Take Isamu is an elitist 6th grader who looks down at his peers because he is the best at everything he does at school, from looks and smarts, to his luck with girls and his abilities as an athlete. He considers himself to be in the top percent of his age group and is incredibly bored with interacting with the so called normal people. A new student, Kaname Moka, transfers into his school and as she is fairly pretty, Isamu asks her out.
Moka mishears what he says and thinks he wants to challenge her, as she grew up boxing. In fact, Moka is an amazing fighter and can even take down 5 middle school boys at once. Although Isamu can’t stand her violent personality and she can’t stand him for having so much pride, they start to grow attracted to each other. But then Isamu finds out that not only is Moka more athletic than him from all her years of boxing, she's also much smarter than him. Will he able to get over his overly sensitive pride and dive into a romantic relationship?
I’m not sure if starting a manga about boxing in these times is a really good idea from Takuya Mitsuda. This sport clearly lost the glory it had before, same for its popularity. If it had begun it in the ’80s or ’90s, maybe this manga would have encountered a very different destiny. But since almost no one cares about boxing anymore, it’s predictable that no one will care about a new boxing manga—besides the fan of Major I suppose. But against all expectations, the fact that no one cares about it doesn’t mean it’s bad at all. Believe me, this manga is worth it.
First of all, the best thing that makes you able to criticize a sports manga, is that you practice or have practiced yourself the sport illustrated in the series, otherwise it would simply make no sense. I’m myself a big fan of boxing, since when I was younger the only gym of my small town was a boxing gym, so it forced me to discover the sport, gradually. It was years ago, but my passion for this sport is still growing, and lately, I combined my passions when I started reading some famous boxing manga, like the almost legendary Ashita no Joe and the well-known Hajime no Ippo. And then I discovered Buyuden, a very young manga with less than a year of existence. I was amazed to find a manga about boxing this recent and my curiosity took the control and sincerely, I’m not disappointed that I did, even though the series wasn’t popular at all. And then, let me explain to you why I enjoy this manga so far.
For a lot of readers, probably the most important thing; the story. It would be an outrageous exaggeration to say that the scenario of Buyuden is extremely good. But I found that the storyline was something refreshing in the way the main character decides to start boxing. He doesn’t want to be strong or he doesn’t want to be able to kick some asses.; he simply wants to get closer to a girl. His love for a girl will make him start boxing. Said like that it may sound wrong to some, but it’s at least something I never saw in any other sports manga, even if I know that it’s totally not genius worthy. But it’s precisely what could also bother some readers; the story is somewhat romance oriented and that’s the very reason why it can differ so from other sports manga. Besides, I must still say that the manga takes some recurring concept from the world of sports manga that you will easily discern, even some elements of the story is taken from Takuya Mistuda’s previous work, Major. If you also want to know if I found something wrong about the story, yes there is. Even if it’s a minor detail, the fact the protagonist’s parents sent him to a public school in order to make him learn about life in society sounds really lame. I always thought that in general, Japanese parents always wanted the best for their children when it comes to studies. But yeah, the author couldn’t have demonstrated the protagonist superiority as much easily otherwise, but I would have liked a more ingenious reason.
Then we thus arrive at the section which I find the most interesting; the characters. Let’s start with the protagonist, Isamu Take; a pretentious guy who’s looking down on everyone and thinking he is better than anyone. The type of person the typical reader will see as a complete asshole. But character development quite early in the story will make those readers much more than happy. He will encounter someone who will make him suppress his pride, while being humiliated. His reactions through the events that will follow will be quite interesting, making him a character almost endearing. I can’t help myself but to like this kind of character development, not in the way that I like to see someone being humiliated, but it’s always entertaining to see the detestable character back on the right path. And the second most important person, Moka Kaname, a pretty unusual presence in the world of sports manga, who is a serious elementary student girl with mad skills at boxing. Seriously I find this character very original, and it’s not difficult to any readers to start to like her, especially after what she did to the protagonist. The only downside is her background story, I found it a bit cliché, I even suspect the author of being inspired by Ichiro Miyata from Hajime no Ippo. And it’s pretty much the same for the rest of the main cast. Watari, the prodigy who will become a rival. The usual old trainer that think the protagonist is a weakling until he realizes his true potential et cetera. It’s still the highlight of the manga in my opinion.
