Jul 26, 2020
Sanjin Sadou is a supernatural manga written between 2002-2004 by Mizukami Satoshi (Hoshi no Samidare, Spirit Circle, Sengoku Youko), it consists of 2 volumes of short chapters (about 15 pages each). It's the author's first serialization.
The manga follows a guy in his 20s or early 30s named Sadou Kokugetsu Shinkun Fubuki (but almost everyone call him Fubuki) who has weak supernatural powers and helps people that have these sort of problems, he gets payed of course, but only with junk and few money. It's the most basic of premises, throw in a cute bespectacled girl and we have the story of Sanjin Sadou. Let's not
fool ourselves, it's as generic as eating ice cream in the summer. Why I read it? Because Mizukami is one of my favorites mangaka, but I don't consider it a waste of time. The setting is our world.
The author has a way to keep the reader's attention because he tried to make this manga enjoyable even with the cliche premise. The first chapters are episodic in nature, like I said above, Fubuki has to cleanse/defeat a spirit (ghost, monster, youkai, you name it) with the help of his sidekick Yoru. Every chapter is fun to read because Fubuki is weak, he can barely outsmart the spirits, he has to use his brain most of the time, it's not like he goes somewhere, sees demon, kills him with magic, rinse and repeat, no! One time he has to find lost cats, one time he has a drinking contest against a penguin and so on. He cheats his way to victory so to say. People who like action and over powered main characters may not enjoy this that much. Well, there are fight scenes with magical elements, super high jumps and strong punches, I really liked the battle choreography but an "action junkie" will not be impressed. I liked it, it was energetic and the final fight delivered some great scenes.
And I enjoyed Fukuki's manner of defeating the monsters in the episodic chapters, it's my kind of thing.
Another characteristic of this manga is that it's written with a light-hearted atmosphere in mind, so the potential reader should not expect drama or "nakama power". A clear view at the spirits' design should let the reader know what kinda manga this is, all monsters look kinda cute and you don't hear about them killing innocents, let's say they do evil deeds but not that evil.
As to not bore us, there is a central plot which links Fubuki, his master, Yoru, a boy we'll get to know a bit later in the manga and a girl possessed by a spirit, I say that was actually interesting and we'll get to see the conclusion for this in the last chapters, which is good. We still get those two or three usual episodic chapters in the 2nd volume though. I say the structure resembles Psycho-Pass', you have the small cases regarding the latent criminals and the big plot around Makishima Shougo.
The conflict here is kinda hard to follow though because there are too many connections (it links the past too) and linked characters, it's true that the author wrote in the 2nd volume afterword that he did not explore the overall plot as much as he wanted and some things weren't explained in much depth, so the end result to the mystery is kinda confusing but all in all it has a clear end.
Also, the chapters are 15 pages long and you feel the pacing being a bit fast, make it 20 pages and it would have looked better (those were the conditions though, as a mangaka you get an exact amount of pages per issue and he had to provide).
It took me a little bit over an hour to read one volume, so let's consider 2 hours and 30 minutes being the duration to finish it all in one sitting.
The art style is simple, the characters look ok for my taste, the girls have big eyes and look cute, the boys are normal looking (main character has an unshaven look and smokes). Being a Mizukami Satoshi manga means that the reader should expect a panty shot (in happens in all of his manga, it's a ritual), it's not that disgusting, if you hate ecchi, it's 100% safe to read. The backgrounds are simple too, nothing flashy. The monsters look unique but not that intimidating
About the characters (stuff that I liked the most)
Our main guy Fubuki is described as having silver hair and black eyebrows, don't know his age but he looks in his late 20s or so, he smokes and he's very weak when dealing with spirits. He's a simple man, he likes to eat, to drink, he likes to be chill. Of course, the events make him getting involved in big things so the potential reader should expect him to get serious in those situations. Other that that, he's kind towards Yoru.
Yoru is Fubuki's disciple so to say and she has greater power than him and she really helps him when he screws up, and that's it. I liked the communication between them, great chemistry there.
The other characters are ok, we get to know them in chapters specifically created for them and they do shine when given the chance. But don't expect much, the manga is short.
As to close the review, read it if you like a light-hearted adventure about a weak main character fighting ghosts and spirits, with the occasional jokes and bits of comedy, the manga is easy to read, it has action, weird monsters and some nice looking girls. It's a great door to Mizukami Satoshi manga for if you liked this you will certainly enjoy a lot more his other works from his later career.
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