot, if possible. So basically, there you have the story’s premise in what seems to be an office-romance setting. Or at least that’s how it was in the beginning.
To avoid confusion, let me just clarify that contrary to its genre labels or ‘tags’, this series is neither romantic nor sports-centric in reality. To be exact, it’s an adult drama which delves a bit into boxing merely as a theme and a means for the protagonist to grow and find himself, find love, and ultimately find something of which, other than himself, that is worth standing up and fighting for.
To reiterate/summarize, BOTR tells the tale of a 26 year old man-child who has a run-first (both literally and figuratively), ask-questions later mentality of dealing with his issues/problems. He runs and runs and runs—away from all sorts of danger and confrontation the series/author has to offer with reckless abandon. “Love” being his primary reason for doing so, apparently, as he’s proven time and again how much he truly loves himself—at one point, even going as far as to leave a romantic-interest behind just to save face or rather, to save himself from further embarrassment after having been beaten into a bloody mess in front of her.
And while he even picked a (meaningless) fight with someone and took up some basic boxing to give himself a fighting chance, at one point, he never truly did stop from his ‘marathon’. He simply kept at it until he eventually ran into a familiar face—his “manic pixie dream girl”, or however else you may want to put it. Since then, which is quite surprisingly true enough, still more of the same running for dear life, only with a much clearer and more productive purpose of doing so, such as taking boxing/training more seriously, if nothing more than to get the girl’s attention. Like they say, change never happens overnight, and especially with regards to people.
Blah blah blah blah blah, if I said anymore, I might as well just tell you the whole story. Not that I mind, mind you. Only that would practically defeat the entire purpose of my writing this ‘review’. Anyway, if I have a snowball’s chance in hell of selling this manga to those who have yet to even glance at its editorial-cartoon-like (cover) art, the story may not be any prettier or more glamorous than its synopsis initially suggests, but if you’re someone who’s into gritty, unsentimental, off-color humor, and most importantly realism—as in realistic characters who actually resemble true to life people with real human qualities, appearances, and issues; living in a world that just don’t give a damn on whatsoever they do and whatsoever fate may befall them—I wholeheartedly recommend "Boys on the Run" to you.
Oh and before I forget—read at your own risk! This manga may or may not contain “NTR”. Consider yourself warned! ;p
I'm not especially good at writing but reading this manga made me want to write this review. After reading some of the other reviews I felt that the reviewers did not read the manga going into it the way I did.
I have heard this statement being thrown around very often:
"People see what they want to", I had come to realize this long ago but this manga reaffirmed this.
When I read the synopsis before going into the manga I expected a Hajime No Ippo or Ashita No Joe like manga but what I got was very different. You see I'm really into underdog stories
which I guess are found a lot in sports manga/anime so what I'm saying is I've seen a lot of sports anime and read a lot of sports manga (Though I haven't yet added them all to my MAL list yet). When I went into this I hoped that the protagonist would come through all the odds and succeed somehow, that he would beat Aoyama, that he would finally get laid, that he wouldn't run away, that he would change but NO, I didn't get any of that. Each time his life got better; it just got worse (Usually because he did something stupid). At this point I'd probably been through 70 odd chapters (I was reading it in one go you see) so I started wondering why I was reading this?
It wasn't what I'd come for, then I realized (Not that it hadn't occurred to me earlier). This story was real. The Characters were real. This was life. There were no miracles. Our protagonist had to work and he still failed, Not once, not twice but almost every time. He tried, he ran and he shit himself. Despite this every time our protagonist was in a dire situation I did not lose hope. For some reason I felt that he would make it despite all the pages that I'd read before in the manga. I'm not sure if this is just me or this is the manga.
What I'm saying is that I was able to connect to the manga.
If you are a person who is looking for the usual type of manga you won't find it here. If your looking for something different I would suggest this.
I didn't go into technical details about the art and story in the review because of 2 reasons:
Primarily because that wasn't the point of the review and second because I'm not very qualified to talk about that.
But just to mention the art is alright though it can be epic at certain points and story really does not have a lot in terms of actual development but it kept me guessing at places. Go ahead and give it a shot.