Mar 3, 2017
Hirohiko Araki is of course incredibly well-known for JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, but after getting current on that, I decided to check out one of his earlier works -- Baoh. This is a manga that I feel suffers from simply being too short. I think the idea has some potential, but it fails to ever become anything great, simply being "just ok".
The story centers around our main character Ikuro, who is forcibly given superpowers by an evil organization. Thus he is able to transform into Baoh. He escapes with a young girl and then the organization hunts them down until Ikuro eventually makes his way to
their headquarters for a showdown. The concept is nothing special, but it's not particularly bad either. The problem lies in the fact that we are overall given very little explanation of the world and characters.
Baoh pulls his powers from nowhere with little to no explanation of them. For the most part, they are self-explanatory, but the problem is we never really know just what Baoh is capable of. It's hard to feel suspense during a fight when we know the character could very well just unveil some new power that we've never seen before. Every fight is like a deus ex machina because of this.
Second, the characters aren't explained very well. Who are Doress, and why did they create Baoh? To use him as a weapon, but for what purpose? The pacing is extremely tight, which ends up being detrimental since very important things like the characters' motivations end up getting kind of brushed over in favor of more fight scenes.
Speaking of the fight scenes, they are, again, nothing special. Araki's art is of course very distinct, and we see something close to what is seen in his other early works like Part 1 of JoJo or Mashounen BT. They're nice to look at, but when it comes to the content, they're certainly lacking the cleverness and creativeness that his later series JoJo has become known for. Rather, these fights are usually fairly straightforward, but then Baoh uses a new power to win. Having the hero develop new powers can be nice, but there's little buildup and it gets old.
Overall, I can't really give this a strong recommendation. If you're a fan of Araki like I am, you might enjoy this. However, between Baoh, Mashounen BT, and JoJo, Baoh is without a doubt the weakest of his works.
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