Kenji is a manga about a Japanese teenager named Kenji, who practices the martial art Bajiquan, and his encounters with other martial artists, some of which are from real life, e.g. Adam Hsu and Liu Chia-Liang. This series primarily features Baji Quan, but also gets into Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Bagua Zhang, Chen Taiji Quan, Pi Quan, Xingyi Quan, Xin Yi Liu He Quan, Shaolin Quan, Hung Ga, Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, Shotokan Karate and numerous other styles. Kenji's nemesis is a gangster named Tony Tan who practices Hung Gar and later Xinyiliuhequan.
I stumbled upon Kenji manga when looking for good manga to read one day and boy was I lucky. Kenji is not very popular, and is not for everyone, the manga goes through much history and plenty of detail on aspects of martial arts. All this information is intertwined with a great story, but if your not into an informative session this manga is probably not for you.
Kenji manga is a manga that revolves around the main character Kenji and his experiences. Ever since Kenji was little, he loved martial arts because of his grandfather who was a master and taught him. Kenji would often get into fights because of his mental state of mind as a child but becomes more mature and less rash as he grows older. His grandfather one day leaves to China in search of his fellow martial artist peers, and leaves Kenji to train with what he has taught him. Kenji than spends the rest of his life pursuing a life of martial arts and at the same time he searches for his grandfather who never came back from China.
I believe the story of Kenji is outstanding, a great thing about it as well is the fact that most of it is realistic with few exaggerations. The art is not the best, some may not like the drawing but to me the small strangeness in art does not distract from the story (strangeness because some of the people look like gorillas). A good part of the art however is how the movements of the martial arts are drawn, the author takes his time to show step by step the movement of techniques. The character's are great, each character introduced plays an important role in Kenji's life, some being rivals and others being friends. Every girl in the manga however seems to have some type of attraction towards him making the characters a little bit unrealistic but each is introduced thoroughly and doesn't generally just disappear.
Enjoyment of this manga I give a 10 because I look forward to all the chapters, every fight you want Kenji to destroy his opponent and that doesn't always happen, but the next time Kenji will never fail to surprise both the audience and his opponent. Overall I give this manga a rating of 9, mainly because the drawing isn't beautiful, and informative lessons may not be loved by all. To me its a 10, to you it may be a 7, but if you ask me its worth a try.
Last notes: this manga came out a while ago but no one took interest in making translations for it until recently, the manga is now being translated by few people and is contently coming out every other day. Currently the manga is just recently reaching volume 13 (on 5/25/10), and in a month it should be near volume 15, so if your going to read now would not be a bad time to catch on.read more
TL;DR Do you like stories? Especially that go in detail about martial arts? This is for you. Don't expect to remember everything, however. Expect to read this as an observer - just to supervise that Kenji is learning.
General genre/feeling: feel good/action/adventure/exciting/funny/fun.
This manga is filled with stories. Anything major happening to Kenji? Time for a historical saga about someone. Kenji is curious? Let's read about what a guy 70 years ago did. Don't get me wrong -- they are all very enjoyable, exciting, and I believe based in reality (from what I can make out from translator notes). Every page is filled with information about martial arts or about a person who practiced martial arts. Yes, there are fights. Yes, there are some twists to keep it fresh. But this isn't like The Breaker or Naruto. It is simple and straightforward at every single point in the story; When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And that's it. Kenji loves martial arts more so than anyone in the world, and this is a story of how he matures while meeting multiple teachers who teach him in Japan/China.
Pretty decent. I feel the art portrayed the pacing of the story and the action scenes nicely.
Main character is a badass from the get go in terms of guts/courage (and even skill most of the time!). He learns and matures over time and becomes even more likable/badass. The masters/teachers are all amazing in their own respect. I believe some of them are/were real people. Other supporting characters (parents, love interests) are really not the focus of this story and therefore aren't developed as much, but are somewhat still important to the story. Women are made to be very shallow however. And annoying.
If you liked stuff like Bokko, The Breaker (part 2 as well), Kingdom, anything with martial art or anything that has a MC that develops as the story goes on and is badass, you will enjoy this. I'd say you'll get the gist of how the entire series is going to be if you read up to chapter 20. Or even chapter 10.
Not for people who don't like to read too much without understanding what's being said. There is a lot of explanation and history (some important, some not) that you will forget by the next page or not read at all. However there is enough visual information to skim through without missing too much. I'd recommend this to people for sure. Highly underrated I feel.
Kenji is clearly made for martial arts enthusiasts. It seems as if the plot is only there to make a setting for the martial arts. Often very technique and history-heavy, I found myself skipping some pages or conversations the characters had, because it didn't really contribute to the story. I did like some of the teachers Kenji had, their personality stood out. But unfortunately, all the young female characters seemed shallow and the same.
The good points of this manga were the history (for those who're interested in that stuff), some quirky personalities, the way that the main character matures (art-wise) and the art which looks old in a nostalgic way.
The weaknesses include the massive amount of history and attention to techniques (which are often tiring), the naivete of the main character, the lack of variety and character in female characters and the often too wandering and weak plot, which gets buried under all the tech-and history talk.read more
A story of a child that takes interest of Chinese martial arts. That kind of story plot is not easily found, even today. Although, the work is not the most recent one, the story is superb. It takes you through Chinese military and martial art history. This story opens people's view of martial arts, and informs the reader of how great and deep the history or Chinese martial arts is. The main character grows stronger every day, and he goes through strong opponents. Although the story goes through what a average Shounen Manga criteria, I would not even consider it even Shounen or Seinen. It's a historical manga that opens people eyes about Chinese martial Arts.
The art is not the greatest, but it suits the orient of the manga very well. The artwork is not very detailed, which is perfectly okay, because it seems the author wants to get the point across, saying that Chinese Martial Arts can be performed, and performed well even without being muscular. Which is why, the artist did not go into detail of the human body parts. The details are insignificant.
The main character is a pure-heart child that has not a single ounce of corruption dwelling inside. The character is very modest and aware of the fact that he is ignorant of his ways. Not many characters are made that way nowadays. Most are made cocky or pessimistic.
What better enjoyment is there, when the fact; you are learning about Chinese Martial Arts so easily and explained so well that, basically anyone can understand it. There are many fight scenes and some very thrilling scenes as well.
One of the best martial art works I have ever witness so far. I believe it'll be hard to surpass this work. This work goes into such detail of a Japanese child's life as he learns about Chinese Martial art. You can see his growth from is childhood to adulthood. There is also no big time leap, like most do, at most in this work; there will be a time leap only when nothing insignificant occurs, such as him living his normal life. read more