Set over 10 years after the conclusion of Sakigake!! Otokojuku, this manga focuses on Shishimaru Tsurugi, son of Momotaro Tsurugi from the previous series, and a new generation of Otokojuku students, while still featuring much of the same school staff. Like Sakigake!!, the plot focuses on the hellish training of Otokojuku, fighting enemies, and the births of new friendships.
The sequel to Sakigake!! Otokojuku, Akatsuki!! Otokojuku continues to provide a few qualities that made the original series so entertaining, whilst having far more of the problems that kept it in obscurity.
Following the adventures of the next generation of Otokojuku, Akatsuki introduces a new cast of main characters, though in terms of actual characterisation they may as well be the old cast. Aside from being more boisterous, Tsurugi Shishimaru is no different a character from his dad Momotaro, with the same being said of Akashi Juzo and Daigouin Kouki compared to their fathers Akashi Gouji and Daigouin Jaki respectively. Kurosu Nobunaga plays a similar role
as a semi-serious comic relief character as Togashi Genji did and Zhang Wukong's role as a short underdog with a lot of spirit is just a more plot relevant version of Gokuonji Hidemaro. The rest of the new characters provide little to talk about it, all being either a parade of honourable warriors or despicable cowards with very little in terms of personality of development. That said, characters are a very weak point for the series due to how little development each of the main cast get beyond a backstory to flesh them out and a few personality quirks. The only engaging factor about them is the comedic interactions and actions they take.
On the subject of characters remaining the same, this ties into the story essentially being the same repetitive formula Otokojuku provided for over 30 volumes, being tournaments and death battles between martial artists over arbitrary reasons. I also use the term "death battles" loosely when it comes to major characters as like the original, Akatsuki refuses to kill off any of it's main cast regardless of how much focus is given on their "death" all for the sake of using their survival as a poor twist. They even revive a character who died in the original series all for the sake of fanservice.
The plot can mainly be seen as a tribute to the original series and nothing else, with many characters and concepts being carbon copies of the original. 'Member the Sanmenken? 'Member the Tencho Gorin Daibukai? 'The entire plot is a repetition in order to recapture nostalgia of the original, with what expansion it does of those concepts feeling entirely contrived. For instance, the idea of each Sanmenken generation's similarities feels absolutely ridiculous.
Art is decent enough, unless looking at it compared to the original. Miyashita's art style has taken far more of a cartoonish and over the top look compared to the more realistic touches to his characters' faces inspired by Hokuto no Ken. A definite drop in quality.
So, does the series have any decent qualities? Well, seeing as how I'm not rating it a 1/10, it's pretty obvious it does. If looking at it from an entertainment perspective, the series works well as a dumb action-comedy through it's various martial arts styles and crude humour. One of the story arcs, whilst overly Shonen in it's nature and with a very unsatisfying ending, drew from ideas within Miyashita's short work "Baramon no Kazoku" (The Brothers of Brahman) to help expand the world building of his works, being quite a peak for an otherwise schlock work.
If you're one of the few who's a big fan of Otokojuku or just want a series that has a great amount of Manliness and GAR despite whatever poor plot of character development it has, you may like the series if you don't find 200 chapters too long a haul. If you're looking for a series that truly stands out from the crowd in superpower action-comedies, however, this isn't the one for you.
The manga is not fully translated but it's updated weekly, so this review will cover what is available so far. Being the sequel to Sakigake Otokojuku, Akatsuki Otokojuku holds up well & might be even more over the top than its predecessor.
Much like the 1st series, Tsurugi Shishimaru , the son of Momotaro, enrolls in Otokojuku where he eventually meets Akashi Juzo, the son of Akashi Gouji, Kuroso Nobunaga (who seems to play a similar role as Togashi Genji) & much later encounters Zhang Wukong (currently plays a Toramaru role only mixed in with journey to the west).
Akatsuki Otokojuku begins with a comedic arc
with some outrageous training exercises, however it quickly escalates to tournament combat where much of the fighting arenas are some of the most bizarre things I've seen Otokojuku do such as fighting on a boiling oden pool, atop of a mechanical panda, a mahjong arena & an ice ring, yet the clincher is the newly 1st years fighting against clones of previous Otokojuku characters.
While the first 86 chapters have been entertaining, I'm not sure it will top the first series as a whole. Much of it has to do with the characters being mostly substitutes of the original cast with bearing very little differences from the previous generation. Other series such as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure & Kinnikuman Nisei may had similar looking relatives but at least it managed to have their personalities & fighting styles different from the previous series while Otokojuku doesn't. It may be to the usage of "passing down tradition", but if the story is going to use similar characters then it might as well use the original cast instead. One of the highlights of the series are the occasional cameos from the Otokojuku graduates who tend to offer advice to their new freshman, especially Momotaro who has some manly family moments with his son.
Personally, my main nitpick with this sequel is the artstyle as Miyashita has gotten this odd way of drawing noses & certain facial features. The art quality is just as good as it was back in the 80's but previous established characters have a certain awkward look to them. Edajima's design is noticeably different as his jaw is about the size of the crimson chin.
Akatsuki Otokojuku maintains the school spirit of Otokojuku & has the same manly flair as its older days, but could use some more diversity among its main characters. Action is great, it's over the top, it's manly, it is the next generation of Otokojuku students who live to refine their manhood. OSU!!!