Then now about the art. There’s nothing really to say, it’s not bad but it’s nothing extraordinary, just the typical Takuya Mitsuda’s graphics. But it’s probably just my imagination but at some moments I found that Moka had visual resemblance with Joe Yabuki, especially in her hairstyle, like they have the same hair fringe. But anyway, it’s probably not intentional.
This isn’t a revolutionary manga but at least I really enjoyed it for what I read so far. Not a single second I was bored with it and I’m looking forward for the next chapters. I especially hope this manga to become more popular in a near future. Buyuden is clearly a sports manga with a lot of potential, and I hope it will deliver even more.
UPDATE—03/03/14 (CONTAINS SPOILERS)
It often happens. A manga loses its popularity and then gets the axe, when there are still way more to be expected. It then gets a mediocre rushed ending that satisfies no one, and sinks into oblivion. And here I am again, almost three years later after I wrote this review. I was seeking to attract people around this unpopular manga, and it unfortunately seems that as we speak the popularity of this manga is almost as low as before. In the end, the author’s idea of doing a boxing manga won’t have given him a second story worthy of Major. The last sentence of my review seems very ironic by now, since it was filled of hope for this manga. I’m not here to recommend this manga anymore, it wouldn’t be appropriate to suggest you a manga that doesn’t even a proper conclusion. But a lot of unexpected things happened after I wrote this review, like the time-skip and Moka’s “change of shape” that traumatized quite a few readers. There’s also coach’s death, the fact that Watari became a partner, and a lot more things. It at least managed to be unpredictable and original on many points. I wouldn’t like to lower the score I previously gave to this manga just because it was suddenly stopped, I think it wouldn’t be representative of the work. I just hope that the next manga from Takuya Mitsuda will be here to stay. read more
I have never felt atractted to any boxing theme mangas. However Buyuden was different. The story begins in a simple way (boy meet girl and later he follow the girl's doing beacause he likes her and admires her), but it catchs you with his graphics and the story development.
The first thing I like is the graphics, they are nice, a good example of shounen manga. What I like about the graphics is that not all the characters look like an Hercules, with muscles in every inch of their bodies. I know is obvious they're not like that because many of their characters are children. But even so, when they focus adults boxer characters, they are not awfully muscular either. I don't like realistic faces, and many of boxing theme manga characters have them. To be sincere, I was not very interested in boxing theme mangas until I read Buyuden. When I read Buyuden, I saw another face of boxing. I never thought boxing was so awesome!
Another thing I like about Buyuden is the characters. I like Isamu, he is so arrogant but after he meets Moka, he gradually changes, even though he doesn't realize this fact. Also, Moka is a very interesting character. I like this kind of characters, strong and not the typical lady-like girls.
The story is simple, but I like it. It's the cliche story in sports shounen manga, the main character discover the sport, starts to pratice it and then he wants to be the best of the best player, competitors of this sports, but there are many difficulties the character has to face in order to improve. But even if the sequences of the story are similar in many other sport mangas, Buyuden focus very well the boxing moves, the punchs and you don't get lose with the quick movements (this happens in some mangas). Also, they explain you many of the boxing terms, so you understand what the disadvantage and advantage in each characters.
As a conclusion, if you really like this kind of story, the character build up to a top competitor mixed with comedy and nice boxing scenes, you would like to read this manga. read more
The story is typical, weak boy, meets girl, event, boy wants to get stronger(Nartuo smile with hands behind head).
Art is similar to Ippo, it has got this old fashioned style. Not as dated as Ranma, but a maybe one step above.
Perhaps my biggest grip are the characters; they feel like cards board cutouts of heros/heroines of a B rated action flick.
I started reading Buyuden after being recommended from Holyland, and boy there is a huge difference. This manga is not even close to being like Holyland. It still retains alot of its shonen characteristics. So if you are looking for shonen, feast on this. Otherwise avoid like the plague. read